A Happier Father’s Day

By | June 18th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Fathers Day Costa Rica

Costa Rica Costa of Living Update: Repairing one busted rear spring on an SUV — $125 for parts and labor

For those who have read my books, you know that I love to talk about my family, especially my father. He’s a Renaissance Man: one versed in literature, Roman history, and the ability to find the best deal on cases of C & C Cola. He never buys bottles, only cans because it’s it easier to stack them dangerously high in the garage behind the lawnmower and hedge clippers. This becomes a suburban version of The Hunger Games when you’re thirsty.

So for this Father’s Day, I’m sharing with you an email exchange with my dad that I included in my second book, Happier Than A Billionaire: The Sequel. Writing and sharing my work has been quite a journey for me, and I can always count on my dad to come to my rescue when I’m feeling down:

From: Nadine

To: Dad

1:13 PM

Subject: The Worst Book He Ever Read

I got a one-star review today. He said it was the worst book he ever read:

“I’m halfway through and struggling to finish it: it is simply one of the worst books of any genre that I have every tried to read. Nadine, in particular, is what would be called an “ugly American” by many ex-pats living in Costa Rica (or other foreign places). Instead of appreciating and blending into the culture, she appears as a bull in a china shop in nearly every chapter.

My wife and I are contemplating a retirement move to Costa Rica (or the Caribbean). My father built a house in CR in 1995 and we have made many trips to the country. Likewise, the Caribbean where I have almost thirty years’ experience as a visitor. Trust me, this book has almost nothing serious to offer the person seeking good information of making such a move. It is a serious undertaking, with many pitfalls that will happen to you if you don’t understand the culture…”

And it doesn’t stop there, it goes on and on and on. He practically wrote a book about how much he didn’t like my book.

Seriously Dad, the worst book of any genre? Is it the worst book in any language in the world? How about the worst book in every universe on every Starfleet?

Because if that’s true… it sounds like a pretty shitty book.  Continue reading “A Happier Father’s Day” »

Still Looking for Rush Limbaugh in Costa Rica

By | August 6th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |

Rush Limbaugh

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Fake Cuban (Nicaraguan) cigars sold on Tamarindo beach—$10

Back in 2010, Rush Limbaugh said he would move to Costa Rica in five years if some of President Obama’s policies were ever implemented. It’s now 2016, and I still can’t find Rush anywhere around the neighborhood.

One of the best things about living in Costa Rica is being removed from the political climate of any given presidential election. However, we do still have news channels that, for better or for worse, broadcast all the latest political events. The more I watch, the more it becomes apparent that they rarely report any happy stories, only hours of repeated headlines and opinions that lead to heated arguments, making me want to cancel my cable subscription. It’s as if the sky is falling.

This bizarre phenomenon occurs every four years. And every four years people threaten that they will be moving to Costa Rica. I’m not sure why they use this as a threat. Rarely people threaten to visit Costa Rica. In fact, the people coming off the airplane aren’t threatening at all. They are the most excited people you’ll ever meet.

When you are removed from a political season, you tend to spend more time on the happier side of life. Not that politics should be ignored, it’s just that when it starts consuming someone’s entire existence, they end up becoming that person yelling so loud spittle comes out the sides of his or her mouth. And if you are that person, it’s okay. I think I can help. Especially if you’re the one threatening to move to Costa Rica if—insert political candidate—wins.

You will be welcome here. Costa Ricans and expats are some of the friendliest people I meet, but they’ll be somewhat confused by your spittle. In fact, I rarely see a Costa Rican spittle; it’s as rare as Rodrigo my repairman showing up on time. They have their own issues with their political system, but when it’s all said and done, they give them the patented Tico shrug. This shrug is also accompanied by a forty-five-degree head tilt, followed by them saying, “Pura Vida!” All of it adds up to one meaning… eh, my life is still great. I like this gesture; it’s the same one I get from a teller when she explains the bank ran out of money. Continue reading “Still Looking for Rush Limbaugh in Costa Rica” »

Top 5 Unexpected Benefits of Costa Rica Weather

By | June 28th, 2016|Categories: Nature, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: New iPhone package with 140 minutes of phone calls, unlimited data, & 700 texts—$20

Top 5 Benefits of Costa Rica Weather

1. Creativity

75 Degree weather. Just writing that makes me feel good. When I lived on a mountaintop in Grecia, I was treated to wonderfully cool temperatures practically every day. Aside from saving money on air conditioning, the biggest benefit was a sense of outdoor/indoor living.  The temperatures were the same and  you had no sense of a barrier. And without that temperature barrier, the world feels bigger, better, and creates a swell of endorphins in your brain. You wake up smiling and go to bed happy. It’s the biggest gift Grecia gave me.

