Updated: Apr 20, 2022
But wherever you go, there you are. Have you heard that expression? Though our geographical location has changed by some 4000 miles south we are all the same people. My eldest was grumpy at bedtime, a completely normal occurrence not at all changed by being here. My youngest was a flurry of activity at dinner, hopping from the table to the floor and sitting right where the serving staff needed to squeeze past her. My middle was happy then sad, then happy again. All as per usual. And me. Still swinging from one emotion to the next, still fighting a mental battle to make a decision regarding this that or the other thing. We’re still buying groceries, feeding children, cleaning and cleaning again, soothing and reprimanding and laughing and playing and fighting. And yet…
I do believe that a person can and does change based on their environment. I’m not overly idealistic to think this is instantaneous or that we become unrecognizable to who we once were. But I do think we get the opportunity to become more of who we really are when we find ourselves in an environment we thrive in. It’s yet to be known if we will thrive here in Costa Rica but there’s much to lead me to believe we will. Some of the reasons we chose this area of the world to adventure to at this time are based upon that — the vitality you experience when doused with vitamin D on the daily, of being cleansed by the salty sea, of breathing in cleaner air and drinking cleaner water (Costa Rica offers a blue zone, check it out). Fruit and veggies in season, more food grown locally, less processed options. And the Pura Vida lifestyle.
We first visited Tamarindo in 2009, I had just finished my first semester of goldsmithing and we thought why not have a little adventure? We of course fell in love with the country, its slowness and easiness and warmth. Over the next few years we returned several more times. I think heat may be Steve’s love language, if that’s possible, he lives for heat. So he especially pushed us to envision one day owning property here and kept us fanning that flame over the years. After Edie was born we thought, let’s go for it, let’s try a year in Costa Rica and see what we make of it. We found a house rental, a school for the kids and started planning. Then the world went sideways and all plans were put on hold indefinitely.
We moved to a country property in Kingston and totally immersed ourselves in the quiet country life. Cozied up in our limestone farmhouse we still dreamed vividly about the adventure we planned for the south. And it just felt like with every passing month the distance between our desire and the reality of getting there seemed to grow greater. ‘We will just wait for this’, we would say. ‘Once this happens we can do it’, we would agree. But life has a way of just marching on. While we yearned to make it happen under all the perfect conditions, our experience in our home country was getting worse. We didn’t align with the way things were rolling out and it was become more uncomfortable by the day – more restrictions, more threats to the way we wanted to live. It became scary. We knew we would never be able to support a country that no longer supported the simple way in which we chose and so we decided it was time.
It was just after the fall equinox, September 22nd, I was having my weekly Wednesday ritual bath (in which I would seek quiet in the tub for a good hour or more, pulling cards, seeking guidance, journalling) when I had a strong inner knowing. It was time. In the same way a momma can feel the turn occur within her, the birthing phase had begun. What had been a long pregnant pause was finally readying for its due date. I knew October was going to be our month and I knew it just all had to come together immediately. Note at this time you still couldn’t fly directly from Canada to CR, so I was prepared to get super creative with what our travel would look like in order to avoid any prohibitive measures I wasn’t comfortable with for my family.
I can deliberate for quite some time, but once I’ve made up my mind everything falls into place very quickly. We looked at charter flights and commercial flights with layovers in Mexico. And then on October 1st direct flights were once again for sale. By October 4th flights booked, travel to airport secure, leases broken, and then everything in my house needed to be sold, gifted or donated. This was actually a process that had held my dream of moving hostage, as every time I thought of the logistical side of doing this my stomach dropped. But it was the simplest task. I took photos of everything of value and popped them up on Facebook marketplace and as soon as I would publish an item, I’d have a buyer. Kid you not. Every single time. Up for sale, instantly – sold. Now maybe I underpriced things a bit, who could say. I felt happy with the transactions and so glad that it was easy, seamless really. The only troubling piece was our baby grand piano and as of writing this I can happily say even that old clunker has found a wonderful new home. Most everything was donated or given to people we love and that was fun too, little bits of me, little things I’ve loved dearly for years, now finding new homes, new caretakers.
In the rapidity of that month before moving we squeezed in as much friend and family time as we could. And we anguished over the decision of what to do with our beloved cat Still. Though there is conviction that comes from a decision being made there is also sacrifice. We know we have sacrificed a lot for this dream. More than most would which is why this feels so big. It’s not just wiping the slate clean on where we live but it’s letting go, at least for a little while, to everyone we love too.
This is where I leave us for now. I have a literal book to write about this all one day and this is just a small chapter. As I likened this before to birth I will give the analogy of being in the transition phase. The Costa Rican dream baby isn’t fully birthed yet. We’ve just gone over some of the first big hurdles. I knew that day in the tub when I decided it was time that it would be fast and the month preceding the trip would be a blur of activity that would be on us. We would have to be the activators, setting the pace and the direction. And once we got ourselves to our destination the magic would really begin. But has it? Where are we going? What will we do? How will we support ourselves down here?