Pura Vida!

We officially became homeowners this morning. We’ve closed on the house, the title is recorded, and after work, we’re going over to OUR home, by ourselves, without our real estate agent, for the first time.

Kinda anti-climactic, really; it all happened electronically. But hey — we’re done. And we’re in a great big heaping pile of debt for the first time in our lives (but at least we’ve got a conventional loan and money left in the bank; the beauty of waiting until you’re in your mid-thirties to buy your first home, I suppose).

I was expecting this to be a BIG DAY!, but it’s not, really. I’m not at all anxious to get into the house tonight. I haven’t been daydreaming about it. I have been daydreaming, but my daydreams have been about…

Yup. Costa Rica.

So before we start regaling you with the exciting details of the seismic retrofit (the structural engineer has come, seen, and conquered; the foundation contractors will be back on Monday), I’ve simply gotta purge Costa Rica from my brain.

It’s all John and Ashley’s fault, really. They had to have their wedding in paradise. That’s so like them — they’re always going to paradiseical places (I just made that word up, yes). Living the good life. And they forced me to live it with them and now that’s all I want to do.

So, FINE. For the newlyweds — I’m gonna live out the good life once more on the blog and share some pics. And for you all — I’m gonna get Costa Rica outta my system, and stop making you all question what you’re doing in a place without rum-filled coconuts (really, what’s the meaning of such an existence?). Here goes…

When we arrived in Costa Rica, I was under the impression that I had narrowly escaped death. Our plane had to make a second landing — just as our wheels touched the runway, the pilot immediately pulled back full-throttle and skyrocketed back into the air, straight up. Not cool.

The plane started doing figure-eights around the airport, in the mountains and the mist, and the pilot finally came on the intercom and said “The airport, is a wait.”


Interpreting that as “we just barely avoided an on-runway collision,” we were all VERY relieved to finally be on the ground and OFF the plane, and to find someone waiting for us holding a sign outside the baggage claim that read “Kirkendall-McMahon Wedding.” He lead us to the bride, groom, our friend Joe, a few others, and an air-conditioned shuttle van with a cooler, waiting to be filled with beer.

Three jovial hours later, we arrived in Manuel Antonio, at our private bungalow in the rainforest:

Lisa and John on the bungalow balcony.

Me and John chilling on our private balcony upon arrival in Manuel Antonio. DOPE.

The view:

The view from our balcony, into the rainforest.

Monkey territory!

After exploring the area around our hotel, drinking, and swimming (the most important pastimes in Manuel Antonio, after all), we met up for our first meal of the trip, at Ronny’s Place:

Dinner table at Ronny's Place on the first night.

This looks good. We’ll sit here.

After which we should have just gone to bed, since we had all come in on redeyes the night before, but no — we had to go in search of the AIRPLANE TURNED INTO A BAR, supposedly right down the road.

We found it:

El Avion bar, Manuel Antonio.

It’s like we’re in a level of Angry Birds Rio!

The best thing about El Avion isn’t–believe it or not–the fact that it’s an AIRPLANE. It’s the fact that the bartender can take one look at you and know EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF MUSIC YOU WANT TO HEAR. He started playing Guns n’ Roses the second we walked in. He totally had our number, and he totally got our tips. He must have worked in Reno in a past life. Or else he went to Meads Mill Middle School.

The next day, the boys (sporting killer mustaches) went off and deep-sea fished and swam in the open ocean for the bachelor party, but it’s NOT COOL TO POST PICS OF A BACHELOR PARTY. The girls and I went and found the beach by day…

Beach at Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Yep — that’s a beach, alright.

…and everyone went off for the really rockin’ bachelor/bachelorette festivities by night. OF WHICH WE HAVE NO PHOTOS.

Friday was meant to be an extremely active day of exploring in the national park, but F#@% THAT! The groom and Joe had the great idea to stay at the hotel and do shots of tequila in the pool all day long. So we did that instead:

Boys floating in the pool at our hotel.

