Its just the beginning..
Hello Friends of Hush Valley!
David and I are thrilled to be the new stewards of Hush Valley Lodge. We (and our partners) are committed to doing our best to maintain the peace and serenity you have come to love about this Hush Valley paradise.
As a past reader of the weekly blog, I can only hope to keep you all as intrigued as Anne has over the past five years.
Its been a whirlwind since arrival. We spent a fast and furious 48 hours of training with Kevin and Anne. Most of the time spent learning the ins and outs of operating a trout farm. So much thought, and a lot of planning go into the process. Feed schedules, pond cleaning schedules, the quality and quantity of water that goes to the ponds, as well as counting, catching, transferring and harvesting the most delicious trout we have ever eaten. Its been so very educational!
Kevin said, more than once, that it was too bad we had had such great weather to learn in. He was hoping we would have some inclement weather to really experience the rush of water and sediment that come down the river. It wasn't hours after they left that we got to experience that first hand. It began to rain about 2:00 p.m. and it rained hard until about 7:00 p.m.
The thing about the rain here - as opposed to our home in Oregon- is that its warm, and because it comes straight down, you can still sit on the (covered) deck outside. It can actually be quite lovely.
On that particular Sunday it wasn't quite so lovely. Water rushed down the hill side, bringing sediment into the river and ponds. Sticks, rocks, leaves, etc- clogged the grates and had us panicking on our first day.
With out exaggeration, no less than six neighbors called and asked how we were doing and if we needed any help mitigating the water. It was so touching. This community was a huge part of the 'tug' that brought our little family here.
Our friend (and co-worker) Johnathon came, and Dave and he walked the property- identifying places that could use drainage improvement while it was really coming down.
This kind of rain has occurred thrice this week. We have been told multiple times that its uncommon to see this amount of water. We have lost power and internet on several occasions, but the power company is diligent in restoring services usually within the hour.
There is an undeniable beauty here, even in the rainy season. It can be terrifying to the unfamiliar though, so we understand why the BNB is closed in September and October.
We feel so grateful that its just rain, with minor inconveniences, given the catastrophes occurring worldwide. We are confident that it will not be an issue for us Pacific North-Westerners.
We are used to being soaking wet. :-)
Pictured below, a normal day on the river, compared to a stormy river.
Our eight year old son also started school here this past week. He loves it! The school is small, and within a comfortable walking distance of Hush Valley Lodge. There are three other students in his class, which makes learning easy according to Quinn. He hopes to have his own web page soon, seeing Costa Rica through the eyes of a child.
This morning, Bobbie McGee slipped in unnoticed to attend classes with Quinn. She would have stayed all day if she could have. She sure loves him, and it's definitely mutual.
Also pictured is Thomas, a new friend.
So much to say after this busy first week! Stayed tuned for updates weekly, and thank you for reading!
Our flights were both on time and both landed early. The skies were clear. All documents in hand were the correct ones, both planes were comfortable with lots of leg room. Frankie was an absolute gem the whole way. It couldn't have gone more smoothly.
We landed in Toronto at 5:00 pm and my daughter, Phoenix, picked us up five minutes after we stood at our pick-up spot. If I weren't loaded down with heavy luggage, I would have knelt and kissed the ground of my homeland. It's been quite the roller coaster ride getting back.
We're now in Motel 6, in our room. Kevin's sister, Kaz, came by with a care package for us with lots of food and goodie... totally spoiled. And now they went to get us some dinner.
Tomorrow we go to pick up our rental car, do some banking, and start organizing our resettlement in suburbia. It all feels a bit surreal right now.
Thank you all for hanging in with us, all your comments of support (and sympathy). This blog journey ends for me now, for a while anyway. If I decide to start another, I'll keep you posted.
It's been so very thrilling. I highly recommend following your tug!!
Over and out!
Sitting at Gate 10...
