time flies when you’re having fun! after our initial bumpy start in costa rica, the rest of our adventures to date have been nothing but awesome. we have had a lot of fun, from our super tranquil river house, to nayou’s school experience, not to mention the flora and fauna. we catalogued what we saw in our backyard since arriving in uvita, and the list is pretty long, including toucans, sloths, capuchin monkeys, hummingbirds, fireflies and a plethora of weird and wonderful insects.

here is a rather blurry photo of a toucan we saw this morning. i wish my iphone had better zoom, because he was a beauty!

on wednesday we head to cabuya, which is a small town on the southern tip of the nicoya peninsula. we have rented a house that is walking distance to the beach, although there is no pool. the climate is going to be completely different as well; much drier and apparently hotter too, if such a thing were actually possible! we will be in cabuya for two months – the remainder of our stay. cabuya is 7km south of montezuma, which by all accounts is a little bit like sayulita, with surf, yoga and a party scene. we are excited to check out both towns and i’m toying with the idea of getting back into teaching some yoga again. we shall see how it all pans out! for now we are enjoying our last two days in uvita. nayou’s last day of school is tomorrow, and we’re going to have a combined birthday/farewell celebration at school with his classmates. brenda and i will do all the hard work of lounging by the pool and making the cake 🙂

costa rican spanish is pretty different from mexican spanish. there are a lot of colloquialisms that have been both confusing and amusing. our favourite one is “queque” which means “cake”. we encountered it in the lobby of our hotel in san jose, and have been in love ever since. so much so that we decided to make a song about it!

Nayou has been asking for some friends to play with, which is a hard thing to do when you’re out in the jungle in a new country, in a city you’re only going to be in for three weeks. He has been worried that he won’t have any friends to celebrate his birthday with, which makes me very sad for him! Brenda did some searching online and found Escuela Verde Costa Ballena, a bilingual school ten minutes from our house. She got in touch with them and we went to visit last Friday.

Everyone there was really nice and welcoming, and we felt comfortable right away. The director of the school Naomi is half Japanese half American, which I kind of suspected by the way she managed to pronounce my name properly right off the bat. It was weird speaking Japanese in Costa Rica, all the more so because we were switching between English and Spanish as well! Nayou really liked the place so he did a two day trial on Monday and Tuesday, and he loved it. On his first day Brenda and I were kinda worried for him, but he came home so excited. The first thing he did the next day was organise his “school things” (pencils, erasers etc). We bought him the school uniform, which is a green shirt with the school’s name on it. When he put it on at school, we heard one of the girls say to him “now you’re really going to this school” 🙂 

We are only in Uvita until the end of the month, so his time in school will be short. Even shorter because the school is closed next Thursday and Friday because of Thanksgiving. It comes to a grand total of nine days, but it is an amazing experience for him. He has already asked if we could stay on, which would be nice, but they break for Christmas on the tenth anyway, so there’s not much point.

Even only after three days of school, his reading is impoving in leaps and bounds. He has to read a Spanish book every day, so we are working through some simple ones I found online. Spanish is way more consistent than English, so it is easier for him to get it. But he’s also starting to pick out words on the Kindle as I read to him, and this morning I got him to read words like “sickness” and “stillness” without too much prompting. If I had asked him last week his eyes would have glazed over at the number of letters. So Brenda and I are super psyched for him! 

Our grand unschooling experiment has been going so well thus far. A large part of our reluctance to enroll him in a more traditional school has been due to the fact that we just haven’t found one that is a good fit. Windsor House, the democratically run school he went to in Vancouver, was too chaotic and lacked enough adult supervision that we didn’t feel 100% comfortable leaving him there. However, I always suspected that Nayou would thrive with a little more structure and (dare I say it) competition, and I think his experience at Escuela Verde is proving me right. We always check out all the schools around the places we land, and I hope that we can find more gems like this one in the future.

