We have been here a year and three weeks and, when I look back at how this all began, it still amazes me. I stared this blog 123 days before we moved and began chronicling our preparations and thoughts about the move. In the very first entry, I noted that we had gone against all advice in buying a house right off the bat rather than wait until we had lived a year or two in the country. I am happy to say that we are still very happy that we bought the house. We love our neighborhood and our neighbors and the dogs have settled in very well. They are very happy that we are home with them almost all the time now. And – since we have added our little Sofi (now much bigger) all three dogs have an extraordinary life of walking on the beach every day, chasing each other around the yard and wrestling, and taking many long naps. Sounds a bit like doggie heaven
In the time we have been here I have become quite proficient at recognizing the birds in our area. We have photographed over 80 species that come into our yard and have probably spotted another 20 or so that we have not been able to get a photo of. I also have spent a lot of time studying the fruits and plants and trees in the area but I still have a long way to go to get to know and recognize them. I am finding that the books on plants are not really as good as the birding books. As my neighbor says, maybe we have found a calling – writing a website on the plants and trees of the Costa Rica Caribbean side of the country. We’ll see.
When I try to catalogue the pros and cons of our life here it is easy to come up with pros but is not so easy to come up with cons. On the pro side, I find that just the lack of any stress has made my life so much more enjoyable. Our gardens are just beautiful and I can wander through them and feel so relaxed. I also have found that I can sit out in the open living room and watch birds for hours and be content. The other wildlife – like two toed and three toed sloths, the occasional howler monkey, iguanas, and geckoes – are just added bonuses. We also have taken up snorkeling and I could do that for hours down the road at Punta Uva. The coral reefs are just off the beach so you don’t have to swim too far out to see beautiful fish and underwater plants.
The pace of life here is just perfect. If you want to be busy there are many volunteer opportunities. I have done limited volunteer work but have just signed on to be the co-chair of a security sub committee for our barrio and I suspect that will take a bit of time as Tom and I are responsible for a monthly newsletter. But the pace of my life will never return to what it was when I was working – I just want to enjoy my life now and not worry ever again about attending meetings and making sure deadlines are met.
Another major pro is the people we have met. All of us are obviously a bit nuts. We have moved far away from our families and friends and have made a new life in the rainforest. This is just not something that most “normal” people do. What I have found here is that the acceptance of pretty much anyone is a given. Our neighbors are constantly helping us out when we need it and we return the favor when needed. When you are far away from family, it is nice to know you are not alone and that people care.
The single con that I have found in my time here is the problem of theft. We have not been robbed but many people have – tourists and residents alike. This is a third world country and too many people are poor. The attitude of some of the people are that the gringos are rich and can afford to replace what is stolen. For almost all of us gringos, that is not the case. Tom and I do have some nice things (computers, TV, cameras) but if they were taken, the $1,500 a month that we live on would not allow us to replace them. We are very careful and don’t make ourselves targets by displaying what we have. So far it has worked out for us and I hope it will in the future. We don’t dwell on the theft problem and it has not made our life here less wonderful, it is just there.
So that is it for now. On day 523 of publishing this blog, I can honestly say that this decision was the best one I have ever made (so far!!!).