Beauty with a twist

sunset-2331736_1280I was looking forward to my much-needed vacation in Costa Rica in Central America. We had planned an itinerary which would allow us to visit different parts of the country.  There was so much more to see as we investigate the possibility of moving here when we reach retirement age.

Costa Rica

This country is beautiful with its exotic flowers, waterfalls and white and black sand beaches.  It has rugged terrain, volcanoes, and rainforests which is home to many animals. We arrived in San Jose and stayed at a hotel called the Barceló which I would recommend for its  view of the mountains, tropical gardens and great customer service. My husband and I have stayed here before and they are always more than willing to make your stay with them as comfortable as possible. Costa Rica is also known for its gourmet coffee beans considered among the finest in the world. I couldn’t wait to enjoy a cup at the Barcelos free breakfast buffet.

After leaving the hotel in San Jose, we traveled with some family and friends to places like Guancaste, Puerto Limon, and Cahuita. We saw volcanoes, waterfalls and bathed in   natural hot water springs. There is also a nice hotel near the volcano called the Baldi with several layers of hot water springs which is a must if you ever visit Costa Rica. You will not be disappointed.

20170806_121625We stopped in Liberia and went fishing where I actually caught my first fish.  We saw a monkey as we stood on the beach going through the trees. We tried to get his attention and took some pictures. As we stood near the water, the same monkey saw our stuff on the log, came down from the tree with a group of his friends in order to grab our things. Luckily, we got to it just in time. That was one of the many highlights on my vacation.

20170813_201152Our next stop was Quepos where we experienced an outdoor market which featured fresh fruits, vegetables and souvenirs for tourists. The Beaches in Manuel Antonio near Quepos were very relaxing and the rough waters did not deter us from taking several dips. I was dying to take a chance ziplining across the landscape but maybe on my next trip to this beautiful country.

Silent Racism

I like to write about the good bad and ugly in life because that’s reality. You can’t have one without the other. There is no time like the present to express my thoughts about the racism which exists everywhere in our world. Costa Rica is not different in that regard because it’s simply glossed over or ignored. Voted as one of the best places for retirement, a tropical paradise, environmentally conscious Costa Rica has its share of problems like any other country.

I am an African-American woman with a Caribbean heritage. I like to observe various aspects of life no matter what country I visit. My husband speaks fluent spanish and therefore he was able to communicate with anyone he came in contact with. On several occasions as we got into a cab, during their conversation, the word Limon would be spoken by the cabby.  I do not speak the Language but I understood why they assumed he lived in Limon.  A Little annoyed, my curiosity got the best of me so I began to dig deeper.

Costa Rica has four small minority groups which are Blacks, mulattoes, Amerindians and Asians. About 8% of the population is of black African decent from 19th century Black Jamaicans. They are considered Afro-Costa Ricans. I understand it’s a small minority of the entire population. But a country which boasts of a high literacy rate, why haven’t these minorities assimilated more into the major population?

Does all black people live and work in Limon?

Why does every cabby assume we come from Limon? Is this a segregated country? While driving through different areas, I couldn’t help but notice very few Blacks in professional jobs or casually sitting enjoying the beaches or restaurants on the pacific side of the country. So I began to look at this issue a little more closely.

Puerto Limon

Limon is closer to the Caribbean Sea and considered one of the most pristine and lush regions of Costa Rica. It’s a very busy port town shipping products like bananas to different countries and welcomes hundreds of cruise ships each year. Limon is also one of the country’s most geographically diverse regions and features everything from mangrove wetlands to towering mountains.This province also has white-sand beaches which are lined with coconut trees. In spite of this, Limon remains as one of the least traveled regions in Costa Rica, allowing for exploration of untouched prehistoric rainforests and unmatched beauty compared with the rest of the country.

Many Afro Costa Ricans have made there homes here and continue to raise their families in the Caribbean culture. The minority population who live here are marginalized due to underlying racism. The Politicians have invested very little on this side of the country. Limon is considered off the beaten path and usually not recommended for Tourists. There are not many jobs here due to the lack of investment. However jobs like dock hands, truck drivers, and cargo hauler are few and far in between. What are the options for those who complete their education?

