One evening in 2015, as we hung out by a friend's pool watching the kids play in the water, something puzzling happened. A bird flew out of the jungle and landed on Chad. Chad walked over to the edge of the jungle and coaxed the parrot to fly back into the trees. A few minutes later, the bird was back. And to Chad again.
The bird was obviously sickly. Its feathers weren't clean, and it seemed tired and confused.
We fabricated a travel box and when we got back to our place we set him or her up in our travel dog kennel, which actually worked quite nicely.
The next morning, the bird was dead.
We buried "Milagro" (miracle) in the jungle behind our apartment.
Not a week later Chad and I pulled up to our babysitter's family restaurant in Brasilito and Wyatt was holding a bird. The same kind of bird, an orange fronted parakeet (in Costa Rica), also called an orange faced or fronted conure.
We made eye contact and knew there was no going back. That bird and Wyatt would become the best of friends. And since that time, even now back in the States, we have only continued growing our bird family.
Sadly, our bird in Costa Rica couldn't leave the country due to strict pro-wildlife laws. He is called Blue and lives with our good friends in Matapalo. He is thriving and enjoying life and is spoiled by his new owners, who live in the jungle and give him all kinds of treats and kisses.
No es Jabon
After enduring family-only time for some weeks 24-7 we were all about to crack. I remember looking at Chad and saying, "I can't do this," surely with cocktail in hand.
By the time we got into our second place, Villa Ferlito, we had been in Costa Rica for about 2 months. We needed to downsize in terms of cost -- and we wanted to be closer to conveniences than we were at our first place on south Playa Conchal. in miles, it was actually not far from town -- given the road condition, however, it was like 20 minutes and we didn't have a car most of this time, either.
When we landed at Villa Ferlito I started asking around about if anyone might know a babysitter personally. At this time I just wanted a babysitter so Chad and I could go scuba or snorkel or whatever - ALONE!
One of the owners of Villa Ferlito, Amy (featured in my book, Costa Rica Dreamers!) had a friend named Dianna just up the road in Brasilito. We arranged for a meeting, and met with Dianna and her daughter, Nicelia, who translated for us. At this time, we really couldn't communicate in Spanish and Dianna did not speak any English. So you can imagine the interesting conversations that occurred.
One morning Dianna was over and helping with laundry. As I mentioned, I only wanted a babysitter but Dianna insisted on helping with EVERYTHING and, being in vacation mode (so to speak), I very gratefully accepted!
So one morning she asks me, in Spanish, tell me, Elizabeth, how do you wash your clothes? And I was like, hmmm, "uso eso y ... la machina...." = I use this, holding the bottle of soap, and the machine. At this point I'm like, what am I missing (right?).
She giggles a little and holds the bottle in her hand and says, "Elizabeth, no es jabon. Mira, no puedo limpiar con eso." Translated, "This isn't soap. Look, I can't clean with this." She's picking up a dirty towel and pointing at it for me. I had noticed our towels didn't look that clean but figured it might be the washing machines we were using.
Turns out what I thought was soap -- was fabric softener. Just fabric softener. So for a period of not just weeks, but months, I was cleaning our laundry with fabric softener only!
Somehow we all survived. There's a life lesson in there somewhere. (Besides that one should learn some basic Spanish before relocating to Costa Rica :)
So once someone (not to be named) broke the front door to our apartment. It was a really pretty wooden, paneled door. We called the owner of the complex and told him the door was cracked.
The next day, the door fixer man arrived to take our door. He ... took our door. Just took out the hinge bolts and walked away with the whole damn thing. Down the stairs and off to his truck, as we watched, mouths agape. Would he bring back a folding screen, perhaps, a curtain on a tension rod?
...No. Pura vida.
We were sweating, a little, because it was hot and we couldn't use our air with NO FRONT DOOR. and b, we honestly didn't know if he would be back before evening. What would we do if we didn't have a door?
He brought the door back around 5 pm the same day, so it didn't come to that. But it's still a good story.