Expat Extra – Jackie & Junior

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Hello friends and welcome to another edition of the Expat Extra!  Today I am featuring Jackie and her husband Junior, who live in the Guanacaste region (western coast) of Costa Rica.  We just met Jackie and Junior a couple of months ago at the International Living Conference in San Jose where both Greg and Jackie spoke (they both performed well!).  We very much enjoyed getting to know them better over the conference weekend.  They are young and ambitious, and will show you that you don’t have to be retired to move to a foreign country!

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I Love You, Costa Rica

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I think it’s no secret that I love Costa Rica.  Here are just a handful of things I love about this great country: 

The gorgeous central valley, as viewed from my patio (and yes, this is a Poinsettia TREE)!
Coffee fields everywhere!

How friendly the ticos are!

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Grecia, Costa Rica – the book

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Have you ever wondered about the little coffee-farming town I live in, here in the Central Valley of Costa Rica? Well – wonder no more!  I’ve written a little guidebook to help you navigate around Grecia.

After living here for over 3 years, I discuss what you need to know if you are visiting Grecia – either on vacation, or even if you are thinking about living here one day. 

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Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo

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One of my favorite things to order in restaurants here in Costa Rica, is Arroz con Pollo (in English means “rice with chicken”). So, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve been dreaming of making this from scratch for some time now. When we go out to eat here, we will order Costa Rican food, but when we are home I tend to make our USA favorites (which you know if you’ve read my Costa Rica Chica Cookbook; if not, please check it out – it’s my favorite US recipes, but also how to make them here in Costa Rica with some differences in ingredients). I think this Arroz con Pollo might actually be my first authentic Costa Rican dish I’ve made at home! 

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HOW COSTA RICA HAS MADE ME A BETTER COOK

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Even before I came to Costa Rica, I loved to bake. But it was only on occasion, only when I had time, and really – only if we were going to a party or family gathering and I needed to bring something. The point is – I enjoyed baking when I had time to do it… but I just never seemed to have that much time.

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A Day in the Life of Living in Grecia, Costa Rica

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So you’ve heard that living in Costa Rica is perfect, like being on a permanent vacation? Well, I’m here to keep it real. Here’s an example of what it takes to live here – or of what can happen occasionally. Sometimes every day.

This is a true story, and is pretty much a combo of “tico time” + “pura vida” + just plain real living in Costa Rica.

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The Secret to Keeping Lettuce Crisp (for up to 3 weeks)!

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Let me tell you a story.  There was once a girl who lived in Dallas and LOVED salad.  Almost any kind of salad, but her favorites were caesar salad (with or without chicken) or a fried or grilled chicken salad (with ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and croutons).  OK, so maybe these salads weren’t the healthiest of salads, but still – it made this girl feel good and healthy when she got to eat a salad for a meal.  At least she was getting some vegetables, and let’s be serious – any kind of salad is better than a burger or pizza.

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Reserva Forestal Grecia – Bosque del Niño

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Reserva Forestal Grecia Bosque del Niño (Grecia Forest Reserve of the Children) is right here in Grecia.  It’s a nice little getaway from the city life.  When we were there – we were the only ones there!  

There’s a huge field for soccer or playing catch, and behind it is a large covered area with several picnic tables and grills.  The bathrooms are located behind the covered area.

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Los Chorros Waterfalls, Grecia, Costa Rica

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 Do you like waterfalls?  Well, they seem to be pretty plentiful here in Costa Rica.  Los Chorros is a little gem right outside of Grecia.  Easy to get to for a low-keyed and fun-filled day of natural beauty.

Los Chorros is about a 15 minute drive from Central Grecia, and just 30 minutes from the International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela.  It’s between the two small towns of Grecia and Tacares (see map at end of post).

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Crema Dulce – a little box with big uses.

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So, when I first moved to Costa Rica, I was surprised that I couldn’t find cream in the refrigerated section of the grocery stores. I searched and searched – several different grocery stores – all to no avail. And I’m talking about any kind of cream: half and half, light cream, whipping cream or heavy cream.

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Ode To Costa Rican Sidewalks

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Jen be nimble
Jen be quick
Jen jump over
The pothole pit

The above picture is not doctored – it is really me, jumping over a very real pothole on a sidewalk in the town of Grecia, just yesterday.  