As I drove around the country I saw a considerable amount of investment on the pacific side. New roads, new shops and restaurants like Crate and Barrel, Starbucks P.F. Chang and more. Fast foods like Quiznos, Subways, Kentucky Fried Chicken, even McDonald’s has made its home here. There are large malls featuring all kinds of designer shoes and clothing. Yes, they even have food courts with Asian, American and Costa Rican cusine. Yet in Limon, very little investment is focused on this side of the country. In my opinion, that’s why I consider it silent racism because this exists in some capacity everywhere, even in the United States.

This country is clearly segregated with the majority of blacks living primarily on one side of the country which is underdeveloped and neglected. Our Taxi driver assumed we were from Limon because he knows that’s where black people primarily live. Although I can honestly admit a lack of knowledge about the politics of Costa Rica and why things are the way it is, there is clearly a disparity between the two sides of this country.

The struggle of Blacks in this country is very similar to other South American countries. I have not been treated unfairly here due to the color of my skin however I couldn’t help but look into the matter of race. Limon was the clincher and if I am considering Costa Rica as a possibility for my future home, all aspects of this country needed to be explored. An interesting article to read although written years is by a lady named Rosebell.

https://rosebellkagumire.com/2010/02/19/costa-rica-democracy-and-why-it-doesnt-mean-much-for-black-people-here/ . She goes a little more in-depth as to the problems and I’m not sure if much has changed based on my observations.

Race is a Factor all over the world even in a democratic country like Costa Rica. I hope the government will implement policies to change discrimination practices which marginalize minorities in their communities.

Costa Rica is  indeed a beautiful country and has the opportunity to make some much-needed changes in order to make their country more inclusive for all their inhabitants. We are living in a world that can only move forward when we become more accepting of others regardless of race or ethnicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Heel Pumps

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From Merillon ave to Penn Station New York

A little bit of vanity can skew your thinking in order to conform to the trends in society. I remember walking to the train station in high heel pumps in order to catch an early train from Merillon ave to Penn Station New York. My feet were strong in those days, and I never stopped to consider the consequences.  I tried to look as cute as can be in my pointy toes high heels pumps which were a couple of inches off the ground. I worked in the Fashion Industry, and Seventh Avenue, was my destination.

Following the Crowd

I was following the crowd, rushing to and from work without contemplating the result and discomfort of walking in high heel pumps. At that time, it was about walking in style and being in fashion. Who would have thought I would trade in high heel pumps for a pair of sneakers.

A Rude Awakening

One morning as I was walking in those high heel pumps, crowds of people were walking in unison to work. As we were all ready to cross on 34th street,  down I went in the middle of the street. Ouch! I turned around and got up quickly to regain my composure. Of course, not one person turned around to help me. People were in a zombie like state and was following their own agenda.  Years later, I laugh about that experience and thank God I wasn’t seriously hurt. My pride was a little bruised and that was more than enough.  I had a rude awakening about following the trends set in society.

From High heel Pumps to Sneakers

After that day, I traded my high heel pumps, and I started wearing sneakers in order to go to and from work. I didn’t care about the trends, but walking and being in comfort. That was the day I did a complete round about. I started thinking differently about the life I was living and figured out what benefited my lifestyle.

High heel pumps is a metaphor for in this article in reference to how we respond to life happenings everyday. Are you comfortable in your own shoes? Or are you ready to trade in your pair for a pair that sets your own trend?

Lessons Learned

I learned several important lesson that day:

  • It doesn’t pay to look cute if your comfort is at stake.
  • You have to think for yourself and not be a crowd pleaser.
  • Trends come and go and just because it’s a trend, it doesn’t mean you have to follow society’s way of thinking.
  • Set your own trends, be yourself and find out what works for you in all aspects of life
  • Sometimes, you’re on your own, as you look around for a helping hand. Don’t despair, get up dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
  • It’s ok to trade in High Heel Pumps for sneakers even if its only to and from work.
  • It’s all about finding remedies for the choices we make in life otherwise “we will reap whatever we sow.”

 

                                                                                                             Pat Fagan

 

 

 

 

AFTER THE STORM

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For the first time, in a long time,  I was at a lost for words. I was unsure of what I wanted to write about because of the economic climate in our country. Numb and paralyzed based on the series of event that took place this past week, my mind was in a state of confusion.

2016

We the people elected our 45th President of the United States of America. His Name is Donald J Trump, whose promise of change, and his ability to hear the voices of those who are hurting in this country propelled him to a victory. His election was like an earthquake, which rippled across the world which his opponents didn’t anticipate and was totally astonished by the results.