Well, it's 5:47 am and we're sitting at the airport gate 10, waiting for our first flight!! Dave was kind enough to get up in the middle of the night to drive us here. We asked him if he would mind coming into the airport to make sure we were able to check in. Both Kevin and I were pretty anxious. The check-in attendant was very nice and calm (very little facial expression),and it took an exceptionally long time to get the tags for our luggage printed (apparently there were printer problems we found out later). So standing around waiting to hear if everything was okay felt excruciating. Then he asked for the exportation document for Frankie... boy, was Kevin ever ready. More waiting. No expression. But, all was good. Huge sigh of relief, let me tell you. When he gave us our boarding passes, he mentioned that he made sure our luggage would go directly to Canada... we don't have to pick them up in Miami. Woot!! Thank you, dear sir!!
Frankie is being as sweet as pie. She's in her little crate at my feet as I write this and not a peep. Kevin went for a stroll, decompressing. It looks like we're on our way for real this time!!
Kevin drove into San Jose yesterday to pick up the exportation document for Frankie. He left extra early not knowing how bad the traffic would be on Independence Day (Costa Rica starts its parades and celebrations early). The drive ended up being free and breezy and Kevin arrived at the vet's an hour early. He parked the car and took a walk around the neighbourhood. Most people would be thrilled to stumble upon a coffee shop, but my husband was tickled to see a hardware store... and it was open! So he browsed in there until it was time to get back to the vet's for 8 am. He was the first customer to be served. They had the document ready. The vet (the very helpful woman who examined Frankie's paperwork two weeks ago and was the one to give us the news that Frankie would not be able to fly until Sept 17 due to her rabies shot) was there to greet Kevin, and so were the assistant and cashier who were all involved in our crisis. They wished us good luck with our departure and hoped that everything goes well. Our own personal cheerleading squad.
Kevin called me to say "I have the document in my hands!!" Woot!!! You have no idea how happy that phone call made me.
From the vet's, Kevin drove to where Krista, Dave, and Quinn had lodged for the night. It wasn't far from the vet's, but the parades were now blocking roads. Once he managed to navigate through the crowded streets, it was clear sailing. They stopped in at Price Smart (equivalent to Costco) to pick up a few things and were home by 11:15 am. Very productive morning with a big sigh of relief... for us... but also for Krista, Dave and Quinn. Their adventure can finally begin in earnest. We're really excited for them. Kevin and I have been going down memory lane, reminiscing of our early days here. So many news things, so much to learn.
In the meantime, we've been keeping a close eye on our flight status. So far, both our flights (Costa Rica to Miami, and Miami to Toronto) are scheduled to leave on time. We will be leaving at 2:30 am just like last time (except this time Dave will be driving us to the airport) and our flight leaves at 7 am. Fingers crossed it all goes as planned! Send us some good vibes!
All about the weather...
Since driving Krista and Quinn to the airport last Wednesday, we have resumed our farm duties until they return at the end of this week. The weather has been sublimely beautiful in the mornings: clear blue skies, no wind, and warm. I spent one morning taking advantage of it by lounging in the hammock.
arMeanwhile, on Friday, there was a massive earthquake in the southern part of Mexico. There was a tsunami warning for the Pacific Coast all the way down to Costa Rica. I had to hear this news from Krista, who was in Oregon. We watched the news to see what was happening (not that a tsunami would reach us at 7,000 ft in elevation. I had to ask friends who live closer to the beach area to see if they felt any effect. I was told the waves grew large enough for good surfing, but that's about it. Nothing more than that. Phew.
And of course, we've been glued to the TV watching the progress of Hurricane Irma. Not only do we have friends who live in Florida and we're concern for their safety, but our layover is in Miami next Sunday, so we're curious to see if our flight will be cancelled based on the possible damage. It seemed very probably, but then the hurricane track shifted further west so who knows... maybe luck will be on our side... maybe. It all remains to be seen: we like living on the edge!
Another twist in the tale...
So for all you readers who sent all your sympathies our way, thank you! And for all you readers who have encouraged us to take it easy and take some time to enjoy more of Costa Rica.... good idea, but no cigar. And here's why...
