Her arms are open with a “welcome hug” before I even get over the threshold. You gotta love those Southern girls! Kay and I have that in common; she’s from South Dakota, and I’m from South Brooklyn. Before I moved to Atenas, going on two years now, I had heard about Kay’s Gringo Postres. I heard it was the supreme expat gathering spot in all of Costa Rica. Plus, she had an extensive book supply – a lending library of sorts. The truth is, if you never bring the book back, the Library Policeman will not chase you down. That only happens in Stephen King’s world (Great Story! From Four Past Midnight)) People are always donating books, so there is no shortage.
Although I was anxious to find Kay’s, and experience it, I was not interested in hanging out with other Gringos. I didn’t move to Costa Rica to socialize with the same people I left behind in the U.S.
My first attempt was unsuccessful; I came on a Monday. After walking a fair distance from Roca Verde, following directions on how to get there, which is just slightly off the beaten path. I was rejoiced when I saw the sign for “Cruz Roja” (Red Cross) and knew I was within striking distance. I was parched and hoped she had a well-chilled Diet Coke, or at the very least, an iced tea. As I neared the sign, which I didn’t notice until I was almost on top of it, I breathed a sigh of relief, only to see that the place was closed.
It didn’t actually say “closed”, but there was a padlock on the front gate, and when I studied the sign, it clearly stated the days and hours of operation, which did not include Monday. I could see the shelves and shelves of books lining every wall in the place. For that alone, I would return.
I made the trek again on Wednesday. The place was packed. As I cautiously entered what felt like a private party, a woman approached me, asked my name, and welcomed me. When I said my husband and I had recently moved to Atenas, she turned to the group, and in a , clear voice boomed: “Hey everybody! This is Carole. She and her husband, Don, just moved to Atenas. Make her feel at home y’all!” And she disappeared into the kitchen. I don’t blush easily. I am known as an out-going cheerleader type. In this instance, I felt my face go crimson. I smiled, waved at the group, and retreated to an empty table in the corner.
I later learned there is a group of wonderful expat women that meets at Kay’s for lunch on Wednesdays. They often have informative guest speakers, but lots of times it’s just an interesting, animated group of ladies exchanging ideas, tips, experiences, and supportive camaraderie. I am now a regular on Wednesdays. The group is dynamic, depending on who is in town, what time of year it is, and what the weather is doing.
Through Kay’s community bulletin board, I have found our dentist, our taxi driver, a reliable inexpensive car to buy, and a mechanic to maintain it. There are houses for rent and for sale. There is an amazing grapevine; just tell Kay what you need, and she’ll most likely find it, or tuck it away until something pops up in the future.
Oh, and they also serve food! If you’re craving a good old-fashioned American burger and fries, this is the place. They also have onion rings to die for. Breakfast is my personal favorite. I typically get a couple of fried eggs, home fries, the best sausage patties in Costa Rica, or maybe the world, and whole wheat toast. Topped with Tom’s (Kay’s husband) home-made hot sauce and I am a happy camper. Lunch rotates daily specials with chef’s salad being my normal dish of choice.
The past few days I have been without internet at home. A blogger without internet is a fish out of water. I have been a fixture at Kay’s Gringo Postre’s for the better part of a week now, since along with all the other fabulous offerings, Kay’s provides free WiFi. I fooled them today by ordering French Toast for breakfast. It was “muy rico” (delicious). I’ve been sitting in my corner working for so long, I may be ordering lunch soon. And then I’ll be back tonight for the annual Halloween Party! I might as well pitch a tent. Oh yeah, forgot to mention: the coffee at Kay’s is really really good. For a buck, you get an endless cup ‘o joe.
Please join the fun tonight; costumes are not mandatory. The party start at 8:00, tonight, Saturday, October 26. Support Kay’s Gringo Postres. Without this valuable resource, who you gonna call? As expats, we need each other. I have many Tico friends and acquaintances here in Atenas and other parts of Costa Rica, but without the network I have been welcomed to, I wouldn’t have the level of comfort and support I have found with my Expat Family away from home. Come on down. After your first visit, you’ll have a place to come where everybody knows your name! Cheers!