Locals & Expats: Join Our Workshop!

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Are there any expat writers working in the Grecia, Atenas, Alajuela area in Costa Rica? Join our writer workshop from 10-1 pm July 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21!

The full writer workshop, for those coming from out of town, includes meals and a place to stay. But if you’re already in town and want to pop in for just the workshop portion, join us next week at Norma’s Villas! All 10 hours of classes for $200. Pay via Eventbrite or Paypal. Ariana Seigel will be helping us overcome writer’s block and any other creative blocks getting in our way.

Hope to see you there. Email lisaatnormas@gmail.com to pay via PayPal, and avoid the EB fee. Pura Vida!

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Guest Post: Bonnie Adjusts to Cooking (and bugs!)

Rick and I have now been living in Costa Rica for seven months and we are adapting well. Aside from learning Spanish, one of the small challenges I have faced living in another country has been adapting my cooking to the local foods. I have also learned to make some of the local dishes (YUM!), and have been creating new recipes as well. I have also started making fresh homemade bread a few times a week, which means I no longer have to find a way to ship my bread machine from Texas. It also means we have to step up our walking routine to work off those extra calories!

So much has been happening in the world of nature at Norma’s Villas that I have had a really hard time deciding what to share! The New Year brought with it some new sights in both the bird and insect worlds. I realize a lot of people don’t care for bugs, and I certainly prefer most of them to stay outside, but once in a while you meet one that makes you go “OOOOO! How cool is that?”

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Photo credit: bugguide.net

Meet one that made me say exactly that: the Mexican Unicorn Mantis, Phyllovates chlorophaea. Rick found a small one (nymph) in the kitchen (so cute!), then we saw one in a palm tree. I have always found praying mantises to be interesting, but this one is just so pretty! His tail actually looks like a part of a palm frond.

Until next time,

Bonnie

Guest Post: Bonnie Rios

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A Motmot at Norma’s Villas

Bonnie has been living at Norma’s Villas for six months with Norma’s son, Rick. She’s our guest blogger for today!

It is Christmastime and summer has officially begun here at Norma’s Villas! I am married to Norma’s son, Rick, and we have been living here for nearly 6 months now. While I have visited during all times of the year, this is my first time to actually experience the change in seasons, from winter (rainy) to dry (summer). The biggest change I have noticed so far is that, while it is still quite hot during the day, the winds have picked up, providing a nice respite from the heat. In addition, the nights are cooling off with less humidity and, perhaps my most favorite part: the stars have “re-appeared” (due to lack of cloud cover). I love coming to the pool area a couple of hours after sunset, throw down a blanket, lie back and enjoy the view.

As I wrote this post, there was a group of happy Ticos (slang for Costa Rican!)  whose Christmas party was actually saved by Norma’s hidden salon. This work group had made plans to have their celebration at another location, but they found it to be wanting. One of the employees suggested they call Norma, and now the property is resounding with the sometimes-slightly-off-key voices of partygoers singing karaoke, laughter from the pool, and an all-around festive atmosphere. They left pretty early, and by 5 p.m., the property quickly returned to its normal peaceful ambiance.

I cannot write about Norma’s Villas without introducing some of the “locals.” Today it is the Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus momota, a brilliantly-beautiful bird that, according to field guides, is quite common in Costa Rica. Interestingly, in the eight years I have visited Costa Rica I have never seen a motmot, even though I searched for them. A few weeks ago, as Rick and I were taking one of our regular walks through the trees on the property, we encountered this show off who allowed Rick to get a few pictures.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Bonnie

NaNoWriMo Discount!

If you're gonna write a book, why not do it here?
If you’re gonna write a book, why not do it here?

 

Writers have been getting ready for NaNoWriMo, which can be an exciting and productive time! But have you planned on what you’re going to do after?

Maybe some editing or rewriting…in Costa Rica?

