I love living in San Luis, Costa Rica. I love Google Translate. I have difficult hearing and it is a drawback for learning Spanish. I use that app more than any I have. My tico friends love the fact that I try to speak Spanish with them. Ticos are a proud people; sometimes to the detriment. An example is one worker quit because he did not like the size of our chicken coup. He refused to work on it and because it was the project of the month he did not work .I must admit I wS flabbergasted that it bothered him we spent so much on chicken when Ticos let them roam and have no shelter.
I made the mistake of raising my voice to an architect and he said he did not like the way I treated him. I told him he was listening to me and I got frustrated and said it is because you did not respect me. He wanted to do it one way and would not listen to what I wanted. He went out of his way to make things difficult and I found other ways to get the construction to continue. Was I wrong? Yes and so was he . I told him no one wins in this instance but his pride was damaged and he did not appreciate the exchange, but what about my pride. Am I to let him do what he wanted and listen to him talk down to me? Lesson learned and I moved on to another architect and a promising new year.
I had another worker tell the crew that he was going to take a break and if I said anything he would walkout. He was late for work; he was always-fifteen minutes late. He came in at 7:15 am and was on a break at 7:30 Am as the crew sat with him. I asked everyone why they were not working and no one said a word. I told them to go to work. When I told the instigator to go to work he got angry, grabbed his helmet and walked off making a big scene. I did something the day before that angered him and it rolled over to that particular morning. To this day I do not know what I did, but does it matter if there is no room for discussion. I made it known to the contractor it was not my position to run his crew. You will be here to get them doing their work and supervising them or I will find a new contractor. Things always seemed to work out with this contractor because he became particular about who he hires.
I work at being a good individual and realize I live in a poor country and I do not throw myself around as the rich American; which I am not according to American standards. The Tico sees you as spoiled and rich when they try to live off of five hundred to eight hundred dollars a month, making three dollars an hour. The government makes it easy for them not to work and live the good life (Pura Vida). When an employee works three months and quits; The government doesn’t care who is at fault, you must pay the Tico three months pay for not working and he finds another job. It makes you wonder; why bother?
I have learned to swallow my pride, treat people kindly , no matter what the circumstances are and roll with the punches. I live in an area where there is little or no traffic. No jet planes landing at an airport and a loud truck once or twice a day. I have few American friends and a few Tico friends I associate with. I have a great view and love the wild life and the vegetation. Little or no crime and never hear of a murder. For me it is paradise and I would not change a thing. Slowly I am learning Spanish and have no problem communicating with the workers. I explain to them what I want and if it is not to their liking you can leave. I tell them let’s have fun working together. Pura Vida!
Excerpt from Charlie
Lucky is proud of the new school he built on the airstrip. He wishes to have one hundred students at the school. The parents will run the school with CJ’s guidance. CJ couldn’t make up his
mind about college. First, he wanted to do police work, then it was a lawyer; he went back to school at Stanford and came back to Cherry Farm when his father thought of the new school concept. CJ has a master in education and is working on his doctorate and will use the new school concept for his thesis, “Educating the Troubled Genius.”
The school receives a government grant of ten million dollars a year to help run the school. The students support the school with a small farm of fruits and vegetables, which they sell in the DC area. It includes a mechanic shop to tune cars and small trucks. It has an art studio for extracurricular activity, which is always full of students. Once a year the students sell their art craft at an autumn fair with music, food, and fun. It is a unique setting for those students who are of low income and brilliant. It is called the Sunrise School of Developing Minds.
Lucky is proud of this independent school and the families that work at keeping it cleaned, painted, maintained, and a happy
environment. After graduation, the students are given scholarships to colleges of their choice. The students’ national test scores are above average. The students have no problem with awards to the school of their choice. The parents have lived at the school for four years and can save a hundred thousand dollars because they have had no expenses, under the watchful eye of Claire, who managed their money. Most parents went back to school with the help of CJ and found jobs when their children graduated. How many high schools can brag about having 100 percent graduation rate?
