Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finally! An Update.

Wow, where to start.  I have a lot of pictures to post but first things first.  We will not be going to China to teach English.  As a result of our physicals for the application, I found out that I have breast cancer and there is not enough time to complete the treatments before Sept.  We are hoping that they will accept us again next year.

Next, what came first, Costa Rica or the Kitchen Remodel?  I am thinking Costa Rica so I am posting some of the pictures from our trip.  A lot of them were taken with my camera (which is not the best) and so do not do justice to what we saw.  The country was very diverse.  Some of it was dry and not so pretty but the rainforest and other areas were beautiful.  We had a great time. 

We arrived in Liberia late in the evening and proceeded to try and get several taxis to take us to our hotel.  When two of the taxis arrived close together and we kept waiting and waiting for the third, we thought our limited Spanish may have gotten some us lost.  Thankfully, they finally arrived and we settled in.  We gathered early the next morning in the open air reception area.  The hotel was very peaceful and the included breakfast that was very good..

This animal is a Coati.  I had seen quite a few when I was in Costa Rica before but this was the only one on this trip.

I never saw a monkey but we did see lots of different kinds of birds. 


 From Liberia we headed for Montiverde.  There were 10 of us in two mini-vans.  You can see the van in front of us through the dust.  We had a two hour ride on dirt roads to get to our destination.  It made for a fun ride.
Half way to Montiverde, the driver pulled into a driveway up in the hills.  It looked like someones house but turned out to be a gas station.  We thought we were back in Micronesia.  They filled the tank one gallon jug at a time.

This was an important notice that we found in several of the bathrooms of our hotels.  You do not put toilet paper in any of the toilets in Latin American countries.  They all have a trash can next to the toilet to drop your paper in.  A very hard habit to break!!  And actually kind of a yucky thing to do.

This was our room at the Poco A Poco - Little by Little.  Small but comfortable and good AC.  No good place to gather and play cards though so we had to try and rig some lighting and play on a small table on the balcony just outside the rooms. 

No matter where we go, we will always find the good ice cream shops!!





From Montiverde we had another two hour ride in the mini-vans on dirt roads again.  At the end of the road, literally, we came to a lake where we carted all our luggage down to a boat, loaded it on and then had about a half hour ride across the lake.

On the other side we had to haul all our luggage off the boat and then carry it up an embankment to a waiting bus - at least we were all in one vehicle now and it was a paved road.

We were now in Arenal.  This was our first view of the Arenal Volcano.  It is usually shrouded in clouds.  I was there with Jonathan and Margo several years ago.  The one thing we wanted to see was the top of the volcano.  We were there for several days and I think we saw most of it for about 5 minutes.

This was our bungalow room at the resort we stayed in in Arenal.  It was very spacious, clean and COOL.  Loved the air conditioning.

This picture shows the view from our front porch.  The three days we were there, we saw the volcano clearly each morning.  A man said he had been coming for years and this was the first time he had seen the top of the mountain.  We were very lucky.
There was a very nice dining area where we had buffet breakfast every morning.

                     One new experience we had was white water rafting.  This was probably the highlight of Arenal.  We had signed up for a tour that would have taken only a few hours but the water on the rivers is released from a dam and they were not releasing water that day for the river we were scheduled for.  The tour company switched us to another river that was several hours away.  It turned out to be a much

better ride than we would have had.  We were on the river for several hours.  It rained here and there but did not matter because we were already soaking wet.  On the way back to town, we stopped at a restaurant and had a wonderful buffet dinner.  All in all, a fantastic day.


We spent one afternoon doing a canopy tour of the Arenal Cloudforest.  There were 12 major suspension type bridges.  It was an interesting and beautiful walk.  
 Nice pathways through the forest.
Quite a variety of bridge types.
Happy Hikers!

After the Bridge Tour, we headed for the little town of Arenal.  Wayne and I had seen enough after an hour or so but everyone else wanted to stay and have dinner.  We hopped a taxi and headed back to the hotel where we explored the seven different levels of the hot springs.  The highest level was the hottest.  I skipped that one and waited for Wayne in the next level down.  I thought it was hot enough.  We gradually worked our way down the seven levels.  Each was progressively cooler and cleaner.  You end up in a shallow pool that gives the effect of a beach.  Very nice and we enjoyed talking to all the "old" people we shared the pools with.  There was a tour group of really senior citizens! 

After our Arenal experience we headed for the West Coast of Costa Rica.  It was another long bus trip but this time we were all together and it was paved roads.  Along the way we made a stop at a waterfall that was obviously very popular.  We could not believe how many people were there.  To get to the falls you have to go down a somewhat steep, rocky, dirt path.  People were sailing down the path with ice chests, bikes, you name it.  We took about a 5 minute look and then headed up the hill again.  Definitely too crowded to enjoy.

 Next stop was for lunch.  We ate at a very large, outdoor restaurant that was just on the side of the road.  Genie ordered a virgin pina colada and we kept wondering why it was taking so long.  When they finally brought it out we could see that someone had obviously been spending a lot of time sculpting her work of art.

Our last stop was Puerto Hermosa (or something like that).  It was on the coast but the area was hot and dry.  The beach was hot, dirty, smelly and crowded so we spent one whole afternoon just chilling out in the pool.  From pool to table to play cards!  My idea of a nice afternoon.

 We found this cute little outdoor rib place run by a couple who moved here from Canada.  They used to vacation here and liked it so much they decided to stay for good.

 We hired a boat for a three hour tour.  No pier so it was fun trying to get out to the boat and then in it while it was rocking with the waves.

We stopped at an island that was supposed to have monkeys on it.  Surprise! We did not see any.
We did see a termite nest though.
And we saw some trees that had a very interesting defense mechanism.  Those are actually sharp thorns on the bark.

Next stop Salt Lake City.  We left the rest of the group at the Liberia airport and headed back to SLC to pick up our car.  We had planned on staying there for several days but it was somewhat anti-climactic and we were ready to get home.  We attended Music and the Spoken Word at the Tabernacle, a Sacrament Meeting in the Joseph Smith Building and then tried to fill in the rest of Sunday.  Monday morning we visited my Auntie Caye in Provo and then headed for home.

Now on to the kitchen remodel.  I wish I had before pictures to post along with these but I am to lazy to go back through all our pictures and find some.  We had remodeled the kitchen about 15 years ago but this was a much more dramatic change from what it had been.  

 The first thing Wayne did was to tear out the sofits and install canned lighting.  It opened the kitchen up and gave it a lot better lighting.  He took off all the doors and drawers, sanded and painted the cabinets white.  We had new doors and drawers custom made.  Above the stove, we raised the cabinet and took it all the way to the ceiling. Below the stove Wayne put in drawers instead of the doors.  The bottom one is very deep and holds large pots and pans.  He also did a shallow drawer just beneath the cooktop which holds all the utensils.  It was just wasted space before.

The microwave was installed up higher and gives more open space above the stove.  I can now fit very large pots on the stove with no problem.  We installed double ovens which I love. 

 I love the offset sizing of the new sink also.  It is so much easier to fill large pots with water and to wash those large pots.  The faucet is one of those that pulls out and is magnetized so it goes back in very nicely.

We left three cabinet doors open in the middle and had ripples glass installed.  Looks very nice.  Quartz counter tops and all new hardware. 

The remodel took several months but it was well worth it.  Wayne did a fantastic job and I am so happy with everything.

1 comment:

kim said...

Sounds like a fun trip and the kitchen looks great!