Two favorite words come into use during an afternoon trip

Julie Andrews is not the only one who has favorite things. Hers are many, and some of them complex. Mine are pretty short and simple. Two of my favorite words are serendipity and gratitude. I like the sound of them and what they mean. This past week I experienced both and am entering the weekend with a smile that just may last awhile.

I made an appointment with my longtime dentist, Dr. Furchtgott. It has been a while since I have seen him, and I was pleased that he is still hard at work in his dental office and that I was able to make an appointment. The drawback is that I live in Sabana Norte and his office is across from the Hospital Católica in Guadalupe. That can involve at least an hour and a half traveling in taxis and buses, or a fat taxi fee.

I took a taxi to Yamuni Department store on Avenida 10, then caught the Sabana Cementerio bus to downtown. They are tearing up Avenida 10 so the bus took a detour to 12th. The driver was a good looking, athletic type (so many are gaining weight), who was not bashful about using his horn or of taking corners at what I considered breakneck (mine) speed, but it was fun. I planned to get off at the AutoMercado corner and then walk about four blocks to a Guadalupe bus stop near Hotel Aurola.

However, before arriving at my stop, I asked the driver if a Guadalupe bus that went to Hospital Católica had a parada on his route. He said yes, two stops farther. He told me when to get off. What serendipity, not to have to walk the long four blocks and wait wondering if a bus would come on time.

I immediately climbed on the Guadalupe bus. We were few passengers when the driver took off. And then proceeded the wildest ride through town I have ever enjoyed (like the way you enjoy a roller coaster ride). More bridges were out and streets closed, so we went through the back streets of barrios California, Dent and probably San Pedro. But I was deposited near my dentist’s office with 10 minutes to spare.

After my appointment I caught a bus to town and decided to shop at a Ropa Americana Italiana near Mas X Menos. It was raining when I left, and I was tired, so I splurged on a taxi to the bank four blocks from home. After taking care of bank business, I headed for home, more than tired as I walked and just 100 feet from my apartment building I realized I was going to faint if I didn’t stop.

Two people passed me, and, feeling desperate, I asked them if they could help me. I felt stupid but knew I didn’t want to fall. I handed the man my purse and bundle, and then he helped me lower myself to the curb. The young woman went somewhere and came back with a glass of water, and someone else was stirring sugar into it. She insisted I drink it. The sugar would help, she said. I told them that I lived in the tall building across the street but I just couldn’t make it. They were most kind, if a little incredulous that I had such a short way to go.

They were probably returning to work from their lunch hour but their attention was totally on me. When I felt better, I told them to call my friend who also lived in the building, and with the help of Doug and Carl, the guard next door, and after I had thanked my good Samaritans profusely, I made it home.

This is not the first time Costa Ricans have come to my rescue, or even what they perceived was my need for help. Experiencing the delight of serendipity and the profound feeling of gratitude is about the best one can hope for in one day. It will keep me smiling for a while.

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