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About Saratica

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  1. My two teens flew to NJ today and a friend told me that if they were residents, they would need permission from PANI. Fortunately, we are not yet residents. We are still intramite, having applied for rentista status. At the airport, I wondered why the security guy kept asking if we were permanent residents. He seemed fixated on "permanent"... I was able to say no. The boys got on the flight fine. But I have questions now... Is rentista considered permanent? Do PANI laws apply to a rentista family, even if they are U.S. citizens? Is homeschooling illegal for expats who are here under rentista status? There was some discussion on another forum about homeschooling being illegal. An expat with a homeschooled 8 year old was told by PANI that she must put her daughter in school or risk having her removed from the home. Sorry to be so dumb on this important issue. The learning curve moving to a foreign country is so overwhelming. I've wondered off and on about this question but ignorance was bliss and I was trying to figure out how to buy eggs... Thank you!
  2. One of my blog readers wrote to me - they are on their way thru Central America looking at retirement options. They were taken aback, as many of us were, by Panama's swift and sudden change in their tourist visa. It used to be 90 days, then you'd apply for a 90 day extension and be 99% certain to get it. NOW it's 30 days, you apply for an extension for 60 more. You may only get 30 more, you may get 60 but many, many people - property and business owners included - are being denied any extension at all. On top of this, apparently tourists have to return to their country of origin (COO) after 30 days, not just hop over to CR for 3 days. But fly back to their COO for 3 days... Not positive on the COO aspect of the new law: I read this tidbit on a news blog written by a long-time expat there and am now trying to confirm it. My reader's question is: is Costa Rica considering anything along these lines?
  3. A friend recently purchased property in Grecia, used a good lawyer, followed all advice, formed a corporation for the property. Now that he is in town, he went to open a bank account and turn on power with ICE. Neither of which he could do because NOW all corporations have to have a resident on the board. This is news to his attorney and to all the experts to whom he (and I) have spoken. Does anyone know about this? They are applying for residency, but obtaining that, of course, is months away. And will the rentista residency qualify for the resident on the board? His attorney says ICE says they are now requiring this due to so many illegals getting power with a corporation.
  4. Saratica

    Is this Company real?

    There is also a new website that could turn into an excellent resource for getting to know real estate salespeople and developers. It's the Costa Rica Property Forum (http://www.costaricapropertyforum.org/). You might want to check that out. Good luck!
  5. We finally go it fixed. Had to have a guy come from JMV Tec, got us online. Had to re-program the modem and program all the computers... it's a mystery to me! Fortunately I'd had the presence of mind to ask the ICE guy to write down all the IP addresses and subnet masks and gateways and every other number I thought we might need... Jose (from JMV Tec) needed those. Thanks for all your help - several people wrote to me offline offering advice and help and that was very welcome and appreciated!!!
  6. Thank you! I visited the first page and it looks like the thing. I will visit the 2nd one tomorrow after some sleep... I have hope.... I'll let you know what happens! Thanks.
  7. Saratica

    North or Central?

    Why don't you spend a little time renting in both places... 6 months to a year in each place. Do Costa Rica first, then the U.S. You'll be back here in NO TIME FLAT.
  8. Saratica

