Tag Archives: international living

Reflecting on a Year of Change

26 Oct

I’ve found myself in a moment of flying solo and I am at a loss of what to do. Where is Kai? Where is K? Where are Venus, Isis, Zeus, Tico, and Luna? I have an endless list of To Dos for work but I can’t bring myself “to do” them at this precise moment. So here I am FLYING SOLO at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. Its been nearly 8 months since I’ve posted here. I’m not sure which adventure to share with you, since there have been so many. So this may have to be a mash-up.

The past 11 months of our new life have been wonderful in so many ways. We love our little place in paradise. Long walks on dirt roads down to the river gorge below our house. Planting lots of lush ginger, heliconias, fruit trees, herbs, and flowers at our Finca Tolomuca. We’ve been going lots of little adventures whenever we can. Fridays at the Farmers Market. Saturdays at the beach. Sundays in the rainforest. Not exactly like that all the time but you get the gist. Life here is quite simply WHOLE. Its not perfect. Its not a utopia. Because life is just not perfect. We laugh more. We play more. We work hard. And we are genuinely happy.

I truly feel as though we are giving Kai the best childhood a kid could have. He has a community at Arco Iris that just adore him. He talks about his friends all the time. He spends quality time with K and I everyday. He gets to run free outside below the magical higueron trees everyday, feel the sun touch his cheeks. He’s found his love for painting, playing music, signing, and dancing. He discovered a passion for cooking yummy treats like pancakes and muffins. We live life in ways we couldn’t before. This is what childhood is all about.

Home Sweet Home! Atenas

I love where we live and I love the place we now call home. Atenas is genuine. It is simply beautiful and an amazing place to just be.

Tapanti

Imagine yourself completely enrobed in pristine tropical rainforests as far at the eye can see. Land that no man has ever stepped foot on. Water so pure and fresh. A single tree exploding with life on each branch and each life. The earthy aroma of fresh rain. Waterfalls that caress the rocks. Rain drops that cleans you from the inside even in the dry season. Embrace nature, purity, and peace. Embrace Tapanti.

 

Punta Leona

This is our go-to place to escape and decompress, and become one with the ocean. Nothing says meditation in motion better than a long run at sunrise under the rainforest canopy. And then there are the afternoon rains by Playa Mantas, heaven on earth for a toddler! Nothing symbolizes happiness for us then the place we got married. Then you sip a freshly made pina colada and start singing that song, if you like pina coladas getting caught in the rain… Oh yes we do! And that sums up Punta Leona in a nutshell.

Rio Celeste

Misty clouds envelope the lush green mountainscape surrounding the notorious Rio Celeste (or Sky Blue River). You’ve heard the stories about the endangered Tapirs that roam these rain forests, and you think that you just might see one creeping between the palms and clouds in the distance. Ops my imagination has gotten then best of me once again! Then there are the absolutely divine French-Tico fusion cuisine at one of my favorite mountain lodges of all time, Celeste Mountain Lodge, which is by far the BEST food I’ve ever had in Costa Rica. Kai just loved running free through the gardens and playing with the other kids. After that its off to Parque Nacional Vulcan Tenorio to see and experience the splendor of Rio Celeste and the pristine jungle that keeps it pure and beautiful. We hired a guide for our 5 hour jungle hike to learn about nature, and so glad that we did!

Playa Langosta

Want open ocean and white sand beaches on the Pacific that extend as far as the eye can see? Then Playa Langosta is the place for you. Nothing quite compares to rolling around in the waves and sand for a couple of days, playing in a river that flows to the ocean with your toddler, or taking walks along a trail to search out Iguanas. Then there is the all-you-can-eat buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Indulgent best describes a getaway to Playa Langosta!

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Last but certainly not least is the one and only La Paz Waterfall Gardens! Want to trek through untouched cloud forest? Do you yearn to feel the cool mist of pure mountain water cascade down rocks in the rain forest? Then this is the place for you. To top it off you will have the opportunity to play with rescued Toucans and have them rest on your arm. How cool is that? We love this place, especially for kids and whenever we have friends and family visiting. It is a place we can come back to again and again just for a fun day in nature and for a reminder of Costa Rican traditions.