Unfortunately, not everyone was in agreement, as protests of his candidacy sent echo’s of disenchantment around the country. It was believed based on exit polls that Mrs. Clinton would have been the presumed winner. The faces shown on television of the Democratic team, exposed their disappointment and shock which transpired after state by state fell into the hands of the Republican’s.

I believe God is in control of all things seen an unseen. So therefore, I will continue  to pray for healing of our country.

We are all concerned with the direction of this country, whether you’re on the red or blue team. The fact that the one percent elite keeps the majority of the wealth in this country and don’t pay their fair share really isn’t helping anyone. There is a lot of anger in this country because people are being taken for granted while these politicians are pursuing their own agenda. They are also tired of the struggles in Washington and their inability to help the people economically in need. The plight of everyday people has fallen on death ear.

We are all living in interesting times, and the ride is going to get bumpy in the next few years. Some people are hopeful, banking on Mr. Trump to bring about the change they seek, while others continue to demonstrate in opposition to his Presidency. There is a lot of fear and disgust due to the level of uncertainty in a world spinning out of control.

I hope and Pray we learn to come together as a people, not divided by political parties, race, or ethnicity. We the people have more common ground than differences. Over the next four years, let our voices be heard in opposition to anything which does not serve our interest.

Nuggets of Truth:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Life

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It was a crisp night in the month of October. My daughter left work late in the evening, from her job at the mall. As she approached her car, tired after a long day at work, key in hand, she was more than ready to go home to relax. Suddenly she heard a faint sound coming from the vicinity of her car.

Curious as to where the sound was coming from, she stooped down to look under and around the car. Yet in the dark of the night, it was difficult to see anything. As she continued to search, the squeaky sound continued. This time she laid flat on the ground to peek under the car. The faint sound was coming from the front area on the driver’s side.  As she looked intently, there in the dark near the front wheel were two little eyes staring at her. It was a tiny kitten, no more than 5 weeks old, lost and shivering in the dark, hungry and cold. He looked like he’d been on his own for quite a while and was a little afraid. So she gently picked him up, and placed him in her car.

fullsizerOut of all the cars that were left in the parking lot, what were the chances this kitten would end up under her car?  I believe everything happens for a reason. So she called some of her friends who has cats, in order to get him some food, toys, and a litter box. She decided to name him Oliver and brought him home where he would have food and shelter for the evening.

The next day, she made some calls to a couple of shelters and unfortunately, she was told she can only place Oliver in the town where he was found. After exhausting her options, she decided to find a warm and loving home for this little kitten herself.

Remember when I started this story, I said it was not about pets. It’s a real life story of love and compassion for one of God’s creatures. My daughter loves animals and if it wasn’t for my allergic reaction to cats, she would have found some way to keep him. For one week, I have seen her deep commitment and affectionate love for this kitten. Her motivation and desire was to find Oliver a warm, loving, and happy home. When her friends were unable to keep him, she turned to my son pleadingly to help her find him a home. He was successful and now Oliver is living with a loving family who loves cats. They were so excited and after seeing their connection with Oliver, I know he’s in a happy home.

I believe God placed this cat in the hands of my daughter because He knew it would get the proper care, after stumbling around for who knows how long. Love comes in many forms and this time, love for a small kitten who felt lonely, hungry, and helpless fell into the arms of someone who really cared.

I thank God for having a daughter who is so loving and compassionate towards His creatures. May we all have such love when we come across God’s helpless animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking Free

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Have you ever tried something which turned out to be a mistake? Well I did it again but this time, I had to admit to the problem. I absolutely hate routines, especially when it comes to diet and exercise.

Self Discovery

On a lazy afternoon, I sat on the couch flipping through the television channels, hoping to find an interesting program. Then I caught a glimpse of a new weight loss program which helps people lose weight by making the right lifestyle choices. I was hooked and ordered the program. I have been looking for something simple in order to maintain my weight without running to a gym or going crazy with other exercise videos. Based on statistics, most people who join gyms pay for memberships but usually don’t follow through to get the results they are seeking. I’ve been there and done that at least three times in my lifetime.

