Moldy Clothes and Falling Coconuts

I do a lot of research before trips (too much to be honest), so I felt pretty prepared when we decided to move to Costa Rica for 3 months. But I’m realizing that google can only get you so far in life.. It’s been a wild ride figuring out life outside of OKC, but we’ve gotten into a groove and we’re pretty comfortable here- as long as I don’t get bit by anything poisonous, I’m good!

costa rica

Things the internet can’t teach you about living in Costa Rica.

  • Everything molds, even if you thought it was completely dry when you put it away... it will mold eventually. Nothing a little cleaning can’t handle but but seriously, I pulled out my extra pair of glasses today and even those were a little fuzzy. *everything except for this backpack. I always carry my canvas one onto the plane when I fly but I really wanted to find one that would be practical for this trip, so I ordered it right before we left and it was the best purchase by far. The biggest pocket is a leakproof cooler so we use it all the time for beers and snacks to take hiking or to the beach.
  • We don’t have a doorbell or glass windows, just screens to keep the bugs out. So when someone comes over they just yell or whistle to get my attention. “Helloooo?” “Kels?”. It cracks me up every time.
  • Shaking the covers is part of our nightly routine. Gotta watch out for those poisonous scorpions. (So far we haven’t had anything besides a few giant ants in the sheets)
  • We have to sit on top of the dryer to get the best wifi connection. (Update: now it only works while we’re sitting on our bed or in a VERY particular spot in the middle of the pool, it’s always changing.) #firstworldproblems
  • The loud sound of coconuts falling and hitting the sand is as normal as hearing a dog bark, it happens all day. We’re used to it now but we still have to remember to *look up* when we’re walking to the beach.
  • I didn’t know Netflix has country restrictions, so when we got here we realized we were blocked from watching some of the normal shows we watched at home. But there are ways around it- VPN ftw! Gotta watch Frasier somehow.
  • Crabs and geckos get in the house all the time. At first I was freaked out but once I saw our favorite little kitchen gecko eat a mosquito, I realized that more geckos = less bugs.
  • We pretty much only wear our swimsuits because it’s hot and #whynot. But hard lesson learned: wear a shirt when you’re frying tacos. I have a battle wound on my stomach from oil popping me in the belly button. (PS this applies to you no matter where you live, I’ll admit I’m 28 and I should’ve known better.. lol)
  • My skin is always shiny. I laugh out loud to myself when I think about how I used to wear highlighter on my cheeks at home so that they would look “dewey”. No problem with that here since l’m naturally dewey 24/7. I’m probably going to wrinkle up like a prune when we go home because I’ve gotten so used to the moisture.
anywhere with you.
  • When people rake their leaves, they burn the leaf piles afterwards. It took me several weeks to get used to the smell of smoke at 3am without having a minor panic attack and jumping out of bed to make sure the house wasn’t on fire. You know when you forget to turn your straightener off, and you hope and pray you don’t smell smoke when you get home later? (no, just me?) Well that’s a similar feeling.
  • At home in Oklahoma, we have bird poop everywhere. Here, the iguanas are the ones doing the pooping, and let me tell you.. they can do some damage.
  • The howler monkeys go nuts when motorcycles drive by. That’s one of the sounds I’ll miss the most for sure. (I’ll miss the hideous macaw squawk too though)
  • We have to hardcore meal plan. It’s not like at home, where we’d plan on grilling chicken and then change our minds at the last minute and decide to  get $5 Little Caesar’s pizza instead. We have to buy meat at a store an hour away and the vegetable truck comes by twice a week. So if we don’t plan ahead then we’ll end up eating a packet of cheap ramen for dinner. (which we’ve done and actually, I’m into it. I never thought I’d eat it again after college but it satisfies my craving for Asian food while we’re here. And if you add in cilantro, green onions, sriracha, maybe an egg.. it’s pretty delicious ;)
  • Bonus: it’s every bit as awesome as I read it would be to be able to see birds and animals pretty much everywhere you turn. We’ve seen sloths and monkeys, whales and dolphins. Basically if you want to see wildlife, all you have to do is open your eyes.

How to get a House Sitting Gig

So we’ve officially been house sitting for a week.

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We’re living in a new country, learning new routines (more on that later), meeting new neighbors. There have been some interesting moments for sure, but all in all it has turned out to be better than I thought it could be. Life without AC has definitely been the biggest adjustment. All of the windows are screens so we have 3 fans pointed on us at night and an ocean breeze during the day, it’s not terrible but it’s pretty steamy at times. I think my body is getting used to it though. Haha.

The people here live a much slower paced life. There’s one dirt road in our town, two grocery stores, a small handful of restaurants. It’s the most simple, laid back community I’ve ever visited. Since it’s so remote and most people don’t have a car there is a fruit and veggie truck that comes by twice a week. He parks out front at 9am and honks his horn to let us know he’s there, then we go out and pick what we want and pay him at the back of the truck. It’s one of my favorite parts so far.

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Some people have been asking me how it works so I wanted to answer some questions about house sitting here.

Is it a paid house sitting job? No, most of the ones I’ve seen online are a free swap. You stay for free and they get a free house sitter, it’s a win win.

How did you get it? I just made a profile and applied with Trusted Housesitters. I think the key is to tailor all of your applications to the particular house sitting job you’re applying for- similar to any job application. Also make your profile look good, put some time into it and be quick to respond to listings.

How many people apply? Ours had over 150 people contact the owner but he only interviewed a couple applicants. Like I said, tailoring your application will really help you stand out. If you just copy/paste the same line that says, “I love pets and I’d love to take care of your dog” and then you apply for a house sit that doesn’t have a dog, that shows you’re not really trying. 

Are you still working? Danny is working full time remotely and I’m still doing illustration and design. So hit me up if you have a custom project in mind ;)

What are your responsibilities? They’re all different, but at our place all we really have to do is be at the house overnight. We turn the porch lights on and off, take care of the chickens, sweep the pool sometimes. There is a house keeper and pool caretaker so it’s pretty well looked after, we’re just here for extra security.

But, why Costa Rica? And why 3 months? We’ve visited Costa Rica twice before and knew that we loved it, and it felt familiar. This house sit in particular was for three months but they all vary, some are just one or two weeks.

 

*extra application tip: you can set up alerts for specific areas that you’re interested in, so when a new listing becomes available you’ll receive an email. It’s important to apply quickly so if you’re serious you should definitely look into that. You can browse for free without paying for a membership, but if you want to sign up with my link you’ll get 20% off member fees (and I’ll get a month for free :) 

 

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Here’s to learning new things and experiencing a different culture, even just for a little while. xo.