Technically, this post isn’t about sunshine, rain or rainbows. I wish it was. It’s more about accepting that there is always equal amounts of light and dark, good and bad. And hopefully, a balance of the two will create something beautiful like a rainbow.
I was hopefully optimistic that I’d never have to write this post. This blog is supposed to be about funny and positive things that happen to me while living on the Rich Coast. But unfortunately, at the 100 day mark, my house was robbed. There were lessons learned, a lot of stupid mistakes on my part and a reality check that bad things can happen anywhere at any time.
I slept through the whole event, thankfully, and it doesn’t seem like they came upstairs to my bedroom. That night I was up late, having had a friend come over for dinner and with a few beers in me and some medicine that always put me to sleep, I didn’t hear them break into the house. When I came down the stairs just before 7 a.m. the next morning, the first thing I saw was my back door, wide open. Now, I know I had a few beers but I was only slightly buzzed when I locked up for the night. And I’d never leave the door open. Then I noticed my backpack was gone and my laptop bag and throughout the day, I’d figure out other things were missing as well. My box of business cards was gone, my iced tea pitcher filled with tamarindo juice that was in my frig was gone, all of my camera chargers were gone that were in the electrical strip. Inside the backpack was my wallet, passport, driver’s license, $200 cash, my debit cards for both my US bank and my Costa Rica bank, my new iPod, and the 2nd worse thing next to my passport…my good Sony camera. My waterproof Sony was in the safe, thankfully, but its charger was in the strip.
Devastated and scared do not begin to describe how I felt those first few days. I’ve befriended a taxi driver here and after calling my boss who helped me figure out what my next steps would be, I called the taxi driver who took me to the police station. He knew I didn’t have any money or any way to get any money since the bank wasn’t open but he told me not to worry about it. He also said that often times, thieves try to sell things they’ve stolen on the streets in town so he’d be on the lookout for any of the items that were stolen.
I called the US Embassy in San Jose and made an appointment for the following week to get a new passport. I learned you can have your picture taken there so that was one less thing to have to do. I called Nature Air to confirm that they’d let me on the plane with just a copy of my passport and the police report. I also began researching how to get a Costa Rica driver’s license since the only way to get a duplicate copy of my license is to go to the DMV in California.
The next day, I went to the bank. And of course, there were more complications (did you expect anything less from the bank?). I needed to get a new debit card but the girl wanted my real passport even though I told her it was stolen and showed her the police report. So she had to get approval from her boss. And she could see in her computer that I had called and reported the card stolen! Then I wanted to withdraw money but you can’t withdraw money without your real passport so again, I had to talk with her supervisor. It’s so strange – it’s a small bank branch and all these people know who I am and my passport copy has my photo ID on it but still they insist that I must have the real thing. The supervisor gave me the cash though and from there I asked him the dreaded question…”Since my passport number is associated with my bank account number, what happens now that my passport is invalid?” I already knew the answer – I’d have to get a new bank account and a new “key” for online access. But he said I might not have to pay for the key since I have the police report. And since my clients pay me via my bank account, I’d also have to advise them all of the change.
But then, a little miracle happened. A few days later, my housekeeper was taking out the trash when she noticed my wallet in the dirt next to a palm tree. She brought it to me and while it wasn’t my camera or $200 cash, my license and passport were inside and that was such a relief. My bank account could remain as is, I just needed to get a new debit card. I’ll probably still try to get a Costa Rican driver’s license, but thankfully it’s not such an urgent issue now.
It was an exhausting few days. I’m so grateful for everyone who helped me. And I know, I know…the fact that both me and my cat are safe is what’s most important but being on such a limited income and having lost about $2,000 in items, of which much needs to be replaced, it really makes me nauseous. I actually didn’t eat for the first two days. I had no appetite, thinking about how much trouble this was causing me. Pero, asi es la vida (but, such is life).