Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Taking the Immigration Plunge - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr #2

If you decide to relocate to Costa Rica, at some point you will have to decide how you are going to handle the 90 day limit for staying in the country using your US passport. 

For us it has been an exciting adventure - taking short hops every 90 days to visit neighboring countries in Central America & Mexico but...at some point you will run out of new countries to see  Going further away requires longer travel times and more $$.

So...after 2 yrs of traveling around (we moved here on June 1, 2016), we have decided to take the plunge and apply for our temporary residency. You must apply for temporary residency 1st before you can apply for permanent residency and then after that you can apply for citizenship (if you desire). When we 1st moved here, I was not interested in dual citizenship, but with the way things are going in the US we are re thinking that option. 
If you are interested in the process you can follow our journey here and I will let you know how we proceed each step of the way.

Lavanson and I are filing separately using 2 different methods.
To save money he is using a service where he will be doing most of the legwork himself - obtaining the required forms on his own and submitting for processing through an Immigration Consultant and I am using a recognized Costa Rican law firm (many expats have used them - and they provide excellent immigration assistance). The firm will obtain and handle all forms, docs and do all paperwork for me (the lazy way out). There is a significant difference in cost, but we will talk more about that after we are further along. 

Stay tuned!

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

I Would Rather Fight a Grizzly Bear - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr #2

It seems that our biggest battle is against some of God's tiniest creatures...ANTS!!!

It's been like an ongoing battle off and on throughout the year.

We are in the transition between the dry season and the rainy season so I guess all the bugs are re grouping and looking to move to new homes. At least that's the way our landlord describes it.

On Sunday I went outside to find a million ants (with wings) huddled around the post on our patio. Not knowing how else to deal with it, we got out the trusty water hose and drove them into the coffee fields.

On Saturday I was bitten by microscopic ants that got into a pair of shoes that I had sitting by the sofa. When I put them on I felt a little pinch but thought it was just the pinch of the tongue of the shoes being folded back. When I felt it again I immediately took off my shoe and several of the little boogers fell to the floor. Soon after my foot swelled up like I had broken it or something. It hurt like hell too.  I put everything I could think of on it but the pain persisted. Today most of the swelling is down.

I just do not understand how an ant so tiny can pack such a wallop!!

But they do

A bigger version of ants were in the closet, making a home (larvae and all) in Lavanson's flute case and I found them in a drawer making a nest in a toothbrush holder!

They are also back in our refrigerator again. The refrigerator man has been contacted but seems he is very busy and so has not come by as of yet. If you do not remember that whole issue here is the video

(In all honesty, I must admit, this is really partly our fault - we have not had any extermination in the 2 yrs we have been here due to the cat who lives outside and the 2 dogs we have inside.  I am sure things would be much better if we did. Still trying to get an organic exterminator to come out. No luck so far)

It is estimated that there are about 20,000 different species of ants. So I guess we still have a long way to go if we're going to meet them all!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Spanish Field Trip - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr #2

Something I really like about our weekly Spanish class, is that we don't always sit and learn for 2 hours. Occasionally we go out into the community with our teacher and put our Spanish to work. Usually to help us maneuver and learn about how things are done in Costa Rica.

Such was the case last Friday.

We had 2 tasks on our agenda - one was to go to a little shop that specializes in vidrios y portones (glass and gates. As you know, many homes in Costa Rica have security gates (a VERY good idea if you are living here.). Our remotes were not working properly so we purchased new ones.  The other agenda item was to open an account with a Costa Rican bank.

First stop -- the gate shop. The plan was to have our new gate remotes programmed (we could not buy the remotes locally and had to order through Amazon and have a friend mule them in from the states) However, we found the shop closed at 11:30 am with no sign re their return and no reason for the closure.

BTW - don't make the same mistake I did and pronounce the name as Popeye because in Spanish it is pronounced Po Pay Yay. I called the taxi to pick us up at Popeye's -- no wonder he didn't have the slightest idea where I was or what I was saying LOL

Next -- on to the bank.

We have been planning to open a bank account here for some time but were unsure as to the procedure and whether or not we were fluent enough to open the accounts without the aid of a translator. Turns out -- we were not (which came as no surprise to me) and had to rely heavily on our teacher. However, in the end we managed to open 2 new accounts at a branch in Grecia.

Here is the procedure at the bank we chose.

1 - You enter the bank one at a time through a glassed in enclosure. You wait for the security guard to clear you and when the light turns green you enter the bank.

2 - Go to the accounts area and take a number. We were #45. They were on 42 when we arrived. It took about 30 minutes for our number to be called.

3 - We sat down at the desk and from that point on -- I understood very little of what was being said. So much for my Spanish! Our teacher pretty much did all of the rest of the talking for us.

4 - We needed a current passport and a copy of our lease agreement (which we did not bring but luckily I had in the email on my phone) utility bill, email address and telephone #. No money is necessary to open the account. They did however want to know if we were college graduates.

5 -  We cannot deposit more than $1,500/mo (ea) into our accounts. If there is no use and the account sits idle for 3 months it will automatically be closed.

6 - They do not have checks. We will be issued debit cards. The men have a choice of about 10 different designs for their cards. For women, well...there is no choice. You will automatically get a plain white card (and... the card has the word "mujer" (woman) on it. How divine! :)

7 - You can use the card to pay online for services like electric, water, caja (the medical/health insurance - which once we have our temp residency, we are required to pay into) Oh, and we can recarga (reload) minutes to our cell phones. Nice because when I tried to recarga online through the carrier, it would not accept any of my US bank cards.

8 - After the paperwork is all completed you get a copy of your pending app with instructions to return in 3 days to pick up your card. Lavanson received an email on Sunday advising him that his account was set up and giving him online instructions. I received nothing. So, I was wondering if something went wrong with my approval.

The process took about 2 hours.

Here is a link for the  procedure  to open a bank account in Costa Rica

We returned to the gate shop after we left the bank only to find that the programming requires an on site visit. We made an appointment for the programming to be done today (Mon) before noon. Currently it is 2:30pm and they have not arrived and we need to leave for the bank to pick up our cards.


Update: We went back to the bank today to complete the signing of paperwork associated with the account. We both received our cards so I guess nothing was wrong with my application. We also managed to complete the final procedures all by ourselves in Spanish. Hip Hip Hooray!!!

They finally came to fix the gate at 5:00, just as we were returning from the bank. Better late than never right? 😌

Oh and did I mention that 2 of the most important things you will need if you live here are 
patience and flexibility??
If not, well now you know!

Pura Vida!!!
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Thursday, April 12, 2018

New B&B in Grecia - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr #2

Hi folks - Posting video of a new B&B project in Grecia that I visited the other day. Marta Mata has a beautiful property in Grecia Central. She has been renting out space for events but has decided to open her home and share her lovely space with visitors.

In case you missed my Facebook post - here it is below

A new family has ESCAPED from the states and landed in Grecia last week! Congrats!! As they were getting all settled in, they were told of a new B&B which is just getting started in Grecia Central. As a matter of fact, they are the 1st guests. Big welcome to Fran and family!!!
The B&B is a new project Marta is adding as it is already available for social events. Marta is a joy to be around. The property is gorgeous with very nice views (remember views are something you don't usually see in town) Prices are very good as well. The rooms are being refurbished. If you are interested in hosting an event or reserving a room.
please contact Marta at
or call (506) 8833-1488

Here is the video

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