Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to vote from abroad

National elections are right around the corner!  Are you registered to vote?  Are you registered for your absentee ballot if you're abroad?

Registering for your absentee ballot is super easy!  Here is the facebook page dedicated to it.  And here is a jolly and informative video on how to:

For North Carolina I simply wrote my county and asked how to do it.  I was able to register to vote in my hometown and request my absentee ballot all online.  My ballot is then sent to me in email as a PDF.  I can print it off, fill it out, scan it and email it back.  In NC, you get your ballot about three weeks before the election day so you have NO EXCUSE to not fill it out and get it back in.  You are then sent every ballot for every election you are eligible to vote in for one year.

REMEMBER- you must re-request you absentee ballots every year to make sure your voice is heard.

So please register to vote!

And get your absentee ballot!  It is so easy!

Make your vote count!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best stress reliever ever

Non newtonian fluid!

Had a couple bad days at work.  Yesterday was my day to go home early.  The secretary came by my room in the morning to tell me there was a meeting.  I was pissed, but spent almost the whole day trying to be very pura vida about it.  Until 2:10 came and a guy came in my classroom "the meeting has been canceled".  I had waited around for an hour and a half, for nothing.  The worst part- all the other teachers had already been informed.  I, the only one who gets to leave early on Mondays, was the only one left out of the loop.

I was so mad when I was leaving, I was seeing red.

Today I came in and was told I had to fill out these pointless forms about my exams.  We have to list the objectives, and how many points and questions per objective.  I was told I had "too many points" on my exam, and we're only allowed to have 70 points.

Why?  That is just an arbitrary number.  So I had to fill out this form (and I did it in English, not Spanish), send it in to the lady who doesn't have science knowledge and doesn't speak English to be reviewed.  How the hell is this busy work benefiting anyone?  And if they decide I have too many points, what's next?  Make me reduce the points on each question?

WHAT DOES THAT DO???  nothing.  My test will be the same, but each question will be worth less.  It will still be THE SAME THING.

I was so mad filling out that stupid chart I was shaking.

So I made myself some non-newtonian fluid.  And man is it relaxing to play with it.  Liquid.  SOLID.  Liquiddd... SOLID!!!

*deeeeeeep breath*

liquid... SOLID

Monday, August 20, 2012

Because I want to complain

The spaghetti.  It put me over the edge.

Every once in a while I have to buy lunch from work.  Usually Oscar and I make enough dinner to last us over to lunch, but occasionally we won't eat dinner or whatever and we won't have lunch.  Oscar gets his lunch from a tasty soda down the road, I get mine from the worthless lady who cooks for the school.  And for some reason, it's always pasta.

Freaking pasta.

I pay 1800c (about $3.50) for a plate of over cooked spaghetti topped with some watery tomato thing with cilantro.  And man are they stingy with the sauce.  It never covers the pasta, so you mostly eat plain pasta that might be a little wet from the tomato liquid.  *ugh*

Okay I should just bring my lunch every day, I know.  And I try.  But this is my blog and I want to complain goddamit!

Now for the next part.  I've complained before about these stupid "relaxation" things the school was forcing us to do on Mondays after school.  Well Mondays happen to be the only day I get to leave after lunch.  Every teacher has one of these days, and my day is Monday.  I never went, because I didn't want to.  The relaxation classes have thankfully stopped.  So of course, the school has decided to make weekly meetings every day after school on, you guessed it, Mondays.

I'm pissed.  When I read the email I sort of flipped my shit.  It's just not fair.  I'm one of the few teachers who has to stay until 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, plus I have a full day Friday.  So Monday was my day.  My day to walk my dog for over an hour.  The day the cleaning lady comes.  The day I can take a quick afternoon nap.  It was my freaking day.

I get it.  Most people work until 5pm.  I get that complaining I can't leave until after 3pm is sort of snobby.  I don't care. I care that for almost an entire year I've been working half days on Mondays and now I will have to sit around an extra 2 hours to sit around another 2 hours in some pointless meeting.

The thing is, I was totally over this.  I had decided to go to this meeting, then talk to the director about it.  Somehow finagle my way out.  Because when I think about it, being angry doesn't change the situation, it just makes me miserable.

But that pasta.  That stupid pasta.  It made me angry.

