Turning can'ts into cans and dreams into plans. How I ended up here living the Pura Vida, Dura Vida.



This is how it all began. After a rocky start, this man, my hunky surfer husband, Michael, (M from now on to simplify things) and I finally came to the realization that we were destined for each other and convinced ourselves we were ready to leave the rat race and make a go at living the simple life in rural Costa Rica.

There’s a saying that speaks volumes to me now that my life has been turned upsidedown by both love and the desire for a simpler life…”We make plans and God laughs.” From the suburbs of San Diego, our two stress-filled jobs, freeway commutes, and the California crowds that seemed to be growing by the minute, it dawned on us that, while we had a comfortable life, we were too busy at our jobs, traveling for business, or stuck in traffic to enjoy it. So, in January of 2008 we embarked on this adventure. Two Gringos, high on love and dreams of enjoying the simple life picking up and moving to Central America…what could possibly go wrong with that??

I don’t think I could have chosen a lifestyle that was more opposite to what I had in the States. I worked for years as a nurse in the operating room of a Level II trauma center. I specialized in open heart surgery for a while and eventually took the position of Charge Nurse. This kind of sums up that adventure:


I was damn good at what I did, being a nurse is in my blood…ha ha…(note that I said being a nurse and not working as a nurse…if you’re a nurse that’s who you are, not what you do. I will never not be a nurse…can I get an Amen from all you precious nurses out there?) and my coworkers will forever be like family to me, I was ready for a change. Did I say change? Change doesn’t really do it justice. It was more like disassembling a life and putting it back together again in a different order…and having pieces left over.

Used to going at warp speed while juggling one crisis after another (while riding that bike that’s on fire) I now found myself finally able to relax on the terraza for coffee, leisurely plan the day with whatever I wanted to do, come up with elaborate meals to cook from scratch, enjoy the stunning nature and wildlife that surrounded me. The life that one dreams about was mine for the taking…and it was blissful for a while, until it wasn’t. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that…IT DROVE ME NUTS!! Where’s my sense of purpose!? How do I gauge my accomplishments!? Where’s my contribution to society!? For God’s sake I was used to saving lives and now I’m looking up how to take a live chicken and turn it into Sunday dinner on YouTube!! .

So here’s how I morphed from a high stress life full of, literally, life and death crises, into a life that I have dictated just for myself. Full of growing pains (painful, like fire ant painful), more life lessons than I could ever count, (thank God for Youtube!) being catapulted out of my comfort zone, and immersing myself into the laid back culture that is Costa Rica.

Lizzie may not be able to surf, but her life is full of oh so many other adventures, accomplishments, and new found freedom.