Yesterday was quite a day. I am actually STILL exhausted and wanting to nap, but too much sleep is not a good thing for me. So I am trying to stay busy, while resting occasionally on the couch, usually with a child or two snuggling up against me (L and G are the BEST snugglers). But before I head off to the land of resting – by watching a show, something we rarely get to do around here, I felt I could better use my time by sharing what happened to me yesterday . . . on the Road to Escazu.
My dear, sweet, kind, thoughtful, caring and most wonderful Dayna came to visit Costa Rica for a couple weeks and personally asked if I would come visit her. I jumped at the chance, even realizing that I would have to drive in the WORST traffic I have ever seen in Costa Rica. Our main freeway into San Jose is “half” shut down, causing immense traffic to build up all around the cities, making it miserable to go a short 7 miles.
It literally took me one hour just to get through a 2 mile stretch. Sadly, my car overheated and ceased (something it did last Friday – read about our adventure that day here) and left me stranded in the middle of a very busy and dangerous crossways. I felt so helpless and got out of the car, not being able to drive it but also not knowing how to get it out of the narrow crossway of multi-directional traffic. A couple of cars drove over medians to get around my car then stopped and asked what was wrong (which is AMAZING I could even understand them!!) but all I could say was my car was very hot and not functioning. They shrugged their shoulders and drove off. Okay?!?
But I stayed calm. I CHOSE not to freak out and silently prayed for help to come. That was when 2 dirt-bike Police came riding up (yes, they drive dirt bikes) and asked what I was doing. I asked for help, explaining I didn’t speak Spanish well, and they said, “Ya. Anyway . . .” What?!?! The mom in me wanted to smack their little mouths for being so impatient and rude but I stayed calm and simply told them the same thing I told the other people who asked. Thankfully they chose to help me and immediately zipped around my car and blocked the traffic but expected me to drive my car to the near-by gas station (which is a COMPLETE miracle by the way. Gas stations are far and few between here, so the fact that I broke down right in front of one was a literal miracle for me!)
But my car was ceased up. I tried to explain it to them but they stamped their foot and looked at me to “Move it!!! We can’t wait all day!” I looked at them with a look of “Okay, okay. I’m going.” So I took a deep breath and hopped into my car, looking forward to what would await me.
To my surprise, it not only started and moved forward, it also let me go in reverse, avoiding the HUGE ditch that was right in front of me (another reason I was trying to stay calm – how would people be able to push my car and have me go forward and then in reverse and then forward, all in BUSY TRAFFIC!!) But I was spared from such stress and my car chugged to the gas station, just as the dirt-bike police drove off . . . off to do what exactly?
Sadly, the gas station had an incline drive-way, so my car came to a complete stop. I hopped out and waved over a gas attendant to help me out. He grabbed another man and the 3 of us pushed my car onto their property where I received speedy service to try and cool my radiator down and fill it up with coolant. It guzzled 2.5 gallons of coolant and only cooled down to “medium” in the 30 minutes I was there. The attendant said it was “normal” and I could drive it. He also replaced the radiator cap, hoping that was the problem. But only minutes after driving the car from the gas station, in very steep hilly conditions, my car overheated again. So I found a shady place to let the car cool, wondering how I would ever make it up the steep mountainside of Escazu to my sweet friend Dayna.
Again I chose to stay calm and not panic that I was all alone, on a strange dead-end road, not knowing anyone and was vulnerable to having someone steal from me or worse, hurt me. I stayed positive, even though I REALLY wanted to spend the afternoon with Dayna, and opened my mind to the possibility that I might not get to do what I wanted but chose to be okay if that indeed happened. I also opened my mind to being patient, not wanting to hurry the process of cooling my car down, so that I wouldn’t do permanent damage to my car.
In all my “calming down”, I noticed a man in my side view mirror, holding a cane, looking at my car. I didn’t panic. I got out and lifted the hood to help the car cool down and waved a “good day” to him, before I hopped back into the safety of my car. Well, that intrigued him and he came walking down the hill towards me. He actually came right up to my window and asked me, in very difficult to understand Spanish, what I was doing? I did my best to explain and he showed me nothing but respect, staying with me until my car was ready to leave the safety of the cool shade of a tree.
