Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quiero cambiar el idioma de mi Internet

So I live in Costa Rica, and the official language here is Spanish. I get that and I speak Spanish daily—not really a problem for the most part. That said, I have to admit that it really bugs me that a lot of Web sites I visit regularly—including this one—keep coming up in Spanish, even after I have repeatedly set the preferences for English.

Google, for instance. Dang, it is always coming up in Spanish! I’m forever landing on Sure I can read it and understand it, but I want my Web in English. It’s like when I visit to book flights to the US: if I don’t take the time to enter my SkyMiles account number, the prices for the flights come up in colones. ACK! Give me dollars, Delta, please. The less often I have to do math, the better.

It’s a minor problem in the grand scheme of life, but an annoyance that I thought was worth a mention (OK, gripe) about since I’ve run into this problem twice in the last hour.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

May I have this dance?

Each February the girls' school has a father-daughter dance—complete with party music and Valentine's Day-themed decorations, a professional photographer, and plenty of food and cake.

I had a great time helping with the event last year (plus, the only way for a mom to attend the dance is to be on the committee!) and was excited for the dance again this year. Erin even helped me burn a couple of CDs for the DJ so he'd have some of the popular music from the US that the kids like.

We bought the girls' dresses last summer in Minnesota and thankfully they still fit. After school—once the decorating was done—the girls and I did hair and nails and got all dressed up. (It took Dan about one-fourth the time to get ready as it did the three of us.) Dan even gained a daughter for the evening—Lauren's friend Isabel, whose dad was out of town for the night. I'm glad she could be there with us; we love her family and will miss them tremendously when we leave Costa Rica.

I tried to get a few snapshots to share in between serving sandwiches and clearing tables. We even managed to get a picture of the four of us. Enjoy!

This is Erin, Grace (the friend we saw on vacation in Orlando) and Erin—yes, we moved all the way to Costa Rica only to meet another Erin of the same age as our Erin. Who would have guessed?

Here are Lauren and Isabel, artists extraordinaire! There were four boards on the side of the dance floor where the girls could write the names of their favorite restaurants, movie stars, and vacation destinations. Once we let the net of balloons drop, Lauren and Isabel made a beeline to the boards with the Sharpie markers to decorate the balloons. They are always drawing, these two.

¡Pura baile!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fabulous Florida

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land." —G.K. Chesterton

Our big Christmas gift to our family this year was a trip to The Motherland…10 terrific days in Florida. Time spent in the United States. Yippee!

Here, in no particular order, are a few highlights of our vacation:

**Dan, running enthusiast that he is, took on the half-marathon at Disney World on a Saturday and followed it by running the full marathon on Sunday. That’s a whole lotta miles—39.3 to be exact! He brought home plenty of race bling, including the Goofy medal because those who run the half (Donald medal) and full (Mickey medal) are also known to take on the Goofy Challenge. I’m still not sure how he finished the races and still walked three Disney parks the next few days, but he did and I’m so proud of him!

**Shopping. Oh, wonderful US retail, how I love thee! Our credit card got a major workout just in our first 48 hours in the States. We didn’t even get from Miami to Orlando without dropping a bundle on new clothes for the girls, so desperately needed. We had plenty of fun at the outlet malls and Downtown Disney—but don’t be fooled! Shopping included much anticipated trips to Wal-Mart and Target. Even buying groceries to stock the condo was a high. We splurged on foods that we really miss living in CR.

**Speaking of food … it’s amazing how comforting favorites from home can be. We had delicious Tex-Mex, plenty of snacks, and a trip to Orlando would not be complete without dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack—a Beaudry family favorite.

**Yes, we love to swim and we go to the pool here often, but despite cooler temps in Orlando we were able to swim in beautiful heated pools. Fantastic!

**Driving! How luxurious are US interstates, I ask you! They are smooth, wide, well-marked and with drivers that, for the most part, obey the rules of the road. Not once did I see a bus stopped on the highway, cows heading down the street toward me, or a pothole so big I thought it might swallow me whole.

**Oh, did I mention Disney? We love visiting the parks. We went to Animal Kingdom for the first time and thought Expedition Everest was a most awesome coaster. The Nemo musical was fantastic, too, and we loved the safari.

Funny thing is we had just entered Animal Kingdom when I heard Erin squeal and turned around to see her standing with her friend Grace from school here in Escazu. It really is a small world, after all.

The next couple of days were spent at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Lines were very short—so much so that we were able to go on rides repeatedly with little to no wait. We rode on Space Mountain seven times. (The girls would have gone even more, but parents have limits!) We spent our last night in Orlando watching the beautiful fireworks show over Cinderella’s castle.

We flew out of Miami a couple of days later and my emotions were mixed. I hated leaving the US—the ease of everything, the familiarity of being in my own culture, and the appreciation for comforts I really miss while living in Central America.

But when it comes down to it, it’s good to be home—and home, for now, is here in Costa Rica. It is beautiful and warm, we have treasured friends here, and our time here is not complete. It was a terrific trip to America and our family made many good memories. We’ll be back!