19 February 2015

Tools of the Foxy Trade -- It's a Trick!

Stereotyping isn't a good thing. Sexism is considered poor-form, too. I try to avoid both. With that said, you might imagine where this post is going.

What about stubbornness? Rusty, my dear, whose name is synonymous with stubborn? Isn't stubborn as bad as stereotyping? Go ahead, ladies, raise your hand.

I own a number of power tools. Some are pink or lavender in color . . . so clearly tool manufacturers recognize the female market for power tools. I own a sander, drill/screw guns (is there a difference?), a jig saw, a small circular saw, more than one Dremel with thousands of tiny attachments, and one of those 400,000-piece bit kits. So I'm relatively handy with power tools . . . I'm even more accomplished with a cocktail in my hand. I think that women should embrace power tools . . . it frees us from complete dependence on a man to hang curtain rods . . . a task that Rusty absolutely detests.

Rusty and I have been at an impasse in the packing-for-Samara negotiations. He wants to ship an entire garage full of tools, power and otherwise. Picture it: over 2,873 flat-head screwdrivers. Yeah . . . that's merely the flat-heads. Me? I want to purchase and ship about 2,873 dollars worth of gorgeous new poolside furniture. Rusty is adamant about his tools. Dare I say it? Stubborn to a fault. Yet I'm holding plenty of bargaining chips to get our poolside furniture . . . or so I thought.

11 February 2015

Big Things Have Small Beginnings

While living in Burkina Faso, my friend Yaya would say to me, un peu un peu, which is a French idiom (at least in Burkina) that means little by little . . . and it always seemed to contain the strong implication of For the love of God, woman, have some patience! This, from the most patient, understanding man in the world.

Yaya, we've been digging this well for nine weeks and still haven't hit water. Ah, Kathy, un peu un peu. Yaya, will those hens ever lay eggs? Yaya, I will never-ever speak French. Ah, Kathy, un peu un peu.

Enough, already. I'm back in The States . . . and I expect quick results. Here, I don't do patient. I'd be great on Chopped because I can really cook . . . and I'm fast. I don't have a Slow button . . . not here in the U.S. Living or traveling abroad is a different matter: I am certainly capable of island time. In Burkina we called it W.A.I.T. West Africa International Time, and I was fine with it.

There is an entire hemisphere called the Americas. North America, Central America, South America, Latin America. And, culturally sensitive person that I try to be, I really dislike calling myself an American. But being born and raised in the United States, what should I call myself (besides nuts)? A United-Statesian? Of course not. The French certainly understand the term . . . they even distinguish between a male American and a female American: Il est américain, et elle est américaine. Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything.

09 February 2015

Like So Many Others, I Had Become a Slave to the IKEA Nesting Instinct

And what will you do in Yuriatin? Just live!

Part of our motivation to live in Samara, Costa Rica is:
  • To live, insofar as possible, off the grid.
  • To end the verbal bombardment by Republican and Democrat pundits. Somebody make it stop! Rusty and I remain almost total opposites, politically . . . so we cancel-out each other and can leave the U.S. without fear of drastically tipping the scales of American politics. Whew! 
  • To lower our cost of living while increasing our quality of life (yeah, everyone says this -- I know).
  • To wake-up every single morning and ask ourselves, what do you want to do today? Do you want to built a snowman . . . whoops, wrong movie.
  • And (this is the big one) to simplify most aspects of day-to-day life, which is why we're packing at least four or five pallets of goods . . . at about 450-plus pounds each! So what's the key to this paradox? As previously stated, I like my things and need (or at least want) said things in order to be comfortable and serene. Not too much, you know - just more than enough. Incidentally, when was the last time anyone described me as serene? 
The good new is that Rusty and I are in almost complete agreement about what to take for the inside of our home. Almost. As for the outside . . . that's the Horse of a Different Color you've heard tell about. If we don't get a garage built within a few months of our move-in, I'll go stark raving mad.

06 February 2015

Define Everything

I nearly burned-down our Texas home this morning. I'm still shaking.
Our day began with temperatures in the low 30s, so it was definitely a fireplace morning. As the fire dwindled into only a few embers, I thought it would be a good idea to just burn most of our got-to-go paperwork. Reuse, reduce, recycle. This was my reduce plan, and it led to removing photos from frames in order to burn the wooden frames. Thrifty me . . . every frame burned meant a dollar saved on firewood. One problem: sometimes I can't tell real wood from a man-made product . . . a product that burns very hot giving off possibly toxic fumes, and really black smoke. Perhaps my thriftiness was misplaced.

05 February 2015

IT. . . COULD . . . WORK!

This blob began as a How We Did It story. How an ordinary U.S. couple, far from wealthy, managed to purchase a nice but modest ocean-view home in Costa Rica. How we came to understand, sort of, the intricacies of purchasing property abroad, made arrangements to sell almost all of our possessions, arranged for a move involving shipping items on a boat, transported ourselves and two pets to Samara, purchased a vehicle, and ultimately applied for residency. Well in that laundry-list of to-dos, presently we're on Step 11 . . . of about 2,301.

04 February 2015

Fasten Your Seatbelts. It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night

Why bumpy? Because our finca is up a rough mountain road (mountain! thus the ocean view). See the topographical map with the little yellow dot that says us? We're at least that close to the sea, in crow-miles, but way up in those mountains.

It is a rollicking, bumpy, teeth-jarring ride merely to descend the dirt road down the mountain. So hang on.

Recently we've seen several photos of Finca los Jalapeños, but there's so much more to our little paradise in Costa Rica. Come, let's be off on our tour of the Samara area and nearby villages around the Nicoya Peninsula. We'll go north toward Nosara, past Playa Garza, Guiones, and then return to the beaches just south of Samara.

03 February 2015

Curtains Up!

No white after Labor Day; no patent leather before Easter; never leave home without your lipstick; and a lady never walks with a cigarette. These are rules by which my girlfriends live. They come from our mothers . . . though in the case of my mother, it is unconscionable that any lady would deign to touch a cigarette, much less walk with one. My friend, Sally, could teach classes in How to Be a Proper Southern Lady. She's the most girly-girl I know. She doesn't do roughing-it, and certainly shuns spiders, scorpions, bats, etc. She has serious concerns about monkeys keeping healthy boundaries when she visits us in Samara. But regardless of monkey-proximity, visit she will . . . though I'm confident that I did see a grimace the first time I acknowledged possible encounters with snakes and scorpions.

02 February 2015

Lo Que Hay - It Is What It Is

It took months (or was it years) before I finally explained the title of my We Can Only Speculate Peace Corps blog. So let’s not tarry with an explanation of this blog's title. Lo que hay . . . let's use it in a sentence. My cat wants to drink from the faucet and will not be dissuaded . . . oh well . . . lo que hay.

Lo que hay, depending on who is translating into English, varies a little. You’ll get: What is, or what there is, or there’s/it’s what there is.  But in Samara, Costa Rica, be ye German, French, Canadian, or Texan, it means It is what it is. Everyone know that lo que hay has that specific meaning. Our favorite beach restaurant/bar is called Lo Que Hay! So in this blog when you see lo que hay, just think it is what it is. Well . . . perhaps, think it with attitude! And its pronunciation? Simply low kay I.