Pick A Starting Place . . . Any Place!


It’s Friday, Y’all!

And a traditional “T.G.I.F.” for the New Year’s Weekend upon us!!!  How are you feeling about all this “new” stuff going on?  I mean, “we” get new stuff for Christmas … be it a car, some new shoes (no socks, please!), shucks … you may have just bought a new house!  How does that make you feel?!?

Well, I am feeling pretty “chill” myself, as I sit at the multipurpose table in front of a window adorned with orange Oriental designed curtains in a two tone pink painted room … with a big bed in it.  The window looks out over the narrow two-lane street shared by autos and bicycles … a few trucks even.  Yes, this is a place I was fortunate enough to rent with a lot of help from some new friends here in Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica.  I have had to pinch myself a couple of times each day as I settled in to this Caribbean flavored town on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica and simultaneously look out into the Universe and say “Thank you!” to my Creator.  I am a hopeless romantic anyway so, I have been reading all my little tell-tale signs along the way to anticipate and fuel what I want.  While in Daytona Beach, FL before coming here last month where I stayed a month or so with a hometown friend, John Young, I picked up some Chinese fortune cookies with a meal.  In one it read: “You will receive the desires of your heart” …. I have been doing the footwork, reading my e-mails from “The International Living Community” where I read that a traveler came to Costa Rica to look around for a place to retire.  He met someone who told him that he knows someone renting a place for $350 USD a month … They went up a road to the rental location and the traveler came out with some keys to his retirement rental in Costa Rica!  The same thing just happened to me … on Christmas Day!

I have met some ex-Pats and locals who have been incredibly kind with me and only “the universe” knows how our paths happened to cross here in Puerto Viejo.  I met a guy named Barry Stevens who set up an awesome program called “El Puente” (www.elpuente-thebridge.org) that assists a couple of the tribes of indigenous people here in Puerto Viejo with necessities including educational needs, a soup kitchen and activities to enhance their subsistence in their nearby lands.  Barry is originally from Connecticut and runs “El Puente” with his wife Nancy and a few reliable volunteers whom I have also been fortunate enough to meet at Barry’s place.  There is another ex-Pat, Cleo Robertson, who has authored several books and cashed in on a huge computer program that she developed around the mid 1970’s while she lived in the Black Community in Princeton, NJ … for those who know … on Witherspoon Street! Duke’s medical school later worked with Cleo to expand her computer program.  Cleo is the person who connected me with a woman renting an apartment (cabin style) on her property … on the same street as Cleo!  I have a Caribbean kitchen which is outside of my bedroom window just around the corner from the breakfast nook that Cosima has so elegantly designed and painted!  In fact, my “place” is filled with her artwork … including a wooden sun with a mirror inside of it over a handmade and painted night stand, several paintings on the walls and a bright yellow painted bathroom sink counter and a hot water apparatus connected to the shower.  Yes, it is rustic … but it is just what I need.  I just want to heal myself, challenge this arthritis and prostate cancer, and write!  I think that I can do this best … 3 blocks from the beach with no sky-scrapers and no tangled up traffic though there is calm, patient, small town traffic … and NO ROAD RAGE!  I can walk everywhere that I NEED to go … or can take a taxi for less than $2.00 nearly anywhere in Puerto Viejo.

So, now, I have to pick my starting point … local phone, mailbox, application for retirement residency and purchase a health plan for waaaaay less than the US … which are all requirements to live here.  In Spain, I would have had to “live” with a Spanish citizen who would act as my “patron”.  Here, I found my own place and will do the aforementioned … I just have to pick a starting place … any place!

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve celebration!


John I. Cook, Director

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