The first thing to know is that I got braces on my lower teeth last month, December 7 exactly. I’ve been suffering ever since then, especially when it comes to dinner time.

My teeth began to bother me several months ago. It seemed that every time I wanted to chew something, my lower lip would get caught between my teeth and it became a big concern. I know this is way more information than you wanted, but that’s why I decided, along with my dentist, that something had to be done.

Well, the solution was easy - - get braces to straighten my teeth so I wouldn’t keep chomping on my lip. No problem - I thought the price charged by my orthodontist was reasonable, so I decided to get the job done. If you want to know any particulars or to see a photo, please let me know.

Anyway, the braces went on quickly and they didn’t hurt at all during the first few days. The only problem was that I couldn’t chew anything!

I could not have imaged how difficult it would be to find foods soft enough to swallow without chewing. As of December 7, cream soups and mush became my regular diet. The braces will stay on for eight months, so I’d better get used to them, right?

Sometime after December 7, David and I decided to go to Costa Rica for the Christmas holidays. I didn’t think of how it may be difficult to get foods I could eat in Costa Rica, especially when I couldn’t chew. The only foods I could eat had to be pulverized, such as cream soup, mashed potatoes, guacamole, milk shakes and soft dishes like that.

For Christmas dinner in San Jose at the restaurant of the Gran Hotel de Costa Rica, I brought a pouch of prepared mashed red beans and took it to the hotel’s chef. I asked him to prepare my Christmas dinner using my beans and his mashed potatoes. This is how it turned out, a wonderful, tasty holiday dinner!

I’d say I was very lucky to find such a talented chef in a far-away country on Christmas day. Notice that the fresh basil the chef used to decorate the presentation was micro-wave dried, a very clever chef, indeed!

“When given lemons, make lemonade”, right?