Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just another encounter in paradise…..

Update:  Looks like little Suzy might have found my blog entry about her, as she got her chance and took it the other day.  A newbie, saying she and her husband are in their thirties, have at least one kid, posted a question about how they can come to CR, and live and work here.  I, of course, advised her to slow down, and make sure that she does things properly and legally.  Well, a lady named Mary came out in full support of this idea, and couldn't resist the opportunity to take this cheap shot at me:
"Just because it takes one uncreative person 10 years to figure it all out in NO WAY means that it cannot be done.  I have done it, we are all happy and love it here and get by just fine."

Of course, her very positive response to the newbie did not mention under what circumstances my friend Mary got here, or what her status really is.  I find that to be just a bit disengenuous, if not deliberately misleading.  I suspect that, in her case, she and her family are here because her husband found a job with an international company that happens to be here.  This makes her circumstances very unusual, not to mention unique.  Oh, well, I just thought I'd keep things up to date.  Oh, Mary only signs one thing to her posts now, naming her kids and their ages, as before, and still admonishing one and all to 'be what you want your children to be,' which is still a fascinating statement for such a person to be making (imho)......

I got in trouble yet again, recently.
I saw this post on that forum that I talked about not so long ago:
"Options – opinions please
WE ( husband and I ) are ready – literate ready to make the move –
We are in early 30t – looking to enroll in a PUBLIC University –
Fluent in Spanish
- Needless to say – Have no residency and no immediate means to obtain it
– other than having a baby – which is not in the near picture.
My big question is – would it be possible to apply for some sort of Student
visa? Or student permit—that would allow us to study and reside in CR while in
What about the University of Costa Rica? Please your thoughts and opinions are
more than welcome.
The first response to this inquiry was posted minutes before mine, so I didn't see it until after mine had been posted):
"The easiest way of coming to Costa Rica as a student is in an exchange program
from your local University in the US or other country. Then you would qualify
for a student VISA which would have to be renewed every year. There is a
department of Asuntos Internacionales y Extranjeros at UCR. You could go to
their website for more information about admission standards. They require an
admission test if applying from here. from there you could look thru their website for other
ideas. Every foreigner... student or professor has to have their VISA renewed
thru migracion once a year thru the office of Asuntos Internacionales. It is a
complicated process, but there are quite a few exchange students going to the
(My response to this question went like this):
"So, how do you propose to pay for study at the university level, especially i[f[ you're not a citizen or resident?
You say you are fluent in Spanish, so I would ask you why are you asking a question about something of this nature on an English language forum that is largely made up of expats, and the like, when you could be going direct to the website of the university in question?"
(There was a second response, after mine; the guy who posted this says his girlfriend is a Tica who is an attorney, and he is constantly touting her legal services):
"We do student VISAs a lot. They are pretty easy. I teach at a University. In
what city are you wanting to locate?"
Then, sometime later, I received this email, which began by quoting my post, from above, and then, went on to say:
Seriously, what the hell is your problem????  It is none of your business how they plan to pay for college and also totally rude and dismissive to hint at the fact that maybe they are unintelligent or lying about being bilingual.  This is a forum for help not putdowns!
mama to Chad (10), Brad (5 1/2) and Geo Bernard (3 1/2) - - - names and ages changed 'cause I'm a nice guy.
"Be who you want your children to be."    Unknown
"Each morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most."    Buddha
"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
    Denis Diderot
I swear to God, this is how she signs all her emails: listing her frickin' kids, as if they – at their tender ages – are something so special, that her only claim to fame is that she gave birth to them, I guess. Plus the three (count 'em, three) quotes from wherever, as if she has no original thoughts of her own. Well, I replied to her:
So, this is what you want your children to be?  Someone who jumps all over a stranger because you don't like the way I express myself?
pura vida
Then, she came back with (and, of course, still with her quotes, and her sole claim to fame):
What I want my children to be is someone who sticks up for others!!  It wasn't about not liking how you express yourself, it was about the fact that you were rude, dismissive, and unwelcoming to new people.  If I were a moderator I would ban you from posting, honestly, because people like you are why newbies don't ask questions or comment.  [The name of the forum] is hurt by people with your so called expression.
So, she's got my goat, and I came back with this:
I can and will take exception to almost everything you have to say, young lady.
First of all, who made you the sole determining factor as to the purpose of this, or any other forum?
Read the description of it for yourself (because apparently, you are not acquainted with this information):
(XXX is an………)  
Unmoderated, non-religious, non-political and non-commercial list, open to all members to exchange information about Costa Rica.
Members agree to refrain from:
1) Foul language, vulgarity and/or profanity.
2) Chat-room language.
3) Joke-forwards, Chain letters, Soliciting, Political opinions, and /or Religious opinions in any form.
4) Commercial ads/announcements; culling of addresses
5) Inclusion of message responded to (piggybacking).
Otherwise, anything about Costa Rica is accepted, with the goal of providing cross-feed among members.
Don't forget to check our archives ("messages" on the left side of this page) AND our EBOARD (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) where you'll find FAQs, medical,legal info, areas, recs., and more!!!!
SPECIAL NOTES: Members opinions are their own and are not the responsibility of list management. Messages and archives are NOT part of the public domain.

