On leaving Germany and moving to Costa Rica, and then to Ecuador

Comments, compliments... no complaints, with the exception of mosquitoes, but that's biodiversity for you! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


So now I'm used to everything...I have my routine, and I like it...So far I haven't needed to use and alarm clock...I wake up at 5 or 6 depending on how late I go to bed. I take about an hour and a half to shower, make my bed, make breakfast, iron my clothes, put everything in its place, do my hair (if I don't blow dry it, I look like a lion with a bad hair day in this weather!) and then I slowly start walking to work singing to the music stored in my shuffle Ipod (sometimes nice things happen to nice people...I got my Ipod because I helped two people open an account at a German bank...and it arrived just in time for my move to Costa Rica...kinda like a going away present from Germany - now we're inseparable!).

It's amazing how every day I find something beautiful to enjoy on the way to work. I will try to reduce the size of the pictures I've taken so I can post a few. I take a couple every day. Like I said before, everything here is green and very much alive. But as alive as everything is, luckily, I haven't had any more visitors of the insect persuasion in the last few days...and that's just the way it should be!

I just love this bridge!

I guess I learned to appreciate sunny weather during my time in Germany...Luciana, an Argentinian friend, had remarked we never even considered the weather as a conversation topic when we were in our own countries...we took it for granted...and it was mostly good! While in Germany, we would sometimes just talk on the phone excitedly about how great the weather forecast for the weekend sounded...we should plan something to celebrate! Well, I guess I'll have to celebrate every day here :)

The library (my home away from home)

Apart from my routine, working in an air conditioned office and then going to the library before joining all the students at the cafeteria in order to enjoy the delicious meals these people prepare every day...and then walking up the hill when I'm ready to go home, I've done a few exciting things. I guess exciting because they're new...I imagine at some point they could become routine, like the 3.5 hour train ride from Leipzig to Frankfurt...

The bridge on the way to school

Another part of my everyday life is asking questions to poor Ana. She's my guardian angel. If there's anything I don't understand, if I have a problem, if I need anything, I can always count on Ana. Of course, even though we speak the same language, sometimes we don't understand each other as we should. An example: One day I was telling her that no matter how many times I wiped the kitchen counter, the little ants would always reappear. I told her, this morning I even found seven ants who drowned in my coffee...and her answer was "Que torta!" meaning, I think, "What a bother!"...but I understood "Que tonta!" (what an idiot!) and I thought "but it wasn't my fault...and we're not even that close for her to be calling me names on my second day here...plus Ticos are supposed to be so nice and friendly!" this luckily clarified itself later when she repeated the expression...

On Saturday I went to San Jose for the first time. First, we took a taxi to Alajuela (about 5 USD) and got on the bus...the DIRECTO to San Jose. In total, and until we reached the Multiplaza Mall it took us 1 hour (one taxi and two buses). Of course, I was looking out of the window the whole time, paying attention to every detail. These are the times when I wish I had a video camera, because pictures just don't do justice to some beautiful things. After maybe 40 minutes we reached downtown San Jose, walked for a while and got on the second bus, that took us to Escazu, where the mall is. Bus tickets are amazingly cheap...a little over 50 US cents each way. Once you're inside the mall it's just like you're in the US, or Peru, or Germany...the same stores, but VERY different prices! :) I'm proud to say I did not succumb to temptation...I bought nothing there. Well, except for a day-runner, lunch and ice cream, but that doesn't count...I needed those things. They were on my list! :)

On the way back, Paulina (who had asked me to come with her so I could see how easy it was to get to San Jose) was nice enough to help me find a used books bookstore in Alajuela. So, we walked and walked until we found it. One of the funniest things in Costa Rica is the fact that addresses are not like the ones I'm used to...Nobody lives in Olive Tree Street 425 or Avenue John Smith 1298...addresses are more like: 200 meters north and 400 meters west of where the Old Coca Cola plant used to be. You can see how, if I just arrived here and I have no idea where the Old Coca Cola plant used to be, I can get easily lost in this country...never mind that I speak the language or that people are extremely helpful. In any case, we got there. Amazing! You'd never think it from looking at it from the outside, but this bookstore has around 9000 used books on all kinds of subjects. For a person like me, it's total paradise. So, what I didn't spend at the mall, I spent here. A book I really wanted to buy at the Multiplaza...just a simple paperback cost around 14 USD...I picked four used books here and paid exactly that! I went home with a big smile on my face! Another reason to smile: on the way back, we stopped at a little store on the side of the road and finally bought my hammock (and six pineapples)! The maintenance crew are supposed to be setting everything up as I'm writing this, so, I think I will enjoy an hour on the hammock this evening (with a cup of fresh pineapple - I know, life is tough!).

On Sunday there was a Mini World Cup soccer game at the University and some students were selling grilled steaks, beans and tortillas in order to raise money for their trip at the end of the program. So, as much as I "love" soccer, I joined them just to meet some people. It was a lot of fun! Afterwards I discovered my new hideout: There's a place up on the hill with a very powerful router where the wireless signal is always between "Excellent" and "Very Good"...it's supposed to be a place where people play billiards, ping-pong or watch tv. Absolutely no windows, I mean no glass...it has big openings...so the breeze just blows into the building. Hopefully every weekend it will be just as quiet as it was on Sunday. Everyone went home after the event, and I managed to talk to my family on the Internet phone...for HOURS!!! Forgot to mention, why this is so good: my neighbor's wireless signal is extremely weak ("Very Low" to "No Signal"), so, once I go home, I'm disconnected from the world, as I haven't got a TV set in there either. Friends and family are extremely encouraged to call...my home phone DOES work, you know!

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