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The Countdown Begins…Day 80

August 24th, 2006

Hola! My name is Nora Schild. My husband, Dan and our two dogs – Hannah Banana the Satanic Basset and Toby, the kinder, gentler three-legged Basset are about 80 days away from making our move to Costa Rica.

We are both in our 40’s and visited Costa Rica for the first time a scant 3 1/2 years ago. It was a fluke that we wound up there, it was winter and we wanted a beach vacation. It was the first out of the US vacation we had ever taken, and we wanted a country that was interesting and not necessarily “touristy”. We did not want an all-inclusive resort, but something we could explore without feeling like we were taking advantage of a poverty stricken populace – we wanted to relax, not get bummed out and not feel guilty.

Our choice? Panama! We were very excited picking out places to go until we checked airfare and were jerked back to reality. At the time it was over $800 per person to fly into Panama City from St. Louis, which was completely out of our budget. So we pulled out a map and looked to see what was next to Panama and voila! We discovered Costa Rica, which had much more affordable airfare.

For both of us, the attraction was almost instant the day we landed in San Jose. Everything amazed and awed us – we were NOT in Kansas (or in our case, Missouri) anymore. We would up staying at a lodge in Tortugeuro that we had picked out online. Not the typical fantasy beach vacation by any means, but amazing nonetheless. It was the rainy, excuse me “green”, season and the lodge, which is bordered on one side by black water canals, one side by the wild Caribbean and the other two sides by rainforest was almost empty.

We were pretty much given the run of the place and treated like royalty. We instantly bonded with the family that managed the lodge and almost immediately started the classic “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could move here?” fantasy. We promised the family we would return soon. They had heard THAT before, so were really surprised and happy when we actually showed up again 6 months later. We hung out with them for a couple of days, then did the obligatory Tamarindo and Arenal trips. A total of eight trips later (including finally making it to Panama), we are even more enchanted with CR and figured what the heck – there is not going to be a better time in our lives to do this. We are aware of the 40% stat but even if we wind up in that number, we will have tried. I don’t want to look back on my life and say “I wish…”.

Last night I woke up at 1:30 AM overwhelmed by everything we have to do – my hope is that blogging about it will be useful for those following in our footsteps. I have been off and on the Costa Rica boards and blogs for three years now and am so grateful for the information shared there, I will try to make this a useful tool for others to use for their journeys.

So that’s our story. I intend to blog about everything leading up to and including our move – the good, the bad and all of it in between. How we are dealing with it, how our family and friends are dealing with it, even how the Basset Hounds are dealing with it. Our expectations (we have very few) and our fears (we have more of those) and with a little luck, the happy ending, too!

So that’s it – please, do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have as you read about our transition and journey, I will be happy to answer anything I can! Pura Vida!

8 Responses to “The Countdown Begins…Day 80”

  1. rebecca palmer on August 25, 2006 7:08 am

    What area did you decide on. we are looking for a retirement gated community with easy access to the airport. We are midwest.

    any information is appreciated.


  2. Nora on August 25, 2006 7:22 am

    Hi Rebecca –

    Well, that is kind of another blog post – we haven’t decided yet! But we are not going to go the gated community route, we will almost certainly end up in a more rural area. Sorry I can’t help, but thank you for reading my post…

  3. William Marino on August 28, 2006 1:10 pm

    Hello guys!!! Here I am a costarican living in Miami for about 15 years and I can not wait to move back, the big story is unlike when I moved here now I’m married ,she’s from Colombia and I have not been able to convince her totally about the move!!
    But I know that pretty soon she’ll make up her mind and we will be on our way.
    This is a great blog to read and to show her different points of view,etc.
    Take care guys and hope everything turns alright for Nora’s family.

  4. Rochelle on September 9, 2006 11:17 am

    Nora! I just finished reading your blog. What a momentous time in your life! I can’t wait to read your next entry! My husband and I are in the beginning stages of “could that be home for us” and no where near the point where you are in this decision. I look so forward to your next blog entries. We have so many questions. This website has been a blessing to us. I too have two (spoiled rotten) little dogs, their health care is just as much a concern for me as our own healthcare. Good luck to you and your family. Keep us all posted! : )

  5. Rocky on October 6, 2006 1:39 am

    Thank you for your post. My wife and I are in our 40’s, with a seven year old son, and have purchased a home in Alajuela. We have about 30 days before the “big move”. I wake up in the mornings alternating between joy and sheer terror. I know we are making the right move, but as the day gets closer I can’t help the feeling sometimes that I must be out of my mind. Can’t wait to get there. Will be reading your blog faithfully.

  6. Karolyn on October 9, 2006 10:59 am

    How exciting!!! We have basically had the same experience you had with CR. It was such a refreshing atmosphere. The slower pace, the beauty of the country and ultimately the warm hearted people. Yes, we fell in love, too. Our move will not be until summer of 07, but we’re getting paperwork ready to apply for residency.
    A dream? Sometimes it feels like that, but then comes the reality of beginning another adventure in our lives. I, too, like the countryside. No gated community for me. I want to be a part of CR and hopefully can give something in return. I will be looking forward to more post.

  7. John wisenstine on October 28, 2006 1:52 pm

    Nora, As Tim likes to say, ” only believe 75% of what you read” or as I like to say ” to every rule in Costa Rica there is an exception”.
    I sold everything that I owned in the states 3 yrs ago ( at the age of 42). I packed my truck and camper, attached my 16ft aluminum boat and drove to costa rica to live. This was my first trip to costa rica. I didnt speak spanish, though I could order a beer and find the bano after a few. I had $8,000 to my name when I entered costa rica and no idea where I was going other than I had heard that Quepos had excelent fishing so I headed there.
    Two and a half years later, I have a lovely wife (tica), I own a beautiful home in a tico community where noone has bars on their windows, I own a thriving tourist business.
    My point is this, no matter what the adversity, those who have the will will find the way, even if it means breaking some rules along the way.
    I am the exception, you are not like me, you are not as tough, you are not as stupid as I was to burn all my bridges. Follow the rules , they apply to you.

  8. Jennifer Sheridan on November 2, 2006 8:30 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog. Check mine out, we’re a family of four, hubby 56,me 42, daughter 10 and 4 legged son Bear moved from Arizona to San Ramon over 9 months ago. http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Just-Jen/
    You’ll be happy to know there are lots of pet friendly hotels around. Bear goes everywhere with us!

    If you have any questions just email me.