Frankly, I am tired of shallow people telling me that I am rude.  It strikes me that you, like so many of your ilk, do not know how to read for content.
Look at what the person said.  ("WE ( husband and I ) are ready – literate ready to make the move – We are in early 30t – looking to enroll in a PUBLIC University – Fluent in Spanish
- Needless to say – Have no residency and no immediate means to obtain it
– other than having a baby – which is not in the near picture.
My big question is – would it be possible to apply for some sort of Student
visa? Or student permit—that would allow us to study and reside in CR while in
What about the University of Costa Rica? Please your thoughts and opinions are
more than welcome."

The statements made, and the questions asked, tell me a lot about the person who posted those words: 
"Fluent in Spanish" means capable of reading a Spanish language website.
"looking to enroll in a Public university" – tells me that they have no knowledge of university level opportunities here, but they do know enough to know that public universities tend to cost less, and have lower admission standards than many private institutions.  Also leads me to question their motives.  I don't know about you, but I reside here and pay not only the common sales taxes that are part of life in CR, but also my property taxes, etc.  I don't think I like the idea of any gringo coming in to a public university that is partly supported by my taxes, taking a spot that should rightly belong to a Tico, and thinking that this is OK.
"have no residency, or means to obtain it"  tells me that they are aware that residency is important for attendance at a university (you are aware, aren't you that one must prove or establish residency in the U. S., no matter what state, in order to get into an institution of higher learning)?  So, I am speculating that this person is looking for something that might well be illegal, so, again, I question their motives.
They wanted to know about student visas, or permits…..this tells me that they are putting the cart before the horse.  It simply makes no sense for someone to ask about residence before they've answered the question of whether or not they can even get admitted to a university.
They're in the early 30's……….that tells me that they are old enough to know better.  This is a pipe dream, and I will be damned if I will encourage this kind of pipe dream.  And, ultimately, they are asking forum members to aid and abet their stated intention to circumvent the laws of the country where I reside.  I was brought up better than that, but maybe you weren't.
Look at what I said in response.  What did YOU say to them?  So, why are you concerned about what I said?  What business is it of yours what I say or think?  I am responsible for my statements, and as you can see from the management of this forum, they (the management) take none for me.
Now, take a look at yourself.  You don't seem to have an original thought, depending on others to say it for you (three separate quotes on one email?!)  And, what do those quotes say about you?  Let's see, you have no respect for authority, and you do not believe in organized religion.  You don't plan for the future, or learn from the past.  You're prone to violence.
She then sent this:
John,  I guess we just don't see the world the same at all.  XXX(the common name of the forum) to me should include helping others and not jumping to conclusions.  The original post did NOT offend me and really I did not see the same things that you saw.  I didn't think they were skirting the law or trying to rob you of your tax dollars.  In fact they were just trying to gather information.  I see no harm in it.  This is not the first time that I felt you were completely presumptuous and down right offensive in the way that you spoke to someone.  As for it not being specifically mentioned in the guidelines (you know the not being a total jerk part), I would have to say that it is probably not there because the people who set up the group felt it unnecessary to tell adults that they needed to be kind.  You, sir, are UNkind!  And yes that was meant to be patronizing!!  Gotta keep up with your "ilk":)
We won't be seeing eye to eye EVER, so I think I am all set with this conversation.  Until the next time I feel I should stick up for people being treated badly.......Ohhh I am a bad person.
Now, she's not getting off that easy:
(the subject of my email message to her was something like, "I know you want the last word, but" - - -)
not just yet........How you can see total innocence in that post, baffles my mind.  A person in the[ir] 30's should be out in the world making a living, and making it a better world!  What do you think they plan to study?  That post was such an obvious step in what they think is a new and unique scam.........
Yes, we certainly do see the world differently.  I view it with my eyes open, and with my years of experience.  You apparently are content wearing blinders that force you see the world through your rose-colored glasses.  You go on ahead and live your happy little life marked by terminal naiveté, defending all those other innocents out there.
I will continue to enjoy my little piece of paradise, while protecting me and mine from the scam artists that are out there.
You like quotes, so here's one for you:  "Everybody lies."  Gregg House, M. D.
And, then, she said:
You are protecting no one by assuming everyone is looking for a scam.  Why is it unacceptable to you for someone in their 30s to learn more and to have an adventure.  Maybe by learning a bit more and travelling they will make it a better place.  You can learn a lot about yourself and your world by exploring new countries.  You do not know these people or their motives!!  To me it is unfair to assume things and I simply did not see it as cut and dry as you apparently did.
I guess I will keep my rose colored glasses on (believe me I am not naive and they may be up to no good but it does no good to assume anything) rather then be a pessimistic fool.  I would think in ALL your years you would have learned that assumptions are almost always wrong!  Learn about people before just expecting that they are bad!
I do like quotes because I like to learn from others with more wisdom then I.  I find some to be very worthwhile and inspirational.  If that makes me a bad person then so be it!  Many people like the quotes that I post and go out of their way to tell me so.  Since we are swapping quotes, here's one you can learn from...."We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light."    Ralph Waldo Emerson  
So, I said:
First of all, when did I say that I have made assumptions about anything, or anyone?  I told you that their statements tell me something about them and their motives.  These are not assumptions on my part!

