Monday, May 22, 2017

Understanding the Culture of a Country, with Helen Dunn Frame

Understanding the Culture of a Country:
A Road Map to Happiness in Costa Rica or in any Foreign Country

“Adapted from the Third Edition of Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida

Helen Dunn Frame

Top your “To Do List” of things to consider before you move or travel abroad with “Learn about the culture of the places you are considering.” It will pay dividends in a more successful adventure.

Increasingly important for all expats even more than avoiding “The Ugly American” label of the sixties is an acute awareness of the implications of our international interpersonal encounters. Our contemporary world remains polluted by cross-cultural misunderstandings, historical ethnic disdain, and various faux pas just as many rivers in Costa Rica reek of garbage. Today even casual travel requires personal and geopolitical responsibility.

Harkening back to my days in college, we learned in Sociology and Anthropology the definition of a culture encompassed shared values, practices, and rituals that permeate a society. While traditions pervade, different and unique individuals may occasionally in some fashion contradict dominant cultural traits or values thereby confusing the stranger trying to understand a group.

For Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, decorum ranks of the utmost importance. Most natives will do everything possible to avoid confrontation. To cause a scandal, create a public commotion, or raise one’s voice in public definitely are unacceptable behaviors. At its most practical level, the appearance principle including personal hygiene means that you should warmly greet all Tico friends and acquaintances you happen to meet during your daily routines. Everyone should ask permission to enter a Tico home:  ”Con permiso.

When an expat speaks candidly it often creates a problem because Costa Ricans generally avoid conflict in all interpersonal encounters. People eagerly say untrue things because they feel the listener wants to hear a certain response. (Don’t forget expats lie too.) For example, a Tico will attempt to give directions without a clue about a destination’s location. A workman may agree to arrive at 8 a.m. because you wanted him there at that time although he had another job and couldn’t come until noon.

If invited to a Tico function, inquire about the proper attire. "Tico time," the tendency of many Costa Ricans to show up late or not at all to meetings, appointments and other commitments often causes expats frustrations. However, it’s a generalization. Not all Ticos arrive late or don’t call if they can’t come.

Don’t forget to consider the theory of event versus appointment. When you invite a Tico to dinner, he may show up two hours late because he thinks of it as an event, not a time specific invitation. More and more I find that Costa Ricans that deal regularly with foreigners have adapted themselves to expat ways. I have service people who come when they say they will and arrive promptly … or call.

Costa Ricans experience time in abundance, like a delightful climate, beautiful children, and a spectacular countryside. It results in a moment becoming an end rather than a means.

By European or North American standards Costa Rica has been ranked as a third world country although it has graduated to an emerging country. While the cost of living climbs, lower income citizens permeate the society. Yet you only have to go to one of the modern malls like Multiplaza Oeste to realize a solid Costa Rican middle class exists and many Costa Ricans claim considerable assets but they don’t boast about them. Many locals believe that all foreigners are wealthy regardless of the truth. Just by the number of things in a home, or the ability to dine out at will, or to have money in hand without working feeds the myth.

Learning facts about the culture you are interested in will put you head and shoulders above those who don’t. Speaking Spanish even if not perfectly will reap rewards. Pura Vida!

Helen Dunn Frame, formerly a commercial real estate broker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex specializing in retail and restaurants, developed professional writing skills beyond those she learned in college. Plus, living in England, Germany, and Costa Rica; and her love of travel (in 50 countries where she gained an appreciation of the value of diverse cultures) have provided background information for several books.
Helen wove many threads of her experiences into the fabric of GREEK GHOSTS followed by the second in the mystery series, WETUMPKA WIDOW. Living in Dallas during a major scandal inspired SECRETS BEHIND THE BIG PENCIL. In a third edition this year, Helen advises Baby Boomers in her book RETIRING IN COSTA RICA or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida. It features a new chapter, Retirement 101, Planning Beyond Financial Security, which is also available as a booklet on Kindle.
A graduate of Syracuse University (Journalism School), and New York University (Master’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology), major newspapers and magazines as well as trade publications in the United States, Costa Rica, England, and Germany have published her articles. She has edited newsletters, a newspaper, and other author's books, created business proposals for clients, and spoken to groups.

