Posted by: marisundays | March 18, 2018

A unexpected and fortuitous meeting

Dear Friends,

It is a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. Although the dry season has made our
country look more like a desert than a jungle, the magnificent yellow flowers of
the cortez amarillo currently in bloom provide a (short) feast for our eyes. I am
grateful for all the goodness in my life, not the least of which is my husband’s
body-and-soul-nurturing omelette and hot coffee (from Atenas, of course!!). Get
out early today and enjoy all of Nature’s delights.

Most Saturdays find me taking a short drive around town. I enjoy going through
the center on this day because traffic is light, parking is plentiful and friendly
faces greet me as I walk by. If I am not in a big hurry, I take note of the way the
scenery has changed with the seasons and of any new businesses that have
made their way into our small town. Something always reminds me of why I
love this place. I am an insider permanently enjoying what tourists have to
leave behind.

After my walk around town, I proceeded to La Coope to purchase items that
we needed for our dinner. Saturdays at La Coope are very busy and I normally
avoid going but the errand could not be put off. I saw a friend I hadn’t talked to
in a very long time and we caught up on each other’s lives. Our conversation
touched briefly on the upcoming election, the confusing panorama and the sad
lack of interest in our citizens. We also talked about our respective on-going
personal projects.

After this unexpected “visit”, I returned home with renewed motivation to tackle
just one item on my list of things to do this month. I began by clearing the top of
my desk that had become a catch-all I avoided looking at. It’s amazing how
quickly energy-sapping physical clutter accumulates and how necessary it is to
stay on top of it. I am eager to work at my desk in the upcoming week now that
I have made a more welcoming atmosphere for my creative writing goals.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | March 11, 2018

Deserved Success!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a day I hope unfolds in wonderful and magical ways. Earlier, I
was witness to the non-stop moving of a tiny hummingbird outside. I had not
seen one quite so close to the house in a while; it was thrilling to watch its
energetic movements in the air. My day got off to a delightful start as I
welcomed the gift of another day.

On Friday morning we visited the local farmers market to stock up on the
fruits and vegetables we will need for the week. It has become one of my
favorite rituals to visit the stand of the couple from Zarcero, a neighboring
county where we almost purchased land many years ago. One look at the
vivid colors of their produce makes me lament there aren’t more days in the
week because I have to limit the amount I can purchase from week to week!

I enjoy observing newcomers to our farmers’ market, especially people who
visit us from North America or Europe. The vendor’s enthusiastic pitch often
includes an opportunity to taste the fresh, natural fruit that has been directly
picked by them. Many short-term residents have commented to me that they
are spoiled and cannot find a good papaya or pineapple “back home” and are
eager to return!

There is something quite unique about buying food directly from people who
grow it or make it. On Friday afternoon, I visited the new location of Crema y
Nata. In my opinion it is one of the finest bakeries in our small town and it is
becoming a “must stop” location for visitors. I remember their modest start. I
applaud their continued success because it is the result of their work ethic,
careful planning and focus on customer satisfaction; not easy or accidental.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | March 4, 2018

Traditional Farmers!

Dear Friends,

The crisp morning air nudged me awake. It makes me feel alive, alert
and ready to tackle the day. It is early. The sparkling blue sky is a lovely
canvas for the clouds that make their appearance. I am immensely thankful
for the momentary stillness that is broken only sporadically by the gentle
sounds of birds in the distance. Get out early and enjoy these great gifts.

Although the rainy season is still a couple of months away, serious farmers
are already preparing their land for planting. On Friday, as I was making
my way into town, I offered a ride to an acquaintance who was walking at
a slow pace with his shovel and spade after having worked on a plot of land
near my home. He was reluctant at first, remarking that his boots were dusty
and he didn’t want to dirty my car. I insisted and he finally accepted.

During our short ride I asked him why he was working on the land so early
and he remarked that even though it was the dry season, there was plenty of
haphazard growth that needed to be tended to before the rains began and the
planting got done. His enthusiasm was contagious. He was delighted to list
the different crops he would try this year: corn (of course), peppers, beans,
and tomatoes.

He had worked on the land for a few hours that morning. Although he was
tired and hot, he confessed that he felt no greater joy than in being outdoors.
A successful harvest will provide food for his family and a modest income
to cover their other needs. He thanked me for the “lift” but I was actually
the one who was lifted by the reminder of just how special and necessary
traditional farmers still are in our country.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | February 25, 2018

The transient nature of life

Dear Friends,

I woke up to an inspiring Sunday morning. The air is cool; the tiles on the
terrace brilliant and warm in the sunshine. It’s a good day to make wonderful
memories that we can revisit often in solitude. Get out early today just in
case another strong rainfall surprises us like it did yesterday! I will take my
own advice soon.

Every dry season in Atenas finds me observing the different shades of brown
grass on our lawn. The constant (and often strong) winds generate plenty of
leaves for our gardener (and rake) to tidy up. The hours consumed by that task
are numerous and require patience. When I come back to a recently-manicured
section of the lawn at our home, I feel gratitude and appreciation for his work.

