Isn’t it everyone’s dream to quit their job and move to some far away, exotic place? I think most might call that a pipe dream. Or maybe even a midlife crisis, but it’s what I’ve decided to do and it all started with a shark dive trip to the Bahamas and literally, a point of the finger on a map!

So here I am in Costa Rica about to start my IDC, the 1st step in my journey to a new life. I arrived in San Jose Sunday, June 8th, and was greeted by the mobs of taxis, shuttles and countless “helpful” individuals, eagerly willing to find me a ride to wherever I needed. After poo-pooing several offers, alas, I met “Tony”. He owns a private shuttle and has some sort of a tour business. Tony’s Tours. A Costa Rican native, Tony promises that he is the best tour guide in the country since he knows “all things Costa Rica”. After negotiating a price I could handle, off I went with Tony on a 3 hour drive through this beautiful country, down to Manuel Antonio. More about “Tony” and our adventure, later.

Tony drove me straight (well, not quite) to the dive shop just outside of Quepos, and, with a hug and a kiss, he was gone. I was greeted by JT and some of the other students and was shown around the lush, tropical grounds of what is, Hostel Pilinio/Oceans Unlimited. Words cannot describe the magnitude of beauty that Costa Rica possesses. (Pics to follow)

One of my future classmates, Patrick, the resident vagabond who had recently completed his DM here and I, decided to get in the pool and practice some skills.  It was refreshingly surprising to work with him and to equally recognize the difference in training we each had received. So much fun to see and learn new and different techniques and to show off ones that I was familiar with, that he was not. What a great day!

I chose the “Homestay” option for convenience, which is a room with a local family that provides a room, 3 squares and laundry services for $100/week, which is a great deal. However, after settling in at my “new home” for the next 2 weeks, I had no idea just how GREAT of a deal this was. Siday, the house mother, is a GEM! She has taken me in like a sister and her stories, cooking and general hospitality is unsurpassed! More on this later, as well.

Our first day, as 3 new divemasters, was particularly nerve wracking. The anticipation of what’s to come, was eating at all of us. And personally, my intimidation of Georgia, strictly due to the fact that I know she is this crazy, experienced, tech diver that will surely think to herself “what is this woman doing? She needs to NOT quit her day job”, was stressing me out. BIG TIME.

My fears were quickly dismissed when we started our first class. She is warm and funny and simply wonderful. So full of knowledge and quick to share it without judgment. I feel like I’ve been here forever, but in a good way. The class was informative but went pretty fast and JT finished us off with a fun-filled pool session of skills. Laughs were not a shortage, but neither was the knowledge and “pointers”. Thanks Georgia and JT for everything today, looking forward to what tomorrow brings and more importantly, what Siday has cooking for dinner!