Happy 2nd birthday, Monkey

Today, you turned 2, Monkey. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been two years, and yet those two years seem to have disappeared in a blink. You’ve spent just over half of your life (to date) here in Costa Rica, and I wonder if you even remember Canada. One day, I suppose, we’ll be wondering if you remember Costa Rica.
Your day started off with all of us getting up early … well, early for a weekend, anyway. We had to make breakfast, cut up fruit, make hibiscus tea, make salsas, and decorate the louge area up by the pool for your birthday party!  I wonder if you’ll remember this, too?
Well, even if you don’t, we took lots of pictures and movies.
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Thanksgiving in Costa Rica

It was always a foregone conclusion that we’d end up spending various holidays and celebrations doing things differently here. The ubiquitous summer long weekends (every month except June) are one thing, but when it comes down to the core family staples such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had no idea what would ultimately happen.
Thanksgiving — for Canadians, anyway — comes on the second Monday of October. Officially, that’s today, but many Canadians tend to have the feast on the Sunday owing to a need to travel. And since Thanksgiving isn’t observed in Costa Rica (in fact, it’s barely known outside the expat community), it’s not even a blip on the radar.
Which begs, of course, the question: How does one get their turkey fix?
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Finding a Costa Rican Casa, Day 2

I knew today was going to be awkward when I woke up. Based on the conversation I’d had with Alex last night, none of the houses we’d seen on Day 1 were at all suitable. Either way too large, in not-so-nice areas (e.g. you’d feel like you couldn’t go anywhere), or had stairs (which we’re trying to avoid with our almost-walking infant).
When Luz Elena and Lina Maria arrived this morning, I took their carefully crafted plan, opened the window, and tossed it out. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)
It was time to get a little more serious.
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Finding a Costa Rican Casa, Day 1

It’s been a really long day. Didn’t sleep great last night (long travels tend to do that to me if I’m not traversing a dozen or so timezones, in which case passing out is a snap). Got up early thanks to the engine retarders on passing trucks (there is no bylaw against them here, and truckers seem to use them to slow down, say “hello”, accelerate, turn right or left, order coffee, etc.) and a bit of excitement.
Did a couple of Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone before and after breakfast, when we met with our Crown Relocations team. One for each of Mark and Jason, but I scored a mother/daughter team (Luz Elena and Lina Maria) to help me find a house for my family.
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Back in Costa Rica

Years ago, I used to think business travel was glamourous. You got to go to far-flung places, see different things, and engage in activities you just don’t do at home. Then I started going on business trips. I learned fast that the enjoyment is only so deep.
Worst experience was [[Live from Cincinnati|Cincinnati in 2000]]. Second, and only because I was utterly exhausted by the end (the trip itself was very helpful) was [[Je suis en Paris!|Paris in 2006]]. (As I learned, when you travel to Europe, you end up with 18-20 hour days, because you’re trying to stay sync’d with the home office.)
But today hasn’t exactly been a slice, either. And just because I’m currently in Costa Rica doesn’t mean I’m sitting on a beach.
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