Krista received some news yesterday (some unforeseen circumstances) that have come up in Oregon and she is needed back home. Krista talked to us and asked if it would be at all possible for us to resume our duties on the farm for a week while she goes back to attend to these matters. It's all just beyond her control, so of course we agreed. We know the drill and are happy to help out. After much scrambling, trying to find flights, she was able to book for tomorrow morning at 5:45 am. Krista, Quinn and I will leave here at 1:30 am to drive down to the airport. Then Krista, Quinn, and Dave will return next week, Thursday, September 14th. They will stay overnight near the airport and Kevin will drive down on Friday, September 15th to the vet's to pick up the exportation document for Frankie and then go pick up the gang before heading back to Hush Valley Lodge. Oh, just to make it interesting, September 15th is Independence Day in Costa Rica, so there will be lots of parades and people celebrating in the streets... so the goal is to get out of San Jose as soon as possible... let's see how that works out, shall we?
Kevin and I will stay on the property and take care of things while they're away. It makes perfect sense. And I can't help think that we weren't meant to be on that plane on Sunday for this very reason. Who knows?
In the meantime, we found out that Irma, one of the worst hurricanes in history, is picking up strength in the Atlantic Ocean. It's heading for Puerto Rico and on its way towards Florida. We're really hoping that it hits land well before the 17th... because our layover is in... wait for it... Miami!! I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
We're choosing to believe everything will be okay and our flight won't be affected. What's the point of worrying, eh?
Well, we're still in Costa Rica. Yep. I will borrow a sentiment from our good friend, Mark.... "apparently our tug is experiencing some resistance!"
We got to the airport yesterday morning in good time. No rushing around, no stress. We got to the check-in counter and we weighed our luggage, paid the fee, no problem. We got our boarding passes, no problem. Then, the last sentence was "we need to see the dog's documentation".... no problem. We handed over the vet's signed declaration that Frankie has received her rabies shot and is fit to fly. We were feeling confident. We were then asked for the government exportation document. "Excuse me? What?" Our vet didn't give us any such form. Big problem. "I'm sorry, your dog cannot fly without this document." The strangest thing is this document is not for the U.S. or Canada... it's merely a Costa Rica regulation (your pet needs this document to prove she's healthy to fly OUT of Costa Rica... how crazy is that!)
So, a very nice young man, Luis, on the other side of the counter who spoke English dropped everything he was doing to help us. He called to different departments to see if we could get an official at the airport to sign the document since we had proof of her good health signed by our vet. He led us down to the Customs area and we waited as he investigated the situation. He came back saying that nothing can be done at the airport, a vet must fill out all the paperwork from the department of agriculture. We would have to find a vet near the airport (keeping in mind it's now 7:00 am on a Sunday). We'd have to wait several hours regardless for businesses to open. Luis offered to find some vets in the area for us to call, but we no longer had a cell phone, so he then offered to call for us and see if he could confirm an appointment with someone, somewhere... and give us an address and have a taxi driver get us there. Luis then rescheduled our flight for the next morning (today) for 6:55 am (with two layovers, not ideal, but beggars can't be choosers, right?).
Luis found out that the vet that is closest to the airport is not open until noon. We would have to wait until then to call. He gave us the phone number, but offered to help us at noon after the end of his shift at work. We thanked him and he left us to go work at the gate for the flight we couldn't take. Digging the knife a little deeper.
We needed to solve our accommodation issue for the night, as well. Where would we stay? We decided to call a former guest, Ronny, who runs a B&B near the airport to see if we could possibly stay with him for the night. I looked around for a pay phone. I found some phones lined up on the wall outside the airport, but none of them worked (I guess with everyone having cell phones these days, the demand has declined significantly). So now what do I do? There was a homeless man in a wheelchair begging for change. He was watching me go from phone to phone and probably saw my exasperation when none worked. He called me over and put his hand in his pocket and produced a shiny iPhone. I wasn't kidding when I said "everyone" has a cell phone. How times have changed. I called Ronny, , but no answer (I had retrieved his number from my saved files on my computer before I started looking for a phone to use). I thanked the homeless man for his kindness and gave him my leftover coins (I write "homeless", but that's a judgement on my part, this man could very well have a home and family to go to at the end of his workday).
