The Journey

I love a challenge and planning a trip to a new place. Six months of preparation and one month of acclimating to a new home in a foreign land is both of these things, plus exhilarating and exhausting – my comfort zone. I am energized by the exploration of something new, so up to this point, things have been fairly easy and really fun. One month in, the transition period is coming to an end and now the hard work begins for me- preparing the mind, body and soul for the PURA VIDA way of life – the change I am seeking for myself and for our family. Pura Vida literally means Pure Life, but Costa Ricans demonstrate this is a way of living. Life can be peaceful, simple, and uncluttered with a deep appreciation for nature, family and friends. That pretty much sums up our family’s goal, but, since I am the author of this blog, I might as well confess now…I have the most work to do to live a Pura Vida life. My husband is practically there and always has been – its natural for him. Here are a few of my goals for my personal Pura Vida quest:
1. Let go of the need for control and perfection.
2. Find an identity that is separate from the work I do -relearn to live life and have fun!
3. Grant myself and those around me grace -letting go of the self-criticism and guilt that sometimes paralyzes me.

I haven’t used an alarm clock since I have been here. It is liberating to go to bed without the need to perform the ritual. Since we homeschool and don’t leave the house for our jobs, we can rise with the sun, which is a more natural and pleasant way to start your morning each day. Don’t be too jealous – it’s 6am most days, but it never feels that early, in contrast to my previous life. Since the sun sets early (5:30pm), we go to bed much earlier too. The mornings are the longest part of the day here and are best enjoyed with a walk on the beach when the tide is low. I am cherishing that we do not have a place to rush off to each and every morning and I am not caught repeating my former frequent phrase with the kids – “hurry up, we are going to be late!” Most days school starts by 9am, but we are very flexible, depending on the week’s opportunities and obligations. They average 12-14 hours of schoolwork per week, which paces them ahead of the standards and still leaves them time to enjoy their individual interests as well as have plenty of family time (sometimes more than we all can handle).

Tucker has decided he wants to focus his time and energy into becoming a better sailor and learning to surf. He sailed in his first competition this past weekend. He was the only minor in the competition and he showed great improvement by not coming in last place by the last round – that was his take on the experience. Abby wants to continue her passions of horseback riding and competitive swim, but while we have made some inquiries into both, we have not committed to either yet. She agreed to a “sabbatical” so that she could participate in a local theater production with her brother, Elliot. Elliot is happiest performing and making music, so the play was a natural fit for him. He also brought his keyboard and ukulele, which he is hoping to master.

As I told friends, family, co-workers and even strangers back in the U.S. about our upcoming move to Costa Rica, the first question I got from almost everyone was what are you going to “do” there. I know most of the times, it was out of curiosity of how we were going to pull of this crazy idea, but in contrast, I haven’t been asked once about what I “do” here in Costa Rica. No one cares about what you “do”. The American way of life seems to be focused on working and accumulating stuff and that is one of the striking differences from the Pura Vida way of living.

The last couple of years, I gave up cooking and we outsourced cleaning. Mostly because I was working a full-time plus hour job and Marc had reduced his hours to be the primary homemaker and he excelled. Now, we find ourselves in reversed roles. He is the only one of us that has a paying job right now and he has the added responsibility of managing the kid’s schooling. So, naturally, I am finding my way back in the kitchen and happily doing things like sweeping the house twice a day! You would not believe the dirt and sand that accumulates. When I fully adapt to this Pura Vida lifestyle, maybe I’ll only sweep once a day.

Lemons are plentiful and inexpensive here, so I have been experimenting with new refreshing drinks, in addition the daily smoothie I make with whatever tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, coconut, papaya, banana) is on the counter. Below are two recent favorites that I recommend when your days are hotter:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/iced-lemon-ginger-tea-200688
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/frozen-mint-lemonade-232650

I use only cane sugar or sub with honey. Happy Sipping and PURA VIDA!

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