So, here we are a few months into our North American Summertime and we were hoping to be able to fly down to Costa Rica in August or September on one of our two preferred airlines in Canada but sadly they aren't flying to sunny destinations except for Mexico and a few other places (I think in the Caribbean)...that doesn't really help us that much. I've been watching one particular airline's schedules over the past few months and every month they cancel all of their planned flights to Costa Rica for the next month. It's getting a little ridiculous, especially considering we have a buddy pass to use which expires in a few months - and I have zero interest in flying around Canada just to use up a buddy pass...When will we get to travel to Costa Rica? Who knows, but we may eventually need to consider other airlines which means longer flights and more layovers...not very enticing especially because of the amount of luggage we plan to bring on this next trip.
More luggage? Isn't one of our main reasons for spending time down there is to downsize? Well, part of what we've learned throughout our building process in Costa Rica is that there are some things that you simply cannot get or are very difficult to get without paying ridiculous amounts of money for if you are lucky enough to find the item in Costa Rica. Things like matte black bathroom fixtures, towel bars, and electronic door locks....good luck finding that in Costa Rica - if anyone knows where to get get that stuff, I'd love to know..Needless to say, this next trip (whenever it will be) will have those types of things in the suitcases, oh, and simple things like Decora light switch covers. Turns out during our initial count for light switches and electrical plugs, we must have missed a few, or we just have a slightly overzealous electrician that has made a few decisions on his own to add a few extra switches here and there. Whatever, it's all good, we're all about matchy-match in our house, so if we have to bring a few extra items with us so that everything looks "just right" then so be it.
So, you may be wondering where we're at with our build that seems to be taking forever? Well, we're finally so close to being complete that we can taste it. After months of trying to get an updated budget to see what's left to do, we finally got it and as suspected we are slightly over budget probably by about 10%. It doesn't help that right off the bat our retaining wall needed to be beefier....to the tune of 3 times the size/depth. So, what was supposed to be about a $30,000 retaining wall (labor, materials, etc) turned into a $90,000 retaining wall. For the most part, alot of other parts of the house stayed at or somewhat under budget. Sourcing some of our own items, like the ceiling fans, light fixtures, outlets, plugs, faucets all helped with the budget since most of the things we bought ourselves would have cost a fortune in Costa Rica and the quality would not have been the same. Our main house door and interior doors were all custom built and then installed a few months ago (sadly the interior doors were not all installed in the intended openings, so those needed to be fixed). Also, our outdoor kitchen is now in progress, it took a few phone calls and zoom meetings to get it right, and yet some of it was still got done wrong (I guess asking for a spot for a built-in BBQ in a kitchen counter is a little bit confusing, so we aren't getting a built-in BBQ). The concrete pad, the kitchen counter and the majority of the structure for the outdoor kitchen roof is done, except for a few metal beams that are still needed for the roof. From what we understand, there is a shortage of steel in Costa Rica, so the outdoor kitchen may be delayed....why am I not surprised? Everything else has been delayed, so it's just normal that this be delayed as well. If I haven't mentioned it in any of my previous posts, in order to build a house in Costa Rica (or perform many business transactions), you must have an incredible amount of patience and understanding...something which we have grown to better understand and accept over time, but trust me, it's still frustrating. How is it that we've come so far, and now the rest of the outdoor kitchen roof is now on hold because of two metal beams that are still needed - how were these missed in the original plans and material order?
.......................................ahhhhh.....we're almost done, and our house is looking more and more amazing.
Here are a few newer pictures of the progress on the house. Note the last photo of the shower. We didn't ask for a tub spout in this bathroom shower but guess what, we've got one, so now we need to source a matchy-match tub spout to go with the shower head and controls...and guess where we can't source it from?
Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Well, here we are still living under significant covid restrictions in Canada and things don't seem to be getting any better, at least not in Canada as we are now in our third wave...when will this ever end? Enough about that crap, all I know is that the end is in sight for our build which means that a new beginning is in sight and very much within reach!...We continue to see some promising progress on our build, it looks like a house, the windows and doors are finally in which is great since the next rainy season is just around the corner. If I had to summarize in one word the single most important trait needed when building a home from afar and most specifically in a country that has its own relaxed timelines, is patience. I never considered myself to be a person that had a whole lot of patience, but until a few years ago I had never had the joy of building a home in a third world country. I guess the most frustrating part that we've had to learn to deal with is the incredible lack of urgency when it comes to communicating to us about progress or even responding to questions that we have. A perfect example of this was over one year ago we asked our builder to provide us with a quote for building the outdoor kitchen. Not only did we ask once, but we continued asking / probing over the course of the year and yet nothing. Which is maybe not a bad thing since just a few short weeks ago we decided to make some significant adjustments to the design of the outdoor kitchen to make it a more useable space, but here we go again, have no idea what it's going to cost us. As frustrating as all of this can be, I need to remember to take a step back, breath and remember that we aren't there to help push things along, and even more so we are the ones that made the executive decision to build this house while still living almost 5,000 miles away. And really, I think it's important to remember that we are very fortunate that we are still able to be building our dream home, while so many people across the globe have had their lives destroyed as a result of this pandemic, so many people have lost their sources of income - so really, is it a big deal that we don't have our outdoor kitchen quote yet? No, heck no it's not - just be thankful for what we have and that this will get done, and soon enough we will finally have a home to call our own. I've really learned over the past few years to try to find the positives in everything, and to stop taking things for granted, life is short - enjoy it. This past week my father passed away, and sure he was 85 when he passed, and had lived a pretty good and pretty long life, but at the end of the day even though he made it to 85, it still seems like it was a short time on this earth. Enjoy life, you only get one chance on this earth, and make it your own. My wife and I are making this life our own, and will be living a Pura Vida lifestyle very very soon!
So, now onto some photos of our happy place. Windows and doors have been installed, outdoor patio tiles being installed, and patio railings!
If you've been following my blog since I started writing you'll know that we've been in the construction phase for about three years now. Yes you read that right, three years. You'd think we were building a structure similar to the pyramids in Egypt but we're not, honestly. There are several factors that have contributed to the slowest build on earth but none more so than the fact that we're trying to pace it with the state of the world that was turned upside down just over a year ago. No point in rushing to get it done to just sit vacant since we can't even travel out of Canada to go for a visit. From the government making a "deal" with the airlines to shutdown services to sun destinations until at least April 30, 2021, then the quarantine requirements in government mandated hotels upon return to Canada, oh and lets not forget that the land borders between Costa Rica and Nicaragua & Panama are still closed making border runs for resetting tourist visas a little unpredictable. We realize that it would take a feat of complex acrobatics to get out of our own country at this point and lets not even think about the trip back to Canada...so for now we're stuck here so we need to just keep looking at the bright side that we are healthy, employed - albeit miserably, and every week that goes by is one step closer to realizing our dreams.
Remember the windows and doors we ordered more than a year ago, well they are finally being installed this coming week! Hip hip hooray, they've been sitting in storage for about 10 months, so it's finally time to dust them off and get the installation going. We got some sneak a peak pictures last week of some of the windows that had been delivered (you may have seen pics on my Instagram page). I must say, they do things a little differently in Costa Rica for windows and doors. They ship all of the window and door frames without any glass in them - perhaps this is due to weight I really don't know, but the glass comes separately and then is to be installed once all the frames are in - weird, but hey if it works I'm good with it. I'm just happy that we will finally see the house with actual windows and doors and that it can be closed from the elements since rainy season is yet again just around the corner, a time when critters will be looking for a dry place to hide and what better place then a vacant home that is somewhat open to the elements - close that thing up ASAP!. Another exciting bit that will be happening this week is the installation of the patio and garage railings. Everything is really starting to come together and before we know it we may actually have a completed house...
Stay tuned for more updates as I'm sure I'll have some exciting photos to share later this week!
You too can make your own journey to a Pura Vida Life. Lots available in Rancho Villa Real. Check it out at www.ranchovillareal.com