I am now a Costa Rican expat. To begin the departure for my expat trip in Costa Rica, Lori and I bounced out of bed at 2:25 a.m., and we quickly got ready and headed to the airport. The ride passed quickly to Memphis as we chatted and solved a few of the world’s minor problems. I cannot thank Lori enough for making this sacrifice of sleep for me. I arrived at the airport in time for a Skinny Chocolate Latte before boarding. On the first flight, my seatmates were great companions. The guy on the right side was a lawyer from Memphis who attended Ole Miss Law School, and he was going to San Jose to meet his father and his friends for a blue marlin fishing trip. They were to meet and board a boat at 5:00 for a weekend trip that would begin 120 miles from shore. The young lady on my left was beginning her senior trip with ten other young ladies, and they were headed to the Bahamas. She will enter UT Chatt in the fall. She wants to be a nurse and work with veterans because her father and step-father were both veterans of the Vietnam War.
As soon as everyone was seated, the pilot announced that there was a problem with the hydraulics, so we sat on the plane for an hour and forty-five minutes. While we were waiting, the airline played some really good music. One song took me back in time to May of 2013, and I wanted to hear a British voice.
Everyone on the plane was connecting in Atlanta. Panic started to arise. No one made his or her connection. While we were in the air, Delta re-booked all of us on connecting flights. When we arrived, we were all checking our cells to see what time we would get to leave. I was scheduled to leave the next day. I went to a Delta phone, and the lady re-scheduled me to fly American Airlines to Miami and then Liberia, Costa Rica. I would arrive in Liberia at 7:00. I notified the condo and my driver, and then went in to a full blown panic about the bag I had checked in at the Memphis airport with Delta. I talked to three Delta agents and one American Airline agent and walked many miles in the Atlanta airport. They rerouted my bag and hoped it would be there. In my carry-on bag, I always take an extra set of clothes just in case my luggage does not arrive. I had gym shorts, undies and my computer and my make-up, but no toothbrush! I will re-think the contents of my carry-on bag for the next trip.
My lawyer friend was not quite so lucky. The boat would not wait on him to arrive in San Jose at 8:00, so he was trying to fly to Honduras and then to San Jose. I hope it worked out for him. He reminded me that I did have a month and that he had only four days, and he really wanted to go fishing. My other companion was on a 4:00 flight; she was happy.
While I was waiting for my Miami flight, I was paged to the counter. Why do we always gravitate toward the negative thoughts? As I was walking toward the counter, all I could think was that I was going to be bumped because of my late booking. Oh no! I was being bumped to first class because the guy with the knee brace needed the exit seat for more leg room. I have not flown first class since Daddy stopped buying my plane tickets. It was wonderful! A big seat that will move in many different directions, better snacks, free drinks, a mint, and the best part was great conversation with Dr. Mark who was a fascinating man. We discussed higher education, religion and the city of Miami. You can learn a lot in a short flight. He was a very nice man.
On the Miami flight to Liberia, there were only thirty-five people. It was heaven! Everyone had three seats. I met a darling couple who was on one of their honeymoons. He lists properties with airbnb. After arriving in Liberia, it took twenty minutes to exit the plane, find your luggage and go through customs. I was by this point very tired and excited that it was a fast transition. My driver was waiting with a sign with my name on it. I forgot to a picture of the sign. He was a nice guy who spoke very little English, but he was a very safe driver.
After I arrived at the condo, I was met by a nice young man and shown to my condo, and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. I walked down to the Monkey Bar for a burrito and a long awaited cold beer.
When I was awakened this morning at 6:15 by the sound of the birds, I jumped up and ran to the balcony. I could not see last night what my view would be. I knew what it looked like on airbnb, but I had no idea what it would look like in person. I was a very happy camper as I sat on the balcony and drank my tea. You know I am a coffee girl, but I found one small packet of tea in a drawer.
After a shower, my focus was finding groceries and breakfast. I heard two men speaking English, and I stopped them and asked them about breakfast and a grocery store. They told me to go to Marie’s and eat and the grocery store would be at the entrance of this street.
I saw something that said Automart- I thought that it was an automobile place, but it is a small store. I walked on to Marie’s and had breakfast. While at Marie’s, I met four new friends: Ron, Bill, Claudia and the owner Marie. They are all residents of this country. Bill is considering moving to Charleston, so we are going to trade information. Claudia is a beautiful German girl who runs a bicycle and a tourist shop. Maria is an English girl who has been in CR for many years, and she is a beautiful lady with a kind spirit. Ron is a fun loving guy who plans to visit England and Africa in August. He has also been here several years. I am going to try to start learning the Spanish language. Breakfast at Marie’s was amazing.
Ron offered to take me to a big grocery store and show me Flamingo Beach. On the driving tour he also showed me a local restaurant, the bank, a yoga studio, and many other places, and then we stopped at the grocery store which was not as big as the size of the Dollar General in Tupelo. Groceries are more expensive here. I spent $115.00, but that will be cheaper than eating out for each meal. The kindness of people always restores my soul. I am so thankful for my new friends. Ron said, “Expats must help each other.” It made this Hemingway girl so happy to be called an expat.
My groceries are put away, and my clothes are unpacked. Now, I am ready for more fun!