Gringas get two Mother’s Day here, the American one today and the Ticos celebrate El Dia del Madre on August 15. I was ready to commit to only one this morning, until my children and husband showered me with good wishes, so I’ve decided to indulge myself in two Mother’s Days this year!

A few posts back I expressed my desire for a girlfriend, confident she would come…well lo and behold I met her two weeks ago! She is from San Diego, is married to a Tico and has two boys, almost exactly our kids’ ages. We spotted each other while picking up our children from school, being gringas and blonde we gravitated toward each other and began chatting animatedly. Her family soon came for a visit and spent the day playing at our “campo” and we went to their home for gringo gathering soon after. She has been here for years and knows virtually all the gringos in the area. Most are retired without children, so it’s nice for us moms to commiserate with each other. It feels so good to have a friend to laugh and compare notes with, to chat about our experiences and learn more about good places to procure everything from local organic coffee at a local finca, to a nondescript health food store nearby that sells fresh organic flours, grains, etc. She was kind enough to introduce me to friends who play mah jong, and I am now a “sub,” who loves playing this addictive game, not to mention these ladies are a hoot! We sit out on their patios overlooking the neighboring hills and expansive valleys views below while we shuffle our tiles and tease each other.

My friend and I took our kids to a macaw refuge today, Amigos de las Aves, http://www.hatchedtoflyfree.org/. A gringa we met recently is living there trying to help her 89 year old, recently widowed father keep this amazing place afloat. He has had incredible success raising macaws there and releasing them into the wild. His methods have gone against the existing philosophies, like having to use a puppet to feed and care for young birds or they will never be able to assimilate into wild flocks. His hand fed birds have been released into the wild and mated with wild birds without incidence. They have close to 400 birds and the reality of caring and feeding these beauties is monumentally challenging! Her father relegated us with tales of the many birds and other critters who have lived there with them over the years, along with telling us about living in Africa and Afghanistan years ago. I hope they can find the support they need to continue their important work.

We headed off to lunch after our visit. I wanted to introduce our friends to the best pizza in Costa Rica, at La Antica Roma in Heredia. Lunch was so delicious and we ate like we hadn’t had any food in days! Since finding this haven of wood-fired pizza nirvana, our family has eaten here too many times to admit, so the waiters waved at me happily as we entered. The place is always busy, as it was today. The time came to pay the bill and I realized my purse was missing. Apparently a group of nice looking 20 something gentlemen were sitting at a nearby table and must have grabbed it at some point. Let me say for the record, this is the first negative experience we have had since we moved here 17 months ago. We have been warned and read of the rampant crime in Costa Rica, yet we have walked around San Jose, and other towns with no problem. If you are aware of your surroundings, and keep your belongings close, you are less likely to become a victim. This absence of incident is exactly why I had become complacent and became a victim today. Wake up call received. They made off with 40,000 colones, about $80.00, my camera, and my ID, not passport (passports are worth a lot of money, so you should only carry a copy of your passport with the most recent stamps and documentation copied.) It could have been worse and I guess I needed the reminder.

We came home and swam in the pool to let the experience wash away. So overall, a fun Mother’s Day #1 for me. I’m looking forward to see what the next will bring!

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