After the phone fiasco, I came back and joined Kevin in the concourse of the airport, feeling deflated. We decided to move our luggage and Frankie up to the second level and camp out in the airport cafe where there was free internet access. We settled in. We took turns watching our stuff and Frankie while the other went to the washroom, or to buy a beverage. Poor Frankie was snuggled in her crate the whole time so we took her out for walks, got her bowl out and gave her some water and a bit of food. She was such a good girl.
We didn't waste any time to reach Krista to let her know what was happening. We asked her if she could Google other possible vets near the airport in case she might find one that was open earlier. She was a star!! She called a few vets, but without much success. No answer. Then she was able to get a hold of a vet that was open, but fully booked. Krista explained our situation and the vet said we were welcome to wait around in her office in case one of her clients didn't show up, she would then see Frankie (but no guarantees). We could either wait at the airport, which started to feel hopeless and like nothing was being resolved, making us feel even more antsy or we could wait at the vet's with a slight possibility of Frankie being seen. The latter option felt like a step forward. We were feeling lucky! So, we dragged our four suitcases, our very heavy knapsack and Frankie, and headed to the taxi line.
Jerry, big smile on his face, approached us and spoke a little English. We explained that we needed to get to City Mall. No problem... ten minutes... $5 ride. "Okay... let's go!" While Jerry was getting us to our destination, Kevin asked him if he knew of any vets that would be open. Jerry thought, and said since it was Sunday, most would not be open before noon. He immediately called a friend or family member, not sure, spoke Spanish into his phone, then hung up. "There is a vet just a little further, maybe you want to check if they are open?" Kevin said "Sure! Thank you. How much?" "Oh, $2 more, no problem". Off we go. A few minutes later we reached a strip mall. I stayed in the car with all our belongings and Frankie, and Jerry and Kevin hopped out of the car to check if the vet was open and whether an appointment could be made. No such luck. The vet office didn't open until 1 pm. So we decided to go back to the original plan... City Mall... where we "might" be able to see the vet... but maybe not. Jerry was on the case, he didn't like that we might have to wait several hours only to not get any further ahead. He was on the phone again. We drove by a huge agricultural veterinarian building. Jerry slowed down (barely) and squeezed his car between two other cars and parked. Jerry and Kevin got out again to ask if there was any chance of Frankie seeing a vet. A minute later, Jerry comes to get me and Frankie. Things were looking up. We thanked Jerry. He said "no problem"... and told us he would be happy to wait for us. There was no discussion of how much this would all cost, but by this point, it was the last thing we were worried about. It would all be worth it if we could get this document. Kevin and I explained the situation to the cashier. She explained that it was not a matter of a vet being able to simply sign and stamp a form. A vet must examine the dog, fill out the form, then send it to the government agency that prepares the final document with all the different government departments' stamps, etc. So, it doesn't matter which vet we were going to see that day, the outcome would be the same. This process could be hastened and it "could" be possible to get the official document by the following day, soonest 9:30 am (which means 1:30 pm in Costa Rica, if we were lucky). But our flight was leaving at 6:55 am... no use. Sigh. The cashier said it would be a good idea for the vet to check all the current documents to make sure we had everything in order just in case something was missing. Good idea, indeed!!
