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About JuliaHenson

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  • Birthday 11/19/1940
  1. Hi, Darryl, I just resolved the difficulty accessing my ARCR @mail - I was trying it again, and suddenly remembered something that Tico Grande (thank you!) told me - that I shouldn't be putting in all kinds of special 'stuff' in ZoneAlarm Pro. I couldn't really remember if that related to the mail, but before I put in my name/address to go in, I pulled up ZAPro and selected the @mail site under the Privacy listings. I brought up the 'options', and set all 3 tabs to 'default'. Went back to the @mail, signed in, and Presto! Hope this helps you as well, Darryl! Julia
  2. Darryl, it might be helpful to read the info on the recent posting, 'Problems with CR consulates in the US' (or something like that. It will give you a much better idea of the different details dealt with and how it works. Good luck! Julia
  3. I am also from Denver, Colorado. I have been here in Costa Rica for 2 years now. I know that things change fast, but I can tell you what my experience was: I contacted the Denver, Colorado Consultate. They never responded - either to calls or email. The ARCR told me I could go through Texas. Texas is bigger, manned every day, and ever so nice. Plus, they knew what they were doing! My suggestion is to do exactly what the ARCR tells you to do. I knew no one here - going from scratch. I took their list of things to do and I did exactly - to the nth degree - what they said to do - from each state I needed to get it from (read every line - it really says something - call and ask if you are not sure). When I got here, I came with every piece of paper in hand, correctly processed and stamped. The attorney (handily located in the ARCR office and extremely helpful) said my application as a pensionada was faster than most. It pays to have the ARCR handle everyhing. They know the laws here - you don't. And perhaps the Denver person you spoke to didn't care enough to help. You won't find that problem at the ARCR. I give it - all of them - 5 stars! Don't hassle yourself. Post an inquiry on the board here. You will find that virtually everybody will tell you the same thing - let somebody who knows all about it do it! Good luck to you! Julia
  4. Here I am - again. I cannot find the answer to the problem when this happened last. I'm very sorry to bother you again, but I can't log in to my webmail. It goes immediately to a timeout message. I use Internet Explorer 6 SP2 and I have only the ARCR email address. Thank you! (Grrr) Julia
  5. Well, I finally did get a fanny pack made that slips onto a regular belt. I feel much safer. Just one note, however - if you decide to get a fanny pack like that, be sure to feed the belt-end behind the fanny pack! Don't leave it hanging out there for anyone to grab like I did the other day! It wasn't stolen, but the whole purpose behind getting a fanny pack like that was lost, verdad? Chow! Julia
  6. I have been unable to access my email for some time. As soon as I login, it immediately gives me a windows telling me my session has timed out. I have put this site in my always allowed zones everywhere I can think of. I have searched for how to change a timeout and can't find it. An Internet search didn't help. Some of the help messages that turned up on the search told me that I might not be accepting cookies from that site. I checked the cookies I have, and it does not appear. Can you tell me how to fix this? Thank you, Julia Henson
  7. JuliaHenson

