Jungle At Dusk.

Jungle Love

This jungle video was taken towards the end of the day, near dusk, from our deck. Congos, or Howler Monkeys, gathering the family for the night, toucans talking in the distance and a lone gecko giggling, probably laughing at me for thinking sappy sentiments about his/her incredible country. There is an intoxicating smell of ylang ylang flowers the late afternoon breeze carries up to me. Ah, that time of day where I realize I am right where I should be and as the sun begins to set, I acknowledge this sweet gift. So truly grateful for the gift of another day….

Pura Vida.

Just Add Ice!

I love learning the many ways of living like a Costa Rican. Everything is so simple and makes so much sense.

Here is my latest craze, batidos. Batidos are fresh fruit drinks made with either ice or milk. Today’s choice, watermelon with ice, sandia con agua. This particular watermelon was extraordinary and this lovely, pink drink, well what could be more refreshing?Come to Costa Rica for a visit and I will make you a batido every day!!

Pura Vida!

Yuca From Three Seeds!

 

Yuca, not to be confused with yucca, is one incredible root! Yuca is amazingly versatile and super tasty! You can make everything with yuca that you might prepare using potatoes, hence these hash browns! You can also dry it and grind it to make flour. The plant is very easy to grow and this particular yuca came from our dear friends up at Three Seeds!

Three Seeds is located in the sweet lil town of El Brujo, the area we lived in for our first 4 1/2 months in Costa Rica. Tamara and her family grow just about everything they eat on their property. Their farm, known here as a finca, is a phenomenal place to visit, take a tour, eat home cooked, farm to fork food or spend a few days living with the family! We love and miss them all so much! They are definitely our forever family and anytime anyone wants the experience of a lifetime, just let me know! I can take you there!! Three Seeds is more than just a farm, it is a living, growing, beautiful place. It is a home where everyone works together to help educate in sustainable practices and shares their local culture and Costa Rican traditions.

Yuca, or cassava, is a little harder to deal with than a potato, but 100% worth the extra effort. Yuca tends to be a bit denser than a potato, has a sweet flavor and a fun stickiness (depending on how they are prepared). Yuca, much to my surprise, is also what tapioca is made from! Major bonus, we love tapioca!! Here is another link to yuca, so you can read more about what you can do with this terrific tuber!

Volunteering Is Fun And Adorable!

I have avoided places like animal shelters, humane societies, pet shops and rescue leagues my entire life. I grew up where we drove past an Animal Rescue League almost every day. When I was young I would fight the urge to ask, whoever was driving the car, if we could stop by, for just a minute. But, the minute we got out of the car and I heard all those sad dogs barking, I was a goner. Sometimes, we just got back in the car, sometimes I mustered up the strength to go inside. Then, it was overwhelming because I was faced with barking dogs and meowing kittens! It was simply too much. The tears would flow as we left the parking lot and I can remember how I felt so heavy-hearted that it physically ruined the majority of my day.

There is something so helpless about the faces behind the bars. Seeing animals in cages still breaks my heart wide open but I have always thought, and hoped, I could overcome my feelings one day.

Now, where we live, we drive past a wildlife sanctuary all the time. I have driven by this animal rescue center many times, but, for obvious reasons, I couldn’t bring myself to take the tour they offer. Another big thing which kept me from visiting this place was that I knew they were always looking for volunteers, especially those who live locally…

Well, about a week and a half ago, I had a change of heart. I woke up and decided I would go to see what this place, called Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, was all about! The mission of this wonderful haven is:

We Nurture Distressed Animals Back To Health & Reintroduce Them Back To The Wild

The photos above are of a pair of adorable baby squirrel monkeys. They are about the size of an adult chipmunk and I fell madly in love with their sweet expressions and playfulness. The tour was very up close and real with lots of Costa Rica critters, including a pair of spider monkeys, white-faced monkeys and one poor dear little howler monkey, who is named Lola. There were birds of all kinds, pizotes, raccoons, one way cool anteater, sloths, squirrels, a precious porcupine, whose name is Blossom, and a few kinkajous. New animals are, unfortunately, coming in every week and they do a great job making space for them all. Please find out more about this special place called Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary!

