Art Fair at ‘El Rincón de Nana’ Atenas, Costa Rica

Our Costa Rican hometown of Atenas is, in contrast to that other, slightly older Atenas, a slow-paced small town nestled into the hills rimming the Valle Central. This central valley stretches like an oversized comma from the Golfo de Nicoya in the Pacific ocean to our capital city of San José. The new central valley highway #27, the Autopista del Sol San José-Caldera, allows us country folks easy access to both the coast & high life in the Big City. The Spanish company, who built and manages the freeway, has a Facebook page and a Twitter account – we’re so cool & socially hip around here! Actually, the twittering allows quick information on traffic trouble, which is also facilitated through Waze, the interactive GPS app for your phone, which I can highly recommend! In our area, the Autopista runs at a varying elevation of 300 to 400 m, while Atenas sits at around 650 and our house is at roughly 750 m. From our terrace, we can observe a tiny section of the freeway far below with miniature toy cars zipping in and out of view. Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, when air density and prevailing breezes are just right, you can hear a truck on the Autopista downshift to manage the ever-changing terrain.

Full stop. 
The above paragraph was written over one month ago. A few sentences about trucks and GPS directions, while the title promised you an art fair in grandma’s corner. Well, the art fair has taken place and I did participate.
Picture by ‘Kalina Raboin Photography‘ (posted on FB)

It was a great success for all participants and Nana the organizer. I was showing some of my pictures printed on canvas, as well as selling greeting cards and smiling dementedly. I also met Roberta, who is a sculptress and a Philosopha.    

So, if everything was so great, why didn’t I write about it? Very simply, because we have been experiencing one of the most hectic months of our retirement, yet. There may be an even more crazy month to follow, but that’s another story.

Two hours after the art fair closed down, we hosted a farewell party for some of our friends, to conclude these last seven months in lovely Costa Rica, before returning to Texas. 

Six hours after the party closed down, the serious business of leaving for an extended period of time began with house repairs and updates, with sorting, cleaning, organizing and storing away possessions, which wouldn’t be needed for quite a while. The days flew by in a dizzying swirl of activity, from a coffee run to the Beneficio de San Isidro for a few kilos of freshly roasted beans to take back to the US, to cleaning out accumulated junk from the bodega (garden shed), while clad from top to bottom in tropical weight garments with superior wicking ability for the expected rivers of sweat, long sleeves & pants, as well as work boots, gloves and a hat for protection against mid-day sun, accumulated dirt, herbicidal powder residue, scorpions and other antagonistic critters. The only exposed part of my body was my throat and I promptly developed a burning rash there. It still bothers me a little, but the dermatologist thinks, I’m imagining it. That’s alright, I like using my imagination

We returned to our ranch in Mountain Home, Texas, just before Thanksgiving,  but immediately rushed over to Austin to celebrate with our ‘Kids’, who prepared the best Thanksgiving feast ever.  


Then we drove back to the ranch on Black Friday, to finally unpack and begin the process of getting organized, in order to spend the next five months in our home in Texas. We were also expecting my mom-in-law, a young lady of 92, to arrive in the following week to stay with us for a while. But life isn’t ever as straightforward or linear, as one might wish it to be.

Saturday morning we were comfortably hanging around in our jammies, lazily doing this and that, when the phone rang. It was our real estate agent, who was asking if he could bring by an interested party to view our house. Really, Jim? On a Saturday of a long holiday weekend, without a heads up in advance? When the house is littered with pieces of luggage and piles of dirty laundry? When some appliances are still shrouded for protection during our long absence? Are you serious? We suspected the usual “sightseeing” couple, in the Hill Country to visit with family over Thanksgiving, bored, looking for some entertainment, before heading back home to the city. 

On the other hand, when your home is on the market, you don’t have the luxury to casually wave off any potential buyers and suggest they submit a written request first. So we flew into another flurry of activity, trying to establish some kind of Potemkinian order over personal chaos. And before the intruders arrived, we put on our boots and stomped off into the woods.

When Jim gave us his feedback, saying the couple had liked our place and would discuss it on their way back home to Houston, I thought, yeah, right, we’ve heard that one before! So we didn’t get too excited about it all, till Jim asked to come over a couple of days later, to relay some questions the couple had asked. Against expectations, they really were interested, wow! Long story short, we received and accepted an offer for our ranch by the end of the week. Our beloved forever home, designed and built just for us, would now become someone else’s dream. Awful, exhilarating, fantastic, devastating. As welcome and as appreciated an offer on our property is, it is also heartbreaking. 

Barry designed this home for us and our stuff. Specifically, he designed it around a wall mounted display- and storage case with aluminum shelves – the most fabulous wall-unit ever. I mean this quite literally, he designed our house around a fifteen foot ‘B & B Italia’ wall-unit. We’ll never again call a piece of furniture that gorgeous, minimalist and smooth our own, that’s a certainty. Over the decades of our lives together, we’ve collected a variety of artwork and we used the wall unit for storage and an ever-changing display of our treasures. What will it show off next?


2 thoughts on “Art Fair at ‘El Rincón de Nana’ Atenas, Costa Rica

  1. You probably felt a lot of emotions when you signed the contract, eh? And imagine if you waved Jim off on that fateful day. These things truly happen in the times you won't expect, and you were fortunate that you guys were fast and hauled your stuff away. Agents can drop by at the shortest of notices, that's why there's no time to waste in making your house presentable.
    Deron Tucker @


  2. Oh wow! That was fast, you just never know when it will happen. Sad, too, as you say. But, on to new adventures!

    We had a grand time at your CR party! Take care.


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