    Common Sense Safety

    I see a lot of backpacks carried on the chest, as opposed to the back, so that is one option. I see a lot of households with dogs here, and the houses are set up for security usually - bars on the windows as well as the front and back doors made of metal, frequently 2 front doors - one metal, the other wood (the inside door). Many houses have wrought iron locking fences around them, so that no one can walk up to the door. I don't know how much people here know about Rottweilers, but I know when I see a Rottweiler in the yard, I keep my distance. They are not very common, and I don't have personal experience with them - only what I have read. My personal experience is that living with an access point of any kind to a river or area that is not visible by others is not a good idea. Even with barbed wire along the top of a concrete wall, mine was breached with no problem. I was very lucky, in that, in order to ensure that I always had my keys with me, I had both the front and back doors fixed so that they could not shut and lock. Because they had to have a key to get out, the burglars could carry nothing out! They could only get out of the small back kitchen window they came in! Some people might be more concerned about fire safety, but for me, that was a blessing, especially since that particular house bordered on a river and they could have managed to get a lot of things out, if they had been able to open the back door - no one could have seen them. They had all the time in the world. It was only about a 6 foot section that did not back onto another house, but it was enough to be inviting, evidently. With large families, it is easier to have someone in the house at all times, even if you have a dog, bars and barbed wire. I have had inside pockets sewn to my slacks, as well. Work great! The idea of having 'throw-away cash' is also one that I do. I carry a couple thousand colones bills in a pocket. Julia
  8. Before I came, I checked my medications on the Internet to see if they were available here. I wish I could tell you how I found out, but everything I did was a Google search. It told me that several of my medications were not available here, so I was able to also check Canadian pharmacies on the Internet to see if they were available there. They, of course, have prices. Also, it told me if that medication was or was not available there, as well. However, I could not get the Costa Rican prices until I got here. I'm not sure if this was helpful, but I know you can find out if certain medications are available in Costa Rica by Internet, and maybe that will give you a place to start. Julia
  9. JuliaHenson

    Money Exchange

    You might want to ensure that the bank you want to use in terms of lower fees, etc., has a branch near where you will be living. I use the Banco Nacional (BN) because supposedly, it has the most branches in C.R. However, it takes 45 days to get my money when I deposit a check from a Wells Fargo Bank in Colorado - obviously, not a 'companion' bank. It will cost me $35 to wire from WFB. It takes 2 letters from other Banco Nacional account holders to even get an account, but after it is open, you can have a zero balance and they won't close it. ARCR can help you with one of the letters to open an account. There is a branch near their office. I have a debit card, which accesses only the colones account, just in case it is stolen. You can opt to have it access your dollars account in case you overdraw. Most of the stores take this debit card, if they are in a shopping center. The local vegetable store or 10 cent store, etc., will not take any cards. Nor will Pali, a major grocery store. I pay all my bills by Internet. I even transfer my rent to my landlady's account via Internet. BN has an excellent system for that. I pay my water, electricity, RACSA (Internet) and phone. I don't speak much Spanish, but the bank will go over how to set up the Internet and the site is pretty intuitive and really well done. Usually, you can find a person who speaks some English, although sometimes not much. The main branch in San José will have someone who speaks English most of the time. I would not suggest that you have any credit cards or debit cards mailed direct to C.R. Perhaps use ARCR's mail service, so you be sure you receive anything related to finances. At least that's what I do, and I'm one of these paranoid types!
  10. JuliaHenson

    What and what not to bring?

    The thing I missed the most and have been unable to find, are the white vinyl-covered stackable shelves I had. They don't appear to be available here. Also, some major bookstores will not order books for you. Librería Internacional will, but they cost about double what they do in the U.S. (my personal experience was a Windows XP book by Microsoft - The retail price was $30, I paid $65) I was also sorry I didn't bring my English PDR and companion books. Julia
  11. Personally, I have Social Security and gave the document showing what I get to the ARCR (or the attorney there-I don't remember) to prove my income. I have it direct deposited to my U.S. account and transfer the dollars by check into my Dolares account here in C.R. What appears to count (having just passed my first year residency) is whether or not you have an original bank slip showing transferring your dollars into colones for the basic residency requirement amount. I have subsequently opened a colones account and transfer money from the dolares account into that. But it's important to remember that you must go into the bank and get that orginal transfer slip. The posting that indicates you have to watch the dates is very important. It was very difficult for me to track what I had in the bank because what I deposited was not credited for 45 days - that's 6 weeks not 3 weeks. Other banks I have checked have the same time span, although I haven't checked them all. Julia
  12. JuliaHenson

    Common Sense Safety

    I'm sure that will happen. Thanks for the good thoughts, PJJ Julia
  13. JuliaHenson

