Birthdays, Beaches, Baptisms and Barbecues
As we adjust to our new surroundings, conditions and lifestyle, life keeps moving on by. We have recently celebrated our second birthday abroad, as Kassie had her 12th birthday last week. Her choice of activities, a girl’s day in Tamarindo getting their nails polished, shopping and then pizza at Angelina’s. The boys; well we hung at the house, then walked over to the coffee shop for some frozen coffees and shakes, cruised the neighborhood picking coconuts and mangos and just chilled.
Having experienced two kids birthdays we have quickly surmised that as challenging as we thought shopping for a birthday in the quaint small town of Soldotna was, it is infinitely more difficult here. For beginners, there are no Wal-Marts, Freddie’s, Beemun’s or anything remotely resembling a department or toy store near by. There are plenty of food markets with tourist trinkets, but nowhere to really “shop” for special occasions. Secondly, you cannot just order from Amazon and have it delivered with “free shipping” in 2-3 days. Perhaps, if you are lucky, you can get it here with extremely expensive shipping, say 2-3X the cost of the item, in about 4-6 weeks. So it is always better to make do with what you can find locally. Hello Pura Vida hats, shirts and shorts and flip flops.
Theses are exactly the types of things I wanted to experience, and I wanted my kids to experience. It is easy to say you are spoiled when you live in America, but it is much more effective to live it. I pray that small things like this help us all be much more grateful for what we have and what we had. I honestly don’t think Kassie minded too much, because she smiled all day and Tracy did manage to find some unique and cool prezzies for her. And of course we were able to have cake and ice cream! Now, to be clear, we are not miserable, we are not at all suffering; we are in Costa Rica for goodness sake, it is just the slight differences and lack of conveniences that I want all of us to be acutely aware of.
Another new experience was our first beach baptism. Our church, the Beach Community Church had a baptism service on the beach at Tamarindo. Now when I say baptism on the beach, perhaps you picture a gentle swell blanketed by a warm breeze with the small church crowd, white flowing gowns and the sound of a choir in the background. Not quite. Instead it was surfable waves crashing hard on the beach, the sun glaring down, the wind whipping throughout, surfers, dreadlocks, bikinis, bathing suits and body boarders all curiously watching what this small group was doing near the mouth of the river. It was almost a little surreal, and pretty incredible. Six people were baptised and there were about 30 of us there to watch and support them; cheering on the beach as if we were watching a surfing contest. From my vantage point I could watch the gentle dunk of the newly baptized, while two dreadlocked surfers practiced long board tricks in the background.
We finished the baptism with a BBQ at Pastor Lyle’s condo right up the hill. There was a lot of the normal BBQ food, hamburgers, hot dogs, steak and pork chops, but there were also some tuna steaks, mahi steaks and more, all very tasty. It was a nice way to nudge us into our new environment.
The kids spent the majority of the time in the deep blue pool while we mingled about and ate, looking for bits of shade. The food was good and the fellowship was even better, and it helped to reiterate that no matter where you live, if you can make relationships, you can make it. Oh yeh, the ocean, warm water, pools and sun, that helps too.