We have finally arrived. For over two years we have been anticipating this day. Only a few days ago we could only imagine what it would be like here, and now we know. We left this past Wednesday bound for the airport at 8:25am. We arrived at IAH in Houston with a caravan of vehicles. Our parents had come to see us off. We unloaded our eight bags to be checked, our four carryons, Emma’s dollhouse, and Tyler’s guitar. To be honest I felt like we were bringing quite a bit. We finally made it through security and discovered that our plane had been delayed for over an hour. So we grabbed some breakfast, exchanged some money, and began to wait. We made it on the plane a little after 12:30pm for the three hour flight to Costa Rica. When we arrived, the plane stopped out on the tarmac where a line of buses arrived to transport all the passengers to the terminal. Luckily all our bags made it to the baggage claim and we made it through security and customs with no problems. We were feeling a little stressed after we found all our bags because we were not more than two hours behind the arrival time we had given our Big Brother Couple. When we applied for the language school we were assigned a Big Brother to help us with the move and answer any questions we might have. Our Big Brother’s are the Daniels. They have been great in helping us get to Costa Rica.
As I loaded the last bag onto a cart a sky cap came with a sign with our last name on it. He was a sight for exhausted eyes. The young man lead us through the rest of the airport to the parking garage where we met a man named Ronnie. Ronnie had been sent by the Daniels to pick us up. He told us he know our plan was delayed and had just returned from transporting another family to their new home. Ronnie said that this family had brought fifteen bags with them and 12 carryons. That made us feel a little better, but we did realize that the couple was probably staying for more than four months like us, so we are not judging.We left the airport and picked up the Daniels on our way to our new home for the next four months. When we arrived the Daniels had bought us groceries and a pizza for dinner. The kids were starving and so the food was a great thing to have in the house. Our new house is located in a community called San Francisco de Dos Rios. It is a two bedroom apartment with one bathroom. The kitchen is nice as well as the living room. We have internet and cable television with about 7-9 channels in English. We finished out the evening unpacking a few bags.
The next morning we woke up early to meet the Daniels. They took us on a short tour of the community. We learned where the Sauces Park is located, where the school is, how to get money from the bank, and where a few of the bakeries are located. We returned to the apartment and unpacked some more. After lunch we met another family for another adventure. This time we were going to learn how to go to Hypermas, which is Wal-Mart in Costa Rica. We caught a bus for a total of 1200 Colones (about $2.00) and got off a few blocks from Hypermas. We spent the next couple of hours trying to learn where and what everything is. I mainly watched the children while K shopped. You know to be honest buying groceries and setting up a new apartment is probably the one thing I underestimated the most. We managed to make it through and caught a taxi (about $4.00) back to our home. We spent the rest of the evening equipping the house and unpacking. The showers are equipped with a “widow maker”, which heats water right before it comes out of the shower head. We have had some experience with these “widow makers” and were concerned the kids would not adjust well taking lukewarm at best showers. So while I was at Hypermas, I bought a small swimming pool to sit inside the shower. Our plan was to fill it with the shower head and then boil warm water so the kids could have a bath. To much surprise it is not half bad, or at least the kids did not complain. We finished out the night with a game a farkel and put the kids in bed. One thing we are learning quickly here is that we are going to be going to be early. Everyone seems to go into at dusk and we have been told not to go out past 8pm. So by 9pm we were in bed.
We woke up early on Friday to meet one of our new friends to go to the Ferria, which is a market selling fresh fruits and vegetables. By the time we got ready to go the family met us at our apartment gate and told us the market was closed today. So we made plans to met at the park later that morning. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about being here is the start to each day. For the last two days I have been able to get up and have breakfast with my children and while eating we have had a bible study. We meet our new friends at the park around mid-morning and played a friendly game of soccer. It was a really great time. When we returned back to our apartment, we decided to try to get to Hypermas by ourselves and get a few more groceries.
Right before we left the kids were playing on the front porch and yelled to us that someone was at our gate. We have been instructed to not open the gate for anyone we do not know. Kristi went to the door and the man at the gate asked for her “esposa”. I went to talk to the man and soon realized he was asking for something and I had not idea for what. Our landlady came out about that time and I told her I did not know what the man was saying. They exchanged a few words and the man left angry. A few moments later our landlady came up with her daughter to tell us that the man had threatened us and her. She had called the police. She reminded me to be be careful about who we talk to at the gate, to always lock the gate behind us, and to be especially careful for the next couple of days. She said this was the first time someone had threatened her or her residents.
We left after lunch for Hypermas. We caught the bus and arrived there successfully. Once there K gave me half the grocery list and T and me went to get our half. To be honest it was a great experience for me. It helped me realize how hard it was for K to get groceries and that I am going to have to be patient in the future. T and I spent about an hour and returned with less than 10 items. We met with K and helped finish off the list before waiting another hour in the line to check out. After checking out we successfully caught a taxi and made it back home. On the way home our taxi driver was a little confused about where we lived, but thankfully we were about to point him, literally, in the right direction. We unpacked everything and spent the afternoon relaxing before dinner. After dinner we pulled off another swimming pool bath and squared off in a game of clue and scrabble slam. We were told there is going to be a lot fireworks tonight. Right as the kids got into bed some of our neighbors began shooting off some small fireworks, which was perfect for the kids.
I am not sure I knew what to expect. We are about to finish our second full day. So far there have been moments of missing home. Like for instance today we saw a dog that looked like our weimeriner, Lucy and really thought about home. There have been short moments where I have thought about how long four months is going to be away, but they have only been short moments so far. We are so excited about being here and tonight we get to bring in the New Year in Costa Rica. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are glad we are here!!