Saturday, July 01, 2017

My first taste of the ocean

Over the past many months I have been settling up our affairs in New York. We made the decision to pack up and head to Costa Rica in February, and this past Wednesday we arrived. There were lots of ins and outs to the whole transition. We had a long arc of goodbyes to our family and friends and to our city of 20 years.

Most everything went off without a hitch, but of course I can be silly sometimes. I had to have one more urgent care visit before leaving. After having settled up in Brooklyn we headed to Scarsdale, NY to spend a week with family. We went to the local pool, and not 15 minutes in I attempted a few breast strokes with my eyes closed -- my new goggles were arriving the next day. Several strokes in I veered off course a bit, and I banged my head into a ladder. Reportedly, eight staples at urgent care sealed the cut, and worse it donned on me that I couldn't jump in the ocean immediately upon arriving in Costa Rica. Irritatingly, I continue to have my fair share of accidents, but I got my feet in on the first day nevertheless. Marla, importantly, took that first day Pacific plunge and came back glowing. We have made a great decision for our family. Willa is a whole other matter, and we're still inching her into the water; on Wednesday she would have none of it.

Needless to say there was a bunch of conversation about my staples before departing. Should they come out early before I leave? Would I be able to get them out in a small town? Sámara only has about 4,000 residents. Answer turns out to be yes, there's a clinic run by Dr. Freddy Soto, and he indeed has a staple remover. Cool, we're good to go staples and all. They didn't set off the metal detector at JFK, but I had the visit notes handy just in case.

Yesterday was to be staple removal day, and I couldn't wait. First though we joined Willa's new school, Sámara Pacific School, on their beach day. The trip celebrated the school year half way point. Costa Rica's school calendar runs year round with about 210 days in session. This was a great opportunity for Willa to begin her new school introduction, meeting the other students and playing at the beach. Of course the ocean was looming, and not even the enticement of a fellow girl who went dashing into ankle deep water was enough to get Willa there. She did stick her toes in, which was a marked improvement over the two prior days.

At the beach picnic Marla and I were introducing ourselves and meeting lots of parents. Many have been here for a while, some were here only weeks before us, and some were leaving the following day. As it happens, Brian and his family were departing the next day after a three and a half year stay. Brian had lots of great suggestions for settling in, turns out they had two bikes to sell, and to boot he's an ER doctor with a pair of staple removers back at his house. After the beach party we went back to their house where he deftly removed my staples, and moments later we bought they bikes. Nice how that turned out.

During the past week I had fretted quite a bit about the staple removal, and I had discussed at the urgent care getting a staple remover to bring with me, I had seen my internist before leaving and discussed it with her. Marla and I and many family members had all discussed it extensively. I had contemplated how the tools would need to be sterile, and what would I do if they weren't; would I say something? In the end I sat at new acquaintance's poolside table. He pulled a pair of staple removers from a bag with lots of other tools, and he proceeded to pull out seven staples. The urgent care doctor said there were eight, so Dr. Brian and two onlookers all combed through my head with beach hands and scanned for the never applied eighth staple. This is not how I imagined the scene was going to go down.

After all that I was walking the small lane between our house and the beach, and I saw an email from a friend. There was change back in New York, which related to everything that set our family's adventure in motion, and it brought a huge smile to my face. With that I dropped off Willa's beach toys, which I had been retrieving, took off my shirt, pitched my flip flops and walked into the ocean.

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