So we waited for the vet, Raquel (which just happens to be the same name as our vet in San Marcos) to see Frankie. Fifteen minutes passed. Jerry was sitting in his cab with our 4 big suitcases (we took our knapsack with all important things with us). Jerry's car was out of sight from where we were standing. Jerry is a really nice guy, but we didn't know him from Adam, so we kept peeking to see that he hadn't absconded with our stuff. Let's not add insult to injury. No, he was still there. I went up to his car window and apologized for the amount to time it was taking... "no problem, no problem". Again, no mention of how much this was going to cost us. Couldn't worry about that. We were sleep deprived, hungry and a little punch drunk. Having Jerry hang around, even for moral support, brought us some comfort. Raquel came out and said she could see Frankie. Kevin went in with Frankie and I stayed outside to keep an eye on things. Raquel speaks English and communication wasn't a problem. After several minutes, 20 maybe, Kevin came out and said I needed to hear what the vet was telling him. So I followed, leaving our friend Jerry to his own devices. I listened to Raquel tell us that Frankie cannot fly before September 17th!!! What? Why? She explained that an animal cannot fly within the first month of having its rabies shot. Frankie had hers on August 16th. So even if we would rush around, still we would not be able to book to be on the next available fight, which is this Thursday. Even if the government agency had all the documents ready for us today, we'd still have to wait two weeks before being allowed to fly. And, no, we would never leave without Frankie (just sayin').
Kevin and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and decided it would be best to simply drive back to Hush Valley Lodge. We ask Jerry if he would be willing to drive us all the way back "home" and he agreed. How much to drive us back? "$120"... "Okay, let's go".
On the way, we borrowed Jerry's phone to call Krista to let her know we were on our way back. And to ask her if she could pick us up at La Trinidad because Jerry's car was not a 4X4. Krista had gone out and didn't get any of our messages so we thought it best to be dropped off in Santa Maria and get a 4x4 taxi from there. Jerry dropped us off and when we asked him "how much?" he replied "$125" ... he didn't charge us for all the time he spent waiting for us, he didn't charge us for the time he took to help us, he didn't charge us for the use of his phone, he didn't even charge us for the extra $2 to get us to the first mall. Kevin added and extra $10 to the charge. I was busy letting Frankie relieve herself, and with being as tired as we were, once Jerry left, we both thought "we only tipped him $10?" We did get his phone number so we will call him next week when we have to go back into San Jose so that we can make it right. We really do want to show our appreciation. We have to go back on September 15th to pick up the exportation document for Frankie (oh yes, this document is valid only for 10 days, so if we don't get a flight within 10 days of receiving this document, we will need to go through this whole process again... so we better be on that flight on September 17th.)
We took our luggage out of Jerry's taxi and hired a Santa Maria taxi who said he had 4x4. It shook, rattled and rolled. We didn't think we'd make it. Then half way between Copey and Rio Blanco, Kevin notices Krista driving behind us. We waved her down... her jaw dropped. We then paid the taxi driver and transferred all our stuff to the SUV and drove home together.
And this is how we spend Sunday, August 3rd. We got "home", back to the casita completely exhausted. Krista was kind enough to make some dinner and then we went to bed at 8 o'clock, I think. I slept like a rock until morning.
So... we start again on September 17th... wish us luck!!
P.S. And although it's really quite annoying and frustrating to go through all this, we are not fleeing forest fires, we are not trying to get to higher ground due to flooding, we are not escaping a war-torn zone... we are putting everything in perspective. We can manage another two weeks.
P.S.S. We just this minute received Colleen and Drew's Airbnb review (our last guests). Here it is:
“Anne and Kevin were the best hosts we have ever had the pleasure to stay with! What they have done to the property shows the love and dedication they have put in to making Hush Valley Lodge what it is today. The Dota region is such a special place and staying there gives you a much more real Costa Rican experience than the bigger tourist areas of the country. Make sure to do the coffee tour because it will forever change how you view coffee and the process that goes into it. I highly recommend for everyone to stay here. It is such a surreal experience staying in this hidden gem and enjoying the breathtaking property. Getting to catch your own trout and have the most delicious meals brought into your own cozy casita is an unmatchable experience. Take the hikes and explore the property because it is too superb to miss! Make sure to give Bobby extra lovin because she is the best hiking companion (and will show you the right paths to take if confused!) We hope to come back one day and experience this magical paradise with the new owners Krista and Dave. We know the beauty and charm that Kevin and Anne have put into the place will carry over into good hands. Now it's time for the new owners to have this place change their lives for the better as it did for Anne and Kevin! If you have found this place through airbnb and are considering it but unsure due to not many reviews yet, just book it and you will not regret it! We were the last guests of the previous owners, and the new owners will start fresh with their airbnb for this place. If we could give it 10 stars we would. A truly unique unforgettable experience you will not forget!”
