Sunday, December 26, 2004

Countdown to the New Year

Yesterday was Christmas. It was a beautiful day in Monteverde. The puppy (his name is now Squirt) didn’t wake us up through the night so we actually slept for the first time since we got him on December 3rd. Ryan woke up at 7:30 declaring it Christmas day so we got out of bed to see if Santa had come during the night. Although we didn’t have a Christmas tree this year (we don’t have a chimney either) he still managed to find us. Ryan got some toys and mints (her favorite) and a tree swing. The swing is so much fun!

We opened gifts and had a relaxing morning. Then Ran pushed Ryan on her swing while I made breakfast. I had a hankering for breakfast tacos (I’ve never even seen flour tortillas— lots of corn, though). I’ve discovered in the short time we’ve lived here that you either live without the things you miss or you figure out a way to make them (or have someone ship ‘em--- thanks girls!). So I made my first ever flour tortillas and we had bacon, egg and cheese tacos. They were great!

After a leisurely morning, Ran left for the Pension. Ryan and I stayed at home to relax and clean up. I spent the afternoon making rice krispie treats, deviled eggs and chocolate cakes (from scratch… I have become a crazy dessert lady). After Ryan’s nap we got dolled up and headed to the Pension with our food and gifts for the Christmas party. It was a huge success! Ran grilled a bunch of meat (with his fantastic secret dry rub) which was the hit of the night. Everyone pitched in with food (mashed potatoes, salad, pasta salad, veggie lasagna…) or money or dishwashing help. All of the employees as well as many friends and guests were there. We had a Secret Santa gift exchange and it was such a fun night. The surprise of the evening was that Daniel’s family (dad, mom, brother, sister-in-law and two nieces) came from Cartago without telling anyone they were coming! They brought gifts and tamales and desserts and were so nice. I wish we spoke more Spanish since they don’t speak any English.

Ran went to work early today. Now he’s doing a canopy tour with Daniel and his brother and sister-in-law, then he’ll go back to work. Ryan is walking around in my shoes and a feather boa and singing to herself. Tonight we’re going to the Pension for dinner (Ran’s grilling the rest of the meat) and a fire show. Ro is a guy who works at the Pension. He spins fire poi balls and two guests at the hotel happen to as well. It should be an interesting night!

Here the supermarket closes at 8. There’s just one gas station. I can’t get a cheesesteak or Chinese food or a real hamburger. But it’s beautiful here and we’re spend a lot of time walking and playing outside. I’m learning to make my own tortillas and the other day I made a sandwich that would give any deli a run for its money. And there are so many great people in this town. We have always believed that it takes a village to raise a child. We had it in Austin and somehow we lucked out again. I can’t wait for you to come experience the tuanis (cool) lifestyle in Monteverde!

Pura Vida

Friday, December 17, 2004

Eight Days 'Til Christmas...

... and we're not ready for it! Our house looks a bit more festive, though. Lorena bought us the last strand of garlands in town as well as some Christmas dish towels and an oven mitt. I hung up our stockings and bought a lighted ball ornament at the supermarket. The supermarket is pretty big and you can buy everything there… shoes, underwear, dishes, clocks. The interesting thing is that there’s not a single roll of wrapping paper! All paper is sold in individual sheets. Or you can buy gift bags. Not that it really matters… we haven’t done any shopping yet anyway. Ran did mention that he wants a basketball so hope I can find one at our local department store, Vistosi.

We’re going to try to make it to Cartago for Christmas Eve with Daniel’s family. Then we will be back for Christmas at the Pension with our group of friends. We’re going to have a Secret Santa gift exchange and a nice big dinner. Tamales are the traditional Costa Rican Christmas dish. I hope to have some of those as well as a nice, fat turkey. We’re going to miss your green bean casserole this year, Ryder.

The weeks keep flying by. Ryan had fun at the farm on Wednesday. She played with the bunnies and was so happy to see Cotton Candy Ho again. Then she and Tara rode the ponies and played. When we got home she took a nice, long nap, then we met Ran, Bodi, Shannon, Daniel, and Samantha for dinner at my favorite restaurant, Sofia’s.

We were without a phone the other day. I was talking to Shannon and the line went dead… Clara bit right through the phone cord! And I thought we’d have to worry about the new puppy chewing on things. The puppy is no longer called Brownie Kacrownie. His name changed to Dragon for a couple of days, then Sugar Bear, and now Copper. I think we’re sticking with Copper. (Although “Whiner” would fit him quite well also.) It's hectic having four pets. Maile is the same trouble-making sweetheart she has always been. Moki is his demanding and loveable old self. Copper is loud, loud, loud and frisky! And then there's Clara. Sticking with the theme of mischevious pets, she breaks out of her cage every day. She chews and scratches at the door until the latch loosens, then she pushes it open and runs around the house. This morning she jumped right into bed with me at 5:30 this morning (Ran was already at work). It kind of freaked me out since I didn’t know she could jump that high. But she snuggled right under my arm and started licking me. When I moved my arm, she put her head on my pillow and started licking my face. Before we got Clara I had no idea that rabbits can be such sweet pets with so much personality. I'm trying to get all four pets together (with Ryan) for a Christmas photo but I haven't been able to work that miracle yet.