I went to San José yesterday afternoon. The difference in temperature between
Atenas and San José is very noticeable for me. I enjoy observing the contrast of
of flowers and trees that bloom in this season in both places. Hydrangeas grow
large and colorful in San José, they seem to prefer the cooler air. On my drive, I
appreciate the singular beauty of nature’s hues against the trees’ naked branches.

corteza from
Cortez amarillo blossom

Some time ago, a group of volunteers planted trees along some roads in Atenas
during the first days of that year’s rainy season. It was an ambitious project that
required the trees to be watered manually the first couple of dry seasons. Some
of the trees did not survive; the ones that did are currently blooming and giving
us an opportunity to stop and look at the flowers. Their short-lived existence is
a reminder of the transient nature of life, something we should be mindful of.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

image free to use

Posted by: marisundays | February 18, 2018

The Power of Words

Dear Friends,

I awoke to the familiar sounds of my neighborhood on Sunday mornings.
My first cup of coffee, accompanied by a hearty breakfast, was restorative.
Breathe in, stretch and take in all that life offers you today. Do it leisurely;
remember to live the day fully, appreciating your ability to do so.

It feels wonderful to be enjoying my surroundings while reflecting on the
days spent in Granada, Nicaragua during their Poetry Festival. The cele-
bration included more than listening to poetry; it was an opportunity to see
expositions, listen to music and participate in round tables that discussed
themes related to poetry, literature, musical and performance arts.

My fascination with words and their exact meanings began when I was a
child. I am grateful to have grown up in a home where books were present
and reading was encouraged. I am the product of two different cultures. My
extended contact with two languages from a young age has allowed me to
absorb and infer the colors, flavors and nuances of the vocabulary in each.
I am now beginning to navigate the deep, complex world of poetry.

I believe in the power of words to unite or divide people. Today’s technology
allows us to access many platforms and vent our frustrations while remaining
anonymous, not always a good thing. Words, written or spoken, can make a
big difference in a person’s day. In these days of turmoil in our world, it is
more vital than ever before to acknowledge the power of words and to learn
to use them appropriately.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | February 11, 2018

International Poetry Festival Granada Nicaragua

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another Sunday morning. I am greeted by different sights and
and sounds this morning as I wake up in Granada, Nicaragua where I arrived
a few days ago after a very short flight from Costa Rica. Although I am not
in Atenas, I still intend to get out to enjoy and appreciate the different beauty
my eyes take in in this magnficent Colonial city. Get out early too and make
the most of the gift of this day.

Granada, colorful and charming, has been the host city for an International Poetry
Festival since 2005. This year´s edition begins today. I am eager to take part in
the festivities. During our leisurely walk yesterday evening, my companions and I
witnessed the transformation of the streets into the setting that will be home to
poets, spectators, residents and tourists for the next few days.

This city´s historical background and inspiring architecture, its spacious streets
and plazas, is the perfect backdrop for a festival which attempts to rescue and
strengthen national traditions. As I watched traditional dancing yesterday after-
noon, I became nostalgic when thinking about how much of our own culture has
disappeared in Costa Rica.

I admire the leaders of cultural groups who continue to volunteer their time and
talents to younger generations. It is wonderful to see the smiling faces of the
youngsters as they perform on stage or watch from the audience. It is clear that
they are proud of their culture and it is motivating to experience the welcoming
cordiality of people we pass by. I regret I can´t stay longer this time, but I know
that I will visit Nicaragua again in the future.

Sundays are special for me. My ritual of enjoying a leisurely breakfast while looking
back over the week is one of my favorite activities. This morning I find myself in a
different country but one where I can still enjoy the delicious tranquility that I have
come to appreciate as a great contributor to my mental health. I hope you take time
out to also enjoy a few hours of quiet reflection before you begin your week.

Have a wonderful day and a great week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | February 4, 2018

May Costa Rica Win!

Dear Friends,

A cool Sunday for rest, renewal and relaxation greets us all this morning. I see
a large gulp of tiny swallows swooping energetically outside my windows. Their
carefree gliding encourages me to get out early today to enjoy the fresh air and
beauty Nature provides on a daily basis. I urge you also to take in all this good-
ness before the day gets away.

For the last several months, Costa Rican citizens have been subject to heavy
political campaigning from 13 aspiring candidates to the Presidency. People
running for one of the 57 legislative seats have been equally forceful in their
advertisements. The last few days have been quiet (as required by law); we are
given a welcome rest so that we can reflect and make an informed decision.

As we head to the polls today, many of us are still undecided. Apathy and fear
have been competing in our minds and hearts as we come face to face with the
undeniable reality of corruption and self-interest in our elected officials. All of
us are angry with false and broken promises that threaten our long-standing
democracy and keep us from moving forward. More people than ever before
are expressing their intention to not vote today, something I find hard to accept.

