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kenn

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About kenn

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  1. Does anyone know EXACTLY what documents are required to switch from temporary to permanent residency, and what the procedure is? ARCR is a great resource for getting initial residency (even permanent for those who obtain initial residency through family relationships) but I'm not seeing much on how those of us already in make the switch. I vaguely know that some kind of application/letter is required, and I suspect a CR police report is necessary, but I'm in the dark as to exactly how to proceed in making the switch. Surely it's simpler than the first time around, since the fingerprints and all the stamped documents are already in, so it seems pointless to hire a lawyer. However, I'm not seeing the step-by-step process outlined for this the way I do the initial residencies.
  2. kenn

    Where can I find good cheese?

    On cheese, sort of covered, you're wisest to fill a suitcase full of it and pay the $100 surcharge for the suitcase over even trying to buy it here. Auto Mercado usually has a pretty good selection, but you have to bring your banker with you to get financing in order to be able to afford it. I can't believe that others have mentioned Price Smart. I did buy an off-brand block of sharp cheddar there a few weeks ago, and was surprised by how decent it was. I make Welsh rarebit on occasion, and need a good sharp cheese to pull it off, and this sufficed. However, it wasn't truly a sharp cheese. The thing is though, I have scoured groceries in the past to find ANY sharp cheddar. You end up being grateful to find anything at any price. Cheese is a constant struggle to find, and then you have to battle your accountant to be able to afford it. You are way wiser to bring it in yourself. I know, I have done this. On beer (which I use in Welsh rarebit too) I'm not as sympathetic. Having made (a lot) of my own beer in the US, I never understood the point of the microbreweries. To my tastes they just made the same cheap stuff I made at home and then charged a premium for it. I do wonder, and perhaps someone can advise, about beer-making in CR. Cheap beer actually isn't that cheap here, and while I didn't bring my beer-making equipment down with me and it is a hassle to make beer, I am tempted to start again. There should be a market for this. (I briefly looked into making cheese, but that strikes me as way too much hassle.) The Cartago microbrewery I thought folded, or maybe it didn't, I dunno, but we're like down (or up) to one. At minimum there's no selection. However, I am definitely not arrogant about beer (although frankly disagree with those who like Bavaria) and have my own preferred local brands. (Honestly, I think Imperial Silver is the best.) However, to my mind Warsteiner is pretty much the gold standard for a good mass marketed beer, with Beck's in second place, and you can buy both here at most large grocery stores. Heineken is available everywhere too, but in addition to not being a Heineken fan, the Heineken here is locally brewed (I hear) and IMO isn't as good as it is in the US. Carlsburg (which in the US we always called "Carlsbad") is a popular import here, and for some strange reason the Ticos love Corona (at a high price). Then too, Toña from Nicaragua has recently been sold here, and is quite popular. Personally, I don't care for it, and know that in Nicaragua Toña makes different varieties of beer, some of which I prefer to the stuff they export, but the one they export is popular. (In Nicaragua I prefer Victoria, but that isn't exported to CR.) Not least, when in Rome . . . They have their own rotgut liquor here, plus the rum from Nicaragua that is very popular. Basically, you can stay happily drunk on the local stuff--though finding decent cheese you can afford will be a problem.
  3. Ya know, the absence of Goodwill stores and the like is a real downside to CR. I still can't figure out where the used furniture goes here, except I supposed in "furnished apartments." I have a landlord-supplied three-legged table that has a metal plate on it that says "Ambassador Hotel." Well, we know where my landlord got it! But it only has three of four blasted legs and needs to be propped up against a wall so as not to fall down. I guess the next step is to use it as firewood in one of those chicken-roasting joints. Ain't nothing used here for sale. On the other hand, Pequeño Mundo is fun and the roast chicken is good.
  4. In my limited experience perder and chinear are huge. If you miss a phone call, it is perder, as if the phone call itself got lost, a classic (sorry) shirking of responsibility allowed by Spanish. In English, the speaker owns up to it. Either "I missed it" or "I forgot." In Spanish it is the call's fault because it got lost! Also, if you fail a class in school, of course it's not your fault. Rather, the class got lost (perder)! The best translation for chinear is "exchange" in the anthropological sense of exchange theory. It is spoiling, or gift-giving, or granting favors, but also reciprocal. The spoiled is expected to spoil in return! In family therapy, this can lead to enmeshment, basically dense networks of exchange that nobody can break free from. It's kind of related to malcreado. Latinos love mutual spoiling. In English we say, "What are you, crippled? Get you're own damn beer!" and give gift certificates for massages rather than perform them ourselves. In Latin America, it's more complicated (and enmeshed).
  5. Yep, a guy like him would fit right in!
  6. I think the grand error is to equate public with private morality. The two domains really are different, and lots of good public figures have had their personal foibles. Of course, as sectorbets notes, when a politician (like Arnold) makes private morality a political issue, then fails to live up to that standard himself, you can't really let that politician slide. BTW, as a lefty, I must ask if Arnold-the-immigrant didn't confuse his parties when he got off the boat. To my mind he has always fit better in the contemporary Democratic Party than the Republican Party--and if he had just been a Democratic he wouldn't have been as pressured to embrace silly family values things he obviously didn't believe. He must have just confused his parties. More seriously, Arnold harkens back to a former time when there were a lot more moderate Republicans than there are today. I miss those folks. Arnold and only a handful like him remain IMO the best hope for the Republican Party, and thus indirectly for the country. Politicians after all have to work together across the aisle, and my sense is that even lefties can work with a guy like Arnold. I wish there were more Republicans like him. Oh well, another sex scandal. Counting Osama's enthusiasm for pornography, this makes three this past week. Public figures fall almost everyday on this issue, which strikes me as a mistake.
  7. kenn

