When we tell people "we are moving to Costa Rica for a year with the kids" most people jump to the assumption that we are going to home school the kiddos for the year. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! We love our kids and they love us. But let's be serious...the Gavin Fam would have an intergenerational war on its hands after a year of home schooling.
In reality, the choice of a school is ultimately what drove the choice of location (not the other way around). We started off looking at school options all over Costa Rica. I won't bore you with the details re: how we narrowed down our list but if you ARE curious and want to know more, I'm happy to share the details.
Long and short of it is that after a whole lot of online research (including stalking people with blogs like this...people who wrote about THEIR experiences as ex-pats at various schools) and one super-productive trip to see a few of the schools in person, Audrey and I crossed our fingers and hoped that The European School would have openings for our kiddos in the 2014-15 year. Which they did (phew)!
More on the school in a bit. But for now...check out the link for yourself...
When I first wrote this blurb, we had only been in the house for a few weeks and were wondering just what we were going to think about living this far out of town for the year. But I gotta tell you, this location has really grown on us. Not only do we like being up in the mountains a bit (super quiet, great views, nice fresh air, etc.). We have also grown to really like the little towns around us.
We are between San Rafael de Heredia and San Isidro de Heredia but I would say we think of ourselves as being in San Rafael b/c that's the town we drive through on our way to school with the kids. It's a fantastic little town once you get to know it. A nice restaurant on the corner of the park. Beautiful big church. Great market day. Ice cream store. A few smaller restaurants and pizza places. Awesome organic market and coffee shop. And so on. Even up in the hills around the town there are some cool little restaurants looking out on the valley below. And driving just out of town you hit Monte de la Cruz (a great place to go for a short hike with the kids before hanging out on the playground).
San Isidro is a nice place too. Great fruit market and bakeries. Smoothie shops. Etc. And it is close to the club where the kids take swimming lessons (Lomas del Zurqui) and where Jack takes tennis lessons (interestingly enough...from a guy who was the head tennis pro at the Cohasset Country Club in MA for 20 years...talk about a small world!?!).
Even Heredia itself (not exactly a quaint little town like San Rafael and San Isidro has grown on us. Sushi, Carribean food, etc. are all readily available. There is an AutoMercado for when we need our fix of American brands at the grocery store (they just added Maine's on Stonewall Kitchen this month). You get the gist. It's a nice little area to live in as long as you can stay up here and avoid going into San Jose! : )