So, last week, Kevin and I had to drive down to San Jose (2 hrs) to renew our cedula (residency documentation). We made an appointment two weeks prior for this appointment.
So we drove down to the capital to the designated Bank of Costa Rica, and Kevin's paperwork was no problem. When it came to my stuff, they told me that our health card had expired even though we share the very same health card (we had no idea there was an expiry date). Why was it fine for him, but not for me? Who knows... Costa Rica, baby!
So, I'm told I have to renew our health care before they can process my cedula renewal and they give me another appointment for the following week.
I drove down this past Wednesday on my own and decided while I was in the city I would visit my dear friend, Jodi, and stay the night. Jodi works in a spa and retreat hotel and I thought it would be nice to just relax, maybe have a massage, then leave early in the morning.
I left early on Wednesday morning, got to the bank in good time and when I announced my arrival to the clerk at the door, he checked the roster for my name. He looked a little confused. He stepped away then came back a few minutes later and I'm told my appointment was the day before!!! PARDON? I couldn't believe it. I begged them to give me an appointment later the same day. Pleease!! (To be fair, it was my fault for getting the day wrong... I was POSITIVE it was on Wednesday at 10:30 am... but nope, it was Tuesday... God bless language barriers). The woman gave me a phone number to call (a call centre... in Spanish) for me to reschedule another appointment, but I couldn't get through. I tried several more times. Then my phone (pay as you go) ran out of money, so I had to find a place to top it up. I asked a few passersby if they knew where I could do this and a nice gentleman pointed to a shop up the road. I topped up my minutes, but by this time I was feeling too stressed and frustrated to make the call again. I was worried I wouldn't understand the person on the other end of the line and get all muddled up.
I decided to go meet Jodi and let her know what was going on. She greeted me at the entrance of the hotel. I was a hot mess... totally frazzled. Although I had a GPS, driving in San Jose in the best of times can be nerve wracking, but when one is already stressed out, things just tend to feel more intense. Oh, and did I mention the temperature was a 99% humid 35C/95F. I was drenched and feeling drained. Jodi reassured me that everything would be okay and not to worry. She dialed the call centre. After quite the run-around, they told her that the next available appointment at that same bank (which was my preferred choice since I knew where it was and knew there was easy access to parking) was September 8th... my cedula expires September 10th... way too close for comfort. I shook my head, telling her to ask them for an appointment sooner ANYWHERE in the city... after a few minutes, they told her there was an opening at 10:30 am for the very next day (Thursday)... Oh my goodness! YES please!
I had no idea where this bank was, but Jodi did, and said we could look it up on Google maps. Jodi found the coordinates and I plugged them into my GPS, crossing my fingers they would get me to my destination the next morning. It was smack dab in the centre of the city. And traffic could be horrendous, I was told. I decided I would leave at 8 am (it's only 18 km/11 miles from where she lives, but it's not about distance, it's about how long it takes).
Once that was all sorted, Jodi and her husband, Coco, served a delicious dinner. We had a great evening of catching up. I slept over, but got zero sleep. I tossed and turned all night... it was stinkin' hot (I'm used to cooler nights in the mountains), with city noises I'm not used to.
In the morning, I thanked Jodi and Coco, and off I went. The GPS directed me to the bank without incident. No traffic: I got to the bank at 8:45 am. It only took me a few minutes to find a parking space a couple of blocks away. I thought I might wait in the car, but then I was tugged to go and make sure I was at the right bank (I had lots of time to find the right one if it wasn't). The man at the door said I was indeed at the right bank (yay!). I told him I had an appointment, but I was super early. He said to go in, sit down and as soon as that woman in the corner was done serving her client, to let her know that I'd arrived. I did as he suggested. Five minutes later, the woman was available. I told her who I was and that I was early. She motioned to the seat in front of her desk and said she'd be happy to help me immediately. Woot! She didn't ask for half the documentation that was requested of us. However, when she saw the stack of photocopies in my folder, she did mention how organized I was. It all took less than 10 minutes. I was out of there by 9:15 am and on the road back home.
I haven't felt this stressed in a very long time. I don't like driving in cities not knowing where I'm going. I despise being late for any appointment (I'm a little over the top compulsive with this one). But, all is well in my world again. I should receive my new cedula in the mail in a few weeks. Nice to be back in paradise where life is pretty darn stress-free. I'm reminded just how blessed I am. Contrast is a great teacher.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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