Walking and Talking

There’s a whole host of milestones that parents go through. When children are young — such as newborns and infants — you sometimes have to look for the little things that mark growth and progress. (This is something, incidentally, that adults should sometimes do, too. We often get caught up in things that are too big and miss the small wins.)

Alex has a calendar full of these things, marking when Mi Niñita started eating solid foods, slept through the night, laughed, recognised herself in the mirror, and so forth. There’s lots of these. All of them contribute to the overall growth, but there are a couple that stand out as significant: Walking and talking.

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Finally got my box!

Way back in June — the 13th, to be specific (I guess that should have been a first sign, eh?) — I packed up a whack of things on my desk to bring down to Costa Rica. TeamMG (Mary and Morgan) arranged for this to be shipped down here by FedEx, a company I had used many, many times to get things from Point A to Point B quickly.

Problem: When a company doesn’t have a complete representation in Point B, you’re not going to get your box as fast as you thought.

Today is 24 July. I only got the box today.

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RIP: Sean Lineham

Today, I arrived back in Costa Rica with my family in tow. Little did I know that my “other” family — my friends and colleagues back in Calgary, were facing quite the tragedy. I found out no sooner than I turned on my computer to send a quick note to my partners here in Costa Rica (remember, I have no phone with which to call them), and I got an IM request from Dave. All he said was: “Call me. Urgent.”

It would appear that my friend, colleague, and fellow watch geek (though I could never ascribe to the level he attained) Sean Lineham passed away last night.

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In Hazy Burlington

Our last day in Calgary — yesterday — was filled mostly by me repacking all of our bags so we could fly out, and then the actual travel here to Burlington, Ontario. We’re here to visit with family (today is Alex’s family reunion) before we leave for Costa Rica.

Or face the long-distance wrath of scorned relations…

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All packed up with somewhere to go

Well, so much for an easy day. I suppose I was asking for that, eh?

We left the hotel a little later than planned, and the movers (three guys in their 20s) and the two cleaners were already at our front door engaged in deep chat when we got to the house. After a few quick introductions (I have since forgotten all of their names) we proceeded to all lay siege to the house.

The movers moved. The cleaners cleaned. The owners … um … well, mostly ran around stupidly trying to finish things without getting in everyone’s way.

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A Moving Birthday

When we started planning this crazy little excursion to Costa Rica oh-so-many months ago, there was always the need for me to leave in advance of my family, and then come back to get them. The logistics of making everything happen were basically impossible to handle any other way. That month away wasn’t easy, which you already know. Issues of living in Costa Rica aside, the reality of being that far from my family was far more harsh than I had ever imagined.

Needless to say, when I arrived last night, I was overjoyed to see that Mi Pequeña Niña (I think I’m going to use “MI Niñita” from now on, by the way — that seems to be the prefered version of “little girl”) recognised me. You have no idea how good that felt.

Today was packing day. And also my 36th birthday.

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Buying a car in Costa Rica

We tried to survive without cars. Really. We took taxis everywhere, and suffered due to the language barrier and an unfamiliar taxi system. (We’ve been unable to get taxis when we need them — baffling, when you see them driving around — and gouged when meters have been turned on.) We could try the bus system, but so far we’ve been utterly unable to understand them. We don’t know what the routes or schedules are.

So we went to renting a car — an infinitely better improvement, as we can go where we need to go when we want to. And if we feel the urge to take a detour to explore a bit, it’s not a problem. But rental cars aren’t cheap — it costs a few hundred dollars a week.

The natural conclusion, and something we’d planned all along, is to buy a car. But it’s harder than it sounds.

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One week to go

I’ve been in Costa Rica for over three weeks now. Three weeks away from Alex and Mi Pequeña Niña. Each day has been a challenge being so far away from them. The longest I’d ever been away before was six days. Six short days. That was hard — I missed them both a lot, and that was just after spending over two weeks with them every waking moment.

My well, you could say, has run dry. I have nothing left in my reserves. I want to go home now. I want to be with them both right now. If I could just get on a plane and go there this afternoon, I would.

But I have to wait another week.

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Cost of living in Costa Rica

I’ve had a few people tell me about how great it is to be living in Costa Rica, and how much cheaper it is to live here. Some people know from a little bit of experience, but others are making the assumption — it’s not Calgary, it’s not Canada, so it must be cheaper.

Funny thing about foreign countries: if you live in the right places, if you know how to blend in, you’ll do well. But if you’re a gringo, you aren’t going to get the free ride that you want.

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Where you should go on your next vacation

Punta Caracol

So you’ve been around a bit. You’ve been to Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Hawaii. You’ve seen a lot, but are finding the same problem again and again and again — everyone else has already been there. They’ve done it, so every time you want to go somewhere, your friends are blasé about the whole thing.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. There’s a small country near the equator that an exceedingly small number of people go to for tourism. Business, yes. One city as part of a cruise, maybe. But visit? Hardly.

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