Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

A Sunny Christmas Day in Costa Rica

Christmas Day came and with it beautiful sunny weather. We got up, had a big breakfast and then decided to venture out for a Christmas Day walk on the mountain on the other side of our little Rio Oro valley in Santa Ana. We had been told that if we followed one of the roads in the valley far enough the road would slowly turn from a paved road into a smaller dirt track before disappearing into a narrow little path into the jungle.

What could be better than that we thought and headed up along Calle Cebadilla until the road had disappeared and we couldn’t get any further except by foot. So we got out of the car, I strapped little E into the carrier and followed J, my mum and my sister into the jungle. We walked on the beautiful path up along the mountain side for about 40 mins until we suddenly got up to a paved road again. This road snaked its way higher up the mountain along a ridge with beautiful views to both sides, on one side we saw Salitral and on the other side we had our little community along Calle Cebadilla.

The sun was wonderfully warm, the sky blue with a few scattered clouds only and I was spending Christmas day in my beige shorts, new lovely orange top, my walking shoes (that get way too little action at the moment!) and little E as the perfect little accessory in the carrier up on a mountain in Costa Rica. If I would have been shown a picture of me up there two years ago and been told that this is what I would be doing Christmas 2011 I think I would not have believed them. The baby being the biggest surprise, but also that I would still be in Costa Rica. Two years ago we were just wrapping things up in London before our big move in March.

But how lovely life is. Here I am with the most wonderful man and baby in my life, surrounded by gorgeous nature, with my mum and sister visiting me in my paradise in order to celebrate Christmas in the sun together once again. I definitely cannot complain. What a fantastic way to end a very special year, while slowly starting to prepare for Ā the new year and all the wonders it will bring.

Banana Muffins on a Rainy Saturday

Yesterday we did our weekly supermarket shop. Obviously I forgot a few essentials as I dont seem to be able to get my act together and make a list, but I got most of the stuff I wanted when it comes to supermarket stuff and today is our market day so today we are picking up the fruit and the vegetables for the week. I didnt really think I would be a fan of weekly shops, I like popping in now and then to pick up stuff, but I must say it is growing on me..

Anyhow, one of the things I forgot to top up was my flour reserve. We had some old bananas kicking about from last weeks fruit shop and I really wanted to use them to make some banana bread. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a shopping list I didnt have enough flour at home to make banana bread. I also realised I didnt have an oven form for loafs, so I had to come up with something else. Roaming around on the internet I found a lovely Swedish food blog with a delicious sounding recipe for banana muffins! And fortunately, the flour I had at home was enough for half a batch of delicious banana muffins!

I whipped it all up and had the first part of my small batch in the oven when J came home. It smelt lovely… Second batch was coming up as well, but I decided to do mini muffins instead of normal sized ones. Unfortunately thanks to my wonderfully short memory and attention span, I left them in a tiny bit too long and they gained a bit too much colour for my liking. šŸ˜¦

But we ended up with 7 delicious, golden brown muffins to enjoy while the doggies could have the semi burned mini muffins I thought. I shared one between them and my gosh did they like them! I have since then been followed around by two little doggies, looking up at me with sad puppy eyes, begging for more of the deliciousness I had before.. Extraordinary. This reaction is right up there along with empanadas and chicken, possibly even higher!

In summary, take a look at this simple recipe for banana muffins, its perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon when you need some banana sunshine in cupcake form. Dog approved as well.

16 normal sized or 8 large ones

You need :
150 grams soft butter
2 dl sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
3 bananas (ripe, ripe, ripe)
4 dl flour (I used coarse wheat flour)

This is how you do it:
Use an electrical whisk and mix butter and sugar to an even paste. Mix in the vanilla sugar and the baking powder. Add the eggs, one at a time while whisking. Mash the bananas and mix them in with the wheat flour. Fill the cupcake shapes so they are 3/4 full. Place in the oven at 200 degrees C for approximately 15 min. If you make American sized cupcakes, again, fill the shapes to 3/4 only. They will rise a bit. Add 1o mins to the cooking time.

Earthquake in Costa Rica

Having spent a year here in Costa Rica I had not yet felt a big earthquake. When we moved here there was apparently a big one that same night, but me and J were so exhausted and happily asleep in bed we had no idea what was happening. The next one was a small one that I did feel somewhat. Sitting in the office though, this earthquake could almost have been compared to one of the huge lorries driving past on the pista, that’s about as rough as it got.

