Monday, July 06, 2009

The good ol' summertime

The girls and I have left rainy Costa Rica for a terrific summer in Wisconsin. We've been here for two weeks already (hard to believe!) and are making the most of our time with Mom and Dad in my beautiful home state.

The sun goes down at dinnertime all year in Ticolandia, so we are relishing these gorgeous days and long summer nights. The girls especially have loved swimming at the aquatic center in Onalaska, hitting golf balls on the course at night with Grandpa, and playing softball with everybody.

We've also been out for ice cream (yeah, more than once, I'll admit), saw a local production of High School Musical, and been enjoying the local parks. One afternoon we walked on a trail through the marshes and saw an otter making his way toward the reeds. The weather has been cooperative, with little rain and cool evenings. It's a terrific change from the rainy season back in Costa Rica.

During a picnic lunch this afternoon at the park, I saw movement in the trees out of the corner of my eye. For just a moment I assumed it was monkeys, until I realized that the only monkeys in the park were sitting next to me eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Turned out it was two squirrels chasing each other, but it just shows that we've been in Central America long enough now to be used to seeing the monkeys, sloths, parrots, and other wildlife native to CR.

Of course we went and picked strawberries at Jollivette's again; it just wouldn't be summer here without homemade strawberry shortcake! Dan is coming up next week and has made us promise to save plenty of strawberries for him and to make shortcake then, too. This won't be a problem since Mom, Dad, the girls and I picked 40.44 pounds of berries. The picking is the easy part; it's the cleaning them that takes forever!

Erin was running out of clothes that fit by the time school let out, so we've been doing a lot of shopping. I brought a long list with me when we got here and it's about half done, not including all the school supplies we need to get.

I'm finding shopping—whether for clothes, groceries, or whatever—to be a little bittersweet. It's almost as if I'm going through culture shock shopping in the US on this trip; it's incredible how many bargains there are, how little things cost, and how easy it is to buy everything. I'm thrilled to be shopping but yet frustrated at knowing that soon I'll be back to where it's hard to find what I need for a reasonable cost. All this, and while I love to find great bargains, I'm not even a big shopper!

Switching gears ... I am really happy getting behind the wheel these last two weeks. The roads are smooth, drivers are courteous, and going places is easy. It's a pleasure to drive here and I would say actually relaxing compared to the stressful driving in Costa Rica.

In other news, we've been having a great time eating all the foods we miss so much: Taco John's, Coney Island, brats (with real brat buns and good kraut, of course), cheese curds, lefse, thick slices of ham, homemade mashed potatoes ... the girls get to the grocery store and it's an adventure for them. Erin in particular was stunned at the numerous long freezer aisles (compared to the one side of one aisle we have at the supermarket in CR). Let's hope we don't have to roll ourselves back to Costa Rica!

We have a lot of things planned for the rest of our summer, but truthfully we are just happy to be here in Wisconsin with our family and look forward to Dan joining us soon. As for tonight, I noticed there was a full moon earlier and now can hear the coyotes howling in the hills behind the house. It's good to be home!


Kelly said...

Glad to hear you are having such an awesome time!!! The strawberries look fantastic! If you girls ever venture down to Ohio, you are always more than welcome to stay with us! Its nice that you get to see your family though! I cant get over how big the girls are! Have fun up there!!! Kelly

Justine said...

Oh wow, I wish I could be there to experience Wisconsin in the summer. Something tells me it's a lot more pleasant than FL!
I can't believe how tall Erin is getting. Holy cow!
Now here's a question. You got those strawberries many days ago. How will any of them still be fresh by the time Dan gets there?

Justine :o )