“Welcome HOME to Costa Rica,” the night air called out to us as we entered baggage claim. We made it! We actually made it to Costa Rica and much smoother than hubby and I had planned. Two, 3 1/2 hour flights didn’t do as much damage to us, other than my tuna fish cans, than we had thought it would.
** Every can was smashed in one way or another. Oh well, still worth bringing them! **
Maybe the 1st class seats truly did help?
** L riding next to Hubby ** ** G and E living it up! ** ** Sweet K offered to sit next to a stranger. **
Or maybe we were blessed to get here just the way we needed too? (Even though we did look like a 6 man circus, walking through the airport.)
** Waiting to board our first flight out of Salt Lake City, Utah **
Most of the people we met were kind and patient with us; something hubby and I didn’t expect. Even checking in our 18 duffle bags / large suitcases went smoother than we had planned.
* Yes, count them! 13 duffle bags, 4 Large Suitcases and 1 car seat bag. We travel light! *
It’s a great gift to be flexible and take the punches as they roll, rather than expecting something that just might not be possible. All that hubby and I armed ourselves with that morning was the knowledge that we needed to move to Costa Rica. The rest . . . well, each day will bring a fuller, clearer picture; especially if we practice patience and Faith.
I must be honest, moving to Costa Rica wasn’t an easy process. Foolishly I thought once the “hard decision” was made that things would just QUICKLY fall into place . . . boy was I wrong. But it’s okay! I actually look back on the past 6 weeks with joy and success. What we went through in those 6 weeks was tough but the toughness that was required in turn made us stronger, healthier and more positive that the direction we were taking was correct – no matter what came our way.
Often, when times seemed to be the hardest, I would think of a video I watched of Elder Holland’s about a day trip he and his son had gone on. On their return from spending the day together, they came to a fork in the road. They prayed and both felt they should go down a certain path; but upon traveling a few hundred yards, they found that it was a dead end. They quickly turned around and took the other path. That path lead them home but left the son confused and wondering why they felt good about the first path they took, if it only ended in a dead end?
I LOVE Elder Holland’s reply to his son’s question. He stated, “I think that the Lord, His wish for us there and His answer to our prayer, was to get us on the right road as quickly as possible, with some reassurance, with some understanding that we were on the right road and we didn’t have to worry about it. And in this case, the easiest way to do that, was to let us go 400 yards or 500 yards, on the wrong road, and very quickly know, without a doubt, that it was the wrong road. And therefore, with equally certainty, with equal conviction, that the other one was the right road.”
Elder Holland ends the short little video with his testimony, “I have absolute, certain knowledge, perfect knowledge, that God loves us. He is good. He is our Father and He expects us to pray and trust and be believing and not give up, and not panic, and not retreat, and not jump ship when something doesn’t seem to be going just right. We stay in, we keep working, we keep believing, we keep trusting; following that same path. And we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, “I told you it would be okay. I told you it would be alright.”
Many times I have felt we have been down a dead end and I have questioned if I was truly heeding the guidance of the Spirit or not. It has caused deep questions to flood my mind and even cause me to question if I was indeed doing the right thing, not just for me or for hubby, but for our children. But as Elder Holland stated, because I was given the opportunities to go down those “thoughtful” paths, I now know that what I am doing is RIGHT and I am truly grateful . . . but boy did it come with great sacrifice, faith and humility.
Hubby and I have looked back at the past 6 weeks and marvel how we were sent so many earthly angels to help us make this dream and righteous desire of ours come true. From babysitting our 4 children, to packing up our “Costa Rica” items in 13 days and loading them onto the container, to helping us move out of our home and in with my next oldest brother and sister-in-law, to renting our home and selling both of our cars to friends, to the emotional and nutritional support of our ward family and life-long friends, to the heart-felt good-byes and well wishes. I don’t want to imagine how difficult life would be right now had we not had those experiences, because I am feeling that our family has been RICHLY blessed and it ALL came directly from our Father in Heaven and Our Savior, Jesus Christ, through these amazing ANGELS on this earth! The peace I feel is tangible. It is the deepest of joys, even when things looked and felt too hard. I’m so grateful for the gift of the atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.
The transition to Costa Rica hasn’t been too surprising, except I had hoped that I would have experienced a longer “honeymoon phase.” But providence has proven what is truly important and that is our family acclimating to this new life as quickly as possible.
** Can you tell who’s room is who’s? Boys vs. Girls. Well, everyone vs. K – she is an organizational genius! **
Hence the reason to move so quickly out of our home and in with my brother. Hence the reason we are putting the kiddos in a bi-lingual Costa Rican private school that has its first day of school in 2 weeks. Hence the reason we are living in a gate community so we can let the kiddos roam and meet new friends and neighbors as quickly as they will allow.
*Our backyard. Hubby swimming with the kids our first “day” in Costa Rica. He’s teaching L to swim. *
So many measures are taking place to guide us and direct us in the pathway we should follow, to which I am utterly grateful! The first blessing, which to others would possibly be a travesty, is that we only have one car at this time; a 5 seater car. Hubby and I were in a bit of shock when we realized that purchasing a second, larger vehicle wouldn’t happen for awhile. Before I let the “oh, no!” thoughts start racing through my head, I chose to look on the brighter side. I asked myself, “What are we to learn from this and how could this bless our family if we allow it to be a positive experience?” As soon as that thought was completed, a sudden rush of “YES! There are so many possible blessings and experiences for good that could be waiting to happen!” . . . and then a burst of peace flooded over me. I simply told hubby, “It will be okay. I don’t know why yet, but I feel like this is just what we need to happen. Let’s just take it easy and see what this leads to.” He’s a great man. He bit his tongue and hasn’t said a word since. (I don’t know if I could be that good!)