Over and out!
Wednesday, August 23rd, marked our 5th year anniversary of living in the remote mountains of Costa Rica. I can't seem to find the right words to express what an amazing experience Kevin and I have been privileged to enjoy. The adventure has been enriching and so very rewarding. We've learned a new language (well, enough to get by anyway). We created two businesses from scratch: trout farming and the B&B. As suburbanites, we had no idea what it meant to be trout farmers, but we learned so much along the way thanks to our friends and neighbours, Martin and Roberto. Kevin's engineering background and his natural problem-solving skills certainly have come in handy, that's for sure. We have received guests from many parts of the world (family, friends and strangers) and we cherish the two guestbooks full of their lovely comments and good wishes. We've made special friendships (ticos and expats alike) that will last a lifetime and created fond memories that are imprinted into our hearts forever. Our little village community embraced us from the minute we set foot in Rio Blanco and our neighbours have become our Costa Rican family. We have witnessed new life coming into this world (Catalina and Gogui's son, Carlitos, and Fer and Diego's daughter, Zoe)... but we've also mourned the loss of some great friends (Jorge, Michael, and Sister Gloria... and let us not forget our stray dog, Feliz).
It is with mixed emotions that we announce that we are saying goodbye to this awesome piece of paradise and moving back to Canada on Sunday, September 3rd. We will miss everything this life has to offer, yet we look forward to the new chapter that awaits us. We are returning to Burlington, Ontario, to be closer to family. We hope to bring back the lessons of "pura vida" by embracing this simpler lifestyle. In the beginning, we'll be renting an apartment. Neither of us has lived in an apartment in quite a while... I think we were both in our twenties. We consider it a different kind of adventure... the tools will be kept in storage for a while (I'm not sure how Kevin is going to cope!!). In exchange for retiring his tools he will be joining a soccer league again. Gotta shake it up a bit. I look forward to taking dance classes again, and volunteering, spending time with our family and catching up with good friends.
The property has been bought by a group of people from Oregon and Arizona. The Oregon couple (Krista and Dave) will be living here full time with their young son, Quinn. And the Arizona people (Jo, Peter, Molly, Gary, and Dan) will be building their own homes somewhere on the property and will be coming down a few months out of the year. We've met all of them, at different times, and they are an amazing bunch of people. They will continue with the trout business as well as the B&B. With their enthusiasm, we're sure they will pour their heart and soul into being conscientious stewards of this special place. We can't wait to visit in a year or two and see their own vision realized.
Once we accepted the offer, we knew we had a lot of goodbyes ahead of us. One of the first people we announced the news to was Sister Gladys. We met Sister Gladys when we first vacationed here in 2011. She and her sister, Sister Gloria, hosted us the first couple of days and we have remained in touch ever since. Whenever we go to San Jose, we do our best to pop in and say hello. We are so grateful for knowing her (and sister Gloria who passed away last September).
On August 1st, Jo and Peter arrived for a two-week visit. They stayed in the casita for 10 days and met with our friend, Larry, the architect, to work on house plans. On August 7th, Jo, Peter, Kevin and I drove to San Marcos to meet with our lawyer Diego and his wife Fer for dinner and drinks. We signed all the legal paperwork for the sale of the property and raised a glass to finalizing the deal. The saga of this deal has enough twists and turns to fill a book, let me tell you! It would take yet another three weeks before the transfer of the money could take place due to some unforeseen hiccups. Nothing that couldn't be solved with a little patience and time.
Diego was one of the first people we met when we first landed here. He was so kind and helpful; we felt an immediate connection. He had invited us to join him and his family to celebrate Independence Day (September 15th) and that's where we met his lovely wife, Fer. Ever since that day, our friendship grew. They are now parents to a sweet baby girl, Zoe. We'll miss them very much.
