Whew………….It’s been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks. A trip to the mountains, an adventure to Panama, and finally, to our destination for the next 5 months, Nosara. We are traveling fools. Here’s a little something about each.
A TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS
The idea of the trip started when we invited one of the favorite workers at our Quepos house over for an early dinner after he got off work. We made homemade pizza and enjoyed a couple of beers together. After about an hour of talking and getting to know eachother a little more, we found out the following: he’s 24 years old, has 11 brothers and sisters, his girlfriend works in a restaurant and is 6 months pregnant with their first child, he doesn’t have a car, he likes living in Quepos with some of his sisters and brothers, he’s from San Cristobal Sur in the mountains of Costa Rica (where 5 of his brothers and sisters still live), and he hasn’t been there in over a year. We asked him if he’d like to go back, and of course he said yes. After about 10 minutes of talking about the idea of driving him there, we had a rough plan to leave in 3 days. The only hurdle was he getting off work, in which he’d ask the manager the next day.
All went as planned, and we were off!
We picked Roberto up at 5:15 am (with full cups of coffee) and started our DAY journey into the mountains. In our “planning” conversation 3 days prior, Billy and I thought Roberto said his Dad lived about 1 to 2 hours away. Wrong! The miscommunication didn’t surprise us (it happens quite often with the language gap) so we just rolled with it. The trek took 4 hours. At first, we were thinking, “Wow, this is going to be a looooooooong day”. Then, the beautiful scenery took over and we were happy to be driving as long as we needed to. It was truly a spectacular drive. The terrain was a bit crazy, but we were thankful to have a vehicle to get us through it: potholes, rocks, mudslides, creeks and lots of hills. We would stop every so often to take pictures and capture the moment. The younger kids took turns sitting on my and Roberto’s laps, but preferred Roberto’s for sure. Let me tell you a little about him.
Sweet Roberto. Billy and I can’t figure out if he’s like a son home from college, a really close family friend, or a brother to us. Maybe he’s a good mix. All 6 of us Toomey’s love him dearly, along with another worker (the kids “Abuelo”), but that’s a whole other post. Roberto loves our kids and played with them as much as he could. Whether it was laughing at their spanish, playing football with the boys, asking for their help around the property, riding his little bike to work so the kids can borrow it for the day, teaching them card games, or bringing them candy……………….he was always laughing and smiling. He is a great guy, that has definitely brightened each of our lives.
As for the day trip……………..it was great. His family was super nice, and welcomed us with open arms. We got home safely, pulling up to our place at 11:00 at night. The best thing was watching Roberto with his family, and knowing he was appreciative for the ride there and back. A trip to remember!
To live in Costa Rica without any type of visa or residency, you have to leave the country every 3 months for 72 hours. We went to La Concepcion, Panama, for our first “exit country” trip and wanted to try a new city this time around. We ended up in beautiful Boquete, which is located at the bottom of Volcan Baru. I’m so glad we did! Our trip started by driving our car to the border of Costa Rica and Panama, then took an hour bus ride to David, Panama, grabbed our bags and switched to a big, yellow school bus to Boquete. After that 45-minute bus ride, we flagged a taxi down to take us to our bed and breakfast. We were exhausted.
The owner of the B&B, Rodrigo, is a Texas Aggie alum and a great guy. He was full of knowledge, and loved to share it with us. He has a pet toucan, named “Toucee”, on the property that the kiddos loved to talk to and play with. One day, Rodrigo took us to the new zoo in town, that shelters rescued animals. The kids had a blast holding the monkeys, talking to the birds, and feeding the goats. We ended the day at the gorgeous Annual Flower and Coffee Festival.
The next day, we headed out for a walk through the Volcan Baru National Park. The taxi dropped us off at the beginning, and said, “I’ll be here in 3 1/2 hours to pick you up”. I almost fainted! I thought it was an hour WALK, not hike. We didn’t bring an ounce of water, or have a map to show us where in the world we were hiking to. “Dear God, please let these 3 hours go by fast” was exactly my prayer! Well, it was beautiful, the kids were awesome (never once complained about being thirsty) and it went by super fast. I wouldn’t have done anything different that day. What a blessing.
NOSARA, COSTA RICA
We had a total “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” ride to Nosara. The 4-hour drive took 6 hours because of all our luggage (in and out of the car). The only thing missing were the christmas lights strung around the ’86 Jeep Cherokee. The sad this is, we have to drive back to Quepos in a couple of weeks to get the other half of our loot that didn’t fit. Oh, the “stuff” you accumulate over 6 months.
We made it here safe and sound. Nosara is a beautiful place. The waves are big, beaches are huge, and the town is super chill. We are staying at a hotel that is 1 block from the beach, so the kiddos are loving life! We walk to the beach twice a day to surf, look for sand dollars and take strolls on the sand. We’ve looked at a few houses to call home for the next 5 months, but no luck. We are praying to find one soon, as frustration is starting to take over. We’ve met alot of Americans that are helpful and nice. Some expats that live here and some on vacation. The crazy thing is, we haven’t had to speak spanish AT ALL. All the locals speak english, so I need to figure out a way to keep the kids’ spanish fresh in their minds. I’m taking a look at the public schools this week, to see if that’s an option. The Costa Rican school year starts in February.
When I say “super, chill town”, I really mean it. This is the first time in my life I don’t care about what I look like in a swimsuit. Did I just say that? But, truthfully, everyone here is here to surf or do yoga………….that’s it. When you surf, you wear a swimsuit. When you do yoga, you’re half naked. At the restaurant, at the bar, walking down the street with a surfboard, walking to the bank — everywhere you look, people are comfy in their own skin. Everyone is smiling and happy to be right here, right now, in Nosara, Costa Rica. It’s so cool.
Only 5 months until we head back to the States. My prayer is, “God, please show The Toomey’s all you want us to know, remember, cherish and learn during this spectacular time in our lives. We love you and thank you so much for this opportunity.”