Pura Vida

There’s something about a table that makes a home complete. A place to sit and take a break between the rigors of our everyday lives, to share a warm meal with friends and family, and in the Evans Consortium traveling playbook, a battlefield for a family game of nerts or scum. We’ve been fortunate in our last six months to visit three of the (five/six/seven) continents of the world, finding these beautiful requisite rest stops along the way, and this latest table is one to remember.

Over ten years ago Stefani got a tip that Costa Rica is the place to go, and so we did. A fully catered and orchestrated plan was drafted for us complete with thoughtful itineraries and a harmonious balance between active and abeyance. Some days in the mountains, others in the jungles, and a few at the beach were memories hardly forgotten.

Come to this last week, where the allure of open seats to Liberia tempted us to spend our spring break back on the rich coast, albeit with five little mini versions of ourselves to learn what the ticos mean when they say “Pura Vida!” This time, no real plans but a house that exceeded our expectations and a week of hot and humid conditions that would help us forget the inches of snow we drove through in the beginnings of our adventure. Surely we could fill the week with some fun and sun, and both we did.

I want to remember how kind the Costa Rican people are. When Oakli started to express her nervousness with our impeding zip lining, one of our guides squatted down and started talking with her. Because of her small size she would have to traverse the seven runs of stainless steel cables under their supervision. A second or two down the first line, the cool treetop breeze instantly dried off her tears and fueled her with a new-found passion for her new favorite thing to do, while waving “adios!” to us standing atop the trees.

I want to also remember how sweet the staff at a local “bean to bar” chocolate shop were to my kids, engaging with them throughout our workshop where we harvested cacao beans and turned them into chocolate bars. A few less than desirable tasters in our group quickly learned what chocolate is supposed to taste like before we pervert it with oils and sugars and science here in the US. Quickly returning home to “milk” “chocolate,” a few of our group have already forgotten what chocolate truly is.

More than the washed-out dirt roads leading us to random empanada ladies across the country, more than the birds and monkeys that called our Airbnb’s backyard home, more than the fresh fruits eaten right off the trees, I want to remember these precious moments where we’re together as a family, learning together how to enjoy ourselves in another world. Where this immersive adventure travel method yields these memories I hope will empower their individual adventures in the future.

But for now, a table. A table where we sat each morning for a quick bite before swimming. A table that watched us depart every day for another experience to be had. A table that saw us return only to dive back into the pool as the sun set to the west. A table that served as the battleground for our family card games, and a serving tray for our various treats collected throughout the night. Where we would watch the lizards, the monkeys, the raccoons, and the birds nearby.

More than a table, our temporary home away from home. Thanks for the memories (and helping me remember how good Lizano sauce is).