Project August

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Lately, Greg & I have seemingly been so busy, we were having trouble finding time to just sit down and work on projects that we wanted to focus on. Don’t get me wrong – retirement has been great – but we are still young(ish) and our minds are always going with ideas of things we want to do, work on, or accomplish still.

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Expat Extra – Jennifer Turnbull-Houde

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Hello everyone! I am starting something new that I’m very excited about. Every now and then (under no set schedule, as I live in pura-vida-ville), I am going to be doing a little segment called “EXPAT EXTRA” where I will be interviewing an expat and telling you their story.

So, here is my first ever EXPAT EXTRA!  Today I am featuring the young and lovely Jennifer Turnbull-Houde.  I feel a certain connection to Jenn because she and her husband Matt landed here in Costa Rica just a month after we did in 2013 – so we are kinda anniversary twinkies.  They quit their cushy jobs in Boston and moved here to live a more simple and happy life, very similar to us, except they did it in their early 30’s!  Here in Costa Rica, they work hard on their blog, books, and trip planning services – but now they are working on something they love, and in a place with no more winters (win/win!).  Check out her homemade jam she makes (below) – the picture alone is making my mouth water!

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Jen’s DIY Hot Cocoa Mix

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Hi guys!  I know it’s only August, but fall is right around the corner, and I wanted to share with you this easy-peasy hot cocoa mix recipe.  After it’s made, you just add boiling water to a few tablespoons of the mix, and stir it up!  I love this for when I don’t have any milk in the house and it’s chilly out (it’s currently Rainy Season in Costa Rica, and we’ve had our handful of cold days already).  Warms me right up.

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Sunscreen and Bug Spray for Costa Rica

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So you’re coming to Costa Rica – either for a vacation, or (get back Jack) to MOVE here.
You want to know about the sun and the bugs.

Well, I’m here to tell you – the sun is pretty potent in Costa Rica.
We are only 10 degrees North of the Equator, after all, my friends!

You know what that means. The sun will be more intense here in Costa Rica,
no matter what you are used to in the States.

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Tamarindo Beach Trip

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Have you heard of Tamarindo? It’s in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, the west coast / Pacific Ocean.  We were there last week for an awesome little “vacation”! We had an opportunity to pet sit for friends in exchange for a stay at their beautiful home – right in the heart of this quaint little beach town.  Even though we aren’t super fit or tan and didn’t walk around with surf boards everywhere – we still fit in – because pretty much the whole town is tourists. Everyone speaks English.  Everyone takes the American dollar.  Playa Tamarindo (the beach) is known for surfing, and the town itself is sprinkled with good restaurants and lots of touristy shops.  We traveled there by bus, which worked out great.

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Bus from San Jose to Tamarindo

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Last week we traveled from Grecia to Tamarindo by bus.  We heard from our friends about this direct bus from San Jose to Tamarindo called “Empresa Alfaro“.

Empresa’s station in San Jose is in the Coca Cola area, just one block from the Grecia Bus Station:

To Tamarindo there are two departure times:  11:30 which we took, that goes through Liberia first, and 3:30 with goes “straight” to Tamarindo.  We wanted to get there as early in the day as possible, so we took the 11:30 (note:  these prices are out of date):

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Dancing!

Greg and I do not dance… at all. But we were told about this dancing place by a couple of people, and definitely wanted to check it out (or at least I did) – just to people watch and have a good time. So, we went on Sunday with our friends Beverly & Ed.

What a blast! The place is locally referred to as “La Piscina” (meaning “the pool” – which is next to it and has been empty for years).  It was almost all Ticos (we were 4 of the 5 Gringos there), it was outdoors but covered, a live band, all Latin music, smiles everywhere. The band was really good – both music and singing wise. There was a huge space for dancing in front of the band, and then tons of tables beyond the dance floor.

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DIY Paper Towel Origami

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So…. you’re having dinner guests over in an hour, and you discover that you don’t have any napkins in the house! Horror of horrors. But wait – you DO have paper towels.

Well, this happens a lot to me here in Costa Rica because we just don’t buy napkins. Paper towel is fine for all of our needs. And of course we buy the cheapest paper towel we can, because we live on a pretty frugal budget. Although we did have to start paying a bit more for a little bit nicer brand, as the cheapest one was very hard to tear off the roll without shredding, and if it got the least bit wet, it totally disintegrated.

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10 Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Move To Costa Rica

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I keep seeing articles that say Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries to live in.  And while that can be true for some, I wanted to point out various reasons why someone may not want to move here.

1. You don’t want to move to Costa Rica if… you really like the four seasons.

Well, there IS a “Four Seasons” hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, but there is definitely not four seasons of the year here (it should really be called the “Two Seasons Hotel”). No changing of the leaves. No crisp season when the snow melts and it’s that “light jacket” weather. No snow or ice or sleet or slush.

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Grecia to Alajuela Bus Trip

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This bus trip is SOOO easy, I feel almost foolish that I haven’t done it before! I tagged along with my pal Debbie (who is also car-less and knows the bus system well).

Purpose for our trip? Well, to go to Pequeño Mundo, of course! Pequeño Mundo is a like a dollar store on steroids. It’s a big warehouse, filled with lots of great deals (ok, most are more than $1, but still). Anything from kitchenware to clothes to candles to to food to lawn equipment and light bulbs. I love Pequeño Mundo, but have only driven there with friends before. I wanted to know how to get there on my own via the bus.

