Published: May 29th 2012May 29th 2012
We all enjoyed applying hot mud with a paint brush before soaking in the hot springs.
Yesterday marked the 4-month-mark of us living in Costa Rica; I can't believe how fast time is now flying by.
This has been a wild experience in every possible way. Imagine the following sounds: howler monkeys, birds, ocean waves, ambulances, house alarms. Imagine the following sights: volcanoes, sunsets, beaches, rain forests, birds, crocodiles, hospitals and car wrecks. As Charlie commented "I've seen more crazy stuff here in one week than I see in a year at home".
I've gone from loving it here, to wanting to get out of here pronto
, to now wanting to stay (don't worry mom, we're not staying). We knew from our research that things could be very difficult here (after all, this is a 3rd world country) but we felt that we were smart enough, resourceful enough and patient enough to deal with any challenge that might come our way. As it turned out, there were many times when I felt completely overwhelmed and defeated. Ella's challenges with school (during the first 2 months) and then Marilyn's accident, pushed me over the edge and drove my anxiety level to a 10/10. If you had asked me in March or April, "how many weeks do
Having fun in the hot springs at Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Viejo volcano.
you need to spend in a country before you feel you've experienced enough to want to return home?" I would have answered "7 weeks". At 7 weeks, and for many weeks beyond that point, I would have happily jumped on an airplane at a moment's notice. And yet, what a difference a few weeks can make:
Our recent flurry of trips has us more relaxed and more excited than ever to be in Costa Rica. I think I am finally falling in love
with this country - its geography, its language and its people. The rainy season has arrived and the scenery is lush and gorgeous! Every day I see many things that make me take a deep breath of appreciation at the natural wonders all around us. Aside from the natural beauty, we are gaining an appreciation for the people of Costa Rica. They are gentle and always willing to please (to a fault). It is a common experience here for tourists to receive driving directions from people that don't really know the route at all. The Ticos/Ticas would rather provide SOME direction than no direction (even if it's completely innacurate). Likewise,
The Juice Bar
..at Harmony Hotel. Excellent vegan juices, smoothies, salads and sandwhiches.
if you insist that something is done in a certain way or by a certain date, you are likely to get a nod of agreement, even if what you are asking is impossible. In Canada this would be considered dishonest behaviour but here, it's simply a stong cultural tendency to agree and to avoid conflict; after all, this is a country that has had no army since 1948. What we have learned is to expect delays and modifications to ALL plans, to not set unrealistic (or ANY) expectations and to NOT insist or, especially, get hostile when things aren't going your way. Pura Vida, man! Que sera, sera! The Costa Rican's have taken the 'chill pill' and I think there are a lot of people back home that could use a dose or two.
Among the many things we have learned through this experience is the importance of accepting that all things take time. I used to describe our trip here as simply "transplanting our daily lives (school and work) to a tropical location". I can see now that that was a mistake; it's too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and get
The views on the road to Samara and Nosara are amazing.
frustrated with things like the power or internet cutting out regularly. The experience here is 1,000 times more fulfulling if we DO act like tourists and get out and experience all the wonderful activities and places that Costa Rica has to offer. With that in mind, we are pulling the kids out of school again this week for a two-day trip back to Nosara - land of great food and tranquility. In any case, they can always
catch up on school work, but time is ticking here and there is much Pura Vida to be enjoyed. I plan for an amazing June and July.
There are more photos below