Guitar Dan


Guitar Dan

I am a Canadian traveling with my wife and two children. I am also a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and photography enthusiast. By day, I enjoy my job working as VP, Learning Solutions with Blatant Media.

We are living in Costa Rica for 5 months in 2012 as family adventure/life experience.

Last week I was invited to write and present a 6-minute memoir on a moment of epiphany in my life. I decided to write about our decision to live life as citizens of the world. I'm posting it here as it revolves primarily around our past (and future) experiences living in Central America. Here is my piece: “Citizens of the World” by Dan Medakovic Hello, my name is Dusan Ivan Vicko Medakovic and by my name alone I’m sure you can tell that I’m a proud Canadian. I was born in Toronto in 1968, the son of Croatian immigrants who, 3 years earlier, had escaped from Communist Yugoslavia with no English, 3 children, $50 dollars and a dream for a better life. I was raised to believe that Canada is the best country in the world, ... read more

They say "it's about the journey, not the destination". Until you book tickets to the wrong San Jose, that is, and then 'they' are suddenly all about the destination - would you make up your minds already? It was about 10 years ago, not long after we'd quit our corporate jobs at Microsoft, that I met a film location scout who was enthusiastically telling me about his property in Costa Rica. His description of this wild and beautiful country inspired me to spend countless hours researching Costa Rica on the internet, eventually trying hard to convince Cher that we should sell our house in Dundas and move down here permanently. She wouldn't bite of course, our kids were too young, and our roots too deep into the Ontario soil - or perhaps our feet were frozen ... read more
Charlie's school graduation
Ella's Grade 5 Grad

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 ... read more
Hot Springs
Rio Tenorio
The Juice Bar

After my last few posts, I thought perhaps everyone would enjoy a return to the lighthearted observations of 'the good old days'. You remember - february 2012? Those were the days, amigos y amigas! It really is true though, things are the most "normal" that they have been since we arrived 3 months ago; Ella and Charlie are now both bringing friends home from school, we can't seem to keep snack and juice levels stocked and I'm starting to wonder if it's really me that's drinking all the beer (Charlie's buddies are all older teenagers, after all). In any case, I thought it would be fun to share some benign statistics with you that reflect our day to day life. 0 - The number of traffic lights within a 45 minute radius of Playa Grande 2 ... read more
Oh man, what a view!
Crocodile tracks
Monkey see...

This whole experience has been a real test of perserverence, trust, cross-cultural communications and empathy. It's also been a challenging test of our developing Spanish language skills. As a result of everything that's happened, I have a few suggestions for developers of Spanish language courses and phrase books. In addition to "I'd like a coffee with milk, please." and "How much does that cost?" I think others may find it handy to learn the following phrases, should they find themselves in a similar predicament to our own: "You are a police officer...why aren't you calling an ambulance for us?" and "Yes, of course the ambulance is an accident 100 feet from where we need it to be and now the driver must await the arrival of the police to file a full report. We'll just take ... read more

This entry is a continuation of Part One... you should read that first. We had just arrived at the Central Market in Granada, Nicaragua and I turned around from purchasing some bottles of pop and water to find Marilyn (my 71 year-old mother-in-law) laying on the ground. She was moaning in pain, with her right hand bleeding and her camera in two pieces on the ground. My first instinct was that someone had run into her at full speed with a bicycle, or that she'd been attacked or mugged. It just looked too severe to be the result of a simple fall. Once I'd had a moment to process what was happening, I saw Cheryl kneeling behind her mom. I asked what happened and found out that Marilyn had simply tripped and gone flying. In trying ... read more
Public Hospital, Granada

Well, it’s been a bit crazy here for the last few weeks so I apologize for not getting an update posted sooner. If you’ve seen any of my recent posts on Facebook you will know that my mother-in-law, Marilyn Macneall, had a serious accident during her visit here which had us all very distraught for the past two weeks. Here’s what happened: Marilyn and Norm arrived at our house in Playa Grande three weeks ago. After a week or so of just hanging out and exploring the neighbourhood, we all thought it would be fun to take a day trip and see something “a little different”. We initially planned to drive up to the closest volcano, Rincon de la Vieja , to check out the beautiful Blue River and the mud baths . Aft... read more
Masaya Volcan
Masay Volcana
More of the view

Well it's been a while since my last entry so this is mostly going to be a rambling, catch-up post. I guess the primary bit of news here relates to Ella's challenges at Home School Beach Academy (where Charlie seems to be thriving). Ella was absolutely miserable at her school. While Charlie was able to quickly make two friends (Marshall, an Albertan who's been here for 6 years and who's dad works on an oil rig in mexico and Liad who's family has moved here permanently from Israel), Ella found herself in a class of all Spanish speaking kids. In addition to that, the school is in the process of being accredited by the national Ministry of Education, and that requires them to teach at least two classes completely in Spanish. None of us were told ... read more
Traffic in Matapalo
Ella's birthday.
There are fires constantly burning here.

This is not so much an update on our trip, but a look at what it costs to live down here. Read it if you are interested in knowing how much things cost. When we were researching and planning for this trip I was particularly intrigued by people's claims that they could live comfortably here on $1,500 / month - a typical retirement income. Keep in mind that this is 3 times the average income of most Costa Ricans (according to stats I've seen on the web) so it seemed plausible. It also seemed that you could "live like a king" if you came down here on a North American salary. Now that we've been here for a little while, I have learned a bit more about what impacts the cost of living. The most important ... read more

Cher and I went for a nice walk last night around the neighborhood. It was warm and I was wearing my pajama pants with no shirt, my usual dinner attire here. Something crawled across the road in front of us that we thought might have been a crab that had strayed a little too far from the ocean. It turned out to be a very large spider. We commented on how cool that was and kept walking. It’s amazing how quickly we adjust to things that are different or that would normally be considered scary; I’ve grown used to the constant growl of howler monkeys, the lizards running everywhere (including the one living in our house), and the crocodiles out back. I actually went looking FOR crocodiles on my morning kayak paddle today and was disappointed ... read more
Injured Bird
Marcela and Sergio

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