Corissa:

In the last post, I stated that I would write and post about my holistic journey of grief, spirituality, and so on. But I’m not yet ready to share with the world all that’s gone on and going on inside me and around me. Inevitably I would hurt some of those who, at one time or another, walked with me through some real hell-on-earth stuff…and also through some triumphant and joyous stuff. A journey isn’t a journey unless the path is winding and steep (up or down) at times, with obstacles and darkness along with smoothness, summits, and light. If it’s all easygoing, it’s a treadmill 😉

I know that others (family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike) come into our lives for a reason…sometimes for a lifetime and sometimes for a season. That season may be decades long, or just a breathless moment in time.

Sometimes the parting of ways is free and easy, simple and random. But sometimes it really stings and causes chaos and confusion. I’m not sure why I would protect those who have caused pain, but I will, being the people pleaser that I am (YES, I know…shame on me!). I will be gracious and merciful, not like some of those who I thought would still be walking this journey with me – because of their own insecurities and judgment, they chose to release themselves of me, and thus my loved ones. One of these people once (or twice!) said to me “if you’re judging, you aren’t loving” – how true is that?! Too bad they did not/have not followed their own advice. Instead, I am remembering the journey with these people, the good and the not-so-good, taking hold of the blessings and love given and received, and knowing that if we are meant to walk together again, it will happen.

Needless-to-say, I’ve started the blog about my journey so many times in the past couple of months…just haven’t had the guts to post it.

Anyway – so what’s happened since the last post?

Jesse and I are finally HOME – together. Home for us is a state of mind and a matter of the heart. As long as we’re together, no matter the location, we’re home. It was a long 6 weeks of being apart, but we survived.

During those 6 looooong weeks:
~ I finished my short career as a Street Health Nurse
~ I took a LOA from my position as casual Mental Health Crisis Worker
~ We moved out of our apartment in Kingston
~ I drove to Winnipeg from Kingston by myself
~ I decided not to renew my RN status in both provinces (MB & ON)
~ Miss Emilia Mae Reimer was born, making a wonderful addition to our blended family unit
~ Jesse finished up his positions with Advantage Personnel (a temp agency in Kingston area)
~ Jesse finished his exams and completed his courses, earning him a University Degree in Business Administration (BBA) 🙂
~ Jesse moved out of his friend’s place where he was staying in the Kingston area
~ Jesse came to Winnipeg via train, plane, and automobile (what an adventure THAT was!)
~ Seasonal celebrations: birthday, Christmas, birthday, New Year’s Eve and Day

And all this intertwined with reconnecting with friends and family, organizing Winnipeg-house stuff, small renovation projects, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores…and preparing for our trip to Costa Rica!

We leave Winnipeg on January 15, hit Toronto for one short night (12-hour layover), then will be in San Jose, Costa Rica late afternoon on Friday, January 16! From there, after spending the night in SJ, we head to our condo in Playa Potrero.

People have asked us a number of things about our trip; one frequent question has been variations of “you’re leaving for 3 months?! did you win the lottery?” In a word: NOPE. We both worked very hard to save up enough of a nest egg to be able to leave Canada for 3 months, and if we are careful and frugal, we’re hoping to use less than half of what we’ve saved. The cost of living in CR is also much different than in Canada. For instance, our condo – which has a pool and internet and only 5 minutes walking distance to the beach and other amenities – is only $400 a month (Canadian $$). On top of that we will have to pay for electricity and using the laundry facilities. If we eat Tico-style (aka: as the Costa Ricans do), we should be able to spend the same or less on our groceries. Our “downfall” (if it can be called that!) will be in eating out, transportation, especially if we end up renting or purchasing a vehicle, and excursions, which can be quite expensive as they are priced with “rich” gringos in mind. Where we won’t be doing well, financially, is income: can’t work while we’re there, so can’t replenish the bank account. However, we can work in exchange for accommodation and/or food, so we’re looking into that.