Then, on Sunday, August 13th, our little community gave us a beautiful send-off. We all met up at Martin and Clara's restaurant for lunch and people streamed in to say their goodbyes. Jo and Peter joined us at the farewell party. It was a great opportunity for them to meet their new neighbours. Everyone had a lovely time. We were presented with a handmade wooden tea box and key ring (both with a gorgeous Quetzal inlaid in the wood)... unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of them before packing them, but trust me... they're exquisite. Momentos we'll cherish forever.
Wednesday evening, August 23rd, we were invited for dinner at Adriana and Roberto's place. Roberto made delicious pizzas and a fantastic dessert. We had to use the timer on our camera to take this picture and it took us a few tries, but we finally got one.
While we were packing and cleaning and getting ready for our pending departure, we hosted our last guests as owners of Hush Valley Lodge. Here is what Colleen and Drew wrote in our guestbook... it really touched us deeply:
Anne, Kevin, Bettys, the bulls, Frankie and Bobbie,
We have had an incredible time here in the slice of paradise you have created that is Hush Valley Lodge. We are so grateful to have gotten to meet you as we are your last guests here. Since the day I started planning our first trip to Costa Rica, Anne was always there to help.
We know it is bittersweet as your time living here is coming to an end (you leave in a week!) but it is now time for your next chapter of life's adventure. You two are such an inspiration to Drew and I to go towards life in such an optimistic way, willing to take on new journeys, and always follow our dreams, as well as being so open-hearted and generous to others. In a short time here, we feel we have learned so much from you both. Not just about the incredible things you have done here on this property, but important life skills we will carry with us!
Anne, I cannot thank you enough for how much you did for me with my painful broken arm. You are exactly the nurturing mama I needed for this unfortunate turn of events that happened on our trip. Seriously, I do not know what I would have done without you taking me to that miracle worker doctor!! We have no idea what was in that butt shot, but it sure did the trick!! Thank you times a million for everything you have done! You both are incredible hosts! Your cooking is superb, Anne! The experience of catching our own dinner combined with your culinary talents is unmatched by any other B&B.
I am so happy the deal is going through and you are about to begin a new wonderful adventure together surrounded by your loved ones. I know this place will be in good hands (we definitely had to read the new owners' comments in this book!), as well as healing and life changing for the people it has meant to be for after your time here.
Kevin, we could have toured and talked about the property for the entire day! So fascinating!! You brought this trout farm back to life!
Thank you both for everything. It couldn't have been a more perfect way to unwind from our Costa Rica adventure in this rustic paradise. We will be sad to not see you for the next visit when we return, but are oh so glad it worked out that we were your last guests here!
Colleen and Drew
Chicago, IL, USA
Thursday, August 24th, the shipping company came to pick up our stuff. We're shipping a quarter of what we brought down here. Kevin has sold many of his tools, and we sold the house and guesthouse fully furnished.
Wednesday, August 30th, the money transfer was completed. We then had to "fire" both Martin and Jonathan to sever our employment contract with them and pay them their severance.
That same evening, I went to pick up Krista and her son, Quinn at the airport. Dave has to stay in Oregon for another two weeks to train the new owners of the restaurant they sold to come down here. Krista and Quinn had been up since 4:30 am, and by the time we got home it was just after 10:30 pm. We welcomed them into their new home, but didn't chat for too long. Kevin was starting the trout and pond training first thing Thursday morning at 6 am... no rest for the weary.
After Kevin introduced Krista to Martin and Jonathan, Krista promptly hired them back. Then they did all the chores together to make sure everyone was on the same page. After breakfast, Krista, Quinn and I went into town so that I could "show and tell".... a tour of where we buy things. I drove down to Copey and then I asked Krista if she wanted to drive the SUV so she could get used to it (Copey is very flat and a perfect place to practice driving an unfamiliar vehicle). Krista took on the challenge with gusto. The Toyota Prado has a manual transmission and Krista has experience driving standard, but every car (especially those with manual transmissions) have their own quirks. You have to get used to clutch sensitivity and gear shifting. It doesn't take long, but it's builds more confidence if you're not also having to navigate sharp inclines and dirt roads with potholes. Krista had no problems in Copey. I asked her she felt comfortable to drive to Santa Maria, and she did. And then San Marcos... like a boss. By the time we got all our errands done, we were back home at 2:30 pm. We still had bread baking 101 to tackle.
