As 2015 ends, and the new year begins, we send most of our family guests back to the cold Pacific Northwest, overflowing with warm memories that will long outlast their tans. Watching our loved ones fall in love with Costa Rica helps us fall in love with it all over again. We are once again seeing it for the first time, with eyes anew. Much like seeing a holiday through the eyes of a child, it magnifies the beauty. Sharing our favorite things with our favorite people makes everything more sacred.
We spent Christmas day swinging the day away in our hammocks, at our favorite beach, Playa Carrillo. We drank ice cold coconuts and munched on fresh ceviche. We ended the day with a tropical homemade feast of pulled pork over rice, topped with fresh mango salsa. A refreshing, colorful side dish of fruit salad, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers for appetizers, and a nice random swirl of what we call ‘BBQ’d meat snake’. Completed with white wine, pineapple and mango trifle drizzled with cream, and Brazilian Brigadeiro chocolate balls covered in crushed nuts. Everyone contributed and it was a perfect little tropical feast.
We’ve spent the last few weeks ziplining through the jungle, swimming in waterfalls, bird watching, floating in the salt water, pothole dodging, feeding stray dogs and cats, exploring hidden beaches and watching sunsets. We enjoyed many wonderful meals, bought countless hammocks, made waitresses burst with laughter over our sad attempts at ordering our food in Spanish (pan-que-what??), made friends with iguanas, and exchanged many pura vidas. A Christmas vacation that won’t soon be forgotten.
This was our first Christmas spent away from Oregon, and our first Christmas not opening one single present. The holidays can be a stressful time for most people. Rushing around amongst a swarm of freezing, angry procrastinators, swiping pieces of plastic to pay for unneeded gifts, feeding into the monster of a system designed to make us all slaves…is that really Christmas? No wonder I had come to dread this holiday, to grin and bear it while traveling the icy Oregon roads, bouncing from one holiday gathering to another, barely having the time to enjoy the smiles our gifts were designed to purchase. Removing the stress and the rampant over-the-top gift giving was the best gift we’ve ever received. Removing the chaos made us appreciate the quality time we had with each other. Putting aside material gifts opened our eyes to life’s best gifts.
As the holiday season wraps up, we are reminded that the very best gift of all is this chance we’ve been given. The chance to simplify our lives, to live abroad, away from all the comforts of the home we’ve known forever. The chance to de-clutter ourselves and our lives, and to learn to live with less. To be surrounded by beautiful souls, both animal and human. And now to share this with our loved ones. The lessons we’ve learned, the people we’ve met, the animals we’ve befriended…are a gift that will give forever.
Mom, Andy and I ended 2015 on Playa Samara, drinking straight from a bottle of Chardonnay, admiring the massive display of fireworks as they sparkled and lit up the night sky. The stars were bright and the tide was perfectly low, making room for the thousands of people that littered the beach. We watched the Japanese lanterns meet the moon and the bonfires rage up and down the shoreline. We said our goodbyes to 2015, and our thanks for the memories it brought our way. We welcomed the new year and opened ourselves to the experiences it has in store for us.
Muchas Gracias to our family and friends that have visited us over the holidays. And to those of you who didn’t make it, we love you and miss you and it will be your turn soon enough! We have a few more guests scheduled throughout January, and then Andy and I will be off to explore the Caribbean side of Costa Rica during the month of February and beyond. It’s been incredibly special to pause in our journey in order to share it with others, but we do plan to take a few months off from hosting visitors so we can continue exploring this wonderful piece of Earth in order to find our next home. Who knows where our path will lead us to next, but we can’t wait to find out.
A new year is a fresh start, a blank canvas. It is an empty book with 365 opportunities to write the life you want to live. I don’t like to make resolutions, as you never know what the next 52 weeks will bring and resolutions are attempted predictions that may set you up for failure, guilt, self-bashing or regret. I vow to live with no regret and no resolutions, but instead to wake up each day and attempt to be happy. The only resolution I will make is to wake up with gratitude and determination to be better than the person I was yesterday. I may not succeed at this every day, but hopefully I am lucky enough to be granted another tomorrow.
Today you are being handed a pen, with permanent ink. Open your book. Be the author of your own life. Only you can write the pages of this next year, and may you make it a damn good one. Bless you and your journey.
May 2016 be the year you no longer care to pretend to care about things that no longer care about you.
May you release things that no longer serve you.
May you learn to let go.
May you learn to rest.
May you learn to forgive, especially yourself.
May you learn patience.
May you learn to complete things you’ve started.
May you learn to say no, without an explanation.
May you learn to speak up for yourself and your needs.
May you learn to let go of control.
May you learn to be kind to everyone, but most importantly yourself.
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.