Thursday, April 17, 2008

back home for a week (aka lazy blogger)

Hey guys, just wanted to say that I'm back home from my trip. I have been lazy with blogging. Not lazy in general. I have filled my days with things to do - house stuff, gardening, and whatnot. How on earth did I fit in all these things before when I worked?

As for now, I'm enjoying my current unemployed life. It gives me time to get things organized and do what I need to get done.

The trip...well, it was not exactly my dream vacation. I loved bits of Panama - San Blas, Chitre, El Valle...I would revisit Bocas and stay on one of the islands rather than Bocas Town, which was a disappointment.

As for Costa was a disappointment. I loved Dominical - a cute little surf town. I stayed in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area for about a month. I feel like my first visit there was veiled with the touristy pretty beaches and whatnot. But after living there for a bit, I discovered more to the place. At least for Quepos, more that I didn't like. I saw way to many crackheads, crackwhores, and prostitutes to feel comfortable. The town smells of sewage. And people are greedy and money hungry. A lot of tourists decend upon the area for the 1 visited national park (Manuel Antonio), which costs a fortune to get in ($10 -- I'd say it's worth $5 to get in). A lot of tourists *with* money. It drives prices up as well as crime and greed. Not exactly my idea of paradise.

But when all was said and done, I overspent my budget on this trip. Let me rephrase that, I spent way over my budget. That is really rare for me to do. Costa Rica became Costa Fortune. I was glad to leave when I did.

On the bright side, the English course I did was good. It was crazy intense, but well worth it in the end. I almost quit, but ended up finishing it. Our students were amazing. It was good for me to see what 'hard working' and 'dedicated' actually mean. You don't see it so much in American society. It was a perspective that I needed.

I came home to a different world -- one house was built next door to us already. And on the other side, the concrete foundation was being set up when I left. Now, there is a huge house next door, on both sides of us. It's a foreign site on both sides, but I am slowly getting used to it. One of the builders plucked one of our bamboo plants out (we have a decent chunk of land behind our fence that butts against their land. But I talked to the builder and he is workable. He's a nice guy, so I'll cut him some slack (ie. I won't be so mean as I was to the other disrespectful builder, aka Canyon Creek Homes). He'll pay for a replacement of the bamboo. However, I am not able to get a replacement anytime soon. So I'll just ask him for a reimbursement of the cost of the plant + shipping ($60). Fair enough.

As for being home, the biggest reverse culture shock is going to the toilet. Every time I go to the toilet and see a trash bin, I almost throw my toilet paper in the trash bin rather than in the toilet. The plumbing in many developing countries is bad, so you don't throw the tp in the toilet - rather in a trash bin. It's a funny reverse culture shock thing. Sean said that I would find some sticker shock - cost of things. But I didn't really, because many things in Quepos/Manuel Antonio cost the same if not more than at home. Example..a bag of pretzels for $5 at my local grocery went without pretzels. Gawd forbid you had to buy shampoo or conditioner for your hair. Costa Fortune there, too. I went without conditioner, and my roommate, a Canadian hairstylist, yelled (well not really yelled) at me about not using conditioner. hehe.

I've never been so excited to be home from a trip. Back to everything familiar. Back to walking up and down hills and not feeling like I would get run over by a bus/motorcycle/car/truck. I am currently enjoying my unemployed status. Getting things done around the house that need to be done, doing some landscaping and taking advantage of the spring planting season, and looking forward to things in the near future. And of course, my dogs love that I'm home. They all pass out on the couch all day, but get to have company and go outside during the day as well. They are in doggie heaven.

As for the near future...I'm going to be in Nealia's wedding, my dad is visiting Houston from Thailand, my friend is going to have a baby soon, we're going to get our new deck quoted out, and then I will be starting my business...good things to come...