Category Archives: housing

lose

Life, the Universe, And Everything (or How to Lose 300 lbs)

In the past six months a lot of things have changed. Life, the universe, and everything. At least, in our corner of the universe. In fact this is more about the second move and change I had in six months. I did, in fact, lose 300 pounds in a month. Sometimes I look back at the stuff I left behind and I’m relieved. Sometimes I not.

We originally planned on moving to Italy. Then we decided to move to Costa Rica. We got certified, tried to get jobs, and decided to move to Prague. We moved to Prague, got jobs, moved into a flat, and now are beginning our new adventure in Europe.

That being said its been a curious six months. Last April I was in the midst of planning on getting rid of almost everything while working overnights at a department store. And we had begun to prepare mentally to move to Costa Rica for a long while. That meant a plethora of shorts and flip flops. I began to go through everything. Giving away tons of things and selling a few things, and basically reducing our stuff by 90%. That’s a lot of stuff. So much stuff. So little time.

It happened slowly. Week after week.

Hubby didn’t think I could get ‘er done but I did. The fun part started when thepacking began. We had eight checked bags that needed to weigh under 50 lbs each. Sounds easy right? It wasn’t. But it was. All I had to do was make very hard decisions very fast. No problem.

Actually I’m fairly certain I might have started to lose my mind somewhere in the middle of it all. There were things I needed to take, had to take, and wanted to take. And there are things that got packed away in storage that I couldn’t part with like heirlooms, Legos, and books, etc. The pressure to get it right was immense.

I wanted to be prepared. So I bought tubes and tubes of sunscreen, bottles and bottles of bug repellent, quick dry towels, and rain jackets. I packed shorts and bought flip flops.  I brought kitchen stuff and bedding. A few things to make our new home in a new country feel like home. Not to mention home school supplies and books. I didn’t want to be in need of anything for a while. I even bought extra toothpaste and tooth brushes. I had it all planned out.

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Then we decided to move to Europe. And our airline had planned to make my last month in Costa Rica the most interesting and stressful. I needed to lose 300 lbs in three weeks.

Yes, 300 pounds. I needed to lose 300 pounds of stuff. This meant all the extras. Pillows, blankets, and sheets. Books, school supplies, bug spray, and sunscreen. Kitchen supplies and random things that would bring our eight bags to four bags. And 400 pounds down to 196. I got rid of a lot. Some of which was easy and some things I still miss ( a little). I know I’ll be provided for and that things are just things. Things can be replaced. So I decided to grab life by the horns and get rid of almost everything I didn’t feel sad I felt encouraged.

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The biggest issue with moving to Prague in the fall was our clothing. Or lack thereof. The weather had changed and we went from shorts and flip flops in 32° to pants and jackets in 12°. It was a bit of a shock to the system. We bought coats and dressed in layers and mossied on. Our bodies adjusted to both the time difference and the weather and we got down business.
In the first week we secured jobs and began our house hunt.

Finding an apartment was not a simple venture. We’d started in Costa Rica but we’re advised to wait until we arrived and actually saw the apartment before handing over any money. Plus we didn’t really want to pay for an agent. This would cost us extra money we didn’t want to spend.

In the end, after many inquiries and quite a bit looking we found a place. It’s not quite where we’d like to (a.k.a. closer to work). It’s quite an adorable place. It’s mostly furnished and close to transit.

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So we’re are enjoying our new flat and our new life in Prague.

Geckos, Spiders, and Rats, Oh My!

Geckos, spiders, and rats, oh my. Geckos, spiders, and rats, oh my. Yep, we’ve seen and now lived with all of them.

Each house we lived in in Costa Rica has its good points and bad points. Some times the good outweigh the bad. Then there are times when bad points are too much to deal with. Even in Costa Rica.

I was ready for bugs and various wildlife here in the jungle and beaches of this beautiful country. What I wasn’t ready for was rats. Rats in the ceilings and walls. Seemingly having bowling or wrestling tournaments late at night and in the wee hours of the morning.

Our first house was basic. It was clean and simple. The things we missed having were a table for four to sit at and a decent couch. We had screens on 98 percent of the windows. This kept out the mosquitoes. The geckos dealt with the rest. The appliances worked and we had fans to combat the heat. We could take cool showers which helped with the crazy heat. An additional fan, a table for four, and a better couch would have made life nicer but all in all the apartment in Sàmara did all it needed to do without making us too comfortable or too uncomfortable.

Our second house was site unseen and not recommended by anyone familiar. This house in pictures looked good. Unfortunately the pictures were about 15 years old and the old girl was showing her age. The yellow house in Sarchi needed more than a coat of paint. It needed some general repair work. Holes filled. Bits replaced here and there. And paint. It definitely needed a coat of paint. Even though it was a good price, it wasn’t that good a price for all the little things that needed fixed. I’m pretty sure the additional residents were not included in this price either. The rats made their presence known within 48 hours. I was not happy. I’d seen evidence that they were around but I hadn’t heard nor seen them for the first 48. Then it was like “Animal House” with a fraternity of rats partying all night in our ceiling and our walls.

Our current house is awesome but not perfect. We have a/c and hot water. Woohoo. It’s pure luxury in comparison to the other two. We don’t use the a/c or much hot water but it’s nice to have it. It’s big enough for the four of us and 300 meters from the beach. There’s not a lot of amenities close by but we’re dealing with it. Playa Flamingo, the next beach over, is gorgeous.
We’ve seen geckos, spiders, crabs, birds, howler monkeys, praying mantis, scorpions. You know the normal stuff. Welcome to Costa Rica.

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It’s My Spot (or Finding Your Place in the World)

It’s my spot. It’s where all things come together and you feel at home. Most people don’t search for home. It’s where you grew up or where you’ve spent most of your life. When you’re a dependent of military personnel, the question of where you’re from is a difficult one to answer. In my case I often have a multifaceted answer. I say I grew up on the east coast. Meaning most of my early life was in Maryland and Virginia. After college I moved to Colorado, although I wanted to moved to Washington – but that’s another story. In Colorado, I met my wonderful husband and had my boys.

But our journey was just beginning. In our seventeen years together we’ve moved a dozen times (I’m rounding down), a least three states and we’ve been to few countries separately and now Costa Rica together with the kids.

We’ve always had a huge sense of wanderlust. We’ve talked and talked for years about living abroad and seeing more of this great big world. Now we are doing what we’ve always talked and dreamed about. The kids aren’t thrilled about it, but they’ll adapt or not. They are teenagers and grumble over almost everything. We want to give them an experience greater than themselves.

Have we found our spot? Are we home in Costa Rica? Time will tell. The greatest gift our upbringing has given us is the ability to adapt and take chances. We are not afraid of trying something new or going somewhere we’ve never been before. Costa Rica has been good to us. Very welcoming people and its an easy country to love. Beautiful sunsets, awesome beaches, and tons of wildlife. If you’re a adventurer or photographer or just need a good rest then Costa Rica is an awesome place to be.

Our next adventure is always on the horizon. For us, ‘It’s my spot’ can be found almost anywhere. We adapt to our circumstances and make the best of things and sometimes we move on to the next thing.

Update: We’re taking the leap and moving to the Czech Republic. Yep, Prague. Currently interviewimg for teaching jobs and looking for housing. Are we closer to finding our spot? We’ll see.

Have you found your spot? Where is it? Comment below.
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