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Mark’s Recap of Our First 30ish Days in Costa Rica

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

We moved to Costa Rica, we unpacked, we repacked when termites were discovered, unpacked again, and started to get organized. Christine turned 52 years young, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, we had our first house guest, and have had some adventures!

What have I learned in the last 30 days? For one thing, I am learning to expect the unexpected. A rainstorm that seemed to come out of nowhere that my windshield wipers cannot keep up with, a scorpion might be in my hallway, a bat might be in my bedroom, and I might not have power for anywhere from five minutes or 16 hours.

I am learning not to be suspicious when the nicest people patiently attempt to help me with a smile and a Pura Vida attitude!

I am learning to take things a lot slower. For example, where we live, there is no quick run to the store to get something. When weather conditions are perfect, it is a fifteen minute drive to get anywhere. Weather conditions are rarely always perfect.

Running errands is a unique experience as most places don’t have websites or storefronts. People here advertise everything on Facebook groups. Instead of addresses, people will send you a pin of their location.

This is a post from a private chef who makes food a few days a week:

Blessings today we have lunches

Chicken fajita €2500

Fish €2500

Bistek fajitas€2500

Chop €3000…

We ordered from him and the food tasted as good as it looked in the pictures.

We have learned that you don’t go to a restaurant hungry, you go before you are hungry because the food that you ordered will be ready when it is ready. Pura Vida! The exception to this rule is eating cafeteria-style which is amazing here because the slow cooked meals are incredible!

Planning is important, except you also have to plan for when shit happens because it usually does.

We went crazy at our first farmers’ market excursion only to discover that two people cannot eat that much food in time as food does not last as long here in the jungle.

Christine and I are learning how to slow it down and take care of ourselves. We have been doing yoga most mornings either after our first cup of coffee or before coffee. We are usually up and out of bed by 6:00 a.m. as the jungle comes alive as soon as it starts getting light, around 5:00 to 5:30 a.m. Our Toucans and other birds like to visit us during yoga and coffee.

We are trying to shorten our to do lists and instead focus on having a simple goal each day is to make sure we have food and that we eat. We are trying to consider anything else we accomplish as icing on the cake. Even though we are taking it easy, we are averaging between 12,000 to 17,000 steps a day, 10 to 24 flights of stairs, and 90 to 140% of our daily exercise. The simple task of watering our house plants is a workout. We have plants on every floor.

I have surfed six times now, not quite my goal of everyday, but hey, I am old! Friday (August 10, 2023) was the best day of surfing so far. I only caught five waves, but they were nice and I got three really long rides.

Sadly, prior to me surfing Friday, I got my car stuck in the sand on the beach and had to dig it out in the direct sunlight for 30 minutes. I learned that we really need mud tires. I also learned that I could sweat more than I thought was possible. By the time I finally parked at the beach, I was tired and somewhat out of breath, but I made a decision that I was going to surf. I drank water and chilled in the shade for 20 minutes and then hit the surf. Pura Vida!

Driving in Costa Rica has been interesting. I backed into a trailer attached to a truck. No real damage and the other guy was cool. I had to have my tire pressure checked every three days as they are losing air because of the dirt roads I drive on to get to our house. I towed two people that got stuck on a slick incline. I drove on a truly crazy 4x4 only road to the hanging bridges and almost got stuck in 5 inches of mud. I got stuck in the sand on the beach and learned that if I take out my floorboard mats and put them under my tire I will have enough traction to become unstuck. To be honest, I kinda dig the crazy road conditions and love my car.

You would have to drive in Costa Rica to truly appreciate what it is like to drive on a road where there are hardly any police officers to enforce anything and therefore you are free to do whatever you want driving wise. Stop on a highway to talk to someone, drive 5mph on the highway, pass on two lane highway whenever you want regardless of whether it is safe, talk on your phone while riding a motorcycle with your family on it. Pura Vida!

On August 12, 2023, we ran a short errand. We went to San Isidro and I got my mud tires.

For the last 30 days I have fallen asleep and woken up to the sounds of the jungle. I have seen the ocean almost everyday from our house. I have listened to thunder three to four times each week and heard thunder so loud that it sounded like a bomb going off. The lightning shows are spectacular especially when over the ocean. One night, the lightning was so bright it lit up the entire house. I have seen and heard so many different birds and have been living with insects (for the most part you just get used them, except for the larger flying ones).

Every night as the sun is setting and sky begins to get dark, the bats fly over our pool and patio area, it is so cool to watch them. For the first time in my entire life, I have had the time to make breakfast every morning and truly enjoy a cup of coffee. This is what I typical make in the morning for us.

The first 30 days have gone by and we have to look at our phones to know what day of the week it is or the date. Christine has taken to creating countdowns to things rather than trying to remember a particular date or day of the week. Things have changed a lot in 30 days and each new day brings another new challenge and more importantly, a new experience. Pura Vida!

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