Why do you automatically assume that it is all right for someone in their thirties to be "looking for an adventure?"  I strongly suspect anyone's motives if they admit on the one hand that they cannot meet the requirements for legal residence, but still want to live here!  That is not an assumption! 

Speaking only for myself, I remember the first time it occurred to me that Costa Rica might be a nice place to live, and that I would in fact like to live here one day.  It never occurred to me, and I doubt that it would occur to you, to look for ways to circumvent the law.  What I did instead was look into the law, and seek to learn what it was that I needed to do in order to come here legally.  That meant that I had to wait, and work towards the goal.  What is wrong with that?  Nothing worthwhile in this life is a freebie.  Only by working for what we want can we truly appreciate what we achieve.  So, please don't expect me to believe that it is all right for someone to be looking for the easy way, and for someone else to ignore the law.
Believe me, I do not see anything as 'cut and dry.'  (Actually, the correct phrase is "cut and dried," but that is neither here nor there.  Again, I learned how to look at the evidence in front of me, and to never assume anything.
You have made a number of assumptions about me, but I know a lot about you, because, believe it or not, I do know how to read people, and your attitudes, as expressed in your emails, are very clear to me.
One more assumption you have made about me, and my ideas, is that you think that I must think you are a bad person.  I have not said any such thing, nor have I implied it.  I suspect you are a very good person, if a bit misguided.
And, then she said:
To me it was all assumptions that you made about those people and if they get a student visa and go to school here they are not breaking the law.  It doesn't matter how old you are either:)  I did make assumptions about you but it was after several emails on your part which in my mind were very distasteful!
On a side note I am also an RN, so alas we do have something in common:)  Buen dia John!
So, I told her:
You got the last word..........well, almost.........
And, she still didn't want to let it rest:
Ha, I win because I learned something from our conversation:)  Take care and maybe just try to tread more gently. It's true people lie and generally suck a lot of the time but every once in a while if you don't assume they will suck, they don't!
Last words aren't important, have a great day!
So, let me see if I understand any of this (while remembering that she has said that last words aren't important). I am a bad person because I don't accept strangers on a forum at face value. I am a bad person because I call them on questionable statements, to which, by the way, no one has yet responded (as in, the person of whom I asked my questions). Now, of course, my friend, Suzie, will say that is because my rudeness scared them off, but I suspect that the original poster lacks the courage of his or her convictions, and figured it was better to just slink off somewhere, to try to think up another scheme, rather than to pursue this one. Or, who knows, maybe they decided to take the advice that was offered, and look at the website for the University.
Meanwhile, maybe I took the wrong tack with this young lady. Maybe I should have proposed a hypothetical situation for her, thusly:
You are a young French citizen, in your early 30's, who has been hearing about and reading about a really neat place (you think). It is located in the U. S., and is called Houston (ed. Note: I picked Houston because it has a population roughly equivalent to that of Costa Rica). You speak and are actually pretty fluent in English. You begin to think that maybe you'd like to go to Houston, to try it out. (ed. Note: Here's where I naturally get into trouble, because this next part frankly makes no sense to me)
