Hi friends! Someone asked me the other day what our next adventure was going to be, and it stopped me in my tracks. Even now; after quitting our corporate jobs, selling almost everything we owned, moving and living in Costa Rica, and most recently hiking the Appalachian Trail; it still knocks me off guard to think that people believe me to be adventurous.
Wow, you guys! Today is our 2-year-anniversary of landing in Costa Rica! Here’s us on Jun 17th, 2013 in Dallas before heading to the airport with all of our earthly belongings:
In a lot of ways these 2 years have gone by swiftly, but when I think about all we have done, it DOES seem like we’ve been here a while… here’s our “2 years” at a glance:
Well, I’ve finally recuperated from our States Tour. Jet Lag, Travel Hangover… whatever you want to call it. It took my 5 days to get back to my Pura Vida routine. And that’s ok. In our 3 weeks in the States, we were in all 4 time zones, 8 different states, flew a total of 8 flights, did a 3-day drive of 2100 miles, and stayed up past our bed time every night. And I wouldn’t trade any of it. Best part? Spending quality time with our Mom’s and siblings and nieces and nephews. Oh and eating a darn good burger every now and then.
Well, we did it. We flew Spirit airlines, for the first time ever. And we survived.
There are a lot of negative posts out there about Spirit, and yes – I perused them all months ahead of our scheduled trip. And they definitely made me hesitate. I was ready to forget about Spirit and go with an airline that I was familiar with (American), which had a direct flight from Costa Rica to Dallas, and we had done several times with no hiccups. But I soon discovered a pattern in the dis-Spirited comments about Spirit – it seemed that mainly people were complaining about hidden and extra charges that they knew nothing about.
Well, since I can’t really write a review on Amazon for my hubby’s book, that would look kinda weird (and subjective)… I’ll do a blog post instead!
Greg is now an author, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. When he first came up with the idea to write a guidebook on tips for visiting or living in Costa Rica, I thought it was a great idea. Once he started writing it, I soon discovered it was a better and better idea. This was THE BOOK we were always looking for before we moved here, but could never find!
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:
While having coffee the other week, we had an interesting conversation with our friend Wilson (who grew up here) and a Tico gentlemen sitting next to us (whom we didn’t know, but everyone is so friendly here, he just jumped in the conversation too). I’m always asking questions and wanting to understand things. So, this is what I found out for a little bit of Costa Rican history.
Just a quick note to announce the WINNERS for my Costa Rica Chica Favorite Things – 2014 Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway:
Hello my blogger readers! Just a quick note to tell you that the PAPERBACK VERSION of my book
“Costa Rica Chica” is now out and available!!!
Also, I am doing a special offer right now for a free signed bookplate. A bookplate is a large personalized sticker, that I will personally sign for you, send to you, and you can attach to the inside of your book!
(Note: you still need to order the book yourself.)
Do you ever feel like your running around in circles?
Well I was this morning. By choice. Around a soccer field.
I haven’t ran in a long time. AGES, in fact. But this morning I decided I was going to run with my hubby! Surely not as far as he was going (he’s training for a half marathon in December), but I wanted to see what I could do. I hike with him sometimes, and I also do my “100 things” every week day (pushups, squats, lunges, dips); so I knew I wasn’t in that bad of shape. I also have these super cool running shoes, which I love and haven’t worn in a while:
One of the mental shifts we had to do when we moved to Costa Rica, was move from the “buy anything you want/do anything you want” mentality to being more frugal. How did we do this?
Well, for starters, when Greg & I both quit our jobs at the same time, bam(!) – all income was immediately eliminated. So, with our DINKS status (dual income no kids) being totally taken away (well, at least the DI part), we didn’t have much choice but to revamp our entire budget. Hey, we were revamping our entire life anywayby moving from the States to Costa Rica, so it was as good a time as any to change up our budget and lifestyle. Here’s what we did, and how we did it.
The other night we visited a cozy little restaurant up on the San Miguel Ridge, one ridge over from where we live. We went with our good friends Lucy (Justa) and Steve, who had been wanting to take us there for a while. The place is called Mirador Brisas del Monte, and really the best thing about it is the gorgeous views you can see from anywhere you sit inside the soda.
Every time we see a cute old Toyota Landcruiser from the 70’s/80’s, my hubby ogles it and talks about wanting to buy one. These Toyota’s are everywhere here. And I have to admit, they ARE pretty darn stinkin cute. But then I think about actually paying for it (price of cars here, even older ones, are a lot more expensive than the States), the required basic insurance, the annual inspection fees, extra insurance, maintenance (which hey – with something this old, might be almost every day)… it’s just not worth it to me.
As you all know by now, my awesome Mom was here visiting us the last week of January (if you missed it, click here).
The favorite tour we did when Mom was here, was our visit to the Toucan Rescue Ranch.
What an amazing place! All of the animals are rescue animals (as the name implies). Leslie – the owner and animal guru herself – was there to greet us, and was our personal tour guide. Leslie is incredible. Down to earth, very well spoken, open to questions – you can tell she just loves what she does. And she doesn’t just have toucans – which made me giddy. I mean I like birds and all, but… well, you can’t really cuddle with a toucan.
Our very first visit to San Jose was to meet our attorney. We handed over all our paper work, lots of money, and he initiated our rentista residency process (see my first post about this, which describes the “rentista residency” vs. the residency people do when they are of OTHER retirement age and receive social security). All went well, and he told us he’d call us once we received our “folio numbers” – which would enable us to come back and get finger printed and set up a bank account. Our attorney also mentioned that he had 15 years of experience working with Banco National, and we would have no problem opening an account to satisfy the rentista requirements.
If you would have talked to me 3 years ago, and asked me how I’d feel about quitting my job and entering early retirement, selling everything I owned, and moving to Costa Rica; I would have burst out laughing and said:
“Excuse me? What are you talking about?”
And then I would have asked you: “Where is Costa Rica, anyway?”
Greg & I are lucky. We have some really awesome friends. And I’m not just saying that. About 2 months before we moved to Costa Rica, we joined a facebook group called “Expatriates in Costa Rica”. Through a friend we met on there, who had visited Costa Rica and plans to move there one day, we were introduced (online) to Helen & Charles. We connected with them, and they were so kind to answer several questions we had. Then we found out they were originally from Texas, and would be visiting Dallas soon (remember, this is when we still lived in Dallas), and wanted to get together with us and have dinner! And, we liked them even MORE after meeting them in person.
This is just a little shout out to my new pal, Shannon Enete, who lives on the western coast of Costa Rica. She just wrote and published this new book Becoming an Expat: Costa Rica. If any of you are even thinking of making the move to Costa Rica – this is a MUST read for you. It’s easy to read, instructive without getting boring or too bogged down with information, and interesting to boot. The book also contains several external resources to help further your research.