Life in a Shoebox

house in Costa Rica

house in Costa Rica

I was recently watching the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and one particular episode had me laughing so hard as I could so relate to her experiences.  Piper, the main character, had received a 48 hour furlough from prison and when she visited her ex’s house, she sat down on the sofa and said…”ahhh, upholstery”.  Oh, how I can relate. Anytime I go to a friends house that has normal furnishings, I say practically the same thing.

You see…I live in a broken shoebox.  Compared to the homes that I lived in while in California, that statement is totally true.  There’s not a single closet in my entire house, not even a medicine cabinet.  I keep my toiletries on top of my toilet (probably not super sanitary) but there’s no space on the sink for more than my toothbrush and facial soap.  The cold water faucet on the sink doesn’t work and there’s barely any water that comes out of the hot water faucet (in the bathroom or the kitchen).  And the hot water is really just lukewarm.

I have about 1 sq foot of kitchen counter space plus my kitchen table which has become a counter.  I keep most of my food in baskets along with my clothes. The frig only has one shelf and it is broken in half so I can never put anything to heavy on it.  Additionally, there is a constant stream of water condensation on the ceiling of the frig which makes everything inside wet.

In the bedroom, there is a second bed which makes me crazy to have there but the owners of the property have no other place to put it.  I would love that space to be used as a yoga area as it’s the only place that would fit my yoga mat.  But again, there’s a bed in the way along with my boxes of things I’ll never be able to unpack…because I live in a house the size of a shoebox.

The sofa in the living room is extremely uncomfortable as there are no seat cushions and on my bed, I can feel the springs of the mattress below my alternative featherbed.  Doesn’t leave me with a lot of comfortable places to do my work but somehow, I make it work.

There is no dryer and I share the washer with a family of four along with three other adults.  Currently, my clothes and sheets are taking 3 days to dry and even then, they’re still damp.  I finally gave up on sharing with the entire building the 2 megas of internet that are provided with my rent and am now paying for my own private internet connection.  It meant that I also had to buy a monthly phone line but it’s worth it in order for me to do my work and talk with clients without constant interruption.

I take 3 sleeping pills every night as I’ve just never gotten over the two robberies from last year.  I wish I could live in a home that has security but that would increase my rent by a few hundred dollars which I just don’t have.  Of course, I also don’t have the money to replace everything if I’m robbed again so I’m in a bit of a catch 22. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

But somehow, even with all of this, I’ve gotten to a level of acceptance that this is just my life.  I might get robbed again, I will probably never have a sense of security (or closets), the bathroom faucet (that works) may or may not have water coming out of it and I will probably forever live in a shoebox.

Pura vida…Chrissy

Only at Christmas in Costa Rica

Dried Blueberries at Costco

For months now, I’ve been going into my “little Costco” store in the hopes of finding California dates.  Albeit expensive, I use dates as a substitute for sugar in my smoothies and other raw creations.  But I haven’t seen them in months and so finally I asked the owner one day if he knew when we might get more.

He told me…unfortunately, they are seasonal.  I wasn’t sure what he meant as I’m pretty sure Dole distributes the dates year round!  But then he explained further…They’re seasonal meaning Costa Rica only orders them at Christmastime as it’s a special delicacy – just like apples and grapes are generally only eaten during the holiday season.

So I will once again have to practice patience since we’ve got another six months before the holiday season and at that time, I’ll be stocking up on as many bags as I can get (and hoping they freeze well).

On a separate note…I recently saw a small bag of dried blueberries from Kirkland for about $18.  I asked my parents to let me know the cost of the same bag at their Costco and they came back to me with $7.79. Ugh, why is all the good food so flipping expensive!Dried Blueberries in Costa Rica

Pura vida…Chrissy


A note of gratitude

For the next few months, I’ll be working with an intern who will split her time helping me and a local client.  Sam will finish up her studies at Bethel University in Minnesota in December and I’m so in awe of her as she’s actually finishing a semester early and has a double major and triple minor.  Plus, she did a semester in Segovia, Spain!

The Quepos Chamber of Commerce has created a program in which students from Bethel could come live in Quepos and work with local businesses. We set Sam up with a host family in Boca Vieja (one of the barrios in town) and from what she has told me, they are a lovely family.  They provide her with breakfast and dinner and they all watch 3-D movies together in the evenings.  She is also traveling with another student who is a friend so I’m hoping when she’s not working, she’ll have the opportunity to explore Costa Rica with him.

I asked her if the Tico culture is similar to the Spanish culture and she said well, the culture in Spain is laidback but the Ticos take the easygoing lifestyle to a whole other level.  Not that that was a bad thing…just so totally different from what she’s accustomed to in the States.

misc stuff

Prior to her arrival, I had asked her if she could bring a few small things for me…a kitchen sponge, nail polish, a new tank top and a few other little items.  She was happy to do so and when we met for lunch on one of her first days here, she gave me the bag and inside were also a few extra items.  She told me that her and her mom had looked through some of my posts and saw there were certain things that either I couldn’t find here or just couldn’t afford here.  I am so very grateful for her kind thoughtfulness. And this week, I’m enjoying freshly made almond milk and peanut butter and my house smells lovely from the lemon verbena candle (one of my favorite scents!)  Soon, I’ll be making some pancakes to pour the maple syrup over and giving myself a fun fresh pedicure with the nail polish.

Pura vida…Chrissy