121. Back to Minnesota (Part 3)

Friday 6/2- (Alarm Sound) BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! It’s 3am again UGH!

I am flying back to MN this morning and I have a 3:30am pickup to head to the airport for my 6am flight. Why do I always end up with such early flights!? The only redeeming factor to this one, though, is that I’ll be landing in MN at 6:45 due to the beauty of flying west through a time zone. Ramie had an early morning too since his hotel was on the other side of the cities, about a 45 minute drive, and he would be the one picking me up.

Back home in MN the first stop (after getting coffee) was back at Taryn & Steven’s house to do the re-pack the suitcase routine: unload the dirty laundry and pick up some clean clothes. Well, actually it was more like load up the car full of as much as we could fit in it because today we’d be heading up to mom & dad’s house and we’d be moving some of our storage stuff from Taryn & Steven’s house to my old bedroom. We packed as many bins and boxes of our stuff as we could into Taylor’s little car and then made our way to my parent’s house to unload and spend the long weekend. Today was a combination of a little bit of work and a little bit of socialization with mom and dad. While the intent was to spend the next few days here spending time with the family, Ramie & I also want to clean out my old bedroom of the things that were left behind from my teenage life and be able to move in the things that we want to keep but don’t want to keep in Costa Rica. We did a little bit of each of those things for the next few hours, and then around dinner time it was time to meet up with my uncle Jason, aunt Vicki & cousin Cole for dinner and some drinks at their favorite local hangout. After our very busy trip so far, plus the traveling out to NJ & my early flight back, I was still exhausted and we didn’t plan to stay very long. Well, the plans didn’t work out that way and we ended up having such a good time that we stayed out way later than we had originally intended! It was a great night, though, and I am really glad we got to hang out with them for the evening. 

I even got to sign the Veteran's wall.
 Saturday 6/3- After our late night last night & still being exhausted, we were very glad that today would be a day of socializing and just enjoying being together with everyone. Nicole, Hieu, Elodie & Luca would be coming up to mom & dad’s for the day so the 8 of us would get to spend time together. We had a great day of playing, reminiscing, and catching up on everything. No work was done, but we were all quite alright with that! 

Sunday 6/4 & Monday 6/5- After our full day of socializing yesterday, we spent a good portion of Sunday & Monday going through all of my treasures from when I was a teenager! There was quite a bit of stuff that was left behind and it was kind of like going through a time capsule. As we were going through it all, we made multiple piles: donate, throw away, and “ooh, look at this cool vintage thing that Taylor might like”… yes, I am in denial that my teenage stuff is now considered “vintage”… I really am not old enough for that!! 😭

It felt very freeing to go through and gett rid of all of this old stuff, and I realize that I probably should have done it a long time ago. It was kind of bittersweet, though, because as I am freeing myself from all of this “stuff” I know that some of the memories that these things trigger may never be thought of again. I do have at least 1 bin, maybe 2, that are still full of keepsakes, so all of the memories contained in those items will still remain accessible.   Unfortunately, we were so immersed in our work that no photos were taken of all of the "stuff".

Tuesday 6/6 & Wednesday 6/7- With our time in MN winding down to our last few days, we were back to making sure that all of the work was done, our stuff was cleaned up, and our luggage was packed with all of our must-have things that were coming back to Costa Rica with us. The problem we were running into was that we had more stuff than we were able to bring back down with us. We were able to bring back a total (between the 2 of us) of 4 checked suitcases at 50 lbs each, 2 carry on overhead bin items, and 2 under the seat personal items. I think we’re truly becoming pros at this suitcase packing thing, though, because we got each of those 4 checked bags at 49.5 lbs, plus maxed out all of the available carry-on space that we could.

There were some items that were originally on the list to bring down with us that ultimately got left behind, but there’s always next time. Our last trip back to MN had us bringing down a lot of stuff for the house & build, this time we were bringing back all sorts of accessories for the ATV, our house, some clothes and some other random things that we had a tough time finding in CR. Unfortunately I didn’t get to bring back a few of the food items that I was really hoping to (sugar free peanut butter & lentil pasta to name 2 of them) but we did make sure to save room for some spices that I haven’t been able to find down there, and Ramie brought back enough candy to last him a little while.

While we’re on the topic, and as a side note, if anyone wants to come visit us in CR, can we go online shopping and ask you to bring a suitcase full of stuff for us? Well, truthfully, it would probably only be a few items, but we could probably fill a whole suitcase if you were truly willing 😉

After the suitcases were packed to their maximums and everything was protected as well as we could, it was time to pack away everything else. All of the winter clothes we’ve been wearing, all of the items that were being left behind because there was no more room in the suitcases, and the last few bins of stuff that Taryn & Steven would continue to store for us, had to be put away in anticipation of them finishing their basement. We did a pretty good job of cleaning out our corner, but we filled up a couple of their other closets in the house instead (at Taryn’s request).