Best part of all this – he will have some buddies to come to an early birthday celebration we are planning for our last Saturday in Uvita. I think its gonna be quite a big party given that we are inviting all eleven kids in his class, plus a bunch of other people we have met so far. Good thing we have lots of space and a pool!

One week ago we spent about 22 hours travelling from Vancouver to San Jose, Costa Rica. For some reason we had to go via Los Angeles and Miami which made for a long journey. There were the obligatory close calls, such as realising we left Nayou’s haemophilia medication in the fridge on the way to the airport, Brenda leaving her favourite jacket on the plane in Miami (and finding it!), and almost forgetting our booster seat at baggage claim, but apart from that it was painless. I’m so grateful that Nayou is such a seasoned traveller and is easy going. With so many changes and pieces of baggage to keep track of, having an unruly child would have made the trip hell!

We landed in San Jose and picked up our rental car for the next 3 months. Renting a car in Costa Rica in expen$ive, mainly because there is this mandatory insurance you have to purchase which jacks up the price by 2-3 times the price of the rental itself. Still, we figured we may as well do Costa Rica properly, so we bit the bullet. Our trusty steed is a Daihatsu Terio, a compact 4WD. Its small engine isn’t exactly inspiring, but its small size makes it easy to drive around and you can’t go much faster than 100km/h on the highways here anyway so we’re not complaining.  

Our first two days here were spent in the capital city San Jose. I can’t say I was very impressed with the city at all. The place felt dusty and chaotic, and a little impersonal. We stayed in an area called Escazu, which by all accounts is the nicest area (and where all the expats live). There’s a big mall there with all the western chains like Zara, Forever 21, blah blah. Next to the mall is a Walmart. You get the picture. We thought we would get some random essentials like tupperware, a boogie board and maybe some sun shirts, but those plans were quickly squashed when we saw the prices. We knew Costa Rica was expensive, but holy moly! Groceries are more expensive than Vancouver, and other goods are on par or waaaay more. We wanted to pick up some birthday and Christmas gifts for Nayou, but a deck of Pokemon cards costs $35USD ($12USD in Canada), and a medium sized lego set will set you back $50USD ($30USD in Canada). Guess Nayou may have to be happy with some guacamole and chips in his stocking 😉 Speaking of money, Costa Rican dinero is super cool. 

Some random guy from Tennessee in Walmart freaked Nayou out with a story about how he used his stun gun on thieves who tried to rob him, so one day in and he was already asking to go back to Vancouver. Poor little guy. I think he picked up on the stress that Brenda and myself were feeling as well. Whenever I move to a new place I always go through a freak out period which lasts about a week, so I kind of knew that this was part of the process, but I have to say I was worried that we had made a terrible mistake!After our time in San Jose, we hopped into our car and drove four hours to our first “real” destination, the river house


 We found this place online pretty early on in our searches and loved the look of it. It sits in a jungle five minutes from the beach, with a saltwater pool, a small cabana with air conditioning and a rustic main house to live in. The house is right outside of Uvita, a small coastal town on the southern Pacific coast. Its famous for its Marino Ballena National Park which has a huge sandbar shaped like a whale’s tail. Dominical, an up-and-coming surf town, lies about 10km to the north.   

One of our goals has been to keep screen time to a minimum and so far it has been a success. Nayou gets 20 minutes a day which he usually uses first thing in the morning and then we sometimes watch an episode of Cosmos or a BBC series called Human Planet. It feels great to be so much more active in our daily lives, especially for me! I’ve noticed Nayou is a lot more open to jut hanging out and doing nothing instead of asking to be on a device by default. Yay. I guess the pool certainly helps! 

Its been about a week since we’ve arrived and we have settled in very nicely. We have been spending a LOT of time at the pool, playing Uno and teaching Nayou how to play telefunken, an Ecuadorian card game that is a lot of fun. We’ve also checked out some of the surrounding beaches and nature. But I will save details of those adventures for separate posts. Pura vida!