Stolen Hearts

Going to take a little commercial break from my JMT posts. Just brief, I’ll be back at it in no time.


Sunset at Playa Tamarindo


Leaving Spokane for some SUN

We are back in Costa Rica now. Possibly our most favorite place on the planet. We started coming down here in 2007. Our first trip, all three kids in tow, changed us. Changed us in ways we never thought possible. G stayed 8 days before having to head back to the States. Our kiddos and I stayed a month. That sealed the deal, we were so taken by this beautiful and diverse country. So overcome with the climate, the people, the oh-so-chill atmosphere, that I honestly had a hard time coming back to the States after our month stint. I couldn’t even talk to friends and family about our time here because I was so emotional about the whole thing. This country captivated me and stole a piece of my heart that I knew I could never get back. Tears would flow as I spoke about my adoration of this place and felt that gut-pull of wanting to come back.


At the Saturday feria. Photo credit to our sweet soon-to-be daughter in law.

Forward to now; this is our sixth time to this country. It feels like home to us. We feel its ebb and flow in our heart like the swells of the ocean. We catch our grove quickly after arriving. We eat typico, we never miss a sunset, we shop as locals at the feria every Saturday. We walk everywhere, eat fresh, and try desperately to brush up on our Espanol. Living in Idaho doesn’t allow for a lot of language practice. I have learned to watch TV (when we do) in Spanish and read everything I can in Espanol. It comes back quickly, thank goodness. There is nothing better than conversing with Ticos. They are some of the warmest people we’ve encountered. They have infectious smiles and even more contagious laughs. They never miss an opportunity to show their warmth towards us!


Pura Vida

Speaking of Ticos, we just love learning from them. The language and their way of life and love are so simple. They live frugally compared to US standards but you’d never know it. They don’t seem too bothered or interested in making it big. They are humble and helpful to everyone around them. They DO work hard for what they have and they come home happy with what the day has allowed them. They have such pride in what they have, not boastful, but content with their life. They are sweet and genuine and love their families fully. They aren’t over-busy or over-stressed. Every day is full of Pure Vida.

img_0847This time we have decided to stay in Playa Tamarindo. We have been here before a few years ago, but only for a short weekend getaway from Esterillos Oeste. It’s bustling. It’s like the Cancun of Costa Rica. It’s full of gringos and backpackers from all over the world. It’s busy and full of bars and restaurants. It has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen (although I have YET to see a bad one in CR) and it produces some extraordinary sunsets. Its water is warm (like the rest of CR) and it has great waves for all levels of surfing. There are vendors and shops everywhere. It’s very different from what we are used to in CR. Definitely more touristy but so far we are enjoying it. It’s close to the Nicaraguan border. A plus as we are planning to drive to San Juan del Sur and Granada in the next few weeks. I would say for a quick trip to CR it’s a great place. Long term, may be debatable. For us anyways. We are not accustomed to staying in such a crowded place and prefer more of the laid back, quiet villages to over populated, tourist hangs.


A little SnapChat on the beach because….well, we are just dorks like that AND I laugh hysterically every time I see G’s face in this photo!

As we start our second week here we are definitely getting back into our grove with cooking at home and workouts. We are meeting friends and finding our favorite local shops. Coffee at Nordico is a must after a morning run and surf sesh and as I sit here sipping my cafe con leche I can hear at least 4 different languages being spoken. Incredible!fullsizerender

It’s so nice to be back here. It’s so free and allows us to clear our head of the chaos. It allows me to feel God at a whole new level. To see and taste the goodness of His love every day. To slow down, take a breath and marvel at what is important to us both.To quiet ourselves enough to hear His still small voice. To soak in salt water every day. To be nurtured by the sun. To eat pipa (Pipa fría is fresh chilled green coconut. It’s a perfect refreshment for a hot day – it is loaded with vitamins and gives you an instant burst of energy) and gallo pinto by the truckload! To allow what’s been bankrupt in ourselves to be filled.fullsizerender