I found out that he was a retired police officer, so not only was he kind but he knew how to protect me. Another blessing! The man and I agreed that it was time to give it a try, but no sooner had I left, the car started to heat up on me. So I had to make Plan B. I hoped I could make it to a near-by restaurant that Dayna and I first met in person at, and hoped she could come to me and we could maybe just eat lunch together, while my car cooled down completely or that she could take me to her house and do what she had planned for us to do. But I had no way to reach her. My Ooma account, that allows me to call USA numbers, wasn’t working on my phone and Paul was not able to be reached for help. So I had to call my house and have K call Dayna on our USA line and tell her my plan. I stayed on the cell phone to coach K through the call (she isn’t comfortable talking on the phone with adults yet).
As I gave K my ideas for a new plan, the restaurant name upset her. She thought I was saying “Mocopond” which in Spanish was booger-pond and she was too embarrassed to say something so childish to Dayna. It was actually called “Mocapan” but I actually kept calling it “Mocopan”. Dayna had no idea what I was saying and with K refusing to help, they passed the phone to E, who thought I was saying something even fancier. So he told her “Mocopán!” It was just a hot mess, to say the least. Eventually Dayna knew what they were saying and she said she was on the way.
When she picked me up, I expressed my frustration with the phone call and shared my irritation that K wouldn’t tell her “Mocopan”. Dayna just laughed and laughed and then helped me see MY ERROR, to which I felt terrible for the miscommunication “I” had caused my own children. We had a GREAT laugh and she made me promise to write this silly miscommunication and different perspective mix up down for my family to remember one day.
After a good laugh, and realizing that it had taken me 2 hours to get to her that day, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of tuna melts and fresh grapes, while chatting about her children attending BYU and the futures they awaited. Then we shared the afternoon cooking dinner for our families, Teriyaki meatballs from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, a blogger she heard at BYU and has come to enjoy reading her daily blog posts and recipes. We talked and talked, rather I talked and talked, and she listened and we had a most wonderful time.
But time was against us. Traffic grows even worse in the afternoon and Dayna still had to get me back to my car, parked at “Mocapan”. I quickly showed her my cross-stitch, sharing a bit of wisdom I had gained in seeing my life as a cross-stitch project, and then we left. We arrived at the restaurant, my car still there (not towed – thank heaven!) and cooled down. I immediately drove to the nearest gas station to get more coolant, making sure to fill it while it was cooled. The car had already drank 3 gallons (I had put the last .5 in while letting the car cool on the hill with the man & his cane – Rafael was his name). So I was surprised when the gas attendant put another 1.5 gallons into the car.
I quickly used the restroom, anticipating the long traffic wait (thankfully I took care of myself – something I am learning to do better at) and drove off to Lindora as safely and quickly as I could. Sadly, the car started to heat up all over again. I was nervous. Paul couldn’t come to my rescue (not only because he had a meeting to be to at 6 p.m. but because the traffic would keep him from getting to me until AFTER his meeting would even be over. Traffic is THAT BAD right now!) So I tapped into the faith I had and stayed as calm as I could, requesting all the help I could get from Heavenly Father but being willing to let things happen how they will happen.
Thankfully I had my cross-stitching with me, because it kept my mind not only off the traffic craziness but off the temperature gauge. And with bumper-to-bumper traffic, no one minded me turning off my car as we sat for 5-10 minutes before we could move the one or two car lengths ahead of us. It could have been mind-numbingly painful but I kept positive music on, stayed faithful, stayed positive, counted my blessings that the kids were safe and sound and their father was almost home from work, if they needed him, and that eventually, even if it took me until later tonight, I would get home, and that is ALL that mattered to me.
My car did fairly well and allowed me to pass the new mall on Lindora and made it to a new condo development, where I pulled over and let the car cool down from its dangerous temperatures. Then after a 15 minute rest, I tried again, not thinking to fill the car up with the leftover coolant that the attendant had given to me. I FINALLY made it through Lindora and pulled off onto a road that takes us by our friend’s condos, the McCune’s and Robbins’, but just as I was about to drive by, the car hit the “danger zone” and I had to pull over. Thankfully, in an area I was very familiar with.
