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