For evening chores, Krista took the lead with Kevin standing aside for support. By the time they were done, I think Krista's head was ready to explode. It was a lot of information to take in on her first day.
On Friday, I took Krista to meet Gonzalo and to see his trout farm. After that we stopped by Tony's quickly and then we were off to San Marcos to get all the official stuff done. We had to pick up the legal documents from the sale of the property. We then went to the bank to to close our accounts and introduce Krista to our contact, Vanessa, who speaks English and has helped us so much while we've been here. Before Krista can open a personal account, she needs a reference letter from someone who lives in Costa Rica and can vouch for her. So, we said we'd be her reference. The letter has to be in Spanish, of course, so Vanessa said she would be happy to write the letter for us and Kevin simply needs to sign it. So that's what we did. Krista is now all set to open her own personal account. Once you have a bank account, it's the beginning of being able to get other things under your name. Then we went to the other bank and did the same thing. We stopped in to ICE to change the name on our telephone and internet account to Krista's name. And again at the electrical company. Everyone was very helpful and it ended up being a very productive day. I communicated with these people in Spanish and I'm reminded how much Spanish I've actually learned over the years compared to when we first arrived.
On Saturday, Kevin and Krista continued with the training. I have been gathering information for several weeks now and created a manual to help them... contact list, what we do on the farm regarding the animals and when we do them, what bills need to be paid, where and when. It's pretty comprehensive so after all the hands-on training Krista is getting, the manual will simply confirm what she's learned. We have no doubts that Krista and Dave will manage just fine.
Over the past five years. we've had two sets of clothes.... regular (clean and tidy) everyday clothes, and our farm clothes. On Saturday morning, Kevin and I had a little burning ceremony of our farm clothes. They were holy and stained and not fit for the suburban life we'll be entering. Kevin burned his blue fleece that he's had for 26 years. I burned my red fleece that I've had 29 years, and a pair of shoes that I've had for 12 years. It was time to let go!! And we burned other old clothes, too, and it feels good to lighten the load. Burning our farm clothes a fitting symbol to commemorate the end of our time here.
For our last lunch, it seemed fitting to go over to Martin and Clara's restaurant where Quinn had fun catching my trout.
A word about Quinn: Quinn is an amazing 8-year-old boy!! We've spent many hours focusing on adult tasks and there's been very little time for him to explore as kids want to do. Hours at banks and government offices and not a peep, no complaints. Kevin and I have been so impressed. Quinn is very excited to be here and is even more excited to be Bobbie McGee's new buddy. Bobbie has taken to him without skipping a beat and it makes us feel good to know that she will be so well loved. A boy and his dog: what could be more lovely.
After lunch, Kevin and I spent the afternoon saying goodbye to our dear friends, Cindy and Larry. Yes, wine was consumed, and tears were shed.
We can't thank our friends enough for making this one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. We consider ourselves blessed.
I will no longer be writing this blog, but we're hoping Krista takes up the task because we're definitely interested to follow their adventure. It might take a little while until she and Dave settle in, but I encourage you all to keep checking www.hushvalleylodge.com site if you're interested, too.
For my personal friends who wish to stay in touch, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we turn over the website to Krista and Dave, our portion of the blog will be lost forever. It's impossible to transfer the site and retain the blog. It's just one of those things, which is unfortunate.
Thank you all for being so supportive and reading my blog for the last 5 years. I really appreciate it.
Keep following your tug!
Anne (and Kevin, of course)
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
Click here to pick up your copy of Anne's book! It's all about their adventure and the establishment of Hush Valley Lodge: from leaving their middle-class suburban lifestyle in Canada to reinventing themselvess in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica. Check it out and if you enjoy it, please spread the word! Thanks!