Norma’s is giving 10% off weekly and monthly rates for writers who book during March-August of 2015! There’s one catch . . . you must send the request during NaNoWriMo (November). You do not need to make any payments, but we need all requests by November 30.

Drop me a line at lisaatnormas@gmail.com with the following information:

1. The dates you’re looking to stay and the room you want (furnished room with access to community kitchen, studio with its own kitchen, one bedroom, or two bedroom house)
2. Your Twitter handle
3. A bit about your project!

Is that it?

Space is limited, but we will try to accommodate as many as we can! Drop us a line to reserve your spot!

Normal rates for these months are:

$600/month, $360/week for a studio
$800/month, $480/week for a one-bedroom
$1000/month, $600/week for a two-bedroom

Why Norma’s?

Norma’s is in the quiet town of La Garita. We are close enough to San Jose and Alajuela that you have major conveniences, but far enough and secluded enough that you can buckle down!

By offering this discount specifically for writers between March and August of 2015, we hope to cultivate a bigger creative community.

**You must send a message before November 30 to receive this discount! You do not need to make a payment, but must send the initial request.**

 

So drop us a line before November 30 with any questions, let us know you’re a writer, and if you eventually decide to stay with us, you’ll get 10% off your stay!

Still not sure? Check out this video to see what Norma’s is all about:

Still not enough? ***AND*** If you visit our Twitter @normasvillas and RT (retweet) our discount, you’ll receive an extra 5% off!

What are you waiting for? Email me at lisaatnormas@gmail.com before November 30!

Norma’s Internet Problem

Norma’s has a lot of space. A lot. We are happy that everyone has lots of space to roam around, but that leaves us with a huge problem:

The Internet.

As more freelancers and remote workers come to Norma’s, it’s clear that we are going to need to solve our Internet problem.

I made this sketch of the place:

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…more or less (less) to scale.

We have one router by the hourglass pool and the big house, and another on the other side by a one bedroom. The routers are the pink dots. The pink shading shows where you can get wifi.

While the shading shows a perfect circle, the range varies. The router can send a signal up to 300 feet, but it’s not always reliable. Studio #5, for example, gets spotty range from Router #2.

How should we solve our internet problem?

We currently have two DSL lines and two routers, and we cover most, but not all, of our villas.

Solution 1: Communal Internet Spaces

We could let go of the idea of everyone having private internet in their villas, and instead focus on making the bar a kickbutt workspace with high-speed Internet!

Solution 2: Internet everywhere!

Through a series of routers, repeaters, and transmitters, we blast wifi throughout the whole place. Wifi for all!

What do you think we should do, why, and, most importantly, how? What equipment is the best? All tips welcome!

Writers’ Discount for next June, July and August!

 

Are YOU a writer looking for a retreat?

Why do you wanna know?

Norma’s is giving 10% off weekly and monthly rates for writers who book during June-August of 2015!

Really? How do I get this discount?

If you’re on Twitter, Tweet the link to this post and follow @normasvillas. If you can’t think of a Tweet, you can use this:

@normasvillas giving discounts to #writers next June-Aug! Get yours: https://normasvillas.com/?p=102

Next, drop me a line at lisaatnormas@gmail.com (or one of our contact forms) with the following information:

1. The dates you’re looking to stay and the room you want (furnished room with access to community kitchen, studio with its own kitchen, one bedroom, or two bedroom house)
2. Your Twitter handle
3. A bit about your project!

Is that it?

Space is limited, but we will try to accommodate as many as we can! Drop us a line to reserve your spot!

Normal rates for these months are:

$600/month, $360/week for a studio
$800/month, $480/week for a one-bedroom
$1000/month, $600/week for a two-bedroom

Why Norma’s?

Norma’s is in the quiet town of La Garita. We are close enough to San Jose and Alajuela that you have major conveniences, but far enough and secluded enough that you can buckle down!

By offering this discount specifically for writers between June and August of 2015, we hope to cultivate a bigger creative community.

That’s all! Looking forward to hearing about you!