Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

A Sunny Christmas Day in Costa Rica

Christmas Day came and with it beautiful sunny weather. We got up, had a big breakfast and then decided to venture out for a Christmas Day walk on the mountain on the other side of our little Rio Oro valley in Santa Ana. We had been told that if we followed one of the roads in the valley far enough the road would slowly turn from a paved road into a smaller dirt track before disappearing into a narrow little path into the jungle.

What could be better than that we thought and headed up along Calle Cebadilla until the road had disappeared and we couldn’t get any further except by foot. So we got out of the car, I strapped little E into the carrier and followed J, my mum and my sister into the jungle. We walked on the beautiful path up along the mountain side for about 40 mins until we suddenly got up to a paved road again. This road snaked its way higher up the mountain along a ridge with beautiful views to both sides, on one side we saw Salitral and on the other side we had our little community along Calle Cebadilla.

The sun was wonderfully warm, the sky blue with a few scattered clouds only and I was spending Christmas day in my beige shorts, new lovely orange top, my walking shoes (that get way too little action at the moment!) and little E as the perfect little accessory in the carrier up on a mountain in Costa Rica. If I would have been shown a picture of me up there two years ago and been told that this is what I would be doing Christmas 2011 I think I would not have believed them. The baby being the biggest surprise, but also that I would still be in Costa Rica. Two years ago we were just wrapping things up in London before our big move in March.

But how lovely life is. Here I am with the most wonderful man and baby in my life, surrounded by gorgeous nature, with my mum and sister visiting me in my paradise in order to celebrate Christmas in the sun together once again. I definitely cannot complain. What a fantastic way to end a very special year, while slowly starting to prepare for  the new year and all the wonders it will bring.

Christmas preparations

My Christmas preparations have continued quite successfully over here. I have just baked another batch of gingerbread as well as a soft gingerbread cake with added banana (for the exotic touch) and kicked off the Christmas food shop earlier on with the help of my sister. Two days ago we wrapped up the final Christmas present purchases and tomorrow we will add the final touches of frosting to the cookies we are just baking.

Having been this good with all the preparations, tomorrow we are also heading down to the beach for almost three days of sunshine, surf and as much sleep as possible… 🙂 I think I have deserved that now. Especially after my big Christmas party debut yesterday. It was the second time I was out in months and months. I had popped by my department’s Christmas party last week, but that was nothing compared to this. Basically, last time I was in jeans, flat shoes and in and out of there in an hour and a half. This time was a proper dress, high heels and make up party and I must admit I was rather excited about it all. What I hadnt taken into account was how long it had been since I last wore heels. And how much half a glass of champagne can get to you…

Having floated around the party yesterday like the after dark social butterfly I used to be way back in my youth, today was a complete opposite to that. I woke up with a slight hangover from the half a glass of champagne and with knees, calves and throat aching from having stood around chit chatting with dozens of people for three hours. I was just not used to a) high heels, b) talking that much to people, c) staying up past 8pm

But I had a wonderful time. It was so nice to be out and about a bit instead of just at home with the little one. Although, I must say I was soooo looking forward to cuddling up in bed with little E and big J after these three hours out. Just like I am now. The last batch of gingerbread cookies are almost done and I have enjoyed the first slice of my soft gingerbread – banana cake, almost fully my own design 🙂 But now it is bedtime for this little lady. Hooray!

And we are one day closer to Christmas eve.

Nesting..

This weekend went completely to the important task of nesting.. It wasn’t really the plan as we started off celebrating our weekend, but somehow it just snuck up on us while we were out to do our weekly shop and I ended up getting pulled in, deeper and deeper into the world of nesting. Personally, I blame the hormones.

Anyhow, let me tell you what happened. So, we have not gone completely over the top with buying baby stuff up till now, but have still felt that the situation has been under control. There was basically still time and honestly, she cant need THAT much for the first month, surely not? But hey, who am I to say, its not like I am the expert here.

The Crib

But this Saturday, as we were wandering around the shopping centre not too far away from home, we happened to stumble upon a lovely crib. I guess most of the stuff we have bought up till now is smaller stuff, and we were just going to have her sleep in a basket the first month or so, but suddenly we realised that I guess we will be needing bigger stuff as well. Most importantly we would be needing a crib, a car seat, a play pen and possibly a stroller.

So at least we had found a crib I thought as we went into the shop to hear a bit more about it and check prices. We were very fortunate indeed as that weekend they were offering it at 20% discount, so we decided we might as well pick it up then and there. As a consequence to all this, I am now the proud owner of a beautiful crib!

J impressed me with his DIY skills and put it together that morning and now it is just sitting there, ready to be used, in our bedroom with the gorgeous quilt that my colleagues mum made for us. It actually turned out pretty nicely, since now we have a great place thats a bit out of the way to store all the baby stuff as well. Ill just have to rethink that once the little one is here.

