What a wonderful response! Let me try to answer all of your questions: We have rented a home near Atenas through the end of March. If we love it there (which we think we will), we will either continue on in the home we have rented, or find a different home if we find we need more space, would like to try another town, etc. We will probably stay for all of 2013. We are leaving the future beyond that open. We know we want to continue to travel, but we will decide where and for how long a few months before making a move. I predict we will stay in Central and South America until we master Spanish, and then visit a few more affordable countries in Europe, like Prague and Budapest. Ideally, in the coming years, we will be comfortable enough financially to afford an extended stay in the south of France or in Holland, where my sister and her family live.
We have enough savings to pay for our initial 3 month stay in Costa Rica, but my husband will continue to work from "home." I am hoping to find a way to bring in some income eventually, probably virtually as well.
I studied Spanish for 4 years in high school, and knew enough to carry on a comfortable conversation. I then learned French, and unfortunately lost a lot of my Spanish! I'll describe it as the "new" French word for something actually replaced the Spanish word in my brain. I'm freshening up on the basics of Spanish now before we head out, and I'm hoping things will "click" back after a few weeks of being submerged in the culture.
We do not know anyone there really. We have been introduced via phone to a family down there by our mutual real estate agent. Also, a friend of ours knows another family that winter in Costa Rica, and they plan to introduce us to them as well. I will be looking for mommy groups once we arrive! I'm wondering if maybe I could even make friends with other moms by meeting up for a Spanish-English language swap.
The "Pura Vida" lifestyle is something I'm really looking forward to! I'm much more interested in enjoying life while my kids are growing, rather than stressing about the future!
We are interested in finding a more rural home after we are comfortable in our new surroundings. We decided on renting a gated home in a town with lots of ex-pats and locals to ease into the new place as safely as possible with little kids. It is a higher elevation than you experienced, so the weather should be less humid. It sounds like an incredible place to live, and I really am excited to see how the next year unfolds!
Thanks for reassuring me that this is a great decision for my family!