These temperatures had an effect on me while I was writing my first book Happier Than A Billionaire: Quitting My Job, Moving to Costa Rica, & Living the Zero Hour Work Week. I would even say they were conducive to the entire writing process. I felt great on that mountaintop, and in a way freer than I have ever been.

We lived so high up on the mountain that clouds actually rolled into our house. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. I’ve lived around so much pollution in my life, at first, I thought it was smog. Then this gigantic, puffy cotton ball smacked me square in the face and it was the most heavenly thing I ever experienced. Have you ever been hit by a cloud? I would suggest putting that on your bucket list. However, hanging your clothes out to dry in such high altitudes can be a challenge: This crazy thing happens.

These cooler temperatures come with a substantially longer and more intense rainy season, and the rainy season can bring a substantial amount of mold. It grows on everything and needs to be cleaned… a lot. And then there are weeks in October, the height of the rainy season when there is not one sliver of sunshine for days on end. These were the times I wished I lived at the beach.

Now that I’m living near Playa Flamingo, I’m are fully aware of the difference in temperatures once I step outside. There are times at the end of the dry season I feel like I’m living on the sun. This is reflected in our budget as well. Our allowance for dining out is non-existent, replaced with the additional cost of air conditioning. These are the days I wish I lived in the mountains. Continue reading “Top 5 Unexpected Benefits of Costa Rica Weather” »

Results May Vary: The Matrix of Renewing Your Driver’s License

By | March 18th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |

Costa Rica Driver's LicenseCosta Rica Cost of Living Update: Renew Driver’s License—$12

Imagine you’re Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. You swallow the red pill (the painful truth of reality), get shot out of a pod, and find yourself in an unfamiliar world. That’s what Costa Rica motor vehicles is like.

Rob and I have to renew our driver licenses once again, which in itself doesn’t seem like a difficult endeavor. “What can possibly go wrong?” you ask. The problem lies in the fact that I received my first license way before I got residency (you are no longer able to do that now). Consequently, the number on my license does not match the number on my residency card. This is a problem I need to rectify in San Jose. Renewing my license is starting to look like a Mission to Mars, an assignment that will ultimately have me careening back to earth in a fiery display of aggravation.

My husband should not have this problem because he went through this two years ago when he lost his license. (You may have read about his matrix experience at Costa Rica DMV in The Costa Rica Escape Manual). In that escapade, they demanded he go all the way to San Jose to fix it because they had never put his license number in the computer. But after a couple of hours, Rob was able to convince someone in Liberia to give him a new one. However, this is Rob. People generally like Rob. He’s cultivated a laid back attitude that makes others comfortable around him. I tend to emit a force field of anxiety: It’ll inadvertently zap you if you get too close. Continue reading “Results May Vary: The Matrix of Renewing Your Driver’s License” »

A little house on the beach. Could you leave all your possessions behind and live a simpler life?

By | October 8th, 2015|Categories: Bed and Breakfast, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |

Little Beach House

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Picking bananas from a tree in your backyard—free

When we first moved to Costa Rica eight years ago, we came with only a cat named Pumpkin, a dog named Clementine, and a couple battered suitcases. We rented a small guesthouse on top of a mountain in Grecia. Although there were challenges, we were happier than we had ever been before.

Rob started playing guitar and we both started working out again. During this decompression phase, I began writing about all of the funny things that were happening… and there were many. When one decides to quit their job and run away to a foreign country, you get roped into many ridiculous scenarios.

After emailing my stories to friends from an Internet cafe, I was encouraged to search for a publisher. However, all of my queries were met with the same response, “Great writing but no one is interested in a book about Costa Rica. Do you have anything about vampires?” Continue reading “A little house on the beach. Could you leave all your possessions behind and live a simpler life?” »