    Common Sense Safety

    I'm glad if it was helpful, PJJ. I have heard that it can be much different in the outlying districts. You might want to get some input about that, too. There are a couple different Costa Rica sites that give a lot of personal experience information. A Google search worked very well for me while I was still in the States considering. It is possible to get an Internet copy of The Tico Times. That would enable you to familiarize yourself with what is going on before you come. Even the Ads give you some idea of what is going on. Julia
  14. JuliaHenson

    Common Sense Safety

    Hi, PJJ, In response to your question about how far I go for safety... A lot of what I do has evolved from different times and needs and I have kept them because they work for me. For example, the special pockets sewn into my slacks. I developed that when I lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My doctor was in Ciudad Juarez, and I had been told it was a high-theft area. I devised a purse that fit onto a man's belt and couldn't be cut off. Unfortunately, the box that was in never made it to C.R., but that concept would work for a fanny pack. A thick leather man's belt is just not something you can cut through. I may get around to it yet. Carrying identifying information in a leg wallet was started when I lived in an elderly community in Denver. One of the residents (large 3 building complex) fell in the street between the buildings. No one knew her name or her apartment number, even though she was with card-playing friends at the time. The resident association President, who was a friend of mine, suggested that it was a wise move to give basic information and keep it on you. My particular way was a leg wallet that I found on the Internet. It has 2 zipped wallets and stretches. Neither pocket is big enough for a passport, but I could easily fold my notarized copy of it into one of the pockets. I have a second notarized copy in my legal documents at home, just in case I need it (but again, PJJ, I tend to be a very detailed person!) As I noted the different needs I had here, I changed my purses accordingly. I noticed that many of the women carried their purses under their arm. I needed to carry a Spanish Dictionary with me, etc., etc. The only thing I changed was how I carried it, and that was also partly due to the extra weight on my shoulder - wearing it under the arm kept the chiropractor happy, too. The backpack was really too hard on my back anyway. Several Costaricense friends of mine have told me to be careful, as a Gringa and a woman, as well. So I didn't suddenly have to change all my concepts of safety when I moved to San José - most of those were already in place before I got here. Also, just observing normal safety rules for women, such as walking as though you have a definite destination, at a decent pace and looking as though you are aware is a great part of safety. But I cannot observe those rules just yet because of a slight brain injury. I do not look 'together' enough, and cannot walk at a good pace, so I am more of a target. I read a lot about San José on the Internet before coming, and thus, I was already aware that San José is known for thefts. Yes, there are certain areas where a woman should not go at certain hours, and most people will tell you where they are - it's the same for any big city. Hope this helps, Julia
  15. Hi, Michael, Thank you for the good thoughts, but I am really doing just fine. It will all work out eventually, I'm sure. I, too, think that the suggestion of having a place that would accommodate someone to live with you, sounds like a good option. Be sure to check the laws about the minimum you need to pay and the payroll taxes that might be required. Also, I think - don't really know - that you will be required to give them a Christmas bonus of an amount equal to 1 1/2 times their monthly salary. I vaguely recall reading something about it. As for the dental and vision costs, it's relative to the income, Michael. In comparison to the U.S., it is much cheaper. To give you an idea, I had a root canal for $300. In the Denver area, it would have been $850. When I say relative to income, my income is now much less than when I was working, so this amount becomes more of a challenge than it would have been. The same applies to what I have run into for eyeglasses. That comment was only relative to my income. It is much cheaper, even at 'Gringa' rates. I think going to Ryan's seminars is probably an excellent idea. When I first got here, it was too much of a challenge to my brain and I was pretty untogether. I have moved again, and shortly will resume my attempt to get in touch with other ARCR members, which I think is a good idea. Probably would have saved me much grief, but I was unable to get anywhere by myself. That has been changing recently. Maybe I will meet you at one of the seminars! Now if I can only keep it together enough to check the calendar for activities at the ARCR.... Best regards, Julia

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