Black-out puts neighbors in a new light

A candle in the darknessA few weeks ago the entire country experienced several scheduled “rolling” black-outs.  The first time it happened it was unannounced and the entire country went black at the same time for several hours.  No one knew what was going on and no one was prepared.  After a few days, schedules were posted in newspapers announcing when and where black-outs would occur in the upcoming days.  Sometimes “lights out” went according to the notices and sometimes they didn’t.  (I started making coffee and putting it in a thermos, just in case.)  There were a number of theories floating around as to the reason for the black-outs – forces that were pro TLC (free trade agreement with the US that is under heated discussion), anti TLC, anti government, or disgruntled ICE employees (the phone and power company).  Even Mother Nature (the lack of rain) was accused of being the culprit.  To date, no one is certain of what caused the black-outs.  Although these black-outs were an inconvenience, they also provided an opportunity for me to interact with my neighbors.  I was gone during the day and when I came home in the afternoon, the electricity was off so the electric garage door couldn’t open.  I parked the car across the street and left it, figuring I’d move it later.  When the electricity came back on, it was pouring rain.  By the time the rain stopped, I’d forgotten about my car.  Soon the electricity went off again.  I kept waiting for it to resume, but it didn’t.  I finally gave up at 10:30 and went to bed (there isn’t a lot to do sitting in a dark house with a candle).  A few moments later I heard someone shouting, “Upe” at my front gate.  I got up and saw my neighbor with two of her children standing there with candles.  She said she was worried about my car and that her husband and son knew how to open the garage door manually so I could put my car away.  I scurried around looking for the key to the safety padlock on the opener.  As my neighbor’s oldest son stood on a stool and unlocked the padlock, the entire family was gathered around with candles.  It looked like a vigil!  Before long, the door was open, the car was in the garage, and I was back in bed thinking how nice my neighbors were.  A few days later I made chocolate chip cookies and took a plateful over to them.  Very few people make cookies in Costa Rica so I hope they liked them.  (Here’s a great kitchen in which to make cookies!)

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