While I understand and share the general disappointment with the candidates
and their proposals, I refuse to give up my right to vote today. I believe I have
an obligation to cast my ballot because I know that to be a full participant in
the affairs of my community and country, I have to take a stand. Voting is one
aspect of civics that is totally under our control. It behooves us to show love
for our country today by making the most responsible selection we can given
the choices. Do it early, polls close at 6 p.m. May Costa Rica win!

Have a wonderful day and a stupendous week, Marietta free to use image

Posted by: marisundays | January 28, 2018

A Perfect Sunday!

Good Morning Friends,

When I stepped onto the terrace this morning, mentally preparing for the
events of the day, I was conscious of the stillness in the air. The fallen
leaves strewn on the lawn are physical, visible reminders of yesterday’s
strong breezes that I hope will not repeat their appearance yet. Get out
early today and enjoy oneness with Nature before the day gets away.

I am grateful today for the richness of all aspects of my life. The serious
undertaking of being on the Board of Directors of the Hogar de Ancianos
has enhanced my existence in ways I never expected. I have had the honor
of congregating regularly with people from all walks of life who seek ways
to improve the services offered to this vulnerable population.

We had our semi-annual assembly yesterday afternoon. The presentation of
a short video highlighting some the year’s activities with and for our Seniors
was a reminder of how important it is to connect them to the community. It is
very rewarding to see how many young people choose to volunteer some of
their time at our institution because the contact benefits both sides greatly.

The members in attendance were also able to see that their ideas are taken in-
to account and made a reality when possible, such as improving the entrance
to make it more welcoming and purchasing two back-up generators which
keep everything running smoothly when the power goes out in Atenas. The
investment has granted peace of mind since we know our residents are safe.
We welcome input from the assembly and I am happy to serve on this team.

Have a perfect Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | January 21, 2018

Daydreaming can be good!

Dear Friends,

I awakened to a warm and still Sunday morning in Atenas. When I stand
on our terrace, I am aware of the layers and layers of different sounds in
the “country”: the cicadas on a nearby tree; the sound of neighborhood
dogs greeting walkers-by; the live music from a surrounding church. My
eyes spot a large iguana making its way across our lawn. I breathe in and
stretch my body in gratitude for everything in my world this morning.

We have already lived 3 weeks in 2018. My prediction is that 2018 will
go as quickly for me as 2017 did. Time has a way of escaping, especially
in these modern times of so many distractions entertaining us away from
the goals that we have set for ourselves. Every so often, I scold myself
for not getting more done in a day, then I remind myself that being hard
on me by having unrealistic expectations serves no one!

I asked my daughter years ago who she would be if she had enough time,
money and the support of her family and the universe. She stared at me
for a long minute and told me she had no answer for that question…yet. I
ask myself the same question often but then don’t spend enough time on
listening for the answer as some distraction or interruption forces me to
change my focus.

My priorities for my journey through life have changed as I accept that
time is finite and that a solid sense of direction is a must if I want to leave
a concrete legacy for my descendants. I am nostalgic for the carefree days
of childhood when daydreaming was not a waste of time but a worthwhile
endeavor that sparked my creativity and gave glimpses to life’s complexity.

French philosopher Gabriel Marcel’s quote about life being a mystery to be
lived rather than a problem to be solved was a phrase my mother referred to
when situations beyond her control presented themselves in her life. I am
glad I heard her say it often because it became a saying for me as well. My
regret is that I never asked her where she first heard it and I can only guess
that the answer lies in the many books in my parents’ libraries.

Have a wonderful, daydreamy Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | January 14, 2018

The Pura Vida Climate!

Dear Friends,

A very chilly, hazy, renewal Sunday greeted me today in San José. The
whistling wind rushing past the windows made me want to remain under
the covers but I bravely began my day, grateful that even though I was
not in Atenas, my Dad was brewing a pot of Atenas coffee. The aroma
wafted through the air as I began my Sunday routine. Get out early today
before the second Sunday of 2018 gets away from you.

The last couple of weeks have gone very quickly, almost in a surreal way,
as we navigate the reality that is ours after my Mom’s passing. Since I
don’t have my car here, my Dad and I have been doing most of our errands
by taxi. I have walked even more in the last several days than I do when I
am in New York, and I walk around there quite a bit. The experience has
been very interesting on many different fronts.

Atenas mornings are almost always very sunny. The mountains surround
me and I pinch myself often as a reminder to be thankful for the life I am
living. San Francisco dos Rios’ (San José) skies are not always clear but
from the second floor windows of my parents’ home, I can appreciate the
ring of mountains in the distance and the view of the twinkling lights at
night is frankly spectacular. I recall how my mother loved the view!

I am never more aware of our country’s micro climates than when I make
the drive back and forth from San José to Atenas. The overall climate of
Costa Rica is “mild”, but we have lately been exposed to drastic seasonal
changes that have me carrying an umbrella and wearing a sweater in what
ought to be our “summer”. It is very uplifting, however, that no matter
where I find myself in this nation, a greeting is always offered and replied
to. The climate of Pura Vida never changes!

Have a great day and a wonderful week, Marietta

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