Growing up in Costa Rica

Could you imagine growing up in Costa Rica?

Growing up in Costa Rica at Casa Orquideas offered a very different childhood, to say the least, from what most of you are familiar with. A normal daily routine on the farm was to get up early, have breakfast, work in the gardens, swim, take a nap, work some more, swim again, have dinner, and go to bed. When it was time to go to school, I would have about 4 hours of classes in the morning with a tutor.

Costa Rica beach
Growing up in paradise.

Fresh Foods from the Farm

After I completed my chores, being able to swim freely in the warm Pacific Ocean just a few steps from the house made my life paradise. I would always help out doing whatever I could around the farm. Mom trained me very early to be able to tell when foods were ready to be picked. That is probably the earliest and strongest memory I have: picking cherry tomatoes, cutting okra, hunting squashes in a squash patch, picking corn and many other edibles fresh out of the garden. My parents would try growing almost any new plant that was offered to them; we even planted asparagus once.

Mom and Dad loved working on the farm and made use of whatever was around. I remember when I became old enough to go with Dad to harvest bananas, plantains, pineapples, yucca (manihot), and other items that were planted farther away from the house. The local people were very generous about sharing their knowledge of local foods and taught us well.

Organic vanilla beans from Casa Orquideas
Dad with his vanilla bean harvest.

After a day of harvesting, swimming, and playing Mom always managed to put an amazing dinner on the table. This usually consisted of fresh fish, caught by Dad or my brother as he got older, yucca, sweet potatoes, or some other kind of starch, and fresh vegetables from the garden.

Walking around the farm to find foods.
The family out to harvest food.

Evening Entertainment

After dinner the four of us would play card games for a while or read. My parents loved to read and always had a good source of books to choose from. They would trade books with other foreigners living in the area or with visitors who would come by sail boat. During most of my childhood we did not have a television set, so other forms of entertainment were implemented.

Continue reading other blogs to come as I tell my story of growing up in this beautiful country.