Sunday, January 20, 2008


      We lived in Costa Rico for one year while we studied Spanish.   And what a year it was.  Costa Rica is a great place to study because it is 4,000 feet high and has a great climate.  It never gets hot and it never get cold.  It stays about 60 degrees to 75 degrees year round.  Durning the rainy season it rains at 12 noon everyday . We always ran home at 11:45 a.m. before it rained. 
      Another student was assigned to help us out and rent an apartment for us before we arrived.  And that was great. It wasn't super great but it was adequate and it was within walking distance of the language school.    After a few months of getting settled we had the opportunity of renting a doctor's very nice apartment above his mothers house. Again it was within walking distance of the language school.  And it was $ 10 a month cheaper .  So we took it.  
     A few months after we moved into this apartment,  the Costa Rican government decided to establish new diplomatic relation with Russia.  And guess what? they bought the house right next door to where we were renting.  So now when we came home there was a guard standing on the street with a machine gun right next door  about 10 feet away.  One day when a friend came to pick us up in his van we heard gun shots outside.  We came out and asked him ," Hey,  what happened?"  He said ," these guards are dangerous.  When the new guard came on duty he took the machine gun from the old guard but he grab it the wrong way .   And it started firing several rounds.  It scared us to death. "  
     We had a psychologist friend and her husband come and visit us while we were in Costa Rica I told them that from their bedroom you could see down into the Russian's back yard.   And some times we would see them walking around in the backyard .  So the wife, who is blond, starting looking out the window to see if she could see the Russians next door.  She couldn't see anything.  So she opened the window and looked out.  She still couldn't see anything.  So she leaned way out of the window.  And all of the sudden here came the Russian ambassador walking in the garden below.  She had leaned so far out of the window that she couldn't get back in quickly so she just waved.    And the Russian ambassador waved back at this crazy blond american hanging out the window. 
      While we were in Costa Rica I saw what a new word really means.  In the south we have a slang expression :" he had a CANIPTION FIT,"  Which, means he went crazy, or did a St Vitus dance, or  he almost jumped out of his skin.   Well, I saw what a 'CANIPTION FIT"   really means.  One night while we were in this very nice apartment, living next door to the Russians,   my wife opened one of the  top cabinets in the kitchen and all of the sudden a mouse jumped out of the cabinet and onto her blouse. Well you guess it "she had a caniption fit."  I mean, I  have never seen such arm waving , foot stomping , head wagging screaming and hollering in my life.  She almost jumped out of her skin.  And it wasn't funny then.  It was down right scary . I am sure she scared the 2 inch mouse as much or more then he scared her.  And they both scared me to death.   It is funny now , but it wasn't then.  It took some time for my wife to calm down .     The last night in Costa Rica  was exciting too.  A little too exciting.   We had now learned Spanish and were flying home to Fla. the next day.  We packed up our things and went to bed.   But at about 2 or 3 in the morning  I heard something metal fall off the table I thought.  So I got up to see what happened. I turned on the light but I didn't see any thing unusual.  So I went back to bed.  The next morning when we got up I saw small pieces of  of wood laying on our bed spread.  And as I looked up there was a hole in the wood ceiling and a bullet laying on the floor right beside my head.  It made a nice dent in the wood floor.   I  told the friend who was taking me to the airport about it.  And he said do not tell the police they will make you stay and have an investigation.  Especially since the Russians live next door.  The last night there and I almost got shot.  Praise the Lord they missed me the last night.  Costa Rica is a weird place and it is real.     

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