Not bad, not bad at all!

Wednesday evening after everything was put away and there was no more work to do Taryn, Steven, Ramie & I were sitting around relaxing, bonding, and having a couple of drinks, and the conversation ended up on the topic of our currently nameless ATV. I feel like I’m kind of getting desperate for help on coming up with a name because Ramie & I just can’t get on the same wavelength when it comes to this.

We started throwing things out there and getting on google to find alternatives. Since it’s a Wolverine we googled what are some nicknames for a wolverine and found that they are sometimes called Nasty Cat or Skunk Bear and these 2 names ended up in the running. We also searched for alternate names for Wolverine the superhero, names of different Transformers, and just throwing out random things that could be ATV related, scout, mudder, muddy, crawler, noo, none of these will do…. At some point someone threw out the word dusty and that ended up being the one that stuck for both Ramie and me. Now we just had to decide on the spelling for it. Apparently another important decision is whether it is a boy or a girl. All of Ramie’s past vehicles have been boy names and this one could really go either way. Ramie thought about it for a while and decided that it's a girl (and honestly it really didn't matter to me).

Our ATV was officially named, she will now be known as Dusti.

Thursday 6/8- Today is our last full day in the USA for quite a while. For most of our trip we had been talking about how best to get Taylor's car back to her and how we are going to get to the airport. As it turns out, Taylor was having a garage sale this weekend during the city-wide garage sale and we decided that we’d hang out with her at the sale for the day (plus we had a few items that we wanted her to try to sell for us), and then when Dylan got off work, we would all go out for dinner, and he & Taylor would drop us off at the hotel we’d be staying at tonight. 

The weather was finally to our temperature standards, and it ended up being a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy it. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of customers out and about today, but we sure enjoyed our day together regardless. 

Who'd have thought- I actually got some sun in MN while sitting out at the garage sale!

When Dylan got home from work we moved all of our suitcases from Taylor’s car into his truck and made our way to the other end of the cities to near the airport. The first stop was our hotel where they waited for us to go check in and drop our bags off in our room, and then it was time to head out for one more dinner in the US. We spent the next couple of hours talking and laughing, but sadly, we couldn’t hang out all night and it soon became time to say our goodbyes, as we have to be at the airport at 4am. They dropped us off back at the hotel and some tears were shed while saying goodbye. You can tell Ramie and Taylor have a special bond.



Friday 6/9- (Alarm Sound) BEEP BEEP BEEP!!! It’s 3am! UGH –that dang 3am alarm clock just never goes away, it kind of feels like Groundhog Day!

Today would be another long travel day, the first flight out of Minneapolis was at 6am, and it was actually on time (we have been really lucky this whole trip! Maybe our travel luck is changing for the better). 

Well, not so fast. We got stuck on the tarmac in Miami due to what appeared to be a different jet going the “wrong way” down a one-way taxiway. Once all of that was cleared and we got off the plane we only had a short time to get to our connection. Fortunately, we were only a few gates down from where we had to be. Just as we were walking up to the gate they started boarding. That gave me just enough time for a quick bathroom break and then hopped on the next leg of our trip.

We landed in San Jose at about 1:15. Depending on the number of other flights landing at the same time, the line to get through immigration can sometimes take quite a long time, but luckily for us, now that our residency is complete, we get to use one of our new perks! We got to go through the nationals’ line, which is very often much shorter than the one that the tourists have to go through. I’m sure there were plenty of people looking at us wondering what these 2 Gringos were doing in this line!  We were shocked at how quickly we made it through immigration.  We had our luggage, didn’t get “pulled over” at customs for anything suspicious in our bags, and met our driver by about 2:00.

With the early flight and tight turn-around time in Miami, we hadn’t eaten anything but some airplane snacks at all today, so when Ramie reached out to our driver to tell him we had landed, he had also made the request that we stop somewhere to grab some food. We truly didn’t want to make this day any longer than it had to be, so when he offered a cute restaurant that he knew, we told him we’d rather just hit the Burger King drive through across the highway from the airport and eat on the road. He was ok with that, so that’s exactly what we did. We made it back to our house in Uvita at about 5:30, thankful that this travel day was only about 15.5 hours, compared to the 22 hours it took for us to get to MN 3 weeks ago.

Back at home we didn’t have any quick or easy dinner options and didn’t particularly feel like eating out again, so we opted to just have popcorn for dinner, took out just a few things from our carry-on bags that needed to be put away, and were in bed by 7:30. Yes, our very own bed, there is nothing like it! Everything else could wait for tomorrow! We were exhausted after 3 weeks of non-stop running around, moving from house to house & living out of a suitcase while we were back in MN, but the trip to the homeland was worth it!

Until next time USA…  

Pura Vida