In addition to the crib, we also picked up a gorgeous glider chair! I had never tried one of these before, and I agree that it doesn’t look too cool, but my gosh how nice it is! I tried it in the shop and could happily have stayed there, gliding away. Unfortunately we had other things to do as well so I had to leave the gliding till later. I didn’t have to wait for too long for the next session as the chair was also on 20% discount and we decided to pick that up as well.

To finish off my wonderful nesting weekend I decided to put on my domestic goddess hat and whip up some cinnamon rolls for my team and for us at home. I havent dared try make them with dried yeast since the traumatising experience I had with dried yeast in Scotland in 2000, but I must say, this time it actually worked out! They came out pretty nice, the first ones were a bit burned underneath thanks to the kind of oven we have, but the rest were delicious so I will definitely be doing this again.

Kanelbullar - Cinnamon Buns

Making Cinnamon Buns

For those of you who want to try, I used the recipe from this lovely food related blog

Family Trip to the Beach

Yesterday was our first “Family Trip to the Beach”. We haven’t been to the beach in AGES so this was definitely quite an exciting deviation from the norm. The main reason we havent popped down to the coast in ages is that our car has been having x, y and z issues it took till now to get it all sorted out.

Anyways, with the car back in business, purring like a kitten, we packed the car and prepared for the day out. With surfboard in the back, doggies in the boot, snacks and water for Linda, along with water for the doggies and general beach stuff for all we were on our way.

Sofia isnt used to travel in the boot so the downgrade from Linda’s Lap to boot was quite a shock for her while Fuzzie seemed to take it all much better, even if he did end up being sick in the car by the time we got to the beach. We headed down to Corralillo by Caldera and it was great to be back by the beach, and on such a beautiful morning as well.

Joel spent his time in the water catching waves while I entertained myself alternatively with my book and alternatively with throwing the doggies into the water. I was so pleased to see that Sofia hadnt forgotten the lessons “water is your friend” from our time spent down in Esterillos while Fuzzie, who we were not sure if he even liked water,  didnt seem to mind it at all and happily jumped around in the waves.

After a couple of hours on the beach we dragged two tired doggies home, back to the rainy central valley. Its amazing how the mornings over here usually start off very nice and sunny, only to descend into rainy afternoons as of approximately 1pm at the moment. The rainy season is definitely here again. But I really don’t mind at all as long as I can have some sunny mornings and some weekends at the beach!

Coming October 2011

Coming October 2011

Little by little all our items on the massive to do list are starting to be ticked off. Or at least they feel a bit more under control by now. We have had so many things happen to us over the last two months that I feel quite overwhealmed and exhausted almost about it all. However, it’s definitely been both good stuff and sad stuff..

First of all our car broke down 😦 The first sad thing to happen to us. My lovely Ford started coughing like an old smoker and had to be sent to the garage where it has now spent almost a month in pieces while we awaited the verdict first of all, then the new parts that were to be shipped in from the states and now finally the assembly and ultimate “all clear” status that should arrive next Tuesday.. Fingers crossed..

Then we had J’s mum and husband over for two weeks (the good stuff), which was absolutely lovely (and you can read more about in my entry about Arenal) but still tiring since we ended up doing lots of fun stuff with them.

Unfortunately by the time they left, our second car also broke down (very sad stuff) due to an exhausted ignition motor or whatever it was called again.. Thankfully we found an amazing mechanic who came to our house and took care of it for us so now he is purring like a kitten again!

Then on Thursday this week (Cinco de Mayo!) I finally got my cedula sorted! I am not oficially a temporary resident of Costa Rica 🙂 Pretty cool! What is even more amazing is that during the same week J got his papers that he is “in process” as well, meaning neither one of us will have to leave the country now unless we choose to do so ourselves! No more visa runs!

And well last but not least.. We also found out that we are expecting a little baby girl. She is due in October 2011 and I cannot wait to meet her. Well, I knew about the baby for a while, but on the 29th April we decided we wanted to know a bit more about who we are soon about to meet and that is when we found out its a lovely little baby girl.

Due to this not just good stuff, but amazing stuff, we are planning to move into the smaller house next door this coming weekend. Even if I do very much like where we live at the moment, this move is mainly so that I dont have to waddle around up and down spiral staircases as well as providing us with a smaller, cosier set up for when the baby gets here. Not to mention saving some rent…

But hopefully we now have a few quieter months when we can focus on what is to come, as well as for me to deal with all my inner thoughts, feelings and hormones that I currently have going on.. So maybe calling the next months “quieter” is not really the right word. At least I am not getting bored over here 😉

Weekend at Arenal

It’s been terribly long since I last wrote and I do apologize sincerely about that.. I had all these great ambitions and intentions to write lots on my blog this year but it all seems to be going down the drain lately, mainly due to being too busy! Such a shame that when there are lots of things to write about, you usually don’t have the time to write about it all!