I know I look quite agile here, but I was really pretty cautious (and perhaps just a wee bit scared).  Look how deep this hole is, you could seriously hurt yourself if you weren’t looking where you were going:

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Costa Rican Food

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What is typical food like in Costa Rica?  One of my friend’s from the States was asking me this the other day, and I’d been wanting to do a post on this for some time.  Rice and beans are plentiful here and used in a lot of dishes.  Though we do not dine out frequently, here are some of our favorite things we order when we do go out.

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Expat Extra – THE MIKES

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Please welcome Mike and Michael, otherwise known as “The Mikes”, to my Expat Extra series. Originally from Dallas, they now call Costa Rica home, and have been here for 2 years.

These guys are amazing – they bought a dilapidated old B&B property with a river running through it (seriously), and are in the process of totally revamping it into the coolest house and farm, which they have named “San Miguel del Rio Oro”.

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Christmas 2015

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Hello friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and spent time with family and loved ones.

For me, there’s no better way to spend Christmas than with the one I love, having a Christmas movie marathon, while eating tasty treats! We watched 7 movies over 2 days. We even got a small 3-mile hike in on Christmas morning, which was lovely (and much needed after all the treats we’d been eating the day before).

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JEN’S PACK LIST FOR MOVE TO COSTA RICA

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Yep, that’s us with our 9 suitcases in the driveway of Greg’s folks house in Dallas, right before we headed out to the airport to fly to Costa Rica on June 17, 2013.

So, what exactly did we pack in those 9 suitcases?  Well, I’m here to tell you.  This has actually been requested of me several times, and I just finally got around to doing it (thanks Dee Dee for your nudge the other day!)  Although I did an earlier form of this list in the back of my book Costa Rica Chica, this post will be more detailed and itemized.

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CONFUSING THINGS: Costa Rica vs. USA

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Here’s a few things in Costa Rica that may at first be confusing or surprising to Expats/Gringos:

Various uses of ladders without a second thought (Costa Rica is not a litigious country):

Signs as a whole are not prevalent in Costa Rica, but when you do see them, there may be some confusion:

This bridge is heavily traveled every day, and has a sign on either side of it telling you basically that the bridge is in very bad condition.  But, interestingly enough, not preventing you from crossing it – so basically it means “go over this bridge at your own risk”:

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Expat Extra – Samantha Wei

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Hello friends and Happy Monday to you all!  I’m very excited about today’s Expat Extra, featuring  Samantha Wei.  

We first met Samantha and her boyfriend Yeison (pronounced “Jason”) through the online/social media/blogging world and then we got to meet them in person when we visited the Guanacaste area while they lived in Playas del Coco. We liked them immediately upon meeting them.  They are laid back, sweet, interesting, smart and kind.  They have the best blog and website (MyTanFeet.com), and I’m so proud of them with how they’ve grown it and make a living on it (although I am NOT envious of their working hours!).

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Expat Extra – Jeane Brennan and Jesse Peeler

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Hello friends! I’m excited to bring you another great Expat Extra today, this time featuring Jeane and Jesse who now live in Sierpe, Costa Rica. I met this cute couple when they lived in Grecia, and although they moved before I could get to know them better, I really liked what I saw in them.

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10 THINGS I’VE CUT OUT OF MY LIFE, THAT HAVE MADE ME A MUCH HAPPIER (AND SANE) PERSON

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OK, by now – a lot of you know I’m not normal. I’d even go so far as to sometimes say I’m crazy. Or unique. Whatever. No label necessary. I’m cool with how I am and love myself, so that’s all I have to say.

After quitting my job in the States, and moving to Costa Rica to live a more simple life, there were other changes I knew I wanted to make as well. This was the time to do it, right? Some changes were made with a conscious effort, others seemed to happen naturally. And yes – Costa Rica has helped with almost all of these things; however, that’s not to say that moving somewhere else (or staying put) couldn’t help with these things too.

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Expat Extra – Steven Friedman

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Today on the Expat Extra, I am featuring Steve & Martha Friedman. They are living their Costa Rican dream ON THE BEACH. Yep – they reside in Playa Hermosa (which means “beautiful beach,” how appropriate is that?) in the Guanacaste region. I’ve been to Playa Hermosa, and it is a charming little beach.

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