Growth Is Nice After The Fact

While I don’t want to come across as Debbie Downer, an ingrate, or whatever adjective you might attach to someone who has the ability to pull off moving to Costa Rica and yet somehow is “struggling”, I need to keep things real since this is a bit of our travel journal.

Since being here, we’ve been given countless gifts daily. The gift of the juiciest, extra large, and completely affordable mangos, surfing with incredible instructors three times a week, being within 3-30 minutes of the most incredible beaches, vibrant sunsets, waking up to howler monkeys, family time and opportunity to play games together regularly, meeting incredibly kind people and finding strangers treating us like we’ve lived here all of our lives, and opportunities to grow and stretch ourselves.

And that last phase, “opportunities to grow and stretch ourselves” I say…right. I say that right now, that phrase blows. I’m preparing an instagram post that talks about tolerating discomfort for growth and I’m rolling my eyes at the thought of even publishing it.

Why? Because we’re getting stretched and pulled and challenged in every possible way. From food, to housing, to basic needs being met, to being able to simply communicate in the most basic of ways. Right now, for every 4 steps forward it seems like we are taking 3 steps back. And I’m grateful for those steps forward, however, the daily three steps back is get a bit tiring. I pride myself on maintaining a go gettem attitude and an optimistic spirit and in the almost four weeks we’ve been here, I’m having to dig deeper than I ever have. Well, I take that back. But deeper than I ever have as an adult woman, with kids, and married.

Our family theme of, “Infinitely Adaptable” is almost laughable because moving to another country where you don’t speak the language, gas stations can run out of gas due to a strike, and you wake up to no water? You better be infinitely adaptable because you have no other choice.

So here I am, in paradise, and needing to vent. And while I could call at least 10 people who would listen to every word I had to say and they would offer encouragement and support, there’s something very lonely about that thought. So I’ll write here and let the tears flow and count on a good night sleep and reengage in my optimistic spirit tomorrow.

A few things I don’t want to forget:

The Costa Rica strike was exciting and I love advocacy. The strike resulted in a week and a half of wondering if and when gas would run out and if grocery stores were going to shut down. To prepare, we filled up often and regularly and filled up a 5 liter water bottle, and two gas can for emergency gas.

We made the mistake of thinking we could come here and then start our search for housing. What we didn’t know is A) Costa Rica has very few 3 bedroom options B) we are not the only family having this idea to have a gap year in Costa Rica, and C) We came within a couple of months of high season so inventory is low and cost is high

After searching high and low, we finally found something that ended up being directly next to our friends at school, a park, and a small soccer field. We jumped at the chance and signed our end of the contract and before they did, the deal fell through. The good news is, we did find a place, but it was beyond disappointing to have something that was so perfect go away.

Our car broke down after school last week. I had Penny and Eliza and thankfully it broke down in the perfect way in the perfect place. while Eliza was asleep. I found myself not sure of what was wrong and had zero language ability to get help. A mother and son were the first to stop and help. I was punching in words in google translator, then had the idea to call Alisha who tried to translate between us and did an awesome job. Another man came over, again, I’m translating via google and discovered that two belts came off. Then owner of the gelato shop saw what was going on and went and got a mechanic. The mechanics came and now Jeff is helping to translate over the phone in the middle of work. Long story short, we needed the rental car company to bring us a new car. We did meet new friends and get gelato during our two hour ordeal.

I don’t love big parties where I don’t know anyone. I have never done well in meeting people in that environment and actually situations like that create this overwhelming feeling of being lonely, socially weird, and sad. Party talk with strangers is not my thing. Thankfully Jake is so good at navigating situations like that and let’s me lean on him. Admittedly, I missed the comforts of home and conversations with people I know and love.

We’re living in a bit of a cave with not only limited natural light, but LED lights that are the white, fluorescent kind. It feels a bit like self-induced Seasonal Affective Disorder. If nothing more, I am learning more than ever the importance of light for me.

The foods I am familiar with are really expensive here. I’m trying really hard to embrace the access to new foods AND I just want to buy a block on Tilamook Cheese. Jake’s taking on parts of every meal and really, some of the meals are great, and others are just terrible and we end up eating toast. We’ve eaten more bread, eggs, pancakes, and breakfast potatoes than you can even imagine.

Jake and I are having to show up as partners and parents in new ways like never before. Again, a gift and again, hard in the moment. Our whole marriage we have been surrounded by more family than we can literally count on all of our families toes combined. We’ve had gobs of support, gobs of help, and the opportunity to have babysitters and childcare. For the first time in 9 years, we are the support. We are the childcare. We are the babysitters. All the time. We are loving it and struggling with it all at the same time.

If you’ve made it this far in my incredibly self centered pity party, I’ll just say this. I’m fine. Things are great. And I just need a place to put it all out there.


kristin hodsonkristin