The sad part about not having a car that fits all 6 of us safely is we can’t drive anywhere. No beaches. No visiting people Paul knows, as a family. No trips to the farmer’s market as a family.
* Came home loaded . . . 1 watermelon, 4 avocados, bunch of bananas, 3 passion fruit, 8 tomatoes, 2 dozen eggs, 1 water apple, 8 gala apples, 1 head of lettuce, a bag of green beans, 2 zucchini, a bag of fresh strawberries, fresh made cheese, homemade sour cream, a pineapple and 2 mangos. Not bad for $40. Is anyone jealous? It is January by the way. *
So what do you do as a family, your first Saturday in Costa Rica, with no car to take you all somewhere?
** Taking a rest on our walk to the local grocery store, Mas x Menos, for some ice cream **
We went for a walk in our new town, Belen (it means Bethlehem in Spanish). It started as a walk to the soccer field, but it was locked up. I didn’t want to go back home already, so I suggested we walk a bit. The more we walked, the more possible ideas came to mind. Hubby finally asked what I had in mind. I said, “I think you know.” He knew alright. The closest anything was the grocery store we had shopped at 4 times in 3 days. He worried it was too far to walk to, but with a few shaded breaks, we MADE IT, complete with an ice cream snack and a trip to the restroom. Then back to home we went and a cold dip in the freshwater pool. It really was a wonderful day and almost everyone went to sleep easily that night.
How is the house you ask? It is lovely! I am in heaven and I feel fabulous about the house. It is just my size. I don’t know how long we will get to live here, so I choose to enjoy this beautiful home of ours and to love every minute of it. I must say, it is hard renting though, so I guess I just pretend I am living in my parent’s home in Baja California. This home reminds me so much of their home and it this home makes me feel THAT comfortable! I am very happy here. I think the kids are too!
As for the dust and dirt . . . it’s true! It is EVERYWHERE! I’ll spare you pictures of what the maid swept up (yes, I had a maid come in and help me last Friday. This house is tile, tile and more tile and no air conditioning. So when it is hot/humid, you open the screen-less windows and sliding doors to circulate air through your home – which creates dust and dirt on everything. The piles she swept up were HUGE. Just think Young Women’s tents after a week of camping. That and much more were how huge the piles were.) I can literally breath much easier with all that dirt and dust gone.
I did save you one gem though – this is our bedroom fan. At first I thought it was a white fan with a black border along the edge of each blade. But upon a closer look, it was NOT a painted border but a border of black gunk. Yes gunk, because I don’t want to imagine what this hairy, mossy, dusty, dirty stuff really is.
After about 15 minutes, I had that fan spotless clean. It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and a great night’s sleep, knowing that I didn’t have anything hanging over my head. Until Sunday morning came. Church was in the air and I didn’t know how the kids, or I, would handle it. No longer were we coming to Costa Rica as visitors. We were now ward members and the unknown was all we had in store. I felt a hearty, loving, favorite breakfast was in order. Fortunately hubby did the cooking! Look at this masterpiece. . .
Boy was it delicious! Don’t get me started on the juices. Look at what we have in our tiny fridge . . . they are THAT good!
** Pineapple, Peach, Grape, Apple and Orange. Mix them all together, G says it the best! **
After a breakfast like that, anyone could do anything. . . and we did! Church went superbly – better than I had expected. All of the kids met people on their own and a few made instant friends. The members were so welcoming and excited to hear we were staying permanently. Hubby even went out of his way to get me started with Visiting Teachers and asked the coordinator to assign me a partner with sisters to visit. Isn’t he the best! No really, he is THE BEST! I enjoy and actually need female relationships (if you know me well, you KNOW this is true!) As soon as he established that need being met, I felt LOADS better! So everyone came home happy and hungry after church; a mother couldn’t be more pleased than that.
After a long nap for mom and a few hiccups in cooking dinner, dinner was on the table and we had a wonderful meal. E and hubby went to an afternoon fireside about this year’s YM/YW’s theme, where E was given a challenge. AWESOME!!! E was also informed that he would start 5 am seminary next week. WHAT?!?! Well, that will give us the opportunity to wake up earlier and have more day to our day (the sun rises each day at 5 and sets around 6. This WILL be good for us all).
We truly are excited and hopeful for what this experience has to offer us. There will be ups and downs but with the help and trust of our Father in Heaven, ALL THINGS ARE FOR OUR GOOD and ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! I know this is true and I am hopeful that I will live this truth.
In closing, I wish to share one up and one down with living in Costa Rica . . . just so you don’t think we are living in paradise 24/7.
Up: Delicious water and crushed ice from my fridge. Our family has ALWAYS wanted to have crushed ice from the outside door of our fridge but the style of fridge that I like in Utah, doesn’t have room for one. Renting a home has forced us to take what we are given . . . which happens to be a smaller fridge than we are used to but one with the water and crushed ice available. YIPPEE!! Crushed ice is a mama’s best friend!
Down: The toilets take forever to flush! They are SO SLOW and you have to hold down the button to make it actually flush. I won’t paint a visual for you but just know that using the restroom is my LEAST favorite thing to do here! It’s sad when you prefer the grocery store bathroom toilet over your own. Enjoy your U.S. toilets people . . . they have power and they only take 3 seconds to flush. Mine takes counting to 20. Happy flushing!