After our first two VERY adventurous days – days filled with nervousness, anxiety, yet moments of silver linings – we settled into our home, aptly called La Paz de Cielo (The Peace of Heaven), in the village of Potrero.

The morning after we got here, Jesse offered to make breakfast – and has taken that on as his “Good Morning! I love you!” role. Yummmmmm…farm fresh eggs, scrambled with fresh peppers and onions, toasted bread with butter or cream cheese, sprinkled with cinnamon, fresh fruit that gushes flavour with every bite.

Add a couple of cups of coffee. Yes! Corissa decided to learn to enjoy coffee – and now she understands what the fuss is all about!

And all served with a kiss 🙂

Every morning.

We ate our first breakfast in our suite, still in culture shock, especially after those first two days…then moved outside into our living area with our coffee and slices of fresh pineapple.

Within a few minutes one neighbour joined us, and then another. Soon our living area was full of lively conversation, everyone sharing their stories of how they came to this place in this exact moment in time.

The air was swirling with the sweet fragrance of foliage, flowers, fruit, and coffee…cascading with the sounds of birds singing, cattle braying, monkeys howling, dogs barking, and new friends sharing laughter and camaraderie…and visually breathtaking – the clear, blue sky, the sun’s rays weaving their paths in and out of the trees, the trees laden with mangoes and bright green leaves, the pool sparkling in the sunshine, pets playing and calling to each other, and the smiles and bright eyes of our lovely new friends.

The beauty of the morning was exactly what we needed after what we’d been through the past couple of days. Healing. Jesse’s anxiety-ridden demeanor of “what have we gotten ourselves into?” was melting into a puddle right in front of our eyes.

Slowly.

It’s hard to think of being here as “living” – not “vacationing.” Yet these are two very different concepts.

Vacationing is doing all you can within the time allotted, knowing that there is an end date. Often it’s rushing from one activity to the next…or conversely, it’s relaxing, not having much on the agenda as we know we’ll be going full force upon arrival back into our North American life.

Living is settling into the fluid, breathing groove of a location, getting to know its residents, and the life-source of the area. While we know that there is an end date for us here in CR, we’re here knowing that we could be living anywhere in the world. Yes, it could be Winnipeg…or Petawawa / Pembroke / Round Lake area. Or ANYWHERE in this grand world of ours. Yet for a variety of reasons we chose CR.

In our first week of living in this very ALIVE location, Corissa has watched her nervous and anxious husband meld into a new way of life…yes, he has been bored at times, as he hasn’t quite yet learned to “fill” his every waking moment with something to “do.” But he’s learning that he can sit and watch the birds flit here and there…or spend an hour playing with one of his new best friends – Zona, a rescue dog here at the complex…or read a book…and to do all this without feeling guilty that he’s being lazy. He’s beginning to fill his “to-do” time with “to-be” time.

Within a few days of being in Potrero, Jesse brought up the idea of staying here our entire 3 months. A revolution is stirring! Going from “how hard would it be to just fly back?” to “let’s stay” to “let’s stay HERE” is an excellent indicator of life-work processing going on.

While we’re processing, we have become gatherers…and excellent partners in this gathering.

We often walk an hour or two to gather our food – and our haul is typically just for a day or two so that we purposely have to walk it again tomorrow.

The “supers” (aka convenience-type stores) in Potrero carry all we need to survive – fruits, vegetables, meat, bread, dairy – and all very fresh. However we’ve been wandering out of the village to find other venders…not so much for the selection, but for the walking it takes for us to do our food gathering.

There is an Italian market, small, yet stocked with chorizo, salami, pepperoni, a huge selection of cheeses, European-imported goods, home-made pasta, and a wide variety of wine that even a picky wine connoisseur should be able to find just the right one.

There is a produce market about 45 minutes (one way, walking) from Potrero. It reminds us of those fruit stands along the TransCanada highway. It boasted a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, even herbs, than we could get in Potrero: lettuce, tomatoes, beets, carrots, all kinds of melon, papaya, cucumber, onion, garlic, starfruit, tamarind, pineapple, and so much more.

And we’ve been gathering food right from the source: we have mango trees on our property, and have picked a variety of citrus fruits from a friend’s place.

We gather people. Our first morning in Potrero, we met Suzanne…whose life roles include being a wife, mom, author (http://suzanneclores.com), and so many more. She was our neighbour in our complex for most of the first week. She came here to get some sun and refreshment, a breather, while living through a Chicago-ian winter. She has founded The Extraordinary Project: “an online collection of the exceptional human experiences that profoundly effect lives that happen to us and affect our lives.” Suzanne was a ray of sunshine, sparked great conversation, and helped us in our transitioning to “here” from “there.”

Nikki is another neighbour – she is a spitfire, full of energy and good nature. She was/is a stylist for the “top of the tops” – and decided not to go back for Fashion Week this year. We’re not exactly sure what that meant, but she is full of stories of her ever-evolving life of adventure. For those of you in our area here in CR, she works at the salon in the Flamingo Plaza.