    volunteering in Costa Rica

    I'm confused, since the poster said "volunteer" and didn't ask for money. Am I supposed to read between the lines? My sense is that any elementary school would be glad to have her, depending of course upon her attitude. The English teachers are usually pretty weak, but if a volunteer shows up to help rather than criticize, I think any elementary school would welcome that. Just show up with a smile and offer. Also, my bias, choose a public school. The private schools can already afford decent teachers. A public school English-teacher will likely appreciate the help, as long as it isn't threatening.
  8. kenn

    Renter's rights

    Having once read the CR laws on this matter, I believe that JulieH is roughly correct. However, if I remember correctly, rent in colones can rise 15% a year and it is not a "foreign currency" that prevents this, but rather specifically dollars. Also, I'm simply not sure that the "rent increase" amounts are paralleled by the right to remain for three years. Landlords (as well as tenants) have a million rights, like the right not to rent to Nicas, so I wouldn't extrapolate much from the law on rent increases. Also, I know that my landlord at least feigns ignorance of even this law, and raises the rent anyway when he wants tenants to leave. My sense is that this is an area in which "good will" rules. Often you have legal rights in CR that aren't worth the paper they're printed on. It's best to have a personal understanding with the landlord and consider your contract as a last ditch legal document. I mean, ask why only one year? If it's about the rent, the landlord is wrong, but there could be other factors.
  9. kenn

    CAJA in trouble?

    You know, if you read the article and do quick back-of-the-envelope arithmetic, you see that if ONLY the CR government agencies paid the back Caja taxes they owe the system would be sound. This is before you even count the private businesses and individuals who don't pay what they owe. If ever there was a "sky is falling" article it is this one. Just look at the arithmetic. The system is struggling because EVEN THE GOVERNMENT isn't paying its tax obligation. Granted, everything, including health care, is a trade off. The Caja would have waits and screw ups under the best of circumstances. However, what's really going on is rampant tax cheating. Come on, it isn't that expensive, I pay my share, and others should too.
  10. You get statements? I actually received one for one of my accounts via email today from BCR, but I don't bank online and if I get one annually via email I feel like I'm "in the loop." Honestly, I don't even get statements, no way no how. Every once in awhile I get a random email, but it's certainly not like clockwork.
  11. I'm pretty sure that at least health care in Canada is province-specific, meaning that you have to check the rules in your province.
  12. kenn

    Spanish Teacher

    If you can ever get por and para straight please let the rest of us know! Personally, I gravitate to text messaging in which I can just use "p" and let the reader decide. Prepositions are darn near impossible . . .
  13. kenn

    Tico culture questions.

    I believe you got the right answer about the shower, namely that water volume affects the water temperature. However, no one mentioned that some US environmentalists (at least I have read) are recommending these showers as a way of reducing power usage. This makes sense to me, and I'm sure they can be done safely, though I admit they don't always seem rigged the safest way in CR. As for the Get Well cards and whatnot, this is of some passing interest to me. I don't believe that as a rule Ticos do this sort of thing. Sickness and death are kind of inside the family concerns, and neither friends nor acquaintances seem to feel that it is any of their business. The culture is fairly callous in this regard, and I believe this is another sign of its underdeveloped civic sense. However, I have found that it is perfectly acceptable and even appreciated to "break the rules" in nice ways like when someone is sick. Friendly concern is always appreciated, I believe.
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