I’m pretty sharp – I like to tell it like it is, and I fit right in here like a size 8 in a size 7 shoe and I am loving it! Sure there’s some bumps in the road, but I don’t believe its all about fitting in – I believe its about blending and learning who you really are. I honk my horn a little less each month, but now I won’t get suckered into buying nasty fruit at the feria just because I stopped to look and I felt bad! I also call out my kid’s school when I feel there is any gender bias, which I will not tolerate no matter where I am – but I am equally as quick to jump in as an active parent at school events and other activities in a land where a majority of parents need to work 7am-7pm and the grandparents stay home. I am a mom of 3, ages 3 – 11, and we live right here in the beautiful Central Highlands of Costa rica in San Ramon de Alajuela. I was born and raised in NYC and thought I would never trade in my tar beaches and graffiti subway trains for the Pura Vida lifestyle of the mountains, but here I am! …. and not too shabby a move if I do say so myself. Helllloooo Paradise!
SO how did all this happen???? I grew up wanting to be an archaeologist, and I wanted to own a B&B for the longest time in some exotic spot. I stopped short of getting my masters at CUNY’s Hunter College when I decided to get married to this crazy tico who moved to the Bronx with his family as a teenager. Then we decided to have a….. BAR. But fate got involved sometime after lease signing and I had a baby first – 6 weeks old when I opened the Lighthouse Tavern Bar & Grill in Park Slope Brooklyn. My first B&B! A baby and a bar! Be careful what you wish for… lol. That area was not nearly as chic as it is now, and we helped the neighborhood grow into what it is today. But alas, more kids were on the horizon, I got involved in real estate, sold the bar, and Hello to being a landlord!
Eventually we sold our building in Brooklyn, moved upstate, got a dog and a minivan (don’t knock it! LOVED the minivan! I called it my 7 passenger Corvette….) and then found the perfect place to live in Costa Rica. Remember that B&B I always wanted in some “exotic”place? It only took us 15 years to find it, so now what???
Move! Ever try to fly a 65 lb dog to Costa Rica a week before you arrive? Will tell that story in a post sometime. But do check on that if you need to fly a 30 inch tall dog in a 30 in tall crate! But we all got here, safe and sound, and started our life and more travels of Costa Rica.
Needless say, we have a lot of experience within Costa Rica. As you may have figured out – that crazy tico I met in the Bronx husband grew up here and he not only speaks Spanish, but speaks TICO Spanish. I kind of feel like I’m cheating on the whole crazy move to Costa Rica experience since I have him by my side. But with 3 kids and 4 dogs, I’ll take it! We also travelled around the country for 15 years before we decided on San Ramon, so we really have SEEN IT ALL. But the good news is that I can share so many things with you, because we have done so much here, and we can lead a more tico lifestyle right off the bat than most expats choose to. We do NOT live in Escazu or Santa Ana, we do NOT speak English all day long and our kids’ friends speak Spanish. I am not going to say that I don’t see the plusses of living in those Gringo areas, (friends with more in common, more familiar food, gymnastics….) but for me, it was like moving to Miami, and with an even higher price tag.
So… what am I doing writing a blog? Lots of reasons. First- our B&B is family friendly and what better way to help families with their travels than giving a place for them to read about ours – from our tips on where to go, to where to stay, to what to eat. I also wanted to have a billboard of sorts to help families who are thinking of moving here get some real time advice. Not just pretty rainbow pictures and a lala lifestyle fun in the sun diary. Because moving here can be scary as &^%%%# with kids. It is a totally different adventure than moving here with your new girlfriend or even as a retired couple of 50 years. As I learn something new, or simply have a crap day – I will try and share it with you so you can have a better idea of what it is like here.
Well, enough about me, us, our crazy family. I will try and post as many different things as I can. If you have a specific question that I have not gotten to yet…Please ask – I will try and make it my next topic!
UPDATE – WE DO family based REAL ESTATE TOURS! If you are thinking of moving your family here, take a real estate advice and relocation tour with us! check the Vista Valverde site under tours for more info!!!