I was so excited to start this program that I downloaded it, rather than waiting for it to come in the mail. The first part of the program, I had to read over 60 pages in order to understand calories and the theory of fat. By the time I was on page 30, I had forgotten what I read a few pages back. Then there was an exercise program and measurements you had to take from your neck down. In order to motivate you, there were several women writing about their positive experience with the program.

So I continued to read on, still excited but I can see myself walking down a steep hill. I knew I was going to get to the bottom after continuing to page 60. Then I began to get a lot of emails from the company with great advice about staying healthy and eating the right foods. Wait there is a catch, you had to buy their supplements in order to maintain your weight to have that perfect body you always wanted. Weeks went by, I didn’t purchase any of their products. I got a friendly email yesterday which read, “we noticed you haven’t purchased any of our supplements, so therefore, we will give you a 30% discount towards your purchase.”

It was a wrap for me at that point. Time to break free from another to-do on my agenda. I have nothing against any of these type of programs and I am glad it works for others. I learned a very important lesson about myself through this experience. If I find another weight loss program, run don’t walk to the nearest exit. If it’s another lazy afternoon, keep your credit card as far away from any device that will allow you place an order for something which does not define who you are at this point of your life.

In life, there is always going to be routines. But the way I look at it, you have to pick your poison. This is just one of them I would rather avoid. My heart is in the right place for the right reasons but I know the truth about what makes me feel  uncomfortable. Anytime I got involved with a program that becomes a routine, especially when it comes to diet and exercise, it doesn’t work. I can’t even handle following recipes. I make my own. So what was I thinking?

In conclusion, I am going the natural route. I will try to eat healthy, walk whenever possible, and purchase my own supplements. Cheat days, absolutely! But I will continue to maintain a healthy weight. Breaking free from this program was the best thing I ever did because I am at peace with myself, accepting who I am and taking responsibility for my actions.

Nugget of truth: Embrace the truth about yourself. Be the person that God created you to be. Acceptance is key, and living out your truth.

 

 

 

 

 

OFF TOPIC

What is going on in our skies?

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Have you looked up at our blue skies recently? Most people do not focus on what’s going on, unless there is something unusual going on. Well, to my surprise I found out there is more going on than I possibly could have imagined. If you’re asleep in your awakened state, too busy to pay attention to the skies above, the spraying of chemicals called chemtrails would go unnoticed.

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I can still remember the day I looked up and saw contrails crisscrossing a beautiful blue sky. At least I thought it was contrails left over from the airplanes passing by. They were unusual and did not dissipate but turned a bright and sunny day into a day filled with dark clouds. There were X’s, parallel lines and tic-tac-toe grids for miles across the sky. This is not a one time event but takes place several times all over the world.

Perplexed by what was happening, I decided to find out what was changing the skies above. I went to the Internet and googled my observations. What I found out changed the way I looked at our skies forever. I stumbled across a website which talked about chemtrails or Geoengineering. It was called collective evolution what on earth are they spraying which provided more technical aspects of chemtrails vs contrails. As I knuckled down to read the information, I got more than I bargained for, and I was very disturbed.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but years later, the more and more I paid attention to the skies above, I realized what was being discussed in some of those articles were true. This crisscrossing effect has been taking place since the early  90’s. Why didn’t I notice it earlier? The more I read, the more angry I became because this is our air space, how dare they contaminate it with chemicals. This earth belongs to our creator but is also our home which should not be altered. What are the ramifications for the future on our health? Why are people in denial of what’s being seen all over the globe. I was on vacation in the Caribbean, and there it was on a beautiful hot sunny day to my dismay.

They believe most people wouldn’t see it, or oppose it even when its being done right in front of their eyes. We are asleep, and the more we are willing to walk with our eyes closed, the more they can put through these programs which contains chemical pollution which damages our air quality. Did you know these programs were implemented since the early 90’s? I asked myself,” why didn’t I notice this before?”

Choose to walk with your eyes wide open. Pay attention to what’s being done in your name whether it’s spiritually, scientifically or politically. After all it’s your taxes that are paying for all these government induced programs. Ask whether or not It’s to your advantage or disadvantage?

What do you think of what’s going on all over planet earth?

The Joy of being Content

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Are you living a life of contentment? The joy of being content means living in a state of acceptance, thankfulness and gratefulness right where you are today. Living in contentment, regardless of life’s arrows which seeks to destroy your joy. Life happens everyday and it may drift in different directions depending on the circumstances. Continue reading “The Joy of being Content”