Now that it is official and our time in Costa Rica has come to an end, I keep catching myself thinking of all the things I will miss from our new home. We only lived in Costa Rica for 8 months, but this tropical paradise has grown on our family and we've made memories here that will last us a lifetime.
The countdown is on. There are only a few days left for our expat family in Costa Rica and while I am excited for our next adventure in Germany, I can't help but reminisce of our time here.
Our morning coffee ritual
Coffee is an important pastime in our family. Ryan and I both love the culture of coffee and rarely have a morning without it. While in Costa Rica, we were spoiled with some of the most flavorful coffee beans in the world and we took full advantage.
Almost every single day we would grind our Dota coffee beans, steep them in our French press, head outside to our porch and enjoy the quiet morning together. He would sit in the lounge chair, I would swing with Milena in our hammock and we would simply talk about life while watching the rainforest around us. Its one of my most cherished memories of our time in Costa Rica.
Not caring about my hair and makeup
Before we moved to Costa Rica, I would wake up early every morning to fix my hair and do a full face of makeup. I would even dye my hair blonde every six weeks... It was expensive, time consuming and horrible for my hair and skin.
I knew once we moved down to Costa Rica that dying my hair, blow drying it and even doing my makeup every day wasn't practical. The humidity is ruthless and with the laid back attitude in Dominical doesn't "fit" the culture to get dressed up. So I went back to my natural hair color, stopped doing a lot of makeup and almost never styled my hair. Its been so nice to wake up and throw my hair up and start my day. My hair has never been healthier and I've enjoyed seeing my natural look with little to no makeup, blemishes and all!
Family trips to the beach
After living in Dallas, TX you better believe our family loved living 3 miles away from the beach! I have never lived so close to the ocean and it was amazing to be able to head to the beach for an afternoon or the whole day.
Milena fell in love with the beach so we would head out to our favorite spot at least once a week to put our toes in the sand. We spent every holiday on the beach and tried to see as many hidden locations along the Pacific Coast as we could. Costa Rica has some of the most natural, and beautiful beaches and while they are all worth a visit, Playa Linda north of Dominical will always be our favorite.
Being immersed in the rainforest
Prior to living in Costa Rica, our family lived in a typical suburban home in Dallas. Dozens of neighbors, daily traffic and loads of stress. While I loved our home, words cannot describe the view that welcomed us every morning in Costa Rica. The only thing I can see outside my bedroom window is a landscape of green with no neighbors in sight. It was utterly refreshing and changed our mindset for our future homes.
Life in the rainforest is never boring. The forest is constantly moving, always noisy, and full of unexpected surprises. Living literally within the rainforest kept us on our toes as we learned to live alongside the wildlife.
While we would sit on our porch, we would hear rustling in the trees and loved peering over the railing to try and spot what it was. One day it was two deer running on the hill, another day it was a hawk chasing after a snake in our yard. We had a coati living in our backyard, an iguana who would visit often, and dozens of tarantulas, scorpions, giant bugs, and ants who we had to vacate from our casita.
My favorite visitor was a toucan that would often hop along a Cecropia tree that was a few feet from our porch. While I would work, he would eat the nuts and chirp into the rainforest. He came quite often and I loved his near-daily visits.
We experienced our first earthquake here which more than startled us (with a few more to follow in later months). It was always exciting, whether it was stressful or fun, and provided us dozens of fun memories we love to share with friends and family. Life was never dull while we lived in Costa Rica!
I love a good thunderstorm. During my childhood I wanted to become a meteorologist and used to watch the Weather Channel for fun. At 10 years old. Seriously.
While I didn't end up becoming your daily weather woman, I still love weather changes and Costa Rica did not disapoint. For our first two months, we went to sleep nearly every night to a thunderstorm, and since we live in a valley they were more than intense. Thunder would echo against the mountains while buckets of rain fell on our roof. It was exciting, a bit scary, but my nerdy childhood self loved every minute!
Batidos, patacones, and fresh seafood
Costa Rica's food is fresh, simple and fits perfectly with its hot temperatures. Batidos are a fruit drink that is served at nearly every restaurant and became a staple for our family. Milena loved the strawberry or pineapple, I opted for mango and Ryan loved papaya. They were refreshing and taste like Costa Rica.
Patacones were another item we tend to always order which are simply smashed plantains that are fried. Sounds amazing right? They are served with pico or refried beans and one is never enough. And since we lived so close to the ocean, Costa Rica knows how to prepare seafood. Whether it was ceviche, arroz con camarones or grilled fish we ate seafood constantly and I will sure miss it!
During our eight months in Costa Rica we were able to meet a lot of amazing people that welcomed us with open arms. The local families were not only a tremendous help whenever we needed something fixed or even translated, they became an extended family. Moving to another country can be hard and often very lonely especially if you're dealing with a language barrier. But everyone we meet were so caring, and patient with our family. They are one of the main reasons we love Costa Rica so much.
Submerging ourselves in the Costa Rica rainforest was the best decision we could have ever down. I call these 8 months in Costa Rica our family's "detox". A detox from drama, stress, unimportant worries and concrete. It has been refreshing to be immersed in nature and leave the trivial things that ate away from our happiness in the city. I feel revitalized, happier and more importantly content.
When we used to live in Dallas, I can't remember ever slowing down to watch a sunset. I'd catch one every once in awhile while out on a walk or driving home but it was rushed and lacked the awe-inspiring feelings as they do in Costa Rica.
More nights than not, our family would watch a Costa Rican sunset. Whether it was on our porch, in the pool or on the beach we made it a habit to watch the sun close out its day while the bugs and critters awoke for the night. Many of my favorite memories are watching Milena play in the sand while the sun descended behind the ocean.
In the end, Costa Rica was an incredible place to call home. I learned a lot about myself in Costa Rica and an unmeasurable bond grew between our family trio. I hope I can carry with us all of the life lessons we learned during our time here.
As our home in Costa Rica closes its doors, I know a piece of our family will always remain within the rainforest. Wherever I plant my feet, whether its five years or just eight months, I have a very hard time saying goodbye. I know deep in my heart, that our family will return to Costa Rica, whether for a short term or long, and I will miss our small piece of paradise until we are back.