Welcome to the first issue of our RetireForLessInCostaRica.com Monthly Newsletter!
We are sending you this newsletter because you are either a registered user on our website, a past tour guest, a friend, family member, or someone else who we have communicated with over the last two years. If you would like to continue receiving this newsletter, you don’t have to do anything. If you prefer to not receive them in the future, just click on the “unsubscribe” link.
If you haven’t visited our website lately, take a look. We are excited to unveil our brand new look and format. You will be able to navigate through the site by menus, monthly archives, and the new “tag cloud” which is organized by topics. Let us know how you like it!
I admit, we have been relatively uncommunicative through our website for most of the last year. More on what we HAVE been doing later. But a monthly newsletter seems to be a good way to stay in touch and let you know what’s going on in our little corner of the world.
First off, Paul and I are healthy and happy, still living in our little cabina in the woods. This last year brought a health scare for me but after exhaustive tests, outpatient surgery for an infected lymph node, and three weeks of antibiotics, I was given a clean bill of health. The good part about it all is that we really learned about the national health care system. I’ll be writing about it in more detail on the website, but in summary, here are the main points:
- Our total out-of-pocket costs, not including our monthly health insurance payment, for consultations with three specialists (Surgeon, Infectologist, and Internal Medicine), out-patient surgery, three biopsy studies, two ultrasounds, medications, and multiple rounds of blood tests was…$90.
- Sure, that’s low, you say, but what was your monthly health insurance payment? Well, that was $75 per month for both of us.
- But you must have waited in line for hours, right? Well, yes actually, a few times, but it wasn’t so bad…we just brought books, or a newspaper, or practiced Spanish with the locals also waiting for their turn. Patience is a necessary element when living in a foreign country…for that matter, it’s pretty important when living in the U.S. too!
All-in-all, it was a good experience, and we are continuing to use our local clinic for our day-to-day health needs. After a really bad rainy season (about 70% more rain than normal) and some problems with mold, we had our cabina painted with anti-mold paint and it was a great opportunity to do something fun. We wanted colors that would make us feel happy so we went with bright Caribbean colors. Here are a couple of photos. We love it!
While my part-time job with Towson University came to an end last year, Paul developed a small tour and transportation business here in San Ramon. He does airport pick-ups and drop-offs, rental tours for people interested in moving to the western Central Valley, and fun tours to the beaches and other local attractions. You can read more about it here. He got a couple of great testimonials from past tour guests…here’s an excerpt from one of them:
“With very little notice Paul put together a detailed itinerary that met our needs exactly. We looked at rental units and properties that were for sale. We viewed a wide spectrum of housing options and had the chance to meet some wonderful expats living in the area. We found Paul’s thoughts, ideas, advice and explanations to be complete, objective and well reasoned. At all times his approach was relaxed and we found him extremely companionable. But more than that, he conducted himself to the highest standards of professionalism. He never forgot our objectives or our goals and everything, without exception, was tailored to our needs.”
We’ve got some new things cooking for the coming months. Paul is working on a video blog which we hope to make live in the next month or two. And I am working on an English/Spanish guide to food and cooking terms in Costa Rica. More on that next month.
Recently (well, okay, it was a while ago), I asked some of the local Gringos here in San Ramon two questions: “What do you wish you brought/shipped to Costa Rica that you didn’t?” and “When visitors come, what do you ask them to bring you that you can’t get here?” Do you want to guess the number one responses to each question? Read on to find out…the lists are in order by the most mentioned items but I will tell you that good cheese figures prominently (and it’s on the top of our list too)! What do you wish you brought/shipped to Costa Rica that you didn’t?
- Propane gas grill
- Gardening tools (ladders, garden hoses, lawnmower, gas trimmer, wheelbarrow)
- Rubbermaid containers (Tip: ship everything in large Rubbermaid containers instead of boxes for extra protection and storage in Costa Rica)
- Large trash containers
- Electronics & electrical supplies
- Upholstered furniture
- Artificial Christmas tree
- Plumbing supplies
When visitors come, what do you ask them to bring you that you can’t get here? Note that some of these items can be purchased in or near San Jose but are very expensive.
- Specialty cheeses (parmesan cheese, extra sharp cheddar, feta, etc.)
- Corn meal
- Canned green chiles
- Printer ink cartridges
- Grape Nuts Cereal
- Natural peanut butter
- Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Our favorite hot sauce
- Horseradish sauce
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hebrew National Hotdogs
- Hillshire Polish sausage
- Double Stuff Oreos
- Fat free sugar free chocolate pudding
- Dark chocolate anything!
- Guitar Strings
- Levis Jeans
- Size 14 shoes
- Foodsaver Vacuum bags
- Wine-making and beer-making supplies
- Bath products
- Newspapers from any town in the USA
- Wheat-free dog biscuits for our dog with sensitive skin
Are you considering a move to Costa Rica? Want more guidance about what to ship and what to expect regarding the process of moving to another country? If so, you won’t want to miss our friend Arden’s new book, Unraveling the Mysteries of Moving to Costa Rica. It’s the first in a series of books she is writing about what she learned from their move and transition to life in Costa Rica and how it can help you. To find out more and download a sample chapter, click here. That’s all for this month, but we’ll be back in touch soon! Hope you enjoyed our update and that you will continue to receive our monthly newsletter in the future.
Gloria & Paul Yeatman
San Ramon de Alajuela, Costa Rica