We had a plan for the coming weeks, which consisted of visiting 3 locations in the country where we felt we would be happy to live and where we managed to find schools similar in standard to what our daughters are used to in Argentina. Karin had done some fine research before and managed to find 3 bilingual, Montessori schools with IB certification, contacted those, sent over our girl’s schoolwork and made appointments for interviews with each of them.
So, our route was fixed: San Jose – Tamarindo - Nosara - San Jose. After a few lovely days with Esther in and around Escazu, we loaded our SUV with what we thought we would need and took off for Tamarindo. Nicely enough Esther and her family had decided to meet us there for a long weekend’s holiday, which meant we spent our first days there enjoying beach life, renting surf boards (still really meaning to get the hang of this…), feasting on red snappers, driving around getting to know the area and imagining life here.
We have been in Nosara about 11 years ago and then already felt a strong “pull” when crossing the sandy roads, walking along the beaches and simply sensing the atmosphere. The same happened this time. We had decided to set up our base in a small hostel, tucked away in the woodlands on a hill in the Nosara Natural Reserve, 5 minutes walking from a small bay located next to Guiones beach.
We looked up a German couple whom we had met the last time we were here, and who were at the time setting up a horseback riding facility. After some digging around we found them and their new ranch, sitting on the edge of the beach, right next to the place where the Nosara River ends in the Pacific Ocean. Amazing Costa Rican criollo horses… man, each was more beautiful then the other… We decided to go riding for two days, making the best of our wait for the interview at the school. Two amazing days followed, during which we crossed lush forest in the Nosara Natural Reserve, rode through town, completely at ease in our gaucho roles and feeling like we already belonged there, and the best parts (well at least for me); going from a difficulty maintained standstill into a perfectly stretched running gallop over a pristine beach in the early morning, speeding along the waterline, leaving the horse to give it all it has, total release of energy… If you manage not to get thrown off by that first explosion of power when you allow your horse to take off, you are in for an adrenaline rush. It requires a bit of confidence and trust, and you need to not only know how to ride a horse, you need to become one with it, but holy cow, you know? I am sitting here 8,000km and months separated from those moments and I still get sweaty palms reliving them. Karin was still hurting from her two broken ribs as a result from the December trip in Corrientes and Edie was a little bit more careful than normal, so this was one of those few moments in which I actually outrode both of them (not usually the case I can assure you) and the macho in me had a blast, too.
Karin and I recharged our batteries here and it soon became clear that this is where we want to live: Nosara, a hamlet of maybe 2000 souls, spread out over this piece of the Nicoya Peninsula like pixy dust, connected by dirt roads and a strange intense social network, which we haven’t come to figure out completely yet. 20% of the people here are genuine “Ticos”; the rest is made up of 20 different nationalities, amongst which pensioners, movie stars, serial entrepreneurs, laid-back (former) surfers, yoga /dance & kickboxing teachers, singers/songwriters, restaurant & hotel owners, and a few long-distance workers like us. Can’t say I am not looking forward to this new episode in our lives.
Next day we went to see the school and it too was what we had hoped for and kind of already felt it would be: An international, bilingual Montessori school with IB certification, part of the Blue Flag program, with 100 students divided over 7 grades, situated on a beautiful plot in the middle of the forest maybe 5 minutes from the ocean. Let me not go overboard on this one, as while I am writing this we still need to get a final confirmation that we are actually admitted, but in short it is exactly what we are looking for, plus the kids get surfing lessons as part of after school activities! I mean, awesome, or what? We had a very nice introduction to the school by the director himself, who showed us around the premises and the different classrooms, library, sports fields and the school’s own flock of sheep, doubling as lawnmowers. According to the director he feels our girls would fit the school system perfectly and he is putting his weight behind our application, so hopefully soon we will receive the word that we can start packing for real. We have already started, given that we leave Argentina end May to take an intermittent holiday to Kenya to visit some close friends and see the big 5, but it is weird to prepare your own Great Migration knowing that you are still waiting for a signature that could completely throw your plans out the window, if it wouldn’t come… But what the heck, we are good to go.
We have learnt to live in the now. Frustration, anger and sadness about the past and worries about the future are mostly useless time wasters; you can only do your best today. You can do so knowing what you have learnt in the past and what you would eventually like to achieve in the future, but in the end doing your best today is the basic gist of what it all comes down to, living life. We have given this step to Costa Rica every bit of positive energy we could have given it on any of the moments that it mattered. Now it will either happen or it won’t and we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Life turns out to have a certain flow and after having tried to manipulate and force that flow into the direction I thought it needed to go, I am now a lot more inclined to listen to it telling me where I need to go. Life is easier this way, a lot less cluttered, more focused and more productive, and on top I have a lot more time to be with my family, which is actually all that matters…