“And THAT is how you take a vacation!” POP!

Sometime in the early evening, we stumbled out for the rehearsal dinner… Which was AMAZEBALLS!

The rehearsal dinner tent.

Right this way to the most awesome rehearsal dinner you’ve ever been to…

It was in a private tent behind the back of this cool restaurant called Barba Roja (“Read Beard” the pirate — ARRRGGGHHH!), and we were practically hanging off this cliff looking out at the ocean and the food and drinks were unreal. For a second, I thought we were AT the wedding, but nope — that was the next day. And it was even better…

The setting of John and Ashley's wedding.

Yes, this is where John and Ashley got married.

John and Ashley getting married.

Pretty much perfect.

John and Ashley walking down the aisle.

They did it (I was very much sobbing at this point)!

So, if, like, THAT wasn’t good enough, then THIS happened…

Kevin and I drinking rum out of coconuts.

John’s bro, Kevin, and I enjoying our post-nuptial rum-filled coconuts.

Followed by THIS:

Ashley and John and a stranger on the beach in a Speedo.

Greatest wedding photo of all time? I think yes.

At this point in the evening, we were all already drunk on wedding awesomeness, but they packed us off and sent us to the top of the mountain anyway, to the reception. Here’s the view from where we partied:

The view from the Costa Verde resort and reception site.

Not bad.

They were even so kind as to bring in a sweet little old lady to hand-roll everyone some Cubans:

Woman rolling cigars.

Or rather, Costa Ricans, made from Cuban leaves.

And if you’ve been hanging around the blog this week, then you know what happened next.

The day after the wedding, a few folks took off, but not us Michiganders. We stayed. We KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE that you ALWAYS put an extra day on the back side of a destination wedding. Duh.

For stuff like this:

Me swinging from a tree in the jungle.

Cowabunga, dudes! Wait — I have my pop culture references mixed up…

By the way, this is John’s face right before they strapped him into his ziplining gear:

John, looking scared.


Apparently, dude boy doesn’t like heights so much. But he lets out a mean jungle cry!

Kidding. I kid.

Our last night in Costa Rica, we floated in the pool and watched a brigade of monkeys take the hotel back for the jungle:

Monkeys traipsing across the pool grounds at our hotel.

Obviously, “monkey hour” really does mean something.

To close with an incredibly apropos cliche, it was the perfect ending to a perfect trip.

While we were in Costa Rica, we cared not one bit about our impending real estate deal, our job stress, our financial stress, our family commitment stress, yada yada. I believe it’s what those Costa Ricans call “pura vida.” Too bad (as Ellen has now pointed out) I couldn’t hold on to it once I got back here. But that’s what banked PTO time is for —

Going back (or to Panama, which I’m told by John is cheaper and even better).

However, the wedding was one-of-a-kind. I won’t find that on my next trip, so I’m glad I took the time to document it here.

And now, Costa Rica, I put you to sleep in my mind, and get ready to go to the hardware store to buy a good tape measure for my new house. Back to my life: it’s not so pure these days, but the memory of you always will be.

See all our pics of Costa Rica here, by the way.

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6 thoughts on “Pura Vida!

  1. Priceless! There is nothing like time spent in paradise to prepare you for the rigors of a new home. Soon it will be your paradise. But you will always have memories of Costa Rica. And they will be beautiful!!

  2. Ellen says:

    I love the pics! Such a gorgeous place….remember, you can bring those pura vida images et al to mind any time you like, ahhhh 🙂

  3. Carla says:

    Congrats on being an official home owner!!! Awesome vacation pics.

  4. Ok, I love that you had a great time with amazing people in an amazing place…BUT, I’m sad that you aren’t more excited about your HOUSE. You have a HOUSE!!!! Congratulations!!!!

  5. Awesome trips and pics and even more AWESOME = homeowners!!!!

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