I started asking for gotas de valeriana at the local farmacia about three weeks ago; the same pharmacy where I bought the bottle I was running low on. In fact, I started asking about a replacement when mine was only half empty because I was not born to Costa Rica yesterday.
When I asked the nice clerk at the farmacia, she looked in the glass case and then produced valerian capsules. No, thank you, I want the drops. The capsules make my head feel like its going to explode and I find I’m more wired than if I had taken nothing to get to sleep. So, no, those would not work. She then produced linden-flower drops, passion-flower drops, and chamomile drops, but no valerian drops.
“We could order them for you,” she offered.
“Thank you. That would be great.”
But apparently “could” was the operative word, because the following week when I asked for them I got exactly the same routine: the looking, the offering, the ordering from an entirely different clerk.
Yesterday, I was in town and they assured me the valerian drops would be in that afternoon. I did notice it was 2 p.m. when I left the store, but never mind. I asked them to guard a bottle for me. Not to worry, they said. There will be lots. I thanked them very much. Just as I was leaving I remembered and asked about the borax I also ordered. Ah, well, the proveedor brought baking soda instead of borax, so that should be here next week. We all laughed.
I was in town checking the post office, yet again, for a package my brother mailed three weeks ago from the States. Most often those packages take about ten days, but this one contains four credit cards tucked inside a book, plus a fountain pen and some inks. I am very anxious to get these items so, of course, they are taking forever to get here.
The cards have a special history. Our credit cards were hacked sometime back in December and we cancelled them. Replacement cards were sent to our accountant in the States who then mailed them to us. I waited and waited and began to worry that they’d been intercepted. Another care package from my brother was sent to me about a week after the cards and that package arrived in ten days flat. But not the cards. So, I cancelled the cards and had the bank issue new ones. A month and a half later the now cancelled cards arrived.
I had our accountant send the new cards to my brother—the expeditor extraordinaire. I also ordered some special paper from Amazon for my new fountain pen a week later. That arrived yesterday. I now have beautiful paper that does not bleed or feather the ink… but no fountain pen (the photo here is as close as I’ve come to owning it). No credit cards either, and, so far, no valerian drops.
I noticed last night I am just about out.
To reiterate, this is the land for the stalwart personality; not just the intrepid, but also a spunky person of good humor. I have not always risen to the occasion, but I have learned to mask my frustration and anger because if you take out your frustrations on them, clerks and officials will simply look straight past you for the next in line. You will get nothing. Sometimes you get nothing anyway but at least they feel bad for you.
6 thoughts on “Costa Rica: A Land for The Indomitable Spirit”
Your blog has only just reappeared in my e mail…I must have been missing a lot so I’ll be running through the back issues!
Life in rural France was good training for life in Costa Rica….I’m far less stressed here despite having three years of disruption due to a fight with a would be developer.
We know that we can’t rely on anything being in stock at any given moment…..and we know that something slated to arrive next week probably won’t….we know that you need well placed friends…..we know that the answer to ‘where is it’ will be a smile and a shrug…..
Just like France (where you can’t rely on the smile)…but warmer!
Hi, Helen. Nice to hear from you again. I do see and read your blog posts but for some reason I’m unable to comment. Your website or my brains, not sure which is at fault, but I love hearing about your adventures. And, yes, a smile and a shrug is definitely the best. You’d be surprised–or maybe not–at how many crabby expat campers there are here. Why bother to stay, I say. Oh, and I actually am trying to get that pharmacy to carry what I want on a regular basis– it’s like working in the Peace Corps. 😉
I’m sorry that you can’t comment…other people have a similar problem but goodness only knows what the answer is. It can happen on Blogger too…there are times when I’d like to have the people who keep tweaking these sites in front of me to ask them why they can’t get the basics right…the communication bit.
Or would I get the smile and the shrug….?
No, the number of unhappy campers doesn’t surprise me….the ones who thought they were coming to live among simple, grateful natives….the ones who thought they were going to be able to employ people for peanuts….the ones who thought they would have a higher social status than in their home country….the ones who find that their high social status in their home country counts for nothing when they leave it…the daft old men who think that young Costa Rican women want them for their good looks….
The list is endless!
One day your pharmacy will have a whole box of the drops….which day, which year, however…
I’ll make another stab at commenting, Helen. It’s something about WordPress not liking *any* password I use…. Loved your last post, by the way. We used to have more than a few of those locally made “bridges” as well. Haha. Pura vida, my friend.
Great info about living in Costa Rica! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!
Thanks for stopping by, Melanie, and I’m glad you enjoyed the site. Pura Vida.