Being the mature person I am, I plan to be completely passive aggressive.  I'll go to your goddamn meetings.  But I'm not saying a damn thing.  I will not participate.  I won't act interested or like I'm paying attention.  You're taking away my freaking Monday, and I will not pretend to enjoy it.

So you can now leave comments about how I'm being a spoiled brat complaining about having to stay at school until *gasp* 3pm.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attack of the Worms!

No this is not a movie review of a SciFi original film.  This shit actually happened last night.

So we all know that when it rains, the worms come out of the ground.  Well evidently, not only do they come out of the ground, they also climb up your walls, leak through your open windows and then flip out all over your floor and on your feet.  ICKY!

Yesterday night we got a really good rainy season rain.  It was a downpour for at least 2 or 3 hours.  I was watching TV and Oscar mentioned "there's a lot of worms around there".  I assumed he meant outside on the patio.  Well he didn't.  I walked out into the kitchen to see the floor covered in worms!  Okay, I'll admit that's an exaggeration, but there were at least 5 worms on the floor.  I opened the door so Oscar could put them out, and they were in hoards crawling up the walls!  After I found a few in the bedroom, we closed the windows as tight as we could, and blocked the bottom of the door with a towel.

Perlita was of course delighted to tear apart the tossing and turning worms so that Oscar had to pick up the mangled worm pieces.

We never had this happen in the old apartment, but then again we were on the second floor above a paved carport.  I just hope it doesn't happen again!!  Yuck!!

Here's some pictures.  They're not very impressive since a) they were taken after the vast majority had been removed, and b) they're worms- not very photogenic.

One inside the house.

Crawling up the walls.

Monday, August 13, 2012

One year living in Costa Rica

That's right folks, I made it to one year in Costa Rica.  August 9, 2011 I hopped on a plane to San Jose with the plan of never returning to the USA again!  No not really, but it was intended as a permanent move.

This year has been absolutely fantastic.  The most frustrating part to me was definitely the whole residency issue.  It was expensive, lengthy and really unorganized.  But all my stuff is in immigration, I have my paper saying I'm in tramites and therefore I shouldn't have to make any more border runs.  I guess that paper also means I'm allowed to work, but I'm not sure anyone could answer that question for me, so I'll assume "si".

Life in Costa Rica is different in many ways, but in most ways it's the same.  I still get lots of emails and facebook messages about people asking for tips for moving to Costa Rica.  They say they want to live "the simple life".  I don't get this.  Life in Costa Rica is just as simple or just as complicated as you decide to make it.  Why don't you just live "the simple life" in the USA?  If you think that just because you move to a new country you'll all of a sudden decide you won't need that flat screen TV and gas-guzzling SUV, then you're wrong.  My life in Costa Rica is quite similar to my life in the USA.  Oscar and I share one car.  We both work.  We have a small, one bedroom apartment.  We pay our bills.  Sometimes we go out to eat- sometimes it's a fancy restaurant, sometimes it's take out Chinese.  Sometimes we go to bars (okay- often times we go to bars).  We drink beer.  We buy some fancy US products from the store and try to stretch our colon by buying veggies at the feria.  We save up for big vacations and also go on weekend trips.  I'd consider it a simple life, but it sure isn't much simpler than our US life.

Thinking back, I'm not sure I've learned much (except for that if you want anything done, do it your freaking self!  Although-- really I knew that before.  Suppose I just relearned it.)  I studied abroad in Costa Rica so a lot of the stuff I'd already known.  My Spanish has gotten better and my pachuco has really improved.  I know my way around most of San Jose, and can take a bus anywhere I need to go.

I love living in Costa Rica.  I really like my job.  I like my friends.  I like Oscar's family.  I love the mountains.  I love the beaches.  Oscar and I are pretty sure this will not be our "forever home", but for now, it's been pretty freaking awesome.

Feliz aniversario!!

Oscar and I headed to La Esquina de Buenos Aires, our favorite Argentinian restaurant, to celebrate one year in Costa Rica!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Day Off- Worst Miracle Ever

So tomorrow I get another day off of work.  Have I mentioned before how I never work?  We had three weeks off in July and came back last week.  Last week we had Wednesday off.  Second week back and we get Thursday off.  We'll also have August 15th off (mother's day), plus a few days in September, a whole week in October...  Anyways, this post is not about that.

