Monday, July 23, 2012

Busy Little Bees

Well we have been pretty busy the past several days! We officially took over on Wednesday, July 18th.  We had a few walk-ups and Nick and Rob started on the stairs to our room. 
The hole is cut!

 The landing is up
Putting the stairs together

Almost done

The stairs are done now except for the handrail. They look great! They also made a TV stand out of driftwood that goes under the stairs. I will post more pictures when they are completely done.

Saturday and Sunday were VERY busy! We were all sold out! Woo-Hoo!!! We had a group of about 25 from the Peace Corps stay with us Saturday night, along with the other people we already had. They were very excited to have a weekend off of their training, and we were very excited to have them choose Brisa del Mar! Sunday we had to clean all of the rooms...this took most of the day. Thank God for the clouds that were out...they helped with the heat...a little.
Peace Corps Group (Well at least some of them)

Today we got to take a little break. Nick and Rob went surfing this morning, and I went on a bike ride (Pictures of our bikes to come later). I went to the beach for a little while, cleaned one room and did laundry. Nick made some signs for the cabinas and Rob painted the table. We all took a little nap, which is the first time that we have been able to do that since we have been here. It was good to have a little time to relax after a busy weekend.

Don't forget to go to our Facebook page and "Like" it! at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1st project....and friends

Yesterday Nick and Rob started cutting wood for our stairs. We went back to Jaco for some more errands. Didn't get bikes, but we did get an American washing machine, an A/C for our upstairs room, a new 4 burner range for the outdoor kitchen and a pressure cooker. Hopefully we will get bikes today. Yesterday afternoon we went back to Tulin (Nick corrected my spelling of it) to get more wood. Dina, Dennis, Dakota and a guest (Chris) came with us. We got more wood for the stairs, and more wood for the outdoor hang-out area. Nick and Rob also got us some fresh coconuts, yum! :)
Some of the driftwood we collected

Cutting the stairs from driftwood

Finished Stairs

Animal Update:
We have adopted a kitten. The mama cat has lived here for about a year, and she had 3 kittens. Garfield (Dakota named him) is going to a local across the street for his daughter. Angel is going to our monthly couple, and we are keeping Ninjetti (Nick and Rob named her).
 This is Ninjetti!
 Ninjetti climbing a tree
 My little boy is so cute! He was watching his daddy cut the wood!
Black squirrel that lives on the property! He was about a foot away from me....he wanted food!

Nick, Rob and Dennis went jet skiing again this morning to do tow-ins. It is cloudy today so far, so I haven't been to the beach.

 Front of the Cabinas
View from #9....yes that's the ocean!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


This morning Nick, Rob and I went to Touline to get some wood to build an outdoor hang-out area. We scavenged the beach for 11ft. pieces of driftwood that were straight. Nick and Rob plan on tearing down the carport sometime next week and building a lean-to hang-out area in it's place. We have to been able to do any updates/renovations/etc. yet. We have been busy getting the car and jet ski. Nick and Rob are currently on their way to San Jose to pick up OUR first customer...a young american guy who will be staying with us for a month and a half! We will officially take over on July 18th. I have been doing Rosetta Stone, but it is so much to remember! Rob is awesome at Spanish and everyone is so impressed with him. He has been helping me too. We try to talk to each other as much as we can in Spanish. Hopefully it will start flowing soon!

Our new car and jet ski!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving Day

Well, we have safely made it to Costa Rica. We arrived here on July 11th, and it has taken a few days to get the chance to update you all. Our friend, partner, and now family member Rob decided to write a running diary of the events of the day we left. I have copied his diary from his blog and I am going to add to it our thouhgts/feelings/actions. Rob’s commentary is in blue, mine is in red. Here goes: July 11th, 2012…
12:30 am: Even though we went to bed early, I have still not been able to fall asleep. I have looked at the clock so many times and sighed to myself…”only 30 minutes have passed…ugh! “I am getting nowhere and keeping Nick awake…so I move to another bedroom and hope to catch maybe a few hours of sleep. Tons of things are rolling through my mind: How will the animals do tomorrow? Will we miss our plane? How will the flights be? What is the first thing we need to do when we get there? And so the night goes…

2:40 am: Kenetha (Nick’s mom) comes to wake us up (our alarm was set for 3:00)

3:15 am: We start driving with all of our luggage, Tiger (cat) and Snickers (dog) to the airport.