Then my third one was a complete miss. We were driving and apparently you cannot feel a thing when you are in a car.

But yesterdays, wow! Now I can say I have been in an earthquake! It started shaking a bit, built up a bit more until it properly shook for the last few seconds. Probably 20 seconds in total of rattling the earth! Impressive what mother nature can do.. According to yesterdays reports it measured about 6 on the Richter scale and the epicentreĀ (6km north of Puriscal as reported by Oviscori) is about 40mins drive from us here in Santa Ana.

Oviscori 10 Last Earthquakes in Costa Rica

Google Maps Epicentre of Costa Rican Earthquake 13.05.11

Thankfully we were all ok. The dogs were a bit unsettled when we got home but I am not sure if that was thanks to the earthquake or thanks to the torrential rain that followed. But I bet the little lady in my tummy was happily snuggled up and blissfully unaware of it all, but who knows, maybe she could feel her mummy’s excitement and enjoyed the harmless ride as well.

Costa Rica Earthquake 13th May 2011

Force of Nature

Rainy Season Costa Rica

The rain here in Costa Rica is truly amazing, it is just so abundant and forceful, and most impressively, there is so much of it. Ā I have never seen anything like it.

The other week we were driving home from J’s work, and as we got on the ramp up to the highway, we were surprised to find it completely covered by about 60 cm of water.. One car was already stuck in the water, but our super car (with the excellent driver..) slowly ploughed through the water and up on the highway. I now understand why some cars around here have those snorkel thingies on them. I mean, I understand why they could be useful, I dont understand why some people would need them though as I bet they never head out of the Gringo Bubble that is Santa Ana and Escazu.

I love these surprises that nature throws at us over here, its beauty amazes me every day, and the impressive power of the elements has definitely made an impact on me. Especially this Sunday as I was flipped over by a huge wave over at Barranca, dragged along the bottom and held down until I ran out of air before it decided to spit me out. I came out spluttering like a half drowned cat, clinging to my board while trying to catch my breath. Scary.

But just like the wave and the force of the water really brought me to its knees, a few minutes later, I was up on the board, taming the wave, having one of my best rides ever. ā¤

I do love how much nature affects every aspect of life over here. And I especially love it when you learn to just go with it all and realise its all there to be used to your pure enjoyment, but its up to you to take advantage of it and make the most of it! Although, I do think I will need some professional rain gear to survive the remaining months of rain over here, as apparently the best is yet to come…

Waking up in a Cloud

Today I woke up in a cloud for the third day in a row.. I think the rainy season has truly started over here now, with chillier air, rainy days and nights as well as clouds everywhere.

Our mountain looks like it is being smothered by a cloud on most days. On other days it looks and feels like a brewing witch’s cauldron, with smoke slowly creeping over the edges and spilling into the valley.

I didn’t realise how cold it would get over here.. Its feels much more wintery, with the temperature having dropped to around 18Ā degrees, even lower at night, and with the humidity it actually feels just like a slightly warmer version of London. Great. Escape from London weather straight into its Costa Rican counterpart.

So this weekend I am flying to New York to renew my visa and to visit my lovely friend Carolina, and I guess I should say enjoy the lovely early summer weather of the northern hemisphere..

I am very much looking forward to a quick trip to the concrete jungle and to all the shopping I am planning to do. Sadly, for me it will be warm clothes and woolly sweaters all the way instead of the summery dresses the rest of the city will be enjoying.

I fly like paper get high like planes

I should really make this into a travel blog instead of an ambitious blog about my goals in life since I dont seem to be making much progress with them, but I do keep clocking up airmile and hotel points. I am already on my mmpteenth trip with work this month, currently lying on the bed eating macaroons in my hotelroom in Amsterdam.

During this month I have already been to Brussels, Stockholm, Helsinki, Brussels, Antwerp, Tilburg and Amsterdam, where I will be for the next 5 days still.. Next month I am doing Brussels and Antwerp again, followed by Malta for three days and then Paris for two days after a short weekend break back in London. After careful consideration I am leaving out Algarve because I just dont have the energy. I never though I would say this, but too much travelling is too much travelling.

Thankfully on the 20th May I am off to Cuba on a holiday. Yes, its another trip but at least this time its my trip where I will decide everything; what I do, where I go, who I see! And I get to do it with my lovely friend C! Bringing back the fun in travelling!

During my travels this year I have realised that you just have to focus on the small pleasures that also business travel can bring you. For example those fabulous macaroons I mentioned earlier, but also the practicalisites, such as a fabulous travel agency. Personally, I am now oficially in love with mine; Mr and Mrs Smith..

