The plan was supposed to go like this....quickly sell our apartment in NYC, have the closing, immediately send the money to our escrow account in Costa Rica, find a place to stay temporarily until my retirement, save money with no mortgage or maintenance payments due, and then fly to Costa Rica to close on our new place and immediately move in.
What happened was that everything got compressed into a short period of time. It took us 6 months to find a buyer and then came hurricane Sandy......and then came the Holiday Season. The movers came to ship some items to Costa Rica. The NYC closing finally happened on the 22nd of January which was a Tuesday and that Thursday we flew to Costa Rica for the closing down there on that Friday. The seller had been patiently waiting for us to close in New York but he requested that the closing take place in Costa Rica as soon as we got the money from our NYC closing- which we had agreed on originally.
We did get lucky and found a place to stay that was within walking distance of work. Much thanks to Elizabeth my coworker. Turns out that she wanted to move out of her 300 square foot apartment but still had a signed lease until the end of February. Lucky us!
The process of clearing out our apartment was a daunting task after almost 10 years of living there.. I had begun to sell my sneaker collection on ebay. I even took some pairs out onto the streets and shouted "size 9 and 1/2 sneakers!.........$25! I lasted all of 2 hours but did manage to sell 1 pair. The last 21 pairs I took to the recreation center where I played ball and gave them away to the kids. No, I didn't ask for money. Ha ha.
We sold many of our music CD's to Second Spin which paid from 75 cents to $5 for selected CD's.
Parting with the large volume of photos began as "Photos to Go Before We Go Photo Inventory Reduction Sale". People would ask if I was "getting rid"of my photos. Pahhleeease! I am an artiste! It was an inventory reduction sale.......at least until my last 2 weeks when it became going away gifts to good friends and relatives and then "please find them a good home" and then "take what you want because I am getting rid of them". I took some but really did not have the space to take them all.
Ebay was great and I was even able to sell some sea fans, an old tape cassette deck, masks from the Dominican Republic, and other extraneous items. Thanks Ceasar!
On to the closing in Costa Rica. We arrived in Costa Rica hoping that the deal was legit and that we would not be losing our lifetime savings. Talk about pressure. The owner allowed us to stay at our new home the night before our closing which shows you how trusting and what a nice guy he is. The next day he picked us up and drove us to the mountain town of San Isidro which is where the closing was to be held. The road there consisted of 45 continuous, nothing but curves after curves after curves after..........car sickness, queasiness, and one major headache. The stress of the entire week's events was taking it's toll.
Anyway, we closed on our new home, got the keys, got home by 5 pm to see our first sunset as homeowners, and then had our big celebration-NOT- we were so tired that we just fell asleep.
Waking up the next day we still felt like we were on vacation and we still had to fly back to NYC for me to complete 30 years of service to receive certain medical benefits if I was to need them back in the USA.
After staying a few days at our new spacious villa with a view of the rain forest, ocean, sunsets, and colorful wildlife I almost had my first anxiety attack back at the tiny NYC apartment. We had saran wrapped the window in the kitchen under which we had stuffed towels and placemats to block out the cold of February. Claustrophobia was setting in. I had to remind myself to take deep breaths and imagine our Costa Rican views. We went from warm, colorful, and bright to cold, gray, and dark.
We had 2 weeks to say our goodbyes-some were emotional, get our papers in order in preparation to receive our residencies and therefore get into the national health care system in Costa Rica. I had 2 retirement lunches. at one of them when i got up with notepapers in hand, my co-worker later told me that it looked as though i was giving a lifetime achievement speech. I guess it was.
At the end of my last day of work I cleared out my desk, gathered my belongings, and walked out into the snowstorm wearing my bear hat (thanks Dave), and carrying my Islands Magazine canvas bag. That was Mother Nature's reminder as to why we were leaving.
Coming next time.............Coincidences and Other Wonders