Expat life by the numbers

Some of the things that felt most natural to me at the time (my neighbors constantly yelling at me through my window when I didn’t have a phone) are the things that will soon feel the most foreign to me when I return to the US. I teared up writing this list and boiling down my time into a series of numbers; I’m not sure why. A lot of it has to do with the fact that it clearly shows how much I’ve changed. A mere six months before I moved to Costa Rica, when all I knew were cities such as NYC, Las Vegas and LA, I would not have believed that I could accomplish such “feats.” (Even BlackBerry-addicted me can survive prolonged periods without a phone, TV, car or computer. Who knew?) In fact, I grew so rapidly during my year as an expat that not only could I not have imagined such a life beforehand, I doubt I could have achieved it. But slowly, my life morphed into something even fantasy-driven I could never have dreamed up for myself. During my year in Coco, I experienced/survived/enjoyed:

Eight months without a TV.

Three months without a phone.

One major robbery and two little ones.

The breakup of three major friendships and the addition of too many to count.

One permanent, slap-on-the-wrist stamp in my passport for bringing into Cosa Rica something I [guess I] shouldn’t have.

Three laptops: one was stolen, one died. The third (brand-new) Mac looks like it’s on its last legs, since I carry it everywhere for “protection,” even to the beach.

Two amazing trips to Nicaragua, including one visa run and one impossibly fun vacation.

Exactly two dates in 12 months.

One film crew descending on Coco to interview me.

Twelve months without driving a car.

Approximately 142 hours of Spanish classes, outside, at Patricia’s little beachfront courtyard school, Pura Vida Teaching.

Three blond highlight appointments on Jen’s beachfront porch, usually with a beer in hand.

Zero: times I wore high heels.

Only one visitor during a year of living in paradise: my mom.

A whopping 4137 tweets at the time of this posting, since a friend (yes, Sneddy) signed me up on Twitter the day I left for Costa Rica to keep in touch.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. This is the BEST. I want to read it 25 times to like it again as much as I did the first time!

  2. …and I teared up reading this.

  3. If you had stayed there just a longer I PROMISE you would have gotten a 2nd visitor!!! Best wishes with the move. I’m there in spirit! XOXOXO

  4. I’m bummed to see you leave CR but stoked to see you flourish in your new big-shot job in Vegas =) Also, maybe we will now get to meet up again after five years in either your hood or mine!

  5. Endings are always sad, but now you get begin something new and amazing!

  6. I love this. Sounds like your life has been quite an adventure these 12 months, eh?

  7. It sounds like you are leaving on a high note! What a way to grow. I’m sure you will be using the things you learned in CR for the rest of your life. It has been a pleasure reading your CR posts and I’m sure there will be more amazing ones in the future.

    I’m still going to bother you when it comes time to find an apt in CR. <3

  8. Hey, hey, hey. You WERE going to have a 2nd visitor from home, but you decided to leave about 2 weeks before I got down there!! 😉

  9. I love your list so much. 🙂 I’m glad you had such a memorable and heart-enriching time in Costa Rica, and hope your stint in Las Vegas is equally good. 🙂

  10. I couldn’t deal without a phone for three months! That’s nuts!

  11. I can’t believe your leaving Costa Rica. I just found this blog and love it.
    I am an expat living in Guatemala and just started a blog with 4 other expat friends.
    I was surprised to find so few woman expat blogs in Central America.
    Oh, and I think every Pueblo in Central America has a Mario.

  12. I’m not surprised that this list and anticipating your move back to LV brought tears to your eyes. Change — even when it’s positive — is never easy. I have a feeling that your dating life will change the moment that you land in LV. It surprised me that only your mom joined you for a vacation in paradise. xoxo

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