Robbie has been living at our complex for a few months (7-8 maybe?). He helps care for things around the complex. His smile is infectious, and always has an answer for questions or concerns around here. We heard he’s leaving in a few weeks. We just met him, but we know we’ll miss his presence here.

Jeff lives in our complex, and is from Alabama. When one of his friends, a realtor, moved to Potrero beach and invited him for a visit, Jeff decided to stay – indefinitely. Jeff has since joined his friend’s brokerage, selling real estate and finding short- and long-term rentals for Gringos. His girlfriend, Anne, was here for a few days when we first arrived. She has since returned home to wintery Chicago. It was great fun spending time with them as a couple…but now that she’s gone, we hardly see Jeff around! He is very focused on his work.

Harriet and Adam are the “resident couple” of the complex. Adam has been here for about 6 years. Harriet joined them after they got married a couple of years ago. She is a yoga instructor (and so much more), and he is a “spiritual healer.” They would love to see this complex become a place of healing…offering yoga and/or healing retreats. (The complex is currently up for sale…but with a hefty price tag of almost $600,000…anyone want to be real estate partners in Paradise? We’ve even considered purchasing it!!) If ever we are in need of anything, Harriet and Adam do their darndest to help us out. They bring a very calm and peaceful presence to the complex.

Before coming to CR, we “met” some pretty incredible people online, through facebook and blogs. Now we are finally meeting some of these people face-to-face, and thoroughly enjoying being in their presence.

On Sunday evening, we were invited to a music event in Playa Flamingo. We walked the beach an hour to get to Flamingo. There is nothing like walking the beach: listening to the waves end their journey by crashing into the shore, watching the pelicans nose-dive into the water then come up with their dinner in their mouths, seeing the fishermen expertly maneuver their lines while scanning the horizon with hopeful expressions, observing families cool off at the end of a warm day by allowing themselves to be washed away and into the surf…

We were invited to this event by Nadine Hay Pisani, author of the best-selling series “Happier than a Billionaire.” (Corissa has shared some of Nadine’s postings on facebook. Her blog is: http://www.happierthanabillionaire.com) Corissa’s first introduction to Nadine was in January 2013, after Corissa booked her first-ever flight to CR. Nadine captures her readers with vivid memories of what it was like for her and her husband Rob to search for a different way of living, which led them to CR seven years ago. She has since written about their life here in CR, and her newest book about “escaping” from North America. Corissa has been in touch with Nadine via facebook for over a year now…Nadine was instrumental in us even thinking about living here in CR – even if it’s just for a few months at this juncture in our lives. It was fabulous to finally meet this little dynamo and her husband in person! 🙂 Rob was actually part of the main attraction for the music party. He belted out songs as if he was born for the stage. Both are so friendly and welcoming, and we look forward to getting to know them better as time goes on.

It was also at this event that we met, face-to-face, Chad & Elizabeth – another couple with whom Corissa has been in touch online. (Their blog is: http://www.familyadventuretime.com) We hit it off superbly – so much so that we actually spent most of yesterday with them as well. They hail from the USA…and had originally chosen to be here in CR one year. Now that plan has become indefinite. As Rob and Nadine, neither Chad or Elizabeth had been to Costa Rica before they decided to jump the North American ship and swim south. Their reason to do so? In one word: FREEDOM. Freedom from the tangles that North America offers, all the while disguising it as something highly desired: The American Dream. In a few days, they will be moving from their condo that’s about 25 minutes (by car) south of us to a place within about 45 minute walk from us – or 10 minute bus ride. We’re thrilled to have met them, and feel a sort of kinship with them and their sweet and rambunctious children.

While searching for volunteer opportunities, we’ve met people from Abriendo Mentes (http://www.abriendomentes.org), “a thriving non-profit organization providing area youth and adults with thousands of hours of English, technology and vocational classes each year, as well as diverse and engaging community enrichment and social programs.” We’ve hit a roadblock in working with the kids – we need criminal record checks, but as Canadians, cannot do so while already being abroad, as we need to physically be present in Canada to either pick up the completed record (through Winnipeg police services) or to be fingerprinted at a designated Canadian location (through the RCMP). But they’re looking into other ways we can serve the community of Potrero.

Jesse has started playing soccer with the local Ticos – they play every weekday (sometimes on the weekends) for a couple of hours, starting about an hour before and ending about an hour after sunset. The Ticos are EXCELLENT players, and the teams consist of boys around 12 years old to grown men. Jesse is exhausted when he’s done a game, yet so very happy in his spirit. It’s pretty special to walk the village during non-game time and have players recognize and greet him.

We’ve also met many many others – a lot by association.

In one short week, our relational gathering has been full and fulfilling – including between the two of us. In being intentional with each other and with outside relationships, we gather experiences and memories.

We are well on our way to reclaiming our stance as human “beings” instead of human “doings.”

(The pic is the view, with Zona in the shadows, from our outdoor living area where we sat to write the blog. Beautifully life-engaging.)