They sort out my hotels, flights and any other arrangement immediately and throw in all kinds of fantastic extras to make my travelling just that tiny bit nicer. And it sure is working!

Another small joy that I have found for my travels are the Moleskine city guidebooks that you can write yourself! I love dotting down all the things I find on around the various cities during my adventures, only to be able to later on have the memories collected between the black covers..

I guess I should add something travel related to my goals this year, but I actually think I will just see them as a nice added bonus. Although they are keeping me from completing my oficially set goals. But at least I get air miles..

Living in Londres

Vulgar Fractions – A vulgar fraction is one based on ordinary or everyday arithmetic as opposed to decimal fractions. It refers specifically to one in which two whole numbers (the numerator and denominator) are placed above and below a horizontal line, where neither part can be zero. Americans also know vulgar fractions as common fractions.

Vulgar comes from the Latin adjective vulgaris that derives from vulgus, the common people. This is also the origin of Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible, which comes from the closely related vulgata, meaning ā€œfor the publicā€ (it was so, when it was written, in the fourth century AD).

Vulgar turned up first in English in the fourteenth century and then referred to something that was in common or general use or something customary or done as a matter of everyday practice.

And this is exactly what this blog is.. Common.. With the numerator larger than the denominator, never equal to zero and with a preference of using a horizontal line to using a diagonal line.

I wish I would have started this blog earlier, just like I wish I would have kept writing my diary during my years in Barcelona, or how I wish I would have taken more photographs from my years in Scotland and in Spain. Now all I have to remember those times by are my essays that I wrote and that survived the move, photos taken by other people, and hazy memories of people, places and a few scars that insist on hanging around.

To make the aim of my blog a bit clearer for myself, I have decided to make myself a promise.. But before that I better give some background to this..

I have lived in London since Halloween 2006.. An incredible two years already. The first year was interesting from a work point of view, but tragic from a social point of view. I barely survived the first winter, using up most of my sunshine storage from my years in Barcelona in order to survive, but was hence left with no energy or lust of life at all for the second winter. Never before had I realised how prone to depression I was, and how much my creative side was suffering from living on the “Island of teadrinkers” and “South of the River”..

My life companion at the moment is my hot water bottle. My creative outlet is Facebook. Hmmm..

But this Autumn things changed. I decided to channel my hyperactivity into salsa again (and not store it all in my tummy,bum and hips) and my love for all things Spanish, Latinamerican and above all my love for dancing. It started with a a normal cross body, continued with a double spin, moved on to triple spins, encouraged styling and plantadas… And suddenly a whole new world was starting to open up to me. I was back on the pista, and was starting to find “my people” in London.

Today I am really happy about living in London. Ironically enough, my London is a salsa dancing, Spanish speaking oasis with Latinos, Spaniards, Salseros.. I guess I dont really live in London anymore, but Londres.

Anyways, with my newfound passion for Salsa, I have been spending at least three four nights a week on the pista. Improving my kick-ass moves, learning new things and of course, just Strutting My Stuff in general!

Salsa is my watershed. With every dance I do, or move I learn, I get even more excited about my other interests as well. And about balancing life and work. I am starting to rebalance things, taking time from my excessive work hours and putting it into the dancing.. Into my photography.. Into designing my skateboards.. And in general into looking at my life and what I want to do with it.

Hence my promise to myself and to this blog.. This blog will be a testament to the final part of my stay in Londres, but especially a dedication to my dancing, my photography and my skateboard painting/designing.

Before I leave London I want to:

– Get to know the salsa community properly over here, I want to have found a great teacher and improved my dancing while getting to know lots of new dancers.

– I want to create a portfolio of my photographs, focussing on the following areas: BMX/Skate, Dancing, Urban Landscape, Photoshopping images and with the goal of publishing a photograph in a magazine, a digital magazine or somewhere public.

– I want to do an exhibition of my skateboards in a random small gallery/bar accompanied by my photographs.

So there.. These are my three pillars, or should I say three fractions for this blog and for the next months/year(s?) in Londres.. I will document my struggles and victories here to encourage myself and share the experiences with friends who sadly cannot always be close to me and share the everyday tears and laughs, however common they are. I will aim to every week move closer to one of the abovementioned goals until I can tick them off as accomplished. And just like my favourite mathematical concept, I will try to keep the fraction as vulgar as possible, always common and heavy on the top!