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We were wise enough to rent a GPS from our car rental company Vamos -I highly recommend them, though be cautioned – renting a car in CR fpr 9 days was just as expensive for a flight for two of us from Denver. But our little four-wheel drive was sturdy, reliable, and trustworthy as we forded small streams in the jungle on the way to Play San Miguel. Even though we had tried programming the GPS (fondly nicknamed Ms. Lady) with the coordinates of our lodging, she just couldn’t cope with that command, so we put in the coordinates for Playa San Miguel. And got there just fine. But as the roads are poorly or non-existingly marked, we didn’t know where to go next.

We tried to road to the beach itself.  I went to inquire of an elderly couple who were watching over the smallest dog I had even seen as it dipped its paws in the water, but they spoke no English, and my Spanish (which is different from Costa Rican Spanish) failed me. With directions from a cable supply man whose English was also most limited, we asked at an old shipping container that had been converted to a bar, and finally made our way back up to the main dirt road. Had we gone just a bit farther, we might have found it on our own, but perhaps not. This is the Playa San Miguel Visitor Center – a slew of arrowless, directionless signs nailed to a tree at the turn to the beach road. And we only discovered this on our way back at the end of our trip.Visitor Center, Guanacaste Style

Playa San Miguel, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The moral of this tale? When looking for where you’re supposed to be in Costa Rica, just sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll get there eventually.

Quote of the day: “The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.” — Allain de Botton

Daily Gratitudes:
That ACA was not repealed today
Petting dogs that lean on your legs on down days
Restaurants where servers know us
Cold hands, warm heart
A cleaned-up email mailbox

 

 

 

 

 

The roads in Guanacaste are seemingly all red dirt, with steep hills…the kind of hills that, when you get to the top, you have no idea what’s going to be on the downhill. Sort of like what I’d imagine a roller coaster is like, never having been on one. They are lovely and dusty, endless and adventuresome. My favorite kind of road. The sea would creep into view from time to time, just to let us know it was close by, and the landscape alternated between sugar cane crops, savannah grasslands, and grazing fields edged by large hills. We had to take it fairly slow because of the hills and limited visibility. We never knew if we were going to encounter people, dogs, iguanas, stopped vehicles, small rivers, or roadblocks like this lovely shadow-splattered lady. She wasn’t the slightest bit startled by us, and just took her time strolling across the road, after giving us a level stare.

A Dainty Roadblock

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “A painting is more than the sum of its parts,’ he would tell me, and then go on to explain how the cow by itself is just a cow, and the meadow by itself is just grass and flowers, and the sun peeking through the trees is just a beam of light, but put them all together and you’ve got magic.” —  Wendelin Van Draanen

Daily gratitudes:
Feeling better (but trying not to start running at 1000%)
A talk with Kelsea and Rachel
Sleeping with the windows open
Tea
Having the ability to travel

 

I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to stop here, but we did drive by several times. Our timing was just off. Playa Islita is lovely stretch of white sand and swaying palms trees, with carts selling fresh coconuts (coconut water out of a coconut is the only way to go), families picnicking, and people walking the long arc of beach. A few hours there are definitely part of our plans for the next trip.

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Playa Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Quote of the Day: “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” — Anita Desai

Daily gratitudes:
Baffling the doctor
A tiny girl on a tinier bicycle
A tropical color palette
A clean bill of health for Mr. Man
Chicken noodle soup

 

While we’ve been back for a bit, I still haven’t quite gotten my ducks in the same yard, much less in a row. The Costa Rican crud that I picked up continues to plague me, but as everything does, it will get better. Costa Rica was a wonderful country, with amazingly friendly people, crazy roads, and a simple lifestyle that held a strong appeal for us. We didn’t venture far from our tiny lodging, and that was okay for this trip, but (of course) I am planning a return visit to explore more of this magical place. Every night, we had a sunset like this, our first one.

CR Sunset
Playa San Miguel, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” — Jack Kerouac

Daily gratitudes:
A lovely day
Costa Rican crud medicine
Cuddlesome cats
Tea
My youngest stepson

 

 

 

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours..” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
Warm milk
Warm coats
Warm kitties
Warm hands of my love
Warm beds

In the past three weeks, two people close to me have lost family to suicide. Now, two young souls will never see the beauty of another sunrise, and their families will never be the same. I know how hopeless and painful your life can feel, but I know it always gets better. I also know that, at that pivotal moment, it can be impossible to see that. There is always someone who cares, someone to reach out to, even if that person is a stranger. I may be a stranger to you, but if you’re reading this, and if you ever think that you can’t go on, reach out to me. I care about you. There is so much more than the moment you are in.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.” — Jeannette Walls

Daily gratitudes:
Our first snow (but only because we need the moisture)
Snuggly Mr. Man
Leftover chinese food
My toasty Razorback fleece onesie
Some inner calm

 

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Still not ready for words, except for two that I’d like to get rid of: Liberal and Conservative. Perhaps those labels had meaning once, but now all they do is divide and misrepresent us as individuals and as a unified nation.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Daily gratitudes: “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily gratitudes:
The man dancing in his seat at the bus stop today
Gestures of kindness
More time with MKL
Sharing a family recipe with Kelsea
Walks with Christine

Still not ready for words. Let us be led by love.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only ‘peace.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Daily gratitudes:
That MKL makes me laugh
Peek-a-boo with a baby
Sharing feelings with Mohammed
Having a voice to help others
Kelsea’s new job

Today had best be mostly wordless. Sending peace and love to all.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.” — Howard Thurman

Daily gratitudes:
MKL’s love and support
Lunch with a dear friend
An expedited passport request
Mr. Man’s paw on my heart
Trying to make sense of our world

 

 

I believe that on the other side of the darkness of depression is beauty, like this tunnel to the sea. Depression is tricky. People can’t see it. I can hide it from myself, from MKL, from anyone who knows me well. I don’t do so to be disingenuous. It’s just that it’s my problem. Inside, I believe it’s boring and it’s shameful, and I don’t deserve to be depressed because my life is good and rich, and it’s just me being whiny. I mean after all, how many times have I written about it? That’s how depression works though. It tells you you’re not worth anything. It takes a lot to move through its tunnel. And I’m moving now, towards the beautiful piece of blue. Thank heavens, and let’s hope this forward motion lasts longer than a day or two.

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Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all i see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” — David Mitchell

Daily gratitudes:
2,000 words
A compromise position for Mr. Man
Helping
My first piece of art
That Trevor is okay

 

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