Breathe….Slowing it Down

Here we are after week one in our home away from home. Esterillos Oeste is just as magnificent as always.
Flying in last Monday we had a later arrival flight. We opted to stay our first night in San Jose rather that driving over to the Pacific in the dark. We had already decided that we would take the “old highway” over to the coast the next morning. One of these times, we will brave the drive over at night. We are getting there. And you would think after all of these years here, we would. Especially now with the new highway finished. But for this time….we waited until the next morning.
When arriving at the airport, we headed right through customs and immigration quickly. We didn’t have checked bags, so this always goes fast for us. I had made the taxi reservations from the States and quickly realized that I gave them a time for pick-up an hour too late. Coming out of the airport there are always several shuttles and taxis waiting. Someone approached us about calling for our ride. I just have to laugh at my sweet hubs. He speaks not a lick of Spanish, so all of our conversations with people go like this…. They look and speak to him, and he stops and looks at me. I had my contact info for the hotel, but they were having a hard time contacting them. Shortly thereafter, I heard someone calling my name and asking about a ride to our hotel. It was an older gentleman (all in Spanish) I scooped up my bags and my family and jumped into a waiting van. The look on Greg’s face was priceless. Glad he trusts me while traveling in a foreign country to make sound decisions.
We got checked into our hotel, and immediately changed into some shorts, tank tops and flip flops (muy caliente aqui) and went down for our first meal. After traveling all day we were tired and ready for some good food, sleep and a nice, cold, cerveza. We had a sweet little waitress who taught me a new Spanish word “Disculpe” after she asked me some English. She complimented me on my “hat” (the cute little fedora I was wearing) she asked if she says “hat” correctly and then asked me what was the difference between “hat and hot” in the English language. She explained in Espanol to me that she could not hear the difference. It was fun to work with her on pronouncing it differently. Although, her way of saying it sounded a bit “southern” kind of with a drawl. I always wonder how we sound to others. Our accent. Obviously when I say “hat and hot” it sounds similar but “hot” sounds like I have an amazing southern twang to muh voice. I have yet to figure out the word I was asking about….”Excuse me” As in getting our waitress’ attention. With the various translations of words she explained “excuse me” (disculpe) but that meaning is as if I didn’t hear what she said, and needed to say, “excuse me or pardon me” Anyone know this??
Our rental auto was coming in the morning at 9am. We thought we would have time to get up, have some breaky and a swim. 7am our phone rang and our car was there. Diego, who is our car contact was early. This was our first lesson of peeling off our “American rush”. (This takes us a couple of days once we arrive) Of course, we quickly got dressed, packed our things into our bags in a hurried and rushed fashion and headed down to the front desk. Knowing this is not typical, but still having a hard time in making someone wait. We got down to the front desk 15 minutes later and the man at the front desk pointed us in the directness of Diego who was lounged on one of the couches in the lobby. The man at the front desk asked if we had enjoyed our morning and some breakfast. We told him Diego was early and we did not want to keep him waiting. He laughed! And let us know what we already knew….Diego would not have minded waiting for us, even if we would’ve had breakfast. He said, that’s not typico here. I laughed and said, “you know us Americans, always rushed and in a hurry” as I said this I snapped my fingers. We both had a good laugh!!!
We decided that we were going to skip driving the old highway and take the new. We have used it coming FROM the coast into SJ but never the other way around. Could we even find our way? We took a chance and figured it out pretty easily. We are always up for the adventure anyways. And for some reason here, it always seems to find us, one way or another. We were on our way.
As always we made our stop in Jaco for groceries at the Maxi and took the drive through Jaco to take in the smell of Costa Rica. The heat, the sand, the ocean. Relax.
We finally made it to Esterillos Oeste and settled in. This was a busy week on the Pacific because of Semana Santa. Our quiet little village was teeming with Tico’s from all over enjoying their week off with their families. There were tents, tarps, campers, and people all over the beach. Bonfires and picnics and parties. Kids, dogs and dancing. It is so fun to see the families enjoying one another. Greg has never been to EO during Semana Santa (only our kids and i have witnessed this celebration) and he was AMAZED by the amount of people that flood the village. We took this time to acclimate to the climate and get our “chill” on. We just hung out in the village and puttered around the beach and relaxed. We surfed one day, but with the crowds it’s a little harder.
We have been beach running every morning, trying to get out as early as possible. The heat and humidity are stifling, and to run in it is tortuous. One morning I went out late (around 6:50am 5:50PST) the humidity was intense and the sun already too high in the sky. I thought I was going to ignite into flames. It was all I could do to manage 4 miles before just diving into the ocean.
Yesterday was Easter and the first time we were not celebrating with our family back home. That was a little hard. Missing our big kids. We went to service at the Pura Vida church and felt so welcomed and so blessed to be able to attend and worship God in this setting. The service was bilingual, but there was something about standing in this little church service, where we only knew a few people, and singing worship in Espanol. It was moving and God’s presence was heavy. I followed the whole service with my Spanish Bible (reading in the books of Efesios, Juan y Mateo) and was moved to tears a couple of times. What a celebration!
This week as things return to normal here, we will be out exploring some new things. Possibly heading to Panama or North to La Fortuna to Rio Celeste. We will see where the ocean breeze blows us.

¡Hasta Luego!

My morning run and prayer time.

My morning run and prayer time.