{ Here’s a unique article, by a former financial analyst, Rob Evans: “What does it cost you NOT to move to Costa Rica?” Copy & paste this link into your browser: http://retireforlessincostarica.com/2014/12/retire-for-less-newsletter-december-18-2014/#Why%20Not }

Another question: “what will you be doing there?” That’s a loaded question! We really don’t know…but we’re going to LIVE there. Since we really don’t have anywhere we need to be at this time in our lives, we want to see what it’s like to just BE in another culture, in another country. We’ve got some ideas of what we’d like to learn more about, such as helping out at a local school – I’m fairly good at administration, am certified to teach English as a Foreign Language, and have my nursing degree to fall back on; Jesse’s now got his BBA, and would love to play sports with the kids – and is keen to do pretty much any kind of physical labour. I’ve also learned to be somewhat comfortable to do almost nothing – LOL! Sounds like laziness, doesn’t it?! But truly, I’ve taught myself to be at least half-way content to just sit and view my surroundings, smell and breathe in the air, listen to the sounds of life, feel whatever’s touching my skin, and savour whatever food I’m eating. Jesse? Well, not so much. Granted, he’s not as old as I am, and so he’s still in the “I need to keep busy” stage of life (some of us never leave it!). I think this will be our biggest challenge while we’re there – keeping him busy enough not to be bored, and yet learning to BE more than DO.

There are numerous opportunities for us in the workaway program – where we work a set number of hours a day and days per week in exchange for accommodation and/or food. Once we’re in-country, we’ll know more of which area of CR we want to explore – and when – and which type of work we wish to do.

And there are lots of attractions to discover – some of which would only cost our transportation there and back. Beaches! Two oceans! Lakes! Mountains! Rainforests! CLOUDforests! Historical landmarks! Waterfalls! Whales! Turtles! Markets! Sodas! Etc etc etc!!!

And the PEOPLE! We are excited to meet new friends while there, locals and expats alike – and to reconnect with others we met in 2013 when we were both in CR. For me, this is a high priority on my list of “to do” while in CR.

Another priority is for us to really get to know each other, as individuals and as a couple unit, especially in a different context – different culture, different country. These 3 months will also help shape our future – short-term, and possibly long-term. Which brings us to the next FAQs: “what will you be doing after you get back?” and “where will you be living?”

The first few months after we return to Canada will be focused on my surgery and subsequent recovery – so we will be living in Winnipeg until I’ve fully recovered. We’re hoping that recovery will be as expected (or better!) and I should be pretty much 100% in 3-4 months. That will take up pretty much of my time once we’re back. As for Jesse, besides caring for me post-op, we’re not yet sure what his (our) path will be. He has the potential of returning to work with the Department of National Defence (DND). But he’s also talked about learning more about home stuff – landscaping, renovations, construction, etc. – he would just need to find someone to take a chance on him and teach him. This means word-of-mouth promotion and searching!

We are also checking out earning our TESL though a Canadian-accredited organization – I have my TEFL certification, but it’s not through an accredited organization here in Canada, which means that it’s more like professional development…doesn’t really account for much in the “career” world. Jesse wants to learn more about teaching to business professionals, and I about teaching English to medical professionals – both of us using our formal education in a way that’s not typical for our degrees.

I’d love for us to take seasonal positions here in Canada for the 6-7 months of spring, summer, and fall…then head south for the 5-6 months of winter. However, this poses many challenges – mostly: finding jobs that accommodate this schedule, and that pay more than minimum wage.

Jesse? He’s still not sure…one minute he says he wants the 9-5 DND job, with 3 weeks vacation a year, the white picket fence, and a wife who has dinner made for him every night (what?! When did I sign up for that??! LOL!). The next minute he’s saying he wants to co-manage a B&B with me in the tropical mountains of CR, with yearly “vacations” back to Canada. Another minute later he says he wants to start his own business – landscaping, flipping houses, whatever. Add one more minute to that and he says he wants to teach English wherever – locally, nationally, and/or internationally. Wait another minute or two and he’s got some more ideas!

Another item on our “figure it out” list is whether or not to keep the Winnipeg house. It’s a big, 100+ year old home, in downtown Winnipeg – the oldest neighbourhood in the City – with 2 full suites: one for Justin, Carmen, and Emilia, the other for everyone else. For now, it’s still serving the purpose for which it was bought – housing my children while they get their degrees. But that purpose was set prior to inviting significant others to move in, my remarrying, and the baby’s appearance. All those things are good and fine, but they do add varying dimensions and dynamics to the “household” – personalities and space. But selling it causes a ripple effect: what will my children do with their living situations? what will we do – invest the money, buy another house, or what? If we invest, how much? If we buy, then where? While it’s complicated – and COSTLY $$ – to keep the house, it almost seems more complicated to sell it. {sigh}

We’re both hoping this trip to CR will shed some clarity on the trajectory of our one (un)expected life…even if it is just for a few months or a year or two.

Any comments?? Advice? Questions? Encouragement? Either use the “send us a message” link above, or email me at cdlevair @ hotmail . com . We’d love to hear from you!

The next post will most likely be from Costa Rica! Stay tuned and thanks for reading 🙂

potrero