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“HOT” HOT-SAUCE TASTING

A hot-sauce taste testing!  Something you might be very interested in if you live here (or are visiting), as Costa Rican food tends to be more on the bland side.  Luckily, hot sauce goes with gallo pinto very nicely.

DISCLAIMER: These hot sauces were all taste-tested by Mr. Greg Seymour, who has a very high tolerance for spiciness. When I taste a hot sauce that sets my mouth on fire and my eyes-a-watering, Greg tastes it and says “Huh?  Where’s the fire?  This isn’t hot at all!”  So – you have been warned. These hot sauces are spicy – even the mildest one shown here is pretty spicy – for me, at least.  There are SEVERAL other hot sauces available here in Costa Rica, this is just a small sampling of some of the spicier ones.

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A new dentist visit – in Escazú

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The other day we had the opportunity to visit a new dentist in Guachipelin, Escazú, Costa Rica.  I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning, and Greg was scheduled for a cleaning and a teeth whitening.  I’m not too easily impressed these days, but Dr. Oriana González impressed me.

Here is Dr. González (in white) with her assistant:

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When is a soda not a soda??

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When is a soda not a soda??

Well, when you’re in Costa Rica, of course!

In Costa Rica, a “soda” is a very small café, locally owned, and usually has just a few tables and stools at a counter. Typically, you cannot really go wrong with a soda – they always seem have to have authentic and very good Costa Rican food. This is my favorite soda in Grecia, so far (mainly because I haven’t branched out to all of the soda’s yet, and also because once Greg likes a place, he wants to keep going back again and again and again):

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A recap of 2014

2014 has been an awesome year and our first FULL year in Costa Rica! Thank you ALL for being a part of my life… and I really mean this. Whether you’re a childhood friend, a long time friend, or someone new in my life – I value all of you, and truly love that you are part of my life – online or in person!

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Hiking for FUN

Greg & I had been wanting to get back to hiking ever since he got rid of his cold (he had lots of lingering coughing, so it had been WEEKS since we had last hiked together!). So we had planned on this morning, finally.

We were dressed and ready, water bottle chilling with ice in the freezer, when it start drizzling outside. Oh no. We’re transitioning out of rainy season right now, but we had some hard all-night rains just a couple of nights ago – so you never know – it could start pouring at any moment.  But we decided to go for it. Sun was out, with a few clouds, and it was still lightly misting, but we figured we wouldn’t melt.

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Book Signing Party – Costa Rica Chica

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I’ve already told you guys I have some pretty awesome friends, right? Well, two of them threw me a BOOK SIGNING PARTY! How cool is that? I’m so lucky to have friends that even THINK of these things.

Here’s Marti and Irina – who hosted my party for me
(they are both so cute and petite, I just want to pick them up!):

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Keeping it real…

Hello my fellow blog readers! I feel like I’ve been living under a rock lately. Sure, it’s a Costa Rican rock, but none the less… So, I’m just stopping by to say “HI” and keep it real.  I’ve been super busy lately, but I have been getting a lot done.

For one, I finally got my book published (what? you didn’t know I wrote a book? CLICK HERE POSTHASTE and buy it now(!); at only $3.95, it’s cheaper than a Starbucks drink!). Also, whoever tells you writing is easy – don’t believe them. And going through an edited book is even HARDER (especially when I kept having to interrupt Greg with whatever he was doing and ask him his opinion on something because I couldn’t seem to make up my mind on little tweaky things).

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Our new casa

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We have moved! Into an amazing new chalet-style house! I’d send you our address, but we still won’t have one.  The new casa is:

  • Bigger (3 bedrooms – come visit!)!
  • More comfy and rustic (lots of wood; think “ski resort” – which I know doesn’t fit with Costa Rica, but it is still super cute looking)!
  • More private (behind a huge privacy fence and gate)!
  • Has a yard (our last house did not)!
  • Has an enclosed garden (I think it was an aviary… but as my landlord pointed out, now it works to keep birds out)!
  • The views are even more amazing than our last house (I know, how could they get much better?)!

And for all this, we only had to move 50 meters down the road. (Meters you say? I know you’re impressed that I know what a meter is. But really – Greg told me. FYI 50 meters =  164 feet. Which I wouldn’t know either, I had to look it up.)

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Cachi and the Orosi Valley

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We took a short but sweet little trip to Cachi and the Orosi Valley, which are both just outside of Cartago.  Cachi is a small town, where our friends Mike and Michael are moving (from Dallas, TX) over the next couple of months.  It is a tiny town, population of only about 3,000, and set in the beautiful Orosi Valley.  Elevation of about 3,500 feet, and the temp’s seemed actually cooler than what we’re used to in El Cajon de Grecia. We loved it!  There’s virtually no loud motorcycles there, and the cars are few and far between.  The people are nice and wave to you, and they have LOTS of cute little soda’s and fabulous restaurants – even more so than Grecia, which was surprising!

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The Mysterious Spheres – Archaeological Site Finca 6

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When we were in Sierpe, Osa, a few weeks ago, we kept seeing these large stone spheres everywhere around the town and in fields. Here is one in the park ——–>>

Peter (friend, guide, Sierpe guru) had told us that there were several of these large spheres that were found here in Sierpe in the early 1900’s – one of two places in the whole world. Well, this sounded very interesting. How did they get here? People from a long long time ago? Space aliens from a galaxy far far away? Well, the answers were actually not too far away – we soon found out that they have a museum in Finca (farm) 6 – which is where the most recent spheres were found.

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