4:50 am: We arrive at the airport and start putting Snickers and Tiger in their cages…Tiger goes in fine (he likes to sleep in his cage as a ‘house’), but Snickers on the other hand…we had to force him in…I felt so bad L

5:03 am:  (Rob) Rolling my suitcase through the doors of Myrtle Beach International Airport as I see Nick and Liz with their respective Moms and Dads in tow and a mountain of luggage in front of the Delta counter.  Our bill of laden: Half a workshop’s worth of tools, chainsaw, pots & pans, fishing tackle, sunblock, pictures of family and friends, my Xbox (hey, it streams Netflix and plays DVD’s), cameras, baseball glove, and whatever clothing we could fit in the cracks.

5:27 am. (Rob) First luggage snafu: There’s a disagreement over the interpretation of Delta’s overweight/multiple checked bag policy.  Nick’s argument has laid waste to 2 separate counter agents, their supervisor, and he’s now threatening to get Delta headquarters on the phone.  I’m glad he’s on my side.
5:41 am. (Rob) 3 people, a dog, and a cat, successfully through security.  (Liz) We had to take the animals out of their cages and walk through the scanner with them in our hands…so I, again, had to force Snickers back in his cage. (Rob) I’m suddenly feeling halfway home.  Give my family a final wave from the other side, and head for the escalator.  Man that was tough.  

6:30 am: (Liz) I slipped Snickers a sedative to help calm his nerves, and then a woman from Delta approached Nick and I and asked if we would like to move up to economy seats (like that is a question). Apparently someone had thrown up in our seat. Hey maybe this day isn’t gonna be so bad after all…too bad it wasn’t our long flight.

8:40 am.  (Rob) We’ve touched down in Atlanta and I’m eating the last American breakfast I’ll have for a while.  It’s a sausage, egg, and cheese bagel from McDonalds.  What else. (Liz)  I had a bacon egg and cheese biscuit and Nick had a stinky steak egg and cheese bagel…and score, we got a free hashbrown!
9:15 am.  (Rob) Nick suggests we shave our hair into Euro Mullets when we land.  I see lots of opportunities for hair/beard creativity over the next year.
10:00 am.  (Rob) And we’re in the air.  Time to make up… some.. shut.. zzzzzz (Liz) Yes, Rob was out before we even took off! I got a nap in, but it did not make up for the lack of sleep the past 2 weeks. Nick played Angry Birds pretty much the whole time since our TVs didn’t work…one more thing to complain to Delta about.

12:50 pm.(Rob)  We’ve made it through customs without much trouble other than the Disney-esque line for our entry visas.  Nick and Liz have been called over for a double check of their animals’ paperwork while I play a game of Tetris with a tiny hand cart and 75 pound suitcases.  They’re falling, passers-by are unsympathetic. (Liz) This was pretty funny…sorry Rob haha!
2:24 pm. (Rob) Yeeeeeeww! Costa!  We’re here baby! I have a good feeling.
3:00 pm.  (Rob) The surf is mixed up because of the afternoon on-shore winds and there’s a storm brewing, so we’re unpacking and heading to the supermercado for some necessities.  I’m still being surprised by the things that I did and didn’t remember to pack so I just opt for a couple big bottles of Imperial.  We bring home some take out from a small Tico buffet which ends up serving as our dinner because (SPOILER ALERT) we’re exhausted and pass out shortly after sunset.

~July 12th~ We spent all day riding around San Jose looking for a car. We finally found one. A 1997 Hyundai Galloper 4 door diesel. The guy said he will fix the a/c, clutch and fog light that is out for free, but it may take a few we go out and about waiting for his call. On our outing we go to is very different here! 
1. the parking lot is almost empty 
2. it is 2 stories 
3. things are way more expensive that the Walmarts in America, for example ONE beanbag chair is $70!!!
Finally the mechanic  calls us is going to take longer so we will have to come back and get it tomorrow. 
~July 13th~
It is tomorrow and the car is still not ready...he is on true Tico time...never in a hurry for anything. 
Hopefully we will be able to get the car tomorrow and go to the store. We do not have everything we need right shampoo or conditioner for example. I washed my hair with soap tonight and that was a mistake...maybe I should have just left it stinky and is now so stiff and dry it feels like straw...oh conditioner, I need you soon!
Another obstacle today...I met the washing machine...or what they call a washing machine in Costa Rica. You have to use a water hose to fill it up to wash, drain it, use the water hose to fill it up to rinse, drain it, and then transfer it to a separate spinner. This almost made me cry! How am I going to wash all the sheets and towels for the cabins like that? We started looking on CR Craigslist for automatic washers...again, they are more expensive here. ...Just another expense we had not planned on. 
Tomorrows plan: beach for some sun and maybe some surfing for me...since it is small. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Cabinas

Go to our Facebook page and 'like' our page. Once we get down there (on July 11th) we will start updating the Facebook page with pictures and information about the progress of the transition of the business.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's not Goodbye, it's I'll see you Later

Yesterday, July 7th, I spent my last beach day (at Wrightsville Beach) with my best friends. I love these girls SOOO much and I have been blessed with their friendship.
Erin: My first TRUE friend! We have been through a lot over the years. We have made it through one move, I'm sure we will make it through this. I love you so much!
Cameron: Call Me, Maybe! You are so spunky and sweet, you always bring a smile to my face!
Candace: You have always been there for me, through thick and thin, you have been my mentor, advisor and friend.

