Yep – that’s right. Today we have been in our new home in Costa Rica for one full year. I can hardly believe it! About this time last year we were on the road from San Jose after loading up our dogs, their crates (which would not fit with them in it so we had to break them down), nine duffle bags full of “stuff”, and four very tired adults. We made the turn onto Ruta 36 and each kilometer we drove by felt more and more like home. We got to the house around 11:30 and have not looked back.
When I think of our decision to do this, I really do marvel at how it all came together. We bought the house in June of 2009 (thanks Larissa and Rami for building it!!) thinking that it would be five or more years before we actually retired and came to live here. But the more we worked day to day and dealt with the sometimes almost unmanageable stress – particularly of my job – we decided to figure out how to make the move happen a few years earlier than planned. And we did. It meant living on much less than we would have had if we had waited but when I wake up here every morning to the sounds of the birds and the ocean (and sometimes the howler monkeys) I know that no amount of additional money would have made it worth the wait.
In the year that we have been here we have said hello and goodbye to new friends; met blog and email buddies in person; designed and planted a beautiful new garden in a lot that was overgrown with diseased cacao trees; added a new puppy to our household; learned about new plants, birds, and wildlife; rescued a baby sloth and a hog-nosed viper snake (although the baby sloth died a few days later); watched a jaguarundi stalk a sloth way up in a HUGE tree (the sloth was okay); watched horses freely wander the beach and town; hiked to one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen and swam in the pool beneath it; learned how to snorkel (and LOVE it!); crossed a river to Panama in a rickety canoe to buy cheap goods; watched iguanas in a tree overhanging our yard; discovered the most amazing therapeutic masseuse whose magic hands have enabled me to finally be out of pain after thirty five years; sung the Messiah at the cathedral in Limon with a tiny chorus from our town; eaten new fruits and vegetables; entertained family and friends who visited (keep on coming – we love having you!); and are living a completely stress-free, relaxing life.
This is not paradise – this is a third world country with all the attendant issues – poverty, theft, bad roads. But for us, it is as close to paradise as we will get and we love it here – it is our home.