Website:  http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T 

BETWEEN THE COVERS:  RETIRING IN COSTA RICA OR DOCTORS, DOGS AND PURA VIDA, THIRD EDITION
To retire full-time, part-time, or not at all, that is the question. As you approach what could be the last quarter, or even third of your life, it’s a major decision to make. You want your adventure to succeed in order that your golden years will be happy, healthy, and content.
This book offers a great first step for starting your due diligence beginning with Chapter One, Retirement 101. It encourages you to look beyond your financial plans and to consider what you will do with your wonderful free hours. If Costa Rica is on your list of possible locations, you’ll learn about its ever changing environment. You’ll undoubtedly discover if retiring to this emerging nation is, or is not, for you. If your choice is retiring to a different foreign country, the book will still help you to recognize what you might face when adapting to a different culture.
You will find references to other books, links to websites, and much needed phone numbers (also listed on the author’s website) that will enable you to carry your due diligence to the next level. And, you may contact the author through her website to download a free Moving Guide and workbook, useful for any move.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Romantic Suspense Novel for Free: The Mad Monk's Treasure #Freeebook

Now FREE at all ebook retailers!


Praise for The Mad Monk’s Treasure:

“The action never stopped .... It was adventure and romance at its best.”

“I couldn’t put this book down. You’ll love it.”

4.7 out of 5 stars with 38 Amazon reviews

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Adventures

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic—and deadly—New Mexico desert....

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”

This is book 1 in the Southwest Treasure Hunters series. The Dead Man’s Treasure is book 2 and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is book 3. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico.


Award-winning author Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Her other books include Counterfeits, What We Found and Whispers in the Dark. To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Western Author Melody Groves

This week’s featured artist is Melody Groves. Melody loves cowboys, gunslingers, and everything Western. She is the award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her latest is She Was Sheriff, which sounds great!

“All She Wanted Was a Gold Band- 
What She Got Was a Tin Star”


For as long as she could remember, Maud Overstreet figured she’d grow up, get married, have a house with a white picket fence and a brood of kids. Now, in 1872, she’s tired of being the bank president’s spinster daughter and equally tired of washing, ironing and cleaning. When, out of the blue, Dry Creek’s town council offers her the job of replacement sheriff, she accepts. And her sheltered world explodes. 

For the first time, Maud enters a saloon, tastes whiskey, learns to shoot, learns to ride a horse and drive a stagecoach, arrests people, and leads men in search parties. Yet she still has time to dream about her long-errant boyfriend, Elijah J. Goodman, off—somewhere—for the past few years. She is convinced they will marry when he returns and hopes it will be soon. But the discovery of gold brings all sorts of unsavory characters to her town, including the threat of the notorious James Mooney Gang. There are rumors of an impending bank robbery. Maud enlists the help of Mayor Seth Critoli, but it’s up to her to save Dry Creek from disaster.

“A light-hearted look at a woman who gets a job nobody else wants and makes it her own. Maud is a spunky, likeable heroine who comes into her own . . . as the town’s protector of law and order.” — Anne Hillerman, NY Times Bestselling Author 

“A well-written thoroughly entertaining romp through the Gold Rush country with a reluctant officer of the law who discovers an aptitude for a job most thought only a man could do.”
— Chris Enss, NY Times Bestselling Author

Doesn’t that sound like a good gift for Mother’s Day?
 
Melody is also the author of the four Colton Brothers Saga (Border Ambush, Sonoran Rage, Arizona War and Kansas Bleeds). Here’s some info about the first one:

Robbed and beaten by outlaws, stagecoach guard James Colton vows justice and recovery of his grandfather’s watch. Determined to find his heirloom, James hunts the outlaws, only to face an immoral sheriff who gives him no choice but to shoot.

“The action never flags, and Groves has surely found her true calling...her cast of characters, their habits and idiosyncrasies is distinctly rich and right-on. A rip-snorting adventure yarn.” —Albuquerque Journal review

Melody brings her talents and interest in the Southwest to non-fiction titles as well – Hoist a Cold One! Historical Bars of the Southwest; Butterfield Byways; and Ropes, Reins and Rawhide.

Learn more about Melody at her website or Amazon author page.