Yesterday was our last day at CPI. School won’t resume until February so we had a little party in our classroom and invited the two other classes and Samantha (the director… she also works at the Pension two days/week). We played hangman and ate snacks. Then we talked about our holiday plans. It was a fun night.

Ryan and I are going to art class on Saturday and a Christmas program at the Friend's School on Sunday. Ran will be working all weekend and Shannon is in Nicaragua for three days. Then next week Bodi, Ryan and I will head to San Jose to do some shopping. I'll probably be able to post a blog before Christmas but in case I don't... hope it's wonderful! Miss you all!

pura vida

Monday, December 13, 2004

Life goes on...

We’re still a four-pet family. Unfortunately Clara never accepted Cotton Candy Ho so we had to return her. She has been welcomed back to her bunny family at the farm where we bought her and all is well. But now we have a new pet… a little brown puppy that Ryan has named Brownie Kacrownie. I am reading to Ryan as I type this and her words were, “And I love him so much it makes me want to have another dog.” Ran, being the sucker that he is, took Brownie Kacrownie in because a man was going to throw him away—literally! So while Ryan and I were at the grocery store, Ran was being persuaded by someone at the Pension to save the puppy. Brownie is 7 weeks old and he’s pretty sweet. Maile and Moki aren’t so sure about him but he and Clara seem to get along just fine.

Yesterday was our day to see wildlife! Ran saw a toucan in the morning and we all saw a bunch of capuchin monkeys in the afternoon. Then we saw two female quetzals. All of this took place in our back yard! The monkeys are so cute until they bear their teeth… then they look pretty darn intimidating.

The hotel continues to be full every day. Ryan really enjoys hanging out with the guests. Shannon took a trip to San Jose and bought some Christmas decorations so the Pension looks nice and festive. We don’t have any decorations at home, though. We brought our stockings with us so I’m going to hang them today. I can’t believe that Christmas is two weeks away! I hope to take a trip to San Jose next week to do a bit of shopping.

We’ve had a guest for the past few days. Lorena just got back from a month-long vacation visiting her family in the U.S. and she and her live-in boyfriend broke up. So she’s staying with us until she moves into a new apartment. Ryan loves having a house guest, of course.

We had a pretty full weekend. Lorena got here on Friday afternoon so we got her settled, then went to dinner at Flor de Vida, a vegetarian restaurant in walking distance from our house. (They have the best tomato gorgonzola soup.) On Saturday Ran went on a three-hour horseback ride. He had a great time and came home with a sore bottom. Ryan, Lorena and I went to art class. Ryan made a Christmas card and an ornament. Then we stopped at Lazy Frog--- a coffee shop and gallery. Ryan played with a bunch of the kids that were at art class and I bought her a cool sweater. I magically found one bottle of Tostito’s queso at the little grocery store near our house so we added tomatoes and peppers to it and indulged in cheese and chips! Then Ran came home with some pizza for dinner. On Sunday Ran went to work for a while and us gals went to an open house at Bromelia’s. It’s a gallery that has jewelry, clothing, books, music, aromatherapy--- all kinds of cool stuff. They also do massage therapy and yoga there. I bought some lip balm and eucalyptus oil. Ryan played with one of the owner’s sons—a little cutie named Kyle who is 5 days younger than Ryan. They are so alike that we (the parents) were laughing that the kids had met their match. We came home and Ryan took a nap, then we went to a birthday party at Moon Shiva, a restaurant/bar. There was a bonfire outside and a DJ inside and tons of people everywhere. Ryan, being the true party girl, ate cake and danced all night. She slept in until almost 10 today which was very nice!

It’s another beautiful day in Monteverde. Ran and Lorena are at work. Ryan and I had a Cheerios for breakfast and we’ll probably clean the house and go for a walk. I’ve got to go into the village (Santa Elena) today to get some craft things so we can make some Christmas decorations. On Wednesday Ryan and I are going to visit Sabine and Tara. We’re going on a horseback ride, then we’ll play with the bunnies (they now have 40), and Ryan really wants to milk the goat.
It’s the last week of classes at CPI before winter break. We might go to visit Daniel’s family in Cartago for Christmas. It’ll have to be a quick turnaround trip since the hotel is always open. Daniel has been taking English classes at CPI and he is doing so well! Last night at the party Ran gave a toast to Shannon and Daniel because they are getting married in January! Of course Ran cried as he called Daniel his brother and friend. And Daniel went to hug him and said (in English), “My friend, my brother, my life.” It was so touching and even kind of funny because you’d think Ran and Daniel were getting married the way they were hugging! So life keeps goes on in Monteverde. This is an awesome community and we are so blessed to be a part of it. Can’t wait ‘til you get here!

Pura vida