Thursday, February 6, 2014

On The Go! (Settling In To Costa Rica)

Hello to Everyone!
     Well we are trying to get settled in, although it's taken us a little longer than we anticipated.  Getting things done here takes a lot more time that we are used to in the States.  
But we are definitely enjoying it here.
The mountains are so beautiful 
and the local people have been so kind. 

(If you look closely you can see our apartment in the far the bottom of the hill there's a brownish colored, two story apartment building.  Can you see it?  If so, you've got great eyes.  LOL!)

In Costa Rica One Day 
& Nicaragua The Next Day!

So we arrived in Costa Rica on January 14th around 6:00am.  We got to our apartment, unloaded our bags, and out the door we went.  We managed to take care of several things like getting our internet set up (even though it didn't work for over a week), activated our Costa Rica cell phones, went to the store and purchased necessities like shampoo and toilet paper, and ordered living room furniture.  By this time it is early evening and we were exhausted.  So we ate and were in bed by around 7:30pm... total party animals!
The next day we were up by 6:00am in order to unpack a few clothing items from the 8 bags we brought on the plane with us.  Then we repacked two bags and headed to the bus stop where we stood for an hour waiting for the bus that takes you to Nicaragua.  Yes, we were in one country and heading to another within just a little over 24 hours.  Needless to say, we were exhausted!
(waiting for the bus)

After approximately a 6 1/2 hour bus ride, 1 1/2 hour Customs transition, and a 20 minute taxi ride, we finally arrived in Granada, Nicaragua.  WOW... what a change of scenery.  
Nicaragua is definitely a third-world country.  
And the brothers are to be commended for all their efforts and wonderful attitudes for living there.
Granada sits next to 2 active volcanoes.  Thankfully, as far as we know, they don't actually 'blow' their tops, but they do spew lava... so we've been told.  

(Lake Nicaragua with the Volcanoes in the background)

Here are a few photos of our trip to Nicaragua...
We took a carriage ride around the city... this was a shot of the Volcanoes.

 (We could never have made such a huge move without the help of this amazing
couple... Leonard & Mitzi Hawken.  They are amazing!
And such a wonderful example of someone who shows true love and hospitality to their brothers & sisters.)

 (Nicaraguan homes are different from Costa Rican homes.  In C.R. homes are behind gates.  In Nicaragua the homes are behind these concrete walls.  The awesome thing is that behind the door is usually a 'common room', like a living room and then it opens up into a garden-like area.  Then there are individual rooms off of the garden.  For example...the house we stayed at had 3 individual buildings behind the concrete wall.  There was one building with the 'living room w/ t.v. along with 2 separate bedrooms, each with it's own bathroom, another building with the kitchen and a 3rd bedroom and bathroom, and a 3rd building which was a 'guest house'.  And this was all surrounded by a beautiful garden and in-ground pool.  Ok, so the pool is not typical, but the other parts are... LOL!)

 (Granada is known for it's amazing architecture.  There are huge churches everywhere.  And this is the buggy and horses that provided our tour of the city.)

(This is what's called "Gringo Street" by the locals.  Granada is very popular with the tourist and this street is where you will find all the fancy restaurants and the more 'American-Style' places)

 (Here is the start of the 'Market' street.  There are so many vendors that you can hardly move around.)

 (How many of you can say that you can carry this heavy of a load on top of your head?  Certainly not me!)

 (One of the homes we passed during one of our walks around town)

(And of course... we had to stop and take a photo of one of the Kingdom Halls that we saw during our carriage ride tour of the city)

 (We did a boat tour of the islands that are on Lake Nicaragua.  There are 365 islands.  One island per day of the year.  They were made by the Volcanoes erupting many years ago...or so we were told.  One of the little islands is home to injured monkeys.  Totally awesome!  There were so many of them.  A vet cares for their injuries and then places them on this island to be cared for.)

 (This is the Missionary Home!  It sits directly behind the Kingdom Hall. It's complete with it's own two dogs... LOL!)

 (And here is the Kingdom Hall where the English Congregation meets.)

(They had a peek attendance of 80 on this particular Sunday.  Studies just kept pouring in, it seemed.
It was amazing to be a part of such an amazing milestone for the congregation.
OH...and did you notice who was privileged to give the talk?... Our very own "Leonard Hawken"!)

All-in-all, we had a very nice visit to Nicaragua.  We will be making the trip back there at the end of March.  Only this time we will be staying in San Juan del Sur.  It's a surfing town.  
We're excited to see it.

I'll upload more photos soon of our last couple of weeks in 
Costa Rica.
Hope everyone enjoyed the photos.
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