Anyways, since I am today just sitting on the terrace in the lovely cool breeze, looking at the clouds rolling in over the central valley, I decided to invest some time in updating my blog and some of the other forums of expression I use. It is Semana Santa over here, the holy week, or Easter as it is also known. Santa Ana is beautifully quiet since all the Ticos are on the beach, and I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful it is to have the town almost to yourself.. It almost makes up for yet another year of not being able to eat any Easter eggs because of the chocolate issue.

We have just had J’s parents here for almost two weeks and it has been very nice to see them again. So strange and yet so wonderful to see them in “our” setting over here, instead of the usual London setting. I think they also very much enjoyed the change in scenery as not a day went past without comments like “well, its absolutely wonderful”, “oh look at that beautiful bird, isnt it wonderful”, “ah, absolutely beautiful” and a whole long list of other appraisals of this and that. It is actually very nice to again have the pleasure of seeing Costa Rica through the eyes of someone who hasn’t seen it yet. It is such a shame how we do tend to just get accustomed to what we have around us and forget about the wonders of nature and life when we see it on a daily basis.

Arenal Volcano ViewThis month’s highlight up till now has definitely been the trip to Arenal that we made with J’s parents. Driving up towards Fortuna early Friday morning through Atenas and the winding back roads was a fantastic experience, just like arriving in Fortuna turned out to be as we caught the first glimpse of the majestic Arenal Volcano.

And it just got better when we got to the hotel which was located just at the foot of the volcano, I could even see Arenal through the window while lying in bed! Breathtaking views and gorgeous settings. I would highly recommend Hotel Los Lagos to anyone heading up that way.

We spent three beautiful days at the hotel, splashing about in the wonderful hot springs, enjoying the sun on loungers that we had moved over to our own secluded little spot next to the topmost spring, admiring the horses and other animals that lived on the hotel grounds and getting completely spoiled at the spa (I had a wonderful Volcanic Mud Wrap and a Deep Facial in a room with a beautiful terrace overlooking the jungle)

Unfortunately I was not feeling very well on Friday and ended up with a headache all Saturday (which the Volcanic Mud Wrap did wonders to soothe) but who can really complain about details like that when you get to recuperate in such wonderful settings.

I am definitely heading up here with my family when they are next in town, and I must say I really want more of those wonderful spa treatments..

But for now I am blissfully peaceful on my own terrace, enjoying a beautiful Easter Friday with the dogs while looking forward to J getting off work. Happy Easter!

The Big Three Oh

So yet again I manage to see a whole month fly bast without an update to my blog, and ironically I have so much to update about as well from this last month.

First of all was the 1 year anniversary. J and I have now been in Costa Rica for a whole, wonderful, beautiful, adventurous and exciting year. We arrived on the 5th March last year, had a car within the first two weeks and a beautiful rental house within three. I cannot believe how easily we felt at home here and how easy it was to just click into life over here. So fast forward one year then from when we arrived and here we are, still in the same wonderful house on our mountain in Santa Ana.

Second big thing was our second trip over to Nicaragua for Joel’s visa run. I got my temporary residency and am currently just waiting for the interview with immigration or whoever will be checking me out before I am allowed to relax and just enjoy Costa Rica without the pressure of the three month deadline. Anyways, we had a lovely weekend in Nicaragua with the wonderful J, we rented a car, surfed their Playa Hermosa a couple of times, drove around, visited Granada, ventured into a huge local market for some bargains, ate super well in El Kolibri again as well as just enjoyed some time off work.

Birthday Flowers!Birthday Flowers No. 2Third big thing was the whole turning thirty. I passed the 3-0 mark on the 22nd March and must say that it was a wonderful, absolutely wonderful day in so many ways even if I couldn’t be closer to my family and friends back in Europe. I got treated to about 5 different cakes during the day at the office, got some BEAUTIFUL flowers from my colleague and another GORGEOUS bouquet from mis chicas at the office. I felt so spoiled and fortunate and lucky about being surrounded by such wonderful people. Not to mention the amazing surprise that was waiting for me at home  – My lovely friend R had sent me a cake and a bottle of champagne to celebrate my “move from tram 2 to tram 3”..

And the fourth big thing this month would be the new family member Fuzz. We had been thinking about this for a while, mainly after our neighbors moved with their two dogs who Sofia had been playing with every day while we were at the office, leaving her all alone for most of the day up here on the mountain. Our brave little doggie deserved a friend we thought and decided on taking on Fuzz on my birthday. He arrived looking a bit like one of these animals we used to make when I was little out of a pine cone with sticks or matches as legs. 🙂 Absolutely brilliant! So cute and such a sweetheart! He is much more quiet and timid than Sofia, not such a ADD child at all, but absolutely adorable and hopefully a good influence on little Sofia. Unless he will take after Sofia and her spoiled ways..

Even if the month is not completely over yet, and I think there will be a few more events worthy of mentioning still coming up, I will wrap up for now and get on to enjoying my evening at home. I have rented a few movies, J is on his way home with empanadas and the two furry friends are in need of feeding.

Sofia and Fuzz