Now that I have taken the tour and heard the horrific stories about the rescue of these animals, my heart has again melted, but in a good way. These two lil darlings in the photos are unbelievably cute. They have jumped on my back and hung out there while I have cleaned their home. They’ve played with my hair and my shoelaces! I am now a happy volunteer, today being day 4 at Alturas! I have already made some new friends, both two-legged and four-legged. It has been a real pleasure spending some hours of my morning getting to work with these dear creatures. I am learning lots about them all every time I visit.

The story of the many me’s just keeps growing and unfolding, as I find myself more and more at home in this lovely country. I am realizing it’s really about allowing the layers of myself, the ones I no longer need, to shed or to be washed away. In removing these layers, I am freeing myself from old fears and things that used to hold me back. What gets exposed in this process is renewed and open, fresh layers of me! These new layers are ready to absorb and attract all the new great things that have been waiting to be discovered.

Pura Vida.

The Many Me’s

Perhaps some of you have been wondering what the meaning is behind the title of my blog, themanymes?

Well, throughout my life I have been many me’s. I have lived in many different places, north, south, east and west. I have worn many different hats and uniforms. I have walked, run, stumbled and danced in many kinds of shoes. I have traveled across the USA by many means of transport, including hitchhiking, Greyhound bus and a hand-painted VW! I’ve held bunches of different jobs at the various places I called home. I suppose I am a bit of a gypsy at heart and I am attached to wandering feet that like to go places. A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to write a book about myself and my journeys. The book would be mostly for my mom and anyone else close to me that might like to read my jumbled stories. The title of a book is not always easy to come up with, but I knew the title before I started writing my memoirs. This blog is like a template to encourage and help me get in the habit of writing. Maybe a few of these stories will make it into the final cut some day!

In the last few months I am becoming a new me. A me I personally feel is one of the best me’s yet! I feel so ecstatically happy every day when I open my eyes and realize where I am waking up. No need for any hats, except for sun protection and no need for shoes!!! These feet are made for this place! Being in direct contact with the earth is a pleasure I cannot describe. I never knew such connectedness in all of my many me’s as I do here in Costa Rica.

I was told a story by my momma, about me while I was still in the womb. She told me that she was going to call her unborn child Elizabeth and that child would go through life known as Beth. Remember, back in the day they didn’t do testing for boys or girls, so luckily for me, I entered the world a girl! I have an unreal and precious relationship with my mom and she is partly responsible for my desire to write at all. If and when The Many Me’s book is completed and published, it will be dedicated to my sweet mother. She has most definitely watched me change through the many me’s, and my life is enriched by her love every single day. She and I are fortunate and, even in our distance from one another, we see each other all the time! Thank goodness for modern technology like FaceTime!

Magnificent Nature

Cool Cobweb

I thrive on days like today! I have taken this day to do things that I love to do and things that I have wanted to do. This morning I took a tour at a wildlife sanctuary that is about 10 minutes up the road. It was well worth the $25 tour fee and I will write more about my morning visit there very soon. In the meantime, you can check it out here: Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Midday, I set off for a little walk down the dirt road that passes our house. This semi-private road is all downhill one way, and naturally, all up hill on the way back! It isn’t very far to the end, but it is a good hike to get the blood pumping. The walk is lovely and there are always different flowers growing and lots of nature to see along the way. The road dead ends at a gorgeous, vacant piece of property that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. I like to dream it is mine and think of how fun it would be to build a house there some day!

I was good and sweaty when I returned from my walk, so I took a little swim. Having a few moments to just sit, I decided to hang out in the sun to dry off. This cool cobweb caught my attention, as the sunshine and breeze played a part in turning this spun web into a fireworks display!! It was so awesome and magical I wanted to share! Enjoy!

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Mangosteen

Tropical fruits in Costa Rica are completely OUTRAGEOUS! I’ve lived, by design, many years of my life in warm, beachy locations. I grew up on a beach and have been drawn to the ocean my whole life. Tropical fruits and sweet smelling flowers are things I thrive upon and I love to have lots of them in my daily life.

