Daydream of the week: Diving in Costa Rica

Melissa Christensen diving in Costa Rica

Melissa and I were so happy to be out at sea!

It’s been a month since I very excitedly did my first dive with Diving Safaris in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica. But we had so much fun, and I had so many extra photos, that I couldn’t resist doing a Daydream of the Week on the experience. We were all so happy to be out on that boat! After a dream girls’ weekend at an amazing out-of-the-way Costa Rica resort, Melissa and I were beyond bubbly to be getting our first taste of diving, through the one-day DSD course. My friend Bobbi Jo had been trying to get me out there for three years (I’m embarrassed to say), and now that I’ve had a taste, I am on such a high that I can’t wait to get down there again and do my full certification. Obviously, it took me three years to buck up and try it, so I knew it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to learn all that you need to know to safely breathe underwater and be let loose in the ocean. But after my first try, I have even MORE respect for it.

And now I know I can do it!

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My first dive!

Diving School CocoLooking back at my year living in Costa Rica, there were lots of ups and downs (including when  Mario ransacked my little house, and fighting expat loneliness), but my only bona fide regret is that I didn’t go to diving school to get SCUBA-certified. So during my recent vacation, my friend Bobbi Jo easily talked me into doing the one-day DSD course at Diving Safaris. I tried not to think about it, and I’m glad I didn’t. If I had stopped to imagine being alone trying to do something so outside of my comfort zone, I know I would have chickened out. In the end, one of my friends agreed to go with me, and the excitement mounted. Yet even that didn’t prevent me from eventually chickening out

But then I redeemed myself!

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Mixed feelings on Coco’s growing up

Bird of ParadiseEvery time I go back to my old hometown of Coco, Costa Rica, I can’t help but run around and take notice of everything that’s changed. What a difference a year makes! This time, I had even more mixed feelings than usual. As I strolled the “boulevard” (the town’s main street), I noticed for the first time that two businesses had written their hours and basic information in English first and then Spanish. I know they’re trying to appeal to the Americans and Canadians who flock there on vacation, but we never used to be one of “those” Costa Rican pueblos, the surf towns that are awesome but that cater to tourists and expats, for better or for worse. But with the stomach churning, comes great changes.

Anyway, one of my favorite former haunts shows exactly what I mean…

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Big house, tiny private beach: girls’ weekend in Costa Rica

Abby Tegnelia

I was barely back in my imperfect paradise of Costa Rica, that special place I called home for a year, one day before being whisked away by seven of my girlfriends for a weekend in a dream five-bedroom beach house in a tiny town called Pan de Azucar. The Sugar Beach Hotel hideaway is near the more famous beaches Flamingo and Conchal. We had a blast! Nothing but walks on the beach, laying in the sun, fruity drinks, and good food… After months of hard work, this was my kind of vacation! When time flies while doing absolutely nothing, you know you’re around some very good friends. All you need is a few days at a Costa Rica resort to actually spend the time with them and recharge.

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The Wild West side of Vegas you’ve never seen

Longhorns wild westI know, I know… At this point you’re tired of it. “Vegas isn’t only about the Strip” seems to be my war cry, as I go zip-lining, race-car driving, or fly a jet plane … “Give us some Strip!” you might be thinking. I’ve decided I will, starting this week. But I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to show the side of Vegas no one seems to see anymore. See, no one seems to remember that my desert town was fairly recently a thriving little town in the West Wild. In fact, right out of town (I can literally see the drop-off from city to desert from my office window), there are still ranches of all kinds in Vegas. Yes, all of these photos were taken within city lines. The only thing missing: photos of horses, as that is a huge industry in my town. Alas, I don’t ride. But I think you’ll like these non-Strip Vegas shots. Enjoy!

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My birthday gift to you!

On my birthday, I was spoiled with cupcakes and presents. Now I want to give something to YOU!

On my birthday, I was spoiled with cupcakes and presents. Now I want to give something to YOU!

As many of you know, I celebrated a birthday this week, and boy was I spoiled. (More on that to come!) So I figured I’d finish the week by offering a present to YOU. I recently discovered Novica.com, a fair trade world market. Since I’ve decorated my own home with knick-knacks, wall hangings, jewelry (some of my favorite decorations!) and furniture from around the world, I couldn’t get enough of scrolling through the pages and pages of items for sale. Novica works with National Geographic to find the most talented artists from places such as Thailand, India and Brazil, and it shows.

Would you like to win a $50 gift certificate (shipping is extra) in my NOVICA gift give away?

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