Trials and Tribulations of Selling in the 202

30 Jan

Cherry_Blossoms_HomeThe past six months of my life have been mostly consumed with the whole process of preparing to move. It really started February 2014 when we renovated our full bathroom, which was a necessary first step towards the process of selling our house. The house preparation and selling saga continued though most of January 2015, all the meanwhile we were living in our house. From new carpet installation which meant that all the 2nd floor furniture had to be moved down to the first floor and then back up again – fun! Later we moved onto the glory of granite counter top installation, a new sink, sealing & sealing again the new counter tops, and finally it came down to touch-up paint and cleaning until your fingers literally bleed. Then came the initial phase of packing to “thin out” the stuff in the house and make it look like no one actually lives there. In the midst of this, wee proceeded to get one of our beloved kitties through the USDA paperwork process and then sent down to Costa Rica with my father since we will only be allowed one cat per person when we finally move. Opp and then its on to staging, because of course the house has to look like it came out of Better Home and Garden Magazine with a perfectly chic interior, complete with perfectly *fake* red apples, *plastic* orchids framing out the kitchen, and always poofed couch pillows. Blahh! That is just another part of the real estate game in the 202 (in DC proper). Needless to say but there is nothing sexy about preparing a house for sale , especially when you are working full-time and have a toddler, 3 cats, and a very special dog to take keep happy.

Then came the whole listing process. Ugh. Average days on the market on Capitol Hill is about 6 days, which seems Garden_Homecompletely doable when living in what is close to a museum with a toddler, 2 cats, and a very special dog. Except for us it turned into 66 days on the market. What does that mean? That means several times a day you get a text message and stop everything you are doing at a moment’s notice to…

  1. Viciously clean the house and make sure it looks museum perfect.
  2. Get the dog into the car.
  3. Get the baby ready, no matter if he is napping or hungry or needs a diaper change.
  4. Get out the door.
  5. Find something to do for the next 1-2 hours depending on how long the showing is. No matter how cold you are or hungry or tired or sick or anything else. You have to be out of the house.
    – We walked and we walked and we walked. In the sun, in the cold, and in the rain, we walked.
    – We sat in the car for hours on Saturday and Sunday nights when it was raining or too cold to walk.
    – We left the dog in the car and got dinner and then sat in the car while we ate dinner.
    – For months our weekends evolved around doing only things you can do with a dog like go to the farm, go to a walking park, hiking, and anything else outdoors. That was probably the highlight of the whole process.
  6. Now repeat and do this all over again 2-3 times a day for 66 days while working a full-time job.

Home_SnowI am not going to put lipstick on a pig. It sucked big time. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to give us back the time we lost with the damn showings. There were even times in this rather horrible process where our son was playing at a special activity across town and my husband had to literally pick him up and run out of the place to get home before a very short notice showing. I mentioned earlier that we have a special dog, well he is the sweetest and most amazing dog with us (his 3 humans) but he is scared to death of strangers and scared dogs bite. So getting the dog out of the house before a showing was absolutely critical.

Throughout the 66 days there were a lot of “close calls” in getting an offer, a lot of interested buyers but in the end they didn’t choose our house. Finally at a point of desperation, and at the point of basically giving up, we finally got an offer and for asking price. Talk about a sigh of relief. Then came the anxiety of the home inspection, which is stressful when you have a historic home that is nearly 120 years old. At the end of the day a house is not sold until it is sold. On the financing and underwriting process, right in the middle of the holidays. If you guessed delays and an uncertain closing date, you were right! Could any more stress and anxiety be added to this process? I guess so. But FINALLY we closed.

To top it off, right in the midst of this home selling process I also had a major job and professional transition with no Kai in Snowvacation time in-between. I am not going to kid you, selling your first home is also emotional even if you bought almost exclusively for investment purposes. We made this home ours. We poured endless time and energy into making it beautiful. We planted the tulip bulbs, daffodils, and cherry blossom tree that bloom every spring. We’ve shared endless dinners at this house with friends and family. This house is filled with memories that can never be relived. It is the home we brought our baby home to. And now it is going to be someone else’s home.

Then its on to the actual moving process but I will save that for another post. 🙂

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