Junk Mail

I remember seeing “Costa Rica directions” for the first time, on our trip here in early 2012.  We were driving a rental car and I had requested the address for a certain hotel we had reservations at.  This was what was sent to me:

“From the catholic church in La Fortuna, we are located 6 km west of Arenal volcano.” 

Say what?  That’s not an address.  Well, we soon came to find out – there are no addresses in Costa Rica!  How strange, I know, but it is what it is.  Pura vida.  There is some kind of limited postal service, and there are certainly places you can rent something similar to a PO box (all for a price), but the “addresses” here are REALLY without numbers or street names…  another example:

“On main El Cajon road, 500 meters from the Los Angeles church, 5th house on the right with white paint.”

I remember after first hearing about this, my moments of panic… Like – how would I get all my catalogues that came to me EVERY SINGLE DAY in the states?   Seriously, I’d get like 10+ catalogues a day.  And at Christmas time?  I actually felt sorry for my mail man…  I’d come home to find my mailbox just bursting at the seams and overflowing.


Victoria’s Secret, Athleta, Title Nine, Lands End, Sierra Trading Post, etc. (which if you’re curious, Victoria’s Secret totally won by volume, they must have a mammoth printing press, because they pump out catalogues like every couple of days, and gentlemen – they have SO MUCH MORE than just bras and panties!).   Honestly, I TRULY LOVED browsing through all my catalogues over and over again, and turning down page corners (or using tiny colored sticky notes) to mark my favorites, then going online, browsing reviews and more pictures (different angles make a difference), and then finally – ordering!  And the anticipation of said package.  Then delivery!  And rushing to open and trying it on, and then the joy of having it fit (and bonus if it made me look skinny!).

But I get carried away….   Realization slowly hit me, that if I don’t even have an address, how will I:  1. get said catalogues, and 2. order online to be delivered to my door?

Well, as you all know – I went ahead and moved to Costa Rica DESPITE this no mail-no address-no catalog thing.  And… as it turned out – this was really one of the best things to happen to me.  I mean, how much time did I actually spend perusing catalogues and the internet, and how much money did I spend ordering stuff, and sending back if I didn’t like?  The answers were:  LOTS of time and LOTS of money.  I am so much better off now – to not even HAVE a mailbox, and we don’t pay for a PO box here, either.  I mean – what do we need it for (besides cards and gifts from friends and family, but how mature of me to realize that was not a good enough reason to pay for it).  Now, what few bills we do have are paid at the grocery store or bank.  Important stuff we have sent to Mom Seymour, which is just a couple of things.  We didn’t even have our address forwarded from our last house in Dallas (I mean, I didn’t want Mom Seymour getting all those Victoria’s Secret catalogues!).

So yep – here I am – a (former) catalogue queen – now catalogue-less in Costa Rica.  Who would have thought I’d be happier off without?   A de-cluttered mail box (er, I mean NO mail box) makes for a de-cluttered and happy mind.   Plus, just think of all that paper I’m saving!  🙂

Cheers! — Jen

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16 Responses to Junk Mail

  1. Thanks! Nice to know how well you have adjusted…we are moving to CR in January! Very excited, but also a bit nervous!

    • Karen, I talk a big game, but truly – I was seriously nervous! It was a huge change for me. But, I’m really proud of myself as to how well I (seem) to be adjusting… the people here make it sooo easy. And once you grasp that it will FOR SURE be different, every new thing is an adventure! That’s AWESOME you’re coming in JANUARY!! That’s RIGHT around the corner.

    • There IS GPS here (we got with our rental car last year)… you just have to put in the CITY you’re going to (i.e. NO ADDRESS)… lol and follow their “directions” once you get to said city. lol

  2. Oh my! I was just laying here listening to the news and perusing through a big stack of catalogues.
    I think I could get use to the no mailbox-no catalog life!
    Enjoy your posts!


  3. Congrats on making the move! I did the same thing (another gal from Texas here!). Sold everything I had, quit my job, packed whatever I could carry and have been here for 7 months now. Like you, I feel so much better…healthier, happier, glad to have made the plunge. Although it’s different from what I’m used to, in so many ways it’s more fulfilling and satisfying. My stress level has gone way down and I enjoy (for the most part) seeing how the locals live and interact with one another. Good luck on your future endeavors!

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