Ask the universe and you shall receive

yellow lemons in Costa RicaSometimes, magic happens here on the Rich Coast.  You just have to put your request out into the universe and practice patience (not a strength of mine however).  But the other day, my property owner asked me if I liked “lemons”.  Remember, there is no difference between the words lemon and lime for Costa Ricans.  It’s all the same – it means little green limes.  I said, sure, I like them.  So she brought me a bag of small, very yellow, lemons.  I assumed these yellow lemons were the ones that were either green or orange inside (the wannabe lemons) but I was grateful as lately, all the green limes I’ve been getting at the store never ripen and have no juice inside.

But then I cut into the little yellow “limon” and it was pure yellow inside.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I had been working about 15 hours a day at the time and the thought did enter my mind that I might be hallucinating.  I asked Grettel where she got the lemons and she said there’s a tree up on the mountain above the property.  Wow, a wild yellow lemon tree.  Based on the size, I’m thinking these might be meyers.

yellow lemons in Costa Rica 2Can you believe it??  Meyer lemons in Costa Rica! The house where I chose to live has an actual yellow lemon tree on the property!  Unbelievable!

Then another day, Grettel showed me the upstairs unit and I saw, for the first time in 18 months, a normal, full size frig.  The apartment was vacant at the time and I asked Grettel if we could exchange it for the little frig that I have in my house.  She said that was a possibility and so I’m still hoping that will come to fruition at some point soon!  The weird thing is, the day before, I said (to myself), I wish I had a normal frig.  That was because my frig was packed full, so much so that I could barely get the door closed. I even started storing beers in the freezer (they don’t explode because the freezer just doesn’t get cold enough).

I also recently just found real sourdough bread.  Mmmmmm, it smells and tastes just like the bread San Francisco is famous for!

sourdough bread in Costa RicaBut I did recently get some unfortunate news.  The supermarket that I always go to, that has the best quality and variety of products that I like (really the only one that has the quality and variety of products I need), closed.  I saw the owner’s daughter a few days before it closed and she told me they had sold the building.  However, once the dust settles and she takes a little break, she was considering opening a small shop that has items that are hard to get here since she already has all the contacts.  Like coconut oil.  And chia seeds.  We exchanged contact info and she told me she’d be in touch.

I stocked up on as much as I possibly could before the store closed but at some point, I’m going to run out of my “normal” food and I don’t know what I’ll do at that point.  I just have to hope that the universe has a plan…

Pura vida…Chrissy

Meet Chloe…

Dogs at Hacienda del Sol in Costa RicaShe’s a lot bigger now (A LOT!) but this little puppy and her sister, Lola (just as cute!), will forever be in the hearts of those who meet them at Hacienda del Sol Wellness Center.  While these little ones will steal your heart…fortunately, they’ve outgrown stealing your shoes!  They never ate the shoes…only ran off with them and hid them.

They still both incessantly lick your face however.

I think it’s so much fun to visit businesses where there are animals.  It’s like there’s a bit more love, peace and playfulness in the air when they’re around.  I thoroughly enjoy the many cats at Lola’s, these dogs and the cat at Hacienda del Sol and the Dalmatian named Whiskey at the local liquor store (my new favorite store, by the way!).  And yes, that wall is made of corks!

dalmation in quepos

I can imagine some of my readers (and I know exactly who actually) shaking their heads and thinking, no no no…no animals should be in businesses!  But I love them and think every business should have a domestic pet (adopted, not bought)!  I miss my little Harmony and the unconditional joy he brought into my life.  But I’m still not ready to adopt another pet.  There isn’t the space in my apartment nor do I have the money to adopt and take care of another living being at the moment but someday…there will be life again in my home.  Until then, I’ll enjoy the many mascotas that exist in the Costa Rican businesses that I love to frequent.

Pura vida…Chrissy

My New Roommate: A Baby Gecko

Costa Rica baby gecko
Mid-September

There is a baby gecko living in my bathroom.  He’s been there now for a few weeks and doesn’t seem to be growing (although I don’t actually know the time frame for gecko growth) nor does he seem to have the desire to move out into the wild.  I can’t imagine what he’s eating.  Except for the gigantic cockroaches that I also find in my bathroom (and again, can’t explain why they like it there), there’s nothing to eat.  Which brings me to my two fears for this tiny gecko – one: that I will end up stepping on it or two: one of the gigantic cockroaches, which are about 5x larger than this little guy, will eat it.

