Expat Extra – Beverly Kronquest

COVER REVISED IIHello friends!  Welcome to another Expat Extra, today I am featuring the lovely Ms. Beverly Kronquest.  

Beverly is a lady of sophistication and down-to-earth goodness.  She has a beautiful heart, a genuine smile, and is one of those people who can talk to anyone.  Every time I see her, I go away feeling happy and good about myself (she is a genuine, giving and rare type of woman).

She built a beautiful house on land she purchased here, and leads a wonderful and fulfilling life. 

So, without further ado, here is Beverly’s story, told in her own words: 

I first came to Costa Rica nine years ago to visit a friend who said an acre of land adjacent to his property was for sale.  I could see it was a lovely spot, and after submitting an offer, I was the owner of an acre of sugar cane in Costa Rica. I didn’t know I wanted to move to Costa Rica. I didn’t know any Spanish. I was a single woman entering the “sunset” years, but somehow somewhere in me, I knew that this wild, beautiful plot in the foothills of the mountains rimming the Central Valley was exactly where I should be.

At the time, home was Naples, Florida, where I had lived for 30 years since moving from Rochester, NY. I was content. I had a meaningful job, and Naples is a beautiful town in its own right, but I was living in a house that increasingly felt like a box, and watching someone else’s adventures on TV every night.

I was relatively well-traveled and in shape—I was a nationally ranked triathlete and ran a couple marathons. I had always tentatively embraced change; even in the circumstances when it was forced on me, I survived and often was better for it. It’s funny how we know when we need to take a leap. For me, it was to get out of my box and away from TV and live my own adventure.

That leap to Costa Rica lead to just that, a great adventure. I had the sugar cane cleared, hired an architect and built a house that rises up to greet me every time I walk in it. It is the antithesis of a box. Along the way, I have made dear friends with the people and the land. While building mi casa of arches and light, I worked along with the Ticos, cobbling together enough Spanish to share ideas and stories. Early in the construction a litter of puppies was found on the property. The workers whisked all but one away, and Dobey, born on this spot, is my most trusted companion.  

After the house was finished, I set about planting the gardens, which in the mornings are filled with butterflies and hummingbirds. In the afternoon light from the veranda, I love to watch the birds and clouds sweep and play over the gardens and the valley below. The way things grow here amazes me, and toiling in the gardens is joyful work. Recently, in addition to planting fragrant flowering plants, fruit trees and pineapples, I’ve started to grow herbs and vegetables. I still go to the farmer’s market (feria) in Grecia every Friday to stock up on staples like eggs and bread, but if forced, I could easily subsist off the produce from the land. It’s a place of both beauty and abundance.

casa

I’ve found art here, too. About five years ago I started playing around with mosaics, and now I have enough pieces to fill a small gallery. After a morning of gardening, I turn to my art table that I’ve set up on the veranda.

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palm trees

Here I lose myself in mosaics, often looking up in surprise to see the harbingers of night–mist settling into the valley, a few lights twinkling from the small villages to the south, the brightest stars already making their show. Then it’s time to read. I don’t have a television and am better for it. When my beau or family is visiting, we have dinner outside by candlelight and then talk and play cards.

david bev

Mario and Fanny come here to mow and weed about once a month and have helped me when I need help and seem to always want to be available.  She thinks of me as her other mother.  I love it.  I’ve met so many lovely, helpful Costa Ricans and many fascinating, sincere, and wonderful gringo friends.

I’ve had many wonderful experiences here, enjoy the National Theatre on Tuesdays and look forward to the annual opera performance (both in San Jose).  Fabulous, magnificent music at an extremely reasonable cost.  Enjoy art shows, galleries and Ropa Americana stores looking for cashmere sweaters for a $1 or so, is also one of my pleasures here.

An embarrassing Español faux pas occurred one morning years ago when I was invited to a Gringo married to a Tica’s house.  Talking to the wife and son, an editor at Le National, I wanted to thank them for the pastries and delicious cake she made.  In my mind, I struggled for the word “cake” and said “muchas gracias por caca“.  The son turned beet red.  His wife looked at me very strangely.  I should have said “queque” (pronounced “kay kay”).  It’s all in the pronunciation. (caca means “poop”).

My average day begins around 5:30-6a.m. with banana and coffee on the porch, take my dog Dobey for a walk, then garden or go to Grecia gym for a zumba-baile class, do errands and pop into Ropa American and come home.  I work on a mosaic standing up until I’m tired, then talk or internet and read.   Simple days.  Simple life.  Didn’t really know how simple life could be because I’ve always worked in the States.  Costa Rica is PURA VIDA!

I love it here. It is my best life. But like I somehow knew when it was right to come, I grudgingly recognize that it’s time to go. I miss my family back in the States, and before my grandchildren are grown, I want to know them. If you’re looking to take a leap, to have an adventure, to live your best life, feel free to stop in. My gardens and casa of arches and light are for sale.

Los Churros

Beverly – thank you so much for joining me today on my Expat Extra, and sharing your story with everyone!  You are a delight to know.  Thank you for being a part of my life here in Costa Rica.

bev and jen

That’s all for now, folks! — Jen
P.S.  If you are an expat living in Costa Rica, and would like to be featured on my Expat Extra – shoot me a message!

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Jen

I quit my job in my early 40’s, sold everything and retired early to live a simple life in Costa Rica!

Check out my book: "Costa Rica Chica" - the book.

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9 Responses to Expat Extra – Beverly Kronquest

  1. Good morning, Jen. As always, I sincerely enjoyed this article. I have 4 more years until I retire. We are looking at both Costa Rica and Equidor for a 2 exodus from the USA. We have been to CR numerous times and really do love it. Thank you for what you do!

  2. Beverly, what a great choice you made to life your best life being you, enjoying the land and creating beautiful art. I wish you a wonderful next stage back home with your family. Being a grandmother myself, I know you will cherish times and memories with your grandchildren.
    Jen, a beautifully written article, thank you as always for allowing us to peek into the beautiful lives of those you know in Costa Rica. I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It made me joyfully smile. Have a beautiful day.

  3. I’m so glad you showcased Bev … she is truly a beautiful spirit who has created an amazing life here (she’s also my mosaic inspiration!!!) … anyone who buys her lovely home will be graced by all the love and joy that she’s imbued it with.

  4. Dear Jen,
    Did Beverly sell her lovely home? I loved your sweet introduction of her. I wanted to be her friend too! When I read her Spanish faux pas I laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes. As I finished reading her story I burst into real tears…she is so beautiful and brave and has done exactly what I wished to do. My husband has no such desire. We are raising our grandsons, since birth, and it is a joy! I pray Beverly will have many wonderful years sharing life with hers!

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