On this day (May 31, 2011) three years ago, we landed in Costa Rica for the first time ever. We had decided it was time for a big adventure and so we disposed of most of our belongings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, leaving some things behind in a small storage locker. We came here with six suitcases, holding our electronics and clothing.
We consigned our cat, Genny, to World Pet Travel. She came down here separate from us. We boarded the Amtrak Cascades train in Vancouver and were on our way. In Seattle, we got on board the Amtrak Coast Starlight and headed south to San Francisco where we spent two nights in one of my favorite cities. I had always wanted to ride the Coast Starlight - the name alone is alluring. It was a little holiday from all the previous year's planning and work to prepare for our move. Then a flight to Dallas and finally to Juan Santamaria airport in Alajuela, arriving at 8:30 pm. I will never forget how I felt on touchdown - we were really here!
We spent a week in San José, seeing our lawyer to commence our residency process, and getting to know the city. Then we picked up Genny from where she was boarding and took a taxi to Atenas in the Central Valley. Atenas was the town we initially selected as a good place to start - close to the airport, the major hospitals, an hour to the Pacific beaches, absolutely great weather. Turned out to be the right choice.
And we have been here ever since. The only sad change is that elderly Genny passed on late last year but she had two terrific years here with us. Do we regret this move? Absolutely not. It's still an adventure. We have just one more year to fulfill as pensionado residents and then we can apply for permanent residency which we plan to do.
A whole new world has opened up for us - trying to learn Spanish, other countries to visit, new cultures, new foods, new animals, plants and on and on. Making friends here is easy, both Ticos and expats. Living in a completely different country, as opposed to visiting for a holiday, is an experience that I wish everyone could experience. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.
Costa Rica is a wonderful country and the Costa Ricans are exceptional people. We love living in the tropics. I am so glad we decided to do this.
Here are some retrospective photos of our big adventure journey:
|Aboard the Coast Starlight.|
|Lance perusing the lunch menu on the train.|
|Waiting for our taxi to San Francisco Airport, then on to Costa Rica.|
|Early morning, San Francisco, waiting for our taxi.|
|First breakfast in Costa Rica, San José.|