It's about TOMORROW- El Dia de la Virgen de los Angeles.  This is when the very religious people of Costa Rica show their faith by walking from all over the country to the Basilica in Cartago.  The last couple kilometers they do on their knees.  Why to this specific location?  Well because this is where the virgin, La Negrita, appeared.  And this is where it makes me laugh.

The virgin had the worst miracle ever.

Here's an actual story I found online, with perhaps a little less sarcasm then how I would tell it: (copy and paste to make it bigger if you want to read it)

"La ciudad de Cartago, como muchas otras en la época colonial, segregaba a los bancos de los indios y mestizos.  A todo el que no fuera blanco puro se le había prohibido el acceso a la ciudad, donde una cruz de piedra señalaba la división y los límites.  Estamos en los alrededores del año de 1635 a 1639, época de la aparición, el perímetro de la ciudad apenas llegaba a unas 400 varas de la plaza.

Aquella pequeña ciudad compuesta de cuadrantes con pocas casas y grandes solares. A unas 700 varas de la plaza, cerca de este punto estaban diseminadas una pocas casas muy humildes y se le llamaba La Puebla de los Pardos, por el color de la piel de sus habitantes.

Juana Pereira, una pobre parda (se desconoce si era, india, mestiza o morena), se ha levantado al amanecer para, como todos los días, buscar la leña que necesitan en su hogar.  Es el 2 de agosto, fiesta de la Virgen de los Ángeles, y la luz del alba que ilumina el sendero entre los árboles, le permite a Juana descubrir una pequeña imagen de la virgen sencillamente tallada, como de una cuarta de grande, (20 centímetros) visiblemente colocada sobre una gran roca en la vereda del camino.  Con alegría, la mujer, recogió aquel tesoro, sin imaginar que otras cinco veces más lo volvería a hallar en el mismo sitios, pues la imagen desaparecía de armarios, cofres. En una ocasión, sorprendida fue en busca del cura de Cartago, a quien con asombro le contó la historia y le entregó la imagen; el sacerdote tomó la figura y la guardó en una caja, con el fin de analizarla con cuidado una vez que tuviera tiempo.

Al día siguiente la imagen ya no estaba dentro de la cajita.  Cuando Juana fue al monte a buscar leña como era su costumbre, nuevamente allí sobre la misma piedra, se encontraba la imagen oscura.  Juana corrió donde el cura y este, acompañado de otras personas, fue hasta el breñal, desde donde condujo a la imagen en procesión hasta la iglesia parroquial depositándola en el sagrario parroquial, para regresar tenazmente a la roca  donde había sido encontrada.

Era la quinta vez que la Virgen se manifestaba de esa manera y comprendieron que allí en ese lugar debería homenajearse a la Virgen construyéndole un templo."

So the story goes like this: some girl finds a statue on a rock.  She likes it and takes it home.  The next day she can't find it.  Turns out it had "miraculously" returned to the rock where she originally found it.  She took it again and again and it kept going back to its original spot.  So obviously this was an apparition of the virgin and they decided to build the Basilica where the rock was.

Does anyone else think that story sucks?

Well anyways, now every August 2 tons of ticos make a pilgrimage to the Basilica.  Some people walk for days, weeks even, to get there.  Some just take the bus and then go on their knees through the church.  When I was studying abroad, my tica mama went to the Basilica and walked on her knees through the church in hopes that her grandson wouldn't have allergies anymore.  I'm not sure how that turned out.

I've never even been to the Basilica, but hey, I've seen lots of churches.  I guess I'll have to see if before I leave, but.. que pereza!

Oscar told me this next part, so if it's wrong blame him!

Up until the current president, Laura Chinchilla, August 2 was not a mandated day off.  But Laura Chinchilla changed it to a mandated day off since she was named the "prodigal daughter of the Virgin" by the Basilica.. committee?  I don't know how that works.  In return, she defends the church and continues to suppress gay rights, abortion, etc.  But hey, we get August 2 off!

So tomorrow, toast to La Negrita!  Thanks for the day off, babe!

(It's a little hard for me to find pictures on the internet, did the best I could!)

Walking on knees through the church

Ticos come out in numbers!

In the church

The Basilica in Cartago