Costa Rica Gecko
Just this week

But I also don’t want to put it out into the wild as I’m afraid it will be eaten by the many predators that exist outside!  It’s just so small and he has a stub of a tail so I wonder if he’s already encountered one of the roaches (or perhaps it just takes time to grow)!  So for now, I’m just being extra cautious where I step and hoping the cucarachas don’t find my new little friend!

As a side note, I also recently had a butterfly find its way into my home.  I quickly caught it and took it outside, placing it on my mint plant where I think it was much happier.

butterfly in my housePura vida…Chrissy

The Lack of Fruits, Veggies and Big Box Stores in Costa Rica

There are 3 local “supermarkets” (really, pulperias) within about 50 feet of each other and about a 3 minute walk from my house.  They only have the basics.  The very basics.  Not even what I like to call basics+ (like maybe a jar of olives or a bottle of tahini).  They rarely have fruits or veggies.  When I say rarely, I really mean never. They don’t sell alcohol.  I’m guessing the liquor license is too expensive.

But that’s okay…because just walking another 15 feet or so and I’ll hit the liquor store.  They only sell alcohol and a few things like chips and small snack packs.  I’ve even been told they deliver!  Perfect  with the rainy season that we’re in the middle of currently. (yes, it has started to rain more)

Quepos reminds me a little of a small European town.  There’s the panaderia (bread shop) that I’m told is open 24 hours/day, the carniceria (meat shop), the flower shop, a few pharmacies and a hardware store on every corner.  Okay, I don’t remember there being that many hardware stores in Europe but there’s literally one on every corner here.  Hardware stores here are like wine shops in Italy. There’s also a lot more tiny supermarkets dispersed around the town.

And while I love supporting the local people, I just wish they could open one big store that would have everything I need.  There are days when I think…if only there was a Target or a Costco here in Costa Rica.  Well, specifically in Manuel Antonio.  I know there is a Walmart and PriceMart (a membership store like Costco) in San Jose but that doesn’t do me any good here.  The MaxiPali just outside of Quepos proper is technically a Walmart but it still has very little in the store that is of value to me.

It’s kind of like I went from 100 options to 1.  And while it’s nice to have simpler choices in my life, it’s also very limiting.  And often times, I go from 100 options to none.

Here’s an example: I was trying to find a new drying rack (because the one I bought last year at Do-It-Center in Liberia broke, what a surprise) but they don’t exist here.  To further prove that, my housekeeper was in awe of it when she saw it – it was like a totally new invention to her.  I have superglued it together for the time being but eventually it will break again.  Life would just be so much simpler with a big box store.  Never did I think I’d say that.  But there isn’t one here so I am now keeping a list of where I can buy certain products.

i.e. garbanzo beans at Super Iguana, rice paper and tahini at Super Mas, Toña at Super Joseth

I can’t find powdered sugar anywhere. Nor could I find chia…until one special day at Super Mas.  I found 4 bags!  And knowing that things like this are not often found here, I decided to get two, trying my best not to be greedy and just take all four.  However when I went to check out, the girl told me they weren’t in the system so I couldn’t buy them.  Now, normally in a situation like that, they’ll just say: Ah, it’s probably $5, how does that sound?  But not today.  I so desperately wanted this chia so I asked to speak with the manager.  There had to be a price!  It was on the shelf after all!

So one of the clerks took me upstairs to meet with the owner.  It’s a family owned store and I met with the owner’s daughter.  She explained to me that the chia was for her family and wasn’t supposed to be put on the shelf, hence why there wasn’t a price on the tag.  But she wanted to do something nice so she offered to sell me one.  And I told her that if she could get her supplier to bring more, I’d buy lots more.  And probably a few other people I know in the area would be interested as well!

It’s so difficult to find health food here.  I’m not kidding when I say that the three markets closest to me NEVER have fruits or veggies!  The closest Automercado is about an hour away, north of Jaco. So I’m SOL with trying to get there!  The local feria (Farmer’s Market) on Friday nights and Saturday mornings has some items but still not really what I’m looking for.

Yes, I know, I’ve been here almost a year and a half and I’m still complaining about the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in Costa Rica.  But I’m just not prepared to have a diet that is solely made up of high carbohydrate, low nutrient dense meals.  I need greens! I need color in my diet.  I’m putting this out to the universe and hoping by some miracle that I will find kale again…one day soon.  And more chia!

Pura vida…Chrissy