I know the security guards at the condos, even though they don’t seem to like me very much, and felt comfortable asking them to fill up my collection of coolant jugs. The car took another 2.5 gallons of fluid. What was going on? We had a new radiator cap. There were no leaks as well. What else could be causing the fluid to burn up so quickly? Paul finally called me back and I explained where I was and what had happened that day. I miss the “old Paul.” The Paul that would always calm me down and give me the courage to keep pluggin’ along. Things at work have not been good and having the car breakdown was not what he wanted for his weekend. But I did my best to stay positive, despite the comments he made in frustration and negativity of the situation, and told him things would be okay.
THAT is the HARDEST thing to do! STAY POSITIVE, especially when you have NO IDEA how to fix the problem, where to take the car to be fixed, to trust they will fix it and not rip you off AND how to afford it. BUT . . . “faith without works is dead.” So I CHOSE to stay positive and hopeful and told him it would be okay. I encouraged him with the blessings I had been thinking of earlier (that the kids were safe, there was food to eat and him going to his meeting was okay because the traffic would stop him from helping me). I knew that eventually I would get home, so having him leave for his meeting would be just fine. That was another blessing. He cared about me and wanted my safety. It never occurred to me that he prayed for me, but he did this morning, thanking Heavenly Father for my safe return and asking for help with the car. See, our good example does rub off on others and offers them a second option, other than negativity and frustration, when faced with a problem.
After filling the car up with water, it cooled down quickly and I was on the road again, but I BARELY made it home before the car hit boiling point. Thankfully I was safe and sound and Paul was still home, just finishing up a bowl of the mac & cheese I had left over from lunch the day before. He gobbled up a meatball or two, suggesting the kids and I reheat the mac & cheese to go with the meatballs, instead of the rice I was about to make, and left for his meeting.
Instead of battling with the idea of whether to cook rice or not, I opted to get the mac & cheese eaten and heated it up, along with some broccoli hybrid cauliflower that tasted pretty great. Dinner was ready in less than 10 minutes and we ate. With me being exhausted, this was a HUGE blessing! We also enjoyed the maracuya drink I had made the day before and it made for the perfect meal. We had a fun discussion and enjoyed each other’s company but my eyelids were closing on me; I needed to get to bed. I looked at the clock and it was barely 6:00 pm. I was shocked I was so wiped out but it hit me, I had been driven for 4 hours. That is a LONG day!
We cleaned up our meal and gathered for our evening family time of singing one of the 300 hymns we have to enjoy, reading the scriptures (one verse in Spanish and English) and family prayers. I cherish these days because they will not stay like this forever. I also cherish them because this morning and night routine was NOT EASY to begin. I literally thought I was messing up royally because our kids fought us on it . . . OUR kids. You know, the kids you all say are so amazing, and kind, and sweet, and have a light about them. THEY didn’t want to do this. . . but after 2 years (yes people, 2 years) we are having cherished moments that make it worth it. (and then the next morning we are back to square one. Isn’t that just life?)
So after a hug goodnight and making sure things are set for the night, I headed up the stairs for a quick shower to wash off the yucky sweat from sitting in a baking car (no AC when your car is overheating) for 2 hours. My body was achy and I just needed to curl up in bed and go to sleep . . . but it was barely 7 pm. Not a good idea with a rise time of 5:30 a.m. So I opted to watch a show and rest until Paul came home and we both fell asleep just after 9 p.m.
All in all, it was a FANTASTIC DAY and I will cherish the fact that I GOT to see my friend Dayna, got home safely in my car and had dinner all ready to go for my cute family. There ARE blessings all around us. . . the question is if we are taking the time to look for them and then write them down. I recommended this challenge to a sweet friend of mine today. She too just moved from Utah to a new state and is learning to adjust to a new life with her husband and 2 little girls. I hoped this challenge would help lift her burdens a bit higher off her shoulders and bring her the joy and happiness that I am experiencing participating in it. Life isn’t always roses and butterflies but it is worth looking for them each day and IF you see one, celebrate it! That is God’s love in physical form. He loves you! I love you!!