Ah, Grecia. A house, a ditch and a dog.

Well, I did it! A found my next place to live!.
I gave up on my real estate agent and went on craigslist for houses in my price range.  I found a beautiful house with a great view in a town called Grecia (which means “Greece”).  I had read that it had what many claim is the best climate in Costa Rica:  warm with cool breezes and less rain than the San Jose area where I currently live.  There’s a good mix of ticos (locals) and gringos, the latter of which live in mansions in gated communities.  There’s a large downtown and all of the amenities I need for half the cost of what I’m paying in Escazu.

When I called the owners for a landmark to enter in WAZE (which is the only way to find things in a country with no house addresses), the owner gave me verbal directions.  After a couple more calls, his wife guided me to the street and told me to look for a woman in a red shirt on the side of the road.  When I arrived, she indicated that the house was down a long paved driveway to the right.  In an attempt to be helpful, she told me I could back down and waved her arms to indicate how to do it.  That’s when disaster struck.
The road itself was fine, if narrow, except it had, as do many roads here, deep drainage ditches on either side.  And the road went up before going down, which meant I was backing up blind.  Using my side mirrors as guides, I found I was having trouble centering the car; it turned out that my front and back wheels were in the ditch on the right.  Once I realized that I couldn’t get out, my about-to-be new landlady called a neighbor, who came out and helped. I was sure that I would need to call the car rental place for a tow; god knows what that would entail.
After several attempts with me at the wheel and QiJian in the back seat, the neighbor asked if he could drive; I said of course.  He managed to get the car out and pulled forward; QiJian, who was in the car with a stranger, locked his eyes on me.  We then got the car down the hill and into the driveway.
The house was charming, well-constructed and well laid out. It’s a three bedroom, one-story house, which will be better for me and QiJian, who has recently developed some health issues.  There’s a bigger yard for him, and a lovely front patio with a view.
The master bedroom is huge and the bathrooms new.

Although I have a few more months on my current lease, I decided that I had to have this house.  It is exactly the experience I’ve been hoping to have in Costa Rica.  I negotiated a couple of months at half-price until the time when I moved in.
After chatting with the owners and giving a deposit, I and my trusty companion headed back home.  My joy and having found a new home was tempered by QiJian getting sick.  Knowing I was going to Grecia, I had scheduled an exterminator to spray for termites when we would be out of the house.  Despite his assurances that the chemicals he used were non-toxic (and my neighbors with dogs had just used him), I wanted QJ out of the house; I figured by the time of our return in the evening, all would be OK.  I later found my sweet pup in the corner of the backyard, as far away from the house as he could get, trembling, feverish and gasping for breath.  As his symptoms increased, I rushed him to the vet hospital, where they gave him oxygen and did multiple tests.  By morning he was OK, and he’s back home now.
That was a day for the record books.