We settled into the lovely Hotel Villa Zurqui—located in the hills overlooking San Jose’s Central Valley—quickly. For the past few months and into the foreseeable future, Yanina Castro, owner and manager of this resort, has housed us in a little cabin. Our dogs wander safely and happily around our spacious flower-bedecked, fruit-laden garden.
Every day we walk along the many paths that crisscross the property down to a creek that, with the rainy season, has taken on the character of Niagara Falls, Tico style. We have acres of property to explore and enjoy at the Zurqui.
What a foolish idea, warned our friends, when we first told them we were planning to drive to Costa Rica from Calgary. “You’re asking for trouble,” they said. “Drug wars, murders and mayhem—it’s so dangerous!”
We were undeterred. “If we don’t do it now, we’ll never have the chance again,” we told them.
And so, my husband Mike and I loaded up the van with luggage and our two dogs, Dino and Sprite, and set off on our long road trip. One month and 6,000 miles later, we arrived in paradise.
Yanina, the owner of the resort, has been our main guide and comforter as we trudge through the red tape of dealing with customs regarding our shipment of personal goods, setting up bank accounts, registering the car, and beginning the process of becoming residents. We hadn’t any notion how complicated this adjustment would be but the end of that process came after three months.
Mike’s goal in coming to Costa Rica was to build his dream house on the beautiful property we bought two years ago near the Caribbean.
My long-term goal was to teach poor kids here the violin. To that end I collected some 50 donated instruments in Calgary. I have already set up to teach two programs, one at a little local rural school and the other at the Casa de los Niños, a charitable after-school program for some of the neediest families in San Jose.
Despite the trials and tribulations of getting here and being here, we feel we are home and with family. Costa Ricans are friendly, helpful and loving. We have been to many parties and celebrations with our new friends. They have such a calm spirit—Pura Vida they call it—and we are gradually adjusting to the slower rhythm. It’s a good way to live.
When the sun bursts through, it brightens up the beauty of the flowers and lush vegetation surrounding us. There are magnificent views everywhere.
We made the right decision. And those friends who worried about us? They all can’t wait to join us.
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