Tuesday, February 9, 2010

map anyone?

One of the most frustrating aspects of finding accommodations has been all the different not-to-scale maps of Samara that everybody has on their websites. Location is extremely important to me as I've decided I don't want the expense of a rental car for 6 weeks. I want to be able to walk everywhere, which could be a challenge with my 3 year old (who threw a fit just walking a few blocks to pick up his brother from school today).

Here is an example of how vastly off these maps are, and why I am obsessed with the internet and researching. I was looking at Condo Solimar - (the yellow rectangle on the left). As you can see it looks pretty close to the school (the purple oval on the main street of town))

Until I looked at google maps. Condo Solimar is circled in red and the school is a green X.

It's appalling really.

Just for kicks here's another map of Samara

If you clock on the pictures you can see them bigger and in more detail

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Are my plans falling apart?

So, I thought I did my homework.

Back when I was researching Antigua as my destination, I was originally planning to go over the kids winter break plus miss an additional 2 of weeks of school. The reason being is the winter is my husbands slow time of work and I thought he could possibly take a month off to be with us. But I found out that Guatemala schools are off the month's of December and January because it is their "summer break".
That's when I started getting the crazy idea of bumping up the trip to our summer (June/July) and doing the trip mostly as a single mom.

I thought I had done my homework.

I booked our tickets.

We were to leave June 5th (the kids would miss the last week of school) as we are using miles to purchase our tickets and we could use less miles by going earlier.
Tonight I found out that Costa Rica takes a 3 week school break from July 5th through July 24th. 3 of our 6 weeks. Half our trip!

So now I am wondering will the public school even take my kids for 3 weeks?

I did find out about a program in Samara called CREAR .
They provide after school programs and summer enrichment programs for the local kids of Samara. The key word is local. That doesn't stop this mamá loca though. I put in an e-mail to see if my kids can participate too. I'm anxious to see what they say.

I was really looking forward to the consistency of them being in school for 6 weeks though. But, such is life in a 3rd world country. You have to learn to roll with punches, otherwise you will just be consumed with frustration.

Oh, one more thing I learned tonight. The schools are typically only in session for 4 hours a day! Now that is muy loco!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Finding local contacts is key in this kind of trip.  I thought I had hit the jackpot in the contacts department, but unfortunately "my source" has been less helpful than I had hoped.

You can find contacts in lot's of ways.  I scour the internet for forums, reviews, websites and blogs to find people I think can help answer my questions.  Expats can be a gold mine of information.

Right now there is a family who owns a vacation house in Samara (right across from the place I plan on staying).   They are there with their  kids who are attending the school I plan to have my kids attend.    They have a website dedicated to raising funds for said school.  They should be a wealth of information.  But they answer my questions with the bare minimum.  Very frustrating.  And that is part of the reason for this blog.  If I can help you to not reinvent the wheel, then I will be thrilled!  This is an exciting opportunity, and we should be helping each other!

Here is an expert from my last e-mail to my "source".

What are the school hours?  

I just purchased our flights, and we will be there June 6-July 19th.  Who is your contact person at the school?  Should I contact them ahead of time about my kids attending, or just enquire at the school when we get there?

They have a preschool program as well?   Do you know how old the kids have to be to attend?

My kids will be 8 (entering 3rd grade), 6 (entering 1st grade), and turning 3 on 6/24. 

I am talking to the owner at XXXXXX, and am hoping to stay there.  I loved your house, but it is out of my price range for this trip unfortunately.  Maybe in the future.

Samara isn't the easiest place to find lot's of information on, so I am eating up any details I can get my hands on.  I appreciate anything you can tell me.  


And this was the source's reply

the hours at the school vary.  your three year old is too young for the public school.  there is another program that costs money at the patio colonial.  lenina would take all of your children there.  the two older ones should be able to attend.  you will have to ask when you get here.  XXXXX is right across the street from [our house].
the director name at the school is lourdes.  she can answer all of your questions but in spanish

Monday, February 1, 2010

A few crazy ideas

So I've had a handful of crazy ideas in my life.

One landed my husband and I in a motorhome for a year traveling the entire United States. Our families sure thought we were crazy. It ended up being the adventure of a lifetime. Truly the test of a marriage. 365 days together, in a tiny moving home. And no internet or cell phone to assist the process. These were the dark ages people (1998/1999).

Another locura {crazy idea} took us to Kenya for 3 weeks. With our 3 1/2 year old. And 20 month old. Now that is crazy. Let's just say we survived :)

A little over a year ago I took my daughter (age 6 at the time) to the charming town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a week. Just the 2 of us. I don't think this was crazy. Well maybe a little. Especially when we were dropped off by our taxi at our "B&B", at dusk, and nobody was home. Our flights were delayed, and we had come straight from the airport to a deserted street in Mexico, left on the curb with our bags. At that moment, I indeed thought I was un poco loco.

And here I am today, working through my latest and greatest crazy idea. I'm blogging about it because I think there are other crazies out there like me trying to do similar things without a lot of resources. Just maybe I can help someone else figure out how to pull off adding a little crazy into their own life.