Thank you girls so much for showing me true friendship! I love you all so much and cherish all the time we have spent together. I BETTER see you in Costa soon!

Going Away Party for Rob, Nick and Liz

My sister, Holly and I

The Whole Gang

Thank you to Erin and Candace for throwing a going away party for us! It was a perfect way to say good-bye to all of our friends and spend some quality time together before we leave. We are so blessed to have so many friends who love us! Our time in Wilmington has truly been amazing, because of the people we have spent it with. 

This is definitely the hardest part! I started to get emotional last night when Erin and I were laying in the  bed and she said "I can't believe you are leaving, I'm going to miss you so much!" Thankfully, Haley then came in and jumped on us to lighten up the situation! 

Thank you everyone for your love, support and friendships. You will be greatly missed, but you are EXPECTED to come visit us soon! We love you so much! 
~Nick and Liz

Friday, July 6, 2012

Taking the Leap

On a warm, sunny day in April of 2012 in a small Costa Rican lawyer's office with no air conditioning, we made a huge, life changing decision. Nick and I, along with our friend Rob, signed a three year lease to manage a surf hostel in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica. The start date is July 15th. Hopefully this will answer all of your questions.

Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Nick and I have always loved to travel. Between the two of us we have traveled all over the world, and many of our trips have been together. We have been to Costa Rica several times and have always loved it. Last summer we spent half of June and all of July traveling through Central America. I think it was then that we really realized how this way of life made us feel, and we yearned to keep that feeling. Ever since then we have been looking for a way to move there. The opportunity to run Cabinas Brisa Del Mar was the answer. It just so happened that our friend Rob was looking for a way to live the Pura Vida as he became our partner.

Q: How did this come about?
A: Well, Nick and I have actually stayed at Brisa Del Mar several times. We have always loved the area, the people, the scenery, the food, the waves...basically...everything about the place! Nick got to know the owners several years ago, and just on a whim emailed Dennis to see if he needed anyone to run the place. Months went by and we heard nothing. We had actually looked at other avenues on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and even in Panama. Then, out of the blue, Dennis emailed Nick and it all went from there. Nick, Rob and I went to Hermosa and stayed in the Cabinas over spring break and made everything official.

Q: What part of Costa Rica are you moving to?
A: We will be living about 50 yards from the beach in Playa Hermosa de Jaco. It is about 1 hour from San Jose.

Q: What exactly will you be doing there? Are you just going to be surf/beach bums?
A: We WILL be working. We actually have a lot to do! We are taking over a business and will be handling all of the day to day business details. When we first arrive on July 11th we need to clean the place up. It needs some TLC that it hasn't gotten in the past few years: landscaping, paint, upgrades. And we will be busy working on the second story of our house, which is where Nick and I will stay. We have gotten rid of all of the previous employees, so we will be responsible for all of the maintenance, cleaning, landscaping, etc. All of this is of course made better by the fact that yes, we will be able to enjoy our surroundings too :).
After we get settled we have a lot of plans and ideas to add to the business: bike rentals, surf board repair, sales and rentals, crafts, snacks, laundry services, the possibilities are endless.

Q:What about your houses, cars, boats, etc?
A: Well, we are keeping our 3 houses in Wilmington. Our good friends Kyle, Evan and Dee are living in our house. Holly, my sister is living int he condo, and we have a tenant in our downtown house. Evan is going to be our property manager. As for the cars, boats, jet ski...they are all gone! It was very sad to see some of them go, but that is a choice we had to make.

Q: Are you taking your animals?
A: OF COURSE! Snickers and Tiger are coming with us! They will be flying under our seats on the plane and we have all of their paperwork taken care of. They will not have to be quarantined, thank God! Costa Rica is the only country that you do not have to quarantine the animals.

Q:Are you sad/excited/nervous?
A: Yes. We are all of the above. We are sad to leave our friends and family, but plan on seeing them in Costa Rica, and our visits back home. We are super excited for our new adventure and what will come of it. I am mainly nervous about getting down there....that is going to be a LONG day...and Ihope the animals do well!

Q: Can we come visit?
A: OF COURSE!!!  We have 11 rooms and 29 beds ready to accommodate you! All rooms have a/c, wifi, hot water and cable tv. But I guarantee you will not want to stay in your room much once you see the area!