Here's my article in AM Costa Rica which will stay on the front page of their Retirement page for a week, then go to archives. It’s also in today’s March 24th issue of AM Costa Rica.
My latest Blog appears on Writer Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Blog site:
“My Potpourri of Promotional Strategies,” a Guest Blog may be accessed at this link: https://bookbrowsing.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/
The Women's Club of Costa Rica celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Read about the first event here: http://wccr.org/news/recuerdos-by-helen-dunn-frame/
Check out the book review that I wrote in December 2014 about "A Nobody in a Somebody World."
A new attorney is handling the UCIMED program.
UCIMED Voluntary Donor Program Facilitates Facing Death
(Article I wrote for the Tico Times)
Being a part of the Universidad de Ciencias Mêdicas voluntary donor program “made my grieving easier,” Charles Jennings said after his wife’s recent death. Knowing the end was imminent; he and his wife Dianne faced the inevitable, agreed that she would remain at home for the duration, and welcomed the promise of the university’s care. Being a doctor the deceased knew that medical students are most grateful to have cadavers to study, especially females, and treat them with the utmost of respect.
Unfortunately Dianne died on a Saturday morning which complicated procedures as very few donors in the program have passed. The guard who answered the phone knew nothing about it but made several calls including to the UCIMED Administrator Guillermo Elizondo who promptly handled the situation.
Firstly he arranged for very respectful employees of Camposanto Silencio y Paz located in Barva, Heredia, who arrived in a clean and neat vehicle with a stainless steel casket, to fetch the remains. The other was to provide the guards with written instructions on how to handle such calls in the future. A close friend said that despite the initial confusion, everything was handled within five hours of the death.
Chuck and his wife prudently had taken care of personal affairs a couple of months earlier. He had made copies of their cédulas (she was a citizen), the death certificate (provided by the CAJA’s division Centro Nacional de Control de Dolor y Cuidados Paliativos referred to as the Clinica Dolor), and a copy of the agreement with UCIMED. The Clinica Dolor in Barva donated a hospital bed and an oxygen generator to them and provided medicine, medical and psychiatric services at home for about a year. CAJA patients with major illnesses or who are terminally ill are eligible for this little known care.
As UCIMED does not issue death certificates it is the responsibility of the next of kin or a friend to obtain one from the doctor in the hospital if the person dies in one, a Medical Examiner, or other licensed medical provider. The school takes care of embalming the body which will be studied for five years and handles any other legal requirements. At the end of the term, the corpse may be buried in a cemetery that the school contracts with or claimed by a family member or friend.
Cultural differences and religious beliefs may account for why only three Costa Ricans of 125 donors have signed up for the program. Chuck and his friend noticed that the Ticos present at his house who wanted to hold a wake were astonished when the body was taken away. They did not understand that the couple had agreed it would be just a cadaver and no longer his loved one.
For Chuck having his wife a willing participant in the program helped give him closure. He also has signed up believing that his four children would have difficulty dropping everything in the States to handle final arrangements for him. For a single person it reduces the responsibility for friends and distant family.
To participate in the program, simply make an appointment with attorney and notary Ana Isabel Borbón by calling 2549-0000 x1170. She has been with UCIMED for seven years and has handled this program since its inception five years ago. Bilingual, she processes your request and provides a contract. UCIMED is located at Sabana Oeste, 400 meters al oeste (west) del Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería(M.A.G.) on the old road to Escazú. www.ucimed.com
UPDATES TO RETIRING IN COSTA RICA:
"One accommodation to check out is Tremendo Hostel in Santa Ana run by very nice people and well kept, and in walking distance to Santa Ana. www.tremendohostel.com"
The Hostel has become two apartments. If interested contact William at 8327-9298 about renting the 3 BR down or
4 BR up, each with two baths, furnished, for an all-inclusive price. Lovely setting. No pets. 12-15-12
Expat Book Lovers Join English Language Book Clubs, Sub-groups of Two Women’s Organizations
The Women’s Club (WCCR) and the Newcomers Costa Rica in addition to meetings and luncheons both have special interest subgroups from which members may choose. They include a book club that meets on the on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Some women choose only one club for membership over the other while many belong to both. Whether an Expat still reads hard copies or prefers a Kindle or Nook those retiring to Costa Rica may enjoy the social atmosphere of these book clubs.
The day before Thanksgiving I went to the WCCR book club meeting as a guest. The book they were reviewing was Fifty Shades of Grey, a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James (first names Erica Leonard), the first in a trilogy that has made her extremely wealthy. In an interview I saw she wouldn’t reveal how she knew all about eroticism. Unlike book clubs I’ve belonged to participants are not required to read the book as long as the two reviewers have read it and lead the discussion.
This time the two women presenters brought food which cleverly reflected the theme of the book beginning with a tie that looked much like the tie on the book’s cover. A roasted chicken was tied in rope to represent bondage. French bread slices were spread with cream cheese and dotted with sliced black olives. And finally 50 cupcakes were iced in varying shades of grey.
After everyone had viewed the display, nibbled, and some club business was completed, the lively discussion began. Part of it evolved around the enigma about why so many women throughout the world are intrigued with James’ story. The presenters, who had read all three books in the series, recommended reading the last two books and skipping the first. The members who host the next session have a hard act to follow.
The Newcomers’ group mainly reads fiction and members are asked to read the book and to provide input during the discussion. For the Christmas meeting only members prepare food based on the theme of the book. This December the cuisine is Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish.
If you are interested in joining the out-of-the-ordinary WCCR group that meets at 9:30 a.m. and reads and reports on books from members’ libraries, contact hostess Mary Alice Lesko at 2203-1385 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently the Newcomers’ book club meets at Bagelmen’s in Guachipelin at 12:30 p.m. but the location may change to Cuidad Colon because many participants live in Puriscal. Contact Laurie Bass at 2444-1683 or email@example.com. 12/13/12
When I spoke to One Montgomery in October 2012 I was asked about the population in Costa Rica. Recently I had read on the REAL Costa Rica Blog that Immigration had announced a figure. “Of the 289,237 legal residents (foreigners) living in Costa Rica, only 8,400 are US Citizens. This number appears inaccurate.
Further research from various sources estimates the total population in the country is about 4,600,000. Obviously foreigners include Nicaraguans (probably the largest group because they come to work as laborers), Canadians, Europeans, Asians and other nationalities.
Recently I participated in a census handled by the Cruz Rojas but I imagine many foreigners did not, especially because the form was in Spanish. Those foreigners that are labeled “perpetual tourists” because they have not obtained residency status and have to leave the country every 90 days for 72 hours in order to get new visas probably weren’t counted. Then the persons living here temporarily as a result of their jobs must be overlooked too. Other foreigners who live in CR part time may not have been in the country when the census was taken.
I seem to recall that in the US, the Census Bureau has had problems counting everyone for a variety of reasons. I’m sure that is the case in Costa Rica.
Bottom line for anyone considering living in CR, the English speaking
community is large enough to be a small town. It affords the opportunity to make friends with those of like mindsets and to avoid as much as possible the Peyton Place attitudes one encounters. When a
resident speaks Spanish the circle of friends may increase. 11/15/12