You announce that you want to find and enroll at a public university in Houston, Texas. Instead of googling 'Houston," "Universities," or, "Texas," "Public Universities," you decide to seek out an existing expat community of your fellow citizens, in that locale. See, this is where I got lost. Why in the world would someone who claims to be fluent in English seek out French speaking non-U.S. citizens, living in Texas, for information about an American/Texan/Houstonian institution?! I haven't done this yet, but I bet you that if I wanted to I could go online and find out all kinds of information about, say, the Sorbonne, that would pretty much answer all my questions, if I was a young American who wanted to enroll there. Don't you think? So, my attempt to present a hypothetical situation pretty much runs into a wall. From my perspective this person who asked the question on a forum for U. S. expats, was in the wrong place, and needed to be steered in another direction. I guess it's as simple as that.
Beyond that, as I tried to tell this young lady, why would someone in their early 30's feel that they have the time and the money to pursue such an endeavor? Why aren't they working? What could they possibly be expecting out of this? I mean, if they have the time and the money that would suggest that they also have resources, so why are they asking these questions of a bunch of expats? I'm sorry, but all I can see is that this is yet another gringo couple who don't want to work, who know enough to know that they can't qualify for legal residence in CR (they admitted that much, didn't they)?, but who are looking for a new wrinkle on how to become perpetual tourists. And, I'm sorry, but I do not accept this whole concept of perpetual tourism. (For the uninitiated, a perpetual tourist in Costa Rica is someone who lives here as long as his tourist visa allows him to remain, then runs across the nearest border just long enough to get his tourist visa renewed. U. S., Canadian, and most European passports historically got visas good for 90 days, and most everybody else only got 30 days. That is changing as I write these words, and most people only get 30 days, now. Some folks claim to have been doing this for years, taking trips mostly to Panama or Nicaragua every 90 days. They buy homes and businesses, and run those businesses, and generally immerse themselves into whatever local community they have chosen).
IMHO, this is wrong, and it leads to too many people who really are working illegally to sustain themselves, and too many of them wind up doing nothing but hustling everyone in sight for a buck. I believe that you either want to live in a foreign country, or you don't. If you cannot qualify for legal residence, find out what you need to do in order to so qualify, and then do it! I suspect many of these folks were as vocal as anyone else back in the states about 'wetbacks' coming into the U. S. and taking jobs away from Americans. Don't go around the intent of the law, and then don't whine to me when it goes sour on you.
Goes sour, you ask? How can it go sour? Well, at any time, while entering the country, any immigration official you encounter can take a look at you, and decide that maybe you've been leaving and entering all too often for just a tourist, and he/she can say, 'sorry, Charlie, we don't want you!' And, that is it. Denied entry. Stuck in another foreign country, where you have no assets, no friends, no contacts. Should you have managed to accumulate any assets in Costa Rica, without you there to care for them, who knows what will happen to them? And, on top of that, once you are denied re-entry, there will be a note placed in a file noting that your passport is denied entry to Costa Rica for a period of ten years. Who would want to risk this?

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