My first week in Costa Rica has come to a close. I had a blast taking pictures and getting to know my new camera I purchased for my birthday- a Panasonic Lumix. I rested four days, with a sprinkling of house organizing and cleaning. Walked the property with Leo, seeing all the baby fruit trees, coffee plants, vegetables and chickens. Hiked down by the creek and waterfall. Laid in the hammocks. Days 5 & 6 were stressful. We bought a car, returned the rental and shipped to stock the kitchen. Day 7 I’m resting all day. Reading and resting.
Let me begin by explaining. We are renting a house from a Costa Rican who is currently living in the U.S. with his family. Rafael found us on a FB page and told us about his finca (property). He has been a big help, every step of the way. He spent his childhood in this area, graduating high school in Paraiso de Cartago. He knows a lot of people here. Leo is the caretaker of the finca. He lives in the house near the entrance gate. In addition to Leo’s house, there are two rental homes and a tiny house on the property.
Everything here is SO DIFFERENT.
We completed a big task this week: buying a car. Everything here is so different. Rafael spent time – from the U.S.- translating between the lawyer, the seller and our Helper for the day. Our Helper was Nelson. He is a smiley, down-to-earth man who works on the finca from time to time. His job for the day was to assess the sale from beginning to end to be certain we were not being taken advantage of. Even though he spoke no English, he was our liaison between Micah and the seller, mechanic and lawyer. He was our Advocate. Nelson accompanied us to the 7:00 am appointment with the mechanic to look over the car. After a thorough inspection and emissions test (and MUCH back and forth translating between Nelson, the seller, Rafael and Micah), we made an appointment with the lawyer for 1:00 that afternoon. After drafting the sale contract, the lawyer printed a copy translated by Google Translate! Hilarious. It was such a mess. But the funny part was trying to understand why the sale price was half. We finally understood that the purpose of that was to lower our taxes. Nelson agreed that it was customary to do this, so we proceeded. When in Rome… We headed to the bank because I thought the seller wanted the money deposited into his bank account directly- but that was not the case. I stood there, trying so hard to communicate with the teller. By this time, my brain had Language Fatigue. I could barely think in English, let alone Spanish. I was extremely frustrated that the bank wanted proof- justification for why I had that much cash on me. It was less than $10k, so I didn’t know why they required that. Another lesson learned. The banks will only exchange up to $2k at a time. I lost my patience, blurted out, ‘no es verdad!” (that’s not true!) and stomped out of the bank. I plunked myself onto the curb, buried my head in my arms and had a good cry. I clearly was overloaded and had greatly embarrassed myself. The seller ended up taking the cash in dollars, saying he would deposit it himself the next day. I warned him to see a ‘mujer differente’ (different lady). I do hope he had no problems depositing his money. WHEW! For those of you wondering, we ended up purchasing a green 2002 Toyota Rav 4. It was a good deal for the year and mileage. It’s no luxury car, but it’ll do the job! I feel so grateful and much-cared for by my loving Father.
I have nearly organized the house and am mostly settled in. Here are the photos and videos I took this week. Enjoy!