So, how did we get here, anyway?
No, I don’t mean for this to be some deep philosophical, chase-your-tale-around-the-flagpole, which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg? what’s-it-all-about,Alphie? – was-it-evolution-or-intelligent-design? discussion. (How’s that for a convoluted sentence?)
What I mean is how did we – John and Blanca – get here to paradise? I’m sure you’re all dying to know. Well, it was like this…….
We never planned as well as we shoulda, coulda, woulda, but we always had this idea somewhere that the day would come when we no longer wanted to work for a living. Hopefully, that day might actually coincide with a day when we no longer had to work for a living. I mean, that would be sort of convenient, no? But, the reality is, we did not plan well, and we did not put aside money starting when we were in our 30’s, as we should have done, and as we have urged our children to do. We started and stopped a good number of IRA’s and annuities, and payroll savings plans, but they always got cashed in when we would change from one job to another. (I even made the mistake of cashing in a ten year pension, when I left the employ of the El Paso City County Health Department, in 1987. I could have left that money there (admittedly, not very much at all), and then added it to my later ten years of working with the State of Texas, for a twenty+ year pension).
Well, bottom line is, we didn’t……….so, we now go back to 1999. Blanca’s youngest brother, Fernando (aka, Fern, or Fernie), invited me to come with him on a trip to Costa Rica, from Dallas. He lived in Dallas at that time, and we still lived in El Paso. That trip was something of an eye-opener for me, and was the beginning of us getting serious about our future. I would have been about 53 at that time, and had already been working for the State of Texas for about seven years. We stayed at Chalet Nicholas Bed and Breakfast, in Nuevo Arenal, during that visit. Fern used most of his time traveling around the immediate area specifically looking for land to buy for his future. I went with him on several of his day trips, and was with him when he first saw the first property that he bought in Costa Rica (actually, it is less than two kilometers from where I am sitting right now).
I remember that I was not at all impressed with what Fern looked at, and was very skeptical when he announced that he was going to buy those approximately three acres (one hectare). The property, which today is known far and wide as El Galeron, or the Mexican’s place, is shaped very roughly like a wedge of pie, with the point of the triangle being the lowest part, and the wide edge of the wedge being at the top. It looked, quite frankly, like wasteland, the first time I saw it. The undergrowth had recently been cut, but not moved out of the way, so it was just lying there, decaying. This was March, kind of the normal ‘summer’ for this area, but I seem to remember quite a bit of rain that week. At any rate, Fern said this was going to work, and he made arrangements to buy the property (I think he basically stole it, the price was so low, but that’s OK).
His ideas and his money turned that place into a spot that is prettier than many National Parks, truly. And, ultimately, Fernie is either to blame, or he gets full credit for us now being here. He introduced me to this country, he talked of it all the time, and he showed us that there is a world outside Texas. It wasn’t long before we started boring everybody we knew by having only one topic of conversation wherever we went, and I now believe that constant talking about Costa Rica is a large part of why were able to actually get here to live. We literally turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it was like one thing just led to another, and before we knew it, ten years (plus) went by, and guess were we live?
You already know the actual how, when, where, why, if you’ve read the rest of this blog, so now you know just a wee bit more. Stick around. I think I’m just getting started.