Mark Hanson from the FBI is visiting the school to talk about computer technology and is overwhelmed with the school.
“CJ, I would like to come to teach your students. I wish to leave the FBI. I have twenty-five years with the FBI and can retire if I wish. I do not see an extensive program, only a few classes developed by Claire. She is busy, and I believe I can produce a great tech school for this school,” says Mark.
Claire walks in the middle of the conversation and adds, “Absolutely! CJ, Mark and I closed many cases together, and he is a genius. How about we bring it to the board meeting tonight? Mark can be there to introduce himself,” says Claire.
“That sounds great! Can you and Claire develop a course starting in our freshman class and continue the courses through advanced college courses in their senior year? Maybe include the professor and his team,” suggests CJ.
CJ cannot fathom the reach of his father. He is so lucky to run a high school of this caliber. The faculty is amazing:
Dr. Michelle Barstow, a physicist, is Professor Lazlow’s assistant and lover. She has an exceptional IQ and was his calming influence. Albert Manning is the mechanic. He helped put the designs into action. His PhD in mechanical and electrical engineering went beyond the norm. It is a great team whose minds meld into great processes. Lucky gave the professor a large lab and Albert a substantial mechanical lab with hydraulics, welding, and electronics. These people could work anywhere for significant money, but instead they teach and invent. All proceeds go to the school, except 30 percent
to the scientist. The scientist gets credit for the patents and educates students in the process. They love the school.
Because of his father, CJ was able to get the brightest minds in education to teach English, literature, math, science, and economics. The only sports taught are Kenpo Karate and Jujitsu. Meditation is the very first class at five in the morning, and self-defense follows. It is outside, no matter how awful the weather. One hundred students toughen up for a long life as Charlie, Lucky, or Junior instruct the class. No student has ever missed a class, rain or snow; they learn to balance and self-control.
Lucky calls the board meeting to order as CJ introduces Mark to the board. He passes out a ten-page summary he and Claire put together. It combines Claire’s classes with his new proposals. The board members are Lucky, Carla, CJ, Jazz, Claire, Charlie, Professor Lazlow, and Sonny, who is the school’s attorney. They approve the new curriculum, and CJ will present it to the state board. Lucky sees that some refinements need to be made to make it challenging to the students. He and Sonny see no barriers to the state board for accepting the new curriculum. The school is the showcase for education. There is a list of potential students but nowhere to put them. Lucky refuses to expand for fear of losing the intimacy of the student-to-teacher ratio. It is a private school and asks for no state money.
Lucky built the school near the airstrip on the other side of the hangar. The hangar is an additional classroom for Albert’s mechanics class. Lucky is pleased with the school having one hundred children of intelligence. He tries to keep class size to thirty kids by rotating teachers. School classes end at 6:00 p.m. for a 6:30 p.m. dinner call. It is a regimented day, with breakfast at seven in the morning after showers because of the physical activity first in the morning. At eight o’clock, the classes begin, and they go on for ten hours. It is a long day, but it is exciting for the students.
In six months, sunrise will have their first graduating class. The seniors order their gowns and sent out the scholarships packages with the help of the front office. Every student category is possible for job descriptions: scientist, lawyer, writer, teacher, mathematician,
etc. The first class is twenty-five students, the smallest type that will ever graduate.
Samuel Moss is ready for college and wants to study science and get a PhD. He told Professor Lazlow he intends to continue the professor’s work. He wants to go to Stanford and study robotics. The school is getting a lot of attention, especially from the wealthy who wish their kids an opportunity for a better education. Lucky will not accept any affluent students because he began the school for impoverished students, students who work hard but cannot afford a quality education. The school is a mixture of white, black, Latino, Asian. Lawsuits wealthy parents file are thrown out of court. Lucky has a large following of approval for the way he developed the school.
It is five in the morning on Saturday as Lucky is walking the schoolyard. There is no school on Saturday, and Lucky is surprised to see kids in the meditation yard. A van pulls up, asking for directions, when a dart hits Lucky’s neck. Lucky falls immediately; he is dragged into the truck a driven away.