The seasons are achangin’

I know, I know. It’s been a while.

Life in sunny CR is changing. We are transitioning into the rainy season, which is actually quite pleasant; mornings are sunny and hot, and the rains come during the afternoons. Since I joined a neighborhood gym, I’m walking more and more; so it’s time for an umbrella. I used to belong to World’s, which cost $80 per month(!) and required an Uber-ride each way. I’m much happier now and am going regularly. This is particularly helpful, since I gained a lot of weight after QiJian died; it turned out that the two daily 30-minutes walks were benefitting me as well as my sweet boy.

I’m currently working a lot. It’s the season for essay-scoring, which is on online job I’ve had for some years. Students take end-of-year exams and have to provide some sort of writing sample, depending on grade level. The “essays” can be as long as three paragraphs and scored by rubric or as short as one sentence. When the prompt (essay question) is to correct the sentence “She is goes to the store,” I have to look for “She goes to the store” or “She’s going to the store.” I love the correction “She is goes to the market,” as if the mistake were the location. Or “She not goes to the store,” as if it’s a test of her trustworthiness. It is during these four-hour shifts that I want to leap out the window at the halfway mark; I even get a 15-minute break to do so. Ah yes, these children they are our future. Thank god I’m working at home and alone and no one can hear me scream.

I’m still consulting with the school district in California, compiling information and composing progress and compliance reports. I have always found this interesting, as I’ve obtained some good results from the grant applications and reports I’ve done. It also helps to have a great principal with whom to work; he renews my faith in school administrators after the horror-show I experienced during my final years at LAUSD.

I miss my dog, but it’s better right now to not have the responsibility. I’m waiting for a class to come through from the Business English school that hired me in April. Once I have a set schedule, it’ll be time to reassess my ability to walk a dog twice a day.

My biggest issue with a new dog is getting him from the US to Costa Rica. As an extremely responsible dog owner, it infuriates me when people bring their, untrained, unprepared dogs on planes and in public places. There are some basic rules about traveling with pets:

1. Pets can travel in cabin only when they’re small enough to fit, inside their case, under the seat in front of them. Otherwise, they need to go in cargo.

2. Once a dog is an emotional support animal, with a letter from a mental health care provider, the dog can travel in cabin uncrated at the owner’s feet. This means that the animal must be trained and of a temperament to sit or lie in a very contained space for more than the duration of the flight. In fairness to the animal and co-travelers, the animal must not be given anything to drink or eat at least 12 hours prior to flight time. When I traveled with QiJian, before each flight, even if I had to go through security a second time, I brought him outside to pee or poop an hour before boarding. I also gave him a small dose of doggy Zanex to help him sleep. I never ever had a problem with him. Also, I bathed him the day before (what a concept!) so no one with allergies or who didn’t like the smell of dogs would be disturbed.

3. So when you hear these horror stories of dogs biting other passengers, peeing or shitting in the plane, or causing any kind of disturbance, it means that the owners had one of the following problems: 1.) They were clueless and did not think to ask the airline or their vet about regulations and guidelines for traveling with support animals; 2.) They basically didn’t give a shit and felt entitled to just bring the animal regardless of its behavior or effect on others; or 3.) They lied and forged a letter from a vet, which is a requirement, that the dog was necessary for the owner’s mental health and was healthy and fit to travel. By the way, one requirement is that the animal can fit in front of a bulkhead seat. Large dogs and peacocks cannot travel in cabin. Yes, you heard me: Some ditz tried to bring a peacock in cabin and was refused. The only way I could forgive her is if it was a piece of performance art and filmed for people’s amusement.

As you can tell, I’m pissed off about this. After months of ignorant and/or thoughtless pet owners, and the complaints that they have caused, it is now harder to travel with an animal. I hesitate to put a young puppy in cargo; he’ll be traumatized enough at having a new owner and going to a new place without being loaded and unloaded by strangers on a noisy tarmac.

Things have settled down for me. I’m loving my house, which really is big for one person. I have a nice guest bedroom for friends and family who visit (hint, hint). It has all my stuff and is close enough to anywhere I want to go, so I don’t need a car. (I Uber and rent when I do.) I am legal and have a CR driver’s license, and I can now pay all bills online; remember, nobody writes checks here—we deposit into each other’s bank accounts. Prior to being legal, I couldn’t transfer to any bank but my own; now I can, and I don’t have to go to a bank and wait in a long line. I also get charged tico prices instead of gringo prices. Now if I could only get my butt out of the house and make some friends.

My Spanish teacher loves texting me funny pictures and videos. (See Fourth Monkey below.) I’m understanding more and more. Wish I’d learned the language when my brain and I were younger.

Ciao for now.