In the delicious country of Costa Rica, there are exotic fruits like I have never experienced. I would like to start introducing them to you and hopefully, make your mouth water! This tasty treat could be my number one, favorite, most unique fruit; the mangosteen. This perfect fruit stole my heart from the very first bite. Unfortunately, they are difficult to grow and young trees take a long time to produce fruit—up to ten years! They also have a very short season in which to devour them, from March to April-ish.  If you try an unripe one, they are not so good and can taste quite bitter.

But when these custardy gems are ripe, oops, I just drooled. Love me some mangosteens.

Nature Is So Cool

While walking on Playa Hermosa a few months ago, this piece of driftwood caught my eye. If you saw the photos from my previous post, here is a close up video to go with the pictures.

I’m certain, later that day, there was quite the feast that happened on this tree that washed ashore! It was so interesting and so sad at the same time, as these little crustaceans were soon to meet their demise. I wondered who would have been the first predators to discover such a delicacy attached to the wood? Birds? Iguanas? Coatis, snakes or raccoons?

Nature and the cycle of life are all around us. In Costa Rica, the world is alive and it’s beauty-fullness is profoundly offered up in abundance every day.

Pura Vida

 

 

The Beach Is Alive!

These photos are from a walk I took a couple of months ago on Playa Hermosa. We get a huge amount of driftwood on the beaches and I love to see what gets washed ashore. I was surprised, and a bit creeped out, when I realized what was growing, and living, on this massive chunk of tree that landed on the beach. At first, I thought they were mussels, but they looked more like little clams, now destined to go back into the food chain…

No Turkey. Teriyaki Tofu!

What to eat on Thanksgiving in Costa Rica? There were frozen turkeys at the grocery store in Uvita, but we were aiming for something not so traditional this year. Recently, we were at a farmers market that we hadn’t visited before and found a few unusually special treats! Kimchi, some incredible desserts and locally made tofu!! We love tofu and the only place we’ve seen it since we’ve lived here is in a can at the store. Tofu from a can does not sound very appetizing, even though one day we considered trying it, but thought better of the idea. The tofu we purchased at the farmers market was fresh and really, really tasty. We marinated it in teriyaki sauce with a bunch of freshly grated ginger. We also prepared cauliflower and zucchini with feta cheese to be put on the grill with the tofu. Adding to this feast was the kimchi, and some sautéed garlic, ginger and bok choy. It may sound like a strange combination of flavors, but it was amazing!

Other than catching up with friends and family, there were only two traditions that were honored this Thanksgiving. The traditions of savoring a (hard to find in Costa Rica!) yummy bottle of champagne and an afternoon of playing cards! Anyone who has been in our company over the last few years has probably played our favorite card game, Phase 10! It is such a fun game, anyone can play and anyone can lose. On this day, I would be the loser, absolutely crushed by the winner. Pura vida, Darlin’!

The whole afternoon was spent doing nothing except what we wanted, hanging out with our kitty Lola and enjoying each other’s company. My family of Howlers spent the day with us, watching leisurely from a big tree. A mighty special Thanksgiving indeed.

The three photos represent from start to finish of this wonder-filled day. The moon setting in the morning was so bright from the bedroom, I got up and tried to capture it’s light. Unfortunately, the flash went off on my phone because it was still dark, but you still see it’s beauty. The monkey photo is of my extended family here in Costa Rica. In this group there are several males and females, 3 babies and one newborn. I could, and sometimes do, spend hours admiring them. It is soo amazing to have them so close and to be able to see them so frequently. I love them all and feel privileged to have so much connection with them. The last photo is the sunset view from our deck. Who wouldn’t be thankful??

 

Lola Living The Life

Lola. Lola, living the life. This kitty continues to settle in and flourish here in Costa Rica. I am so happy to see her this happy and relaxed. This moving a cat to another country scenario could have gone many ways. But these days, she is the reina de la selva, the queen of the jungle! I cherish her amazing cat self every single day and am so grateful to have her here. It is just crazy to think what might have happened if we had left here behind in California, when she so obviously belongs with us!!