    Studying the Schools

    We moved to CR January 06 so are not experts by any means. But here's our experience for what it's worth. First, thank you TicoGrande for that link with the article on the schools and the listing of schools. Our boys have been homeschooled from the start. They are now 13 and 14, somewhere around 7th and 9th grades (7th grade English, 9th math...). Unlike in the states where I sold real estate and my husband did the homeschooling, we both need to work here. So we researched, then spent two weeks visiting schools in the area. We decided on the European School at $500/month (each) including lunch, not including the school bus ($65 each per month). Fortunately, their uniform is bluejeans and an ES polo shirt, not that expensive or limited. Most schools dress you right down to belts and shoes! That gets to be a bit much. The ES offers the I.B. diploma which impresses the world, and all students must graduate with English and Spanish as a first language. But we were promised a Spanish tutor to catch the boys up and s/he never materialized. Since our original plan was to be here for only a year and they are very well educated, we decided to chance it and sacrifice learnin' for Spanish proficiency. After a month, we took them out of ES and put them in Santa Cecelia. A note about ES: we LOVE Ann Aronson, the headmistress at the European School. She is quite strong-willed and opinionated about learning and while politically we may be worlds apart, if it weren't for the Spanish and our one year limitation here, we would reconsider the ES. If we stay longer than a year, the ES is high on the list. Santa Cecelia is one of the bilingual schools. But this and almost all the other "bi-lingual" schools we visited... well, all the classes are in Spanish except for English. That's considered bi-lingual. Only one school, Nueva Esperanza, taught a couple of other classes in English. SC had high marks in math (second in the country) and basketball (first). Math is important to us and a universal language so we figured they could at least keep up. And who doesn't like basketball? SC's team is the country's high school champ - trophys everywhere. SC is $300/month each not including lunch, $30/month each, they ride the CR bus (like 50cents each way each body... the CR bus system is cheap, that's the way to go). They have a Spanish tutor at $75 month each and the uniforms are ridiculously expensive. The highschool shirt color is beige so shows every bit of dirt... My son Morgan has size 44 - 48 feet and they insisted that he have brown shoes or he couldn't go to school there. Brown sneakers wouldn't do... so we traveled the entire central valley looking for brown shoes in his size. We found only two pair and bought them both. After three months at SC, we realize the only thing they are learning is Spanish. It's like really expensive baby sitting... And they are forgetting their math. I'd rather have them stay home, take a couple of hours of Spanish tutoring everyday, keep up with their math and English which we could teach them and still manage to work (we work online). Then let them play Runescape the rest of the day... We could also afford - in time and money - to get them to other classes: art, karate, piano, etc. The straw that broke the camel's back, though, at SC is that Mo's ipod was stolen. We told him not to take it, but he said everyone did. Having it stolen was very disturbing still but not totally unexpected. But the school did NOTHING. No memo to classes saying stealing is wrong. NOTHING. No mention of it. We spoke to the administration about that and she said a couple of other kids had things stolen (cell phones, etc) and that they were looking into it. I guess they are still, we have not heard one more word about it. His ipod is black and has "El Hombre Mo" and our phone number engraved on the back. So if you see it, please call us. Thank you. At this point, we are running with the homeschooling/private Spanish tutor/Runescape idea. We have advertised everywhere we can think of for a highschool homeschooling group - including this site and are hopeful that we can start or join one. Surely there are other parents out there who will be interested in this. At least in doing social things together. I'll keep you posted. (And don't worry: Hal will teach the math and the English. I will supervise reading and teach drama...) My only other input runs parallel to what is on TG's site: although we were so excited at first about the good education opportunities here because of CR's literacy rate, we are a bit disillusioned. CR kids can read and write, they have a high level of literacy which is really an accomplishment considering what it used to be like. But there is not a high level of scholarship. As opposed to the US where public schooling has actually reduced the level of literacy. But that's another post. OK, that's enough for one Sunday morning. Would love to hear more about schooling here in CR from other parents who've run this gauntlet. Thanks!
  9. We have two teenage boys, 13 and 14, somewhere between 7th and 9th grades, homeschooled from the start. Are there other parents who would like to trade off homeschooling chores? We did this in Key West and it worked well. My kids are NOT self-directed unless you're talking about Runescape... they need direction. And their 'rents need to work... any others interested? Not particularly religious, we have used Christian curriculums in the past, sold on Saxon Hake math books, open to all ideas! We live in the central valley. Thanks!
  10. Hi there - I would very much appreciate some direction in getting my wireless internet connection at home re-hooked up. When we arrived in Feb, we just plugged in the new modem to existing ADSL service, hooked up the wireless router and voila, internet for everyone. Well, last Thursday our wireless router and modem blew during the storm. Yes, we have surge protectors that we brought with us, but live in an older home with no grounds... whaddyagonnado? Anyway, we bought a new modem and router, but can't it going. The new Linksys wireless router said "excellent connection" but nothing was running thru the air. Even when we plugged into the new modem directly via ethernet cable, couldn't get www. All the lights lit, etc. But no www. The next day, someone from ICE came over (we knew a guy who knew a guy on vacation)... and he had to program the TCP/IP. He was able to get my husband's computer online when it was plugged into the modem. He was not able to get the wireless router working. If anyone else in the house wants to plug in and go online, we have to have the TCP/IP stuff typed in. I suspect that if we got a splitter or a modem with 4 plugs to hardwire us all, we would need more IP addresses to be online at the same time. I guess we'd get those from RACSA. Today, ever hopeful for wireless, we exchanged the Linksys wireless router for a Belkin Access Point per the clerk's recommendation. "Because an access point doesn't require configuration like the router." The old one didn't need configuration but I guess everything does now... since Thursday? The Access Point didn't work until we typed all those TCP/IP numbers into the wireless connection box. Still only one computer can get the wireless. I tried typing those numbers into mine, but it won't work at the same time because the "IP address is already assigned". Sigh. Right now, only one computer in a house of 4 can be online at a time. This could get ugly. Any help would be appreciated. If you know a guy who knows a guy who can fix this, we would be grateful. Thanks!!!!!!! Sally oboykw AT yahoo.
  11. Saratica

    Renting a van?

    Hola, We are a family of 4 living in Santa Barbara with 7 people coming to visit for a week. I'd love to rent a van for our drive to Nosara. (We know the roads and all 3 husbands are excellent drivers - just wanted to clear that up at the start!) Does anyone know of a good outfit to work with? Or if you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I do have the bus schedule, that would be a good solution, I think. What about chartering a bus? Any help you can offer is most appreciate. Thank you! Saratica

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