I was weeding through old photos and came across some that were taken of my shop in early 2008 while contemplating whether to rent the space or not. It’s still hard for me to believe that things panned out how they did. It was such an unplanned opportunity! When I left LA, believe it or not, my real interest was to focus on writing. Not professionally, but just to take some time to hear myself think and creatively write. Having a jewelry shop was definitely not even an idea that I had imagined.
Upon my arrival here in CR, I traveled for three months with a friend from Italy all over the country in a VW bus pop top, camping everywhere, taking baths in waterfalls, basically just being f-r-e-e. It was one hell of an adventure!! The trip ended in Tamarindo where my travel mate had friends. I didn’t have a plan so I decided to rent a small house for a month and just kinda’ hang out and start thinking about what my game plan was. (Truth be told, I was never a huge fan of Tamarindo as a tourist. When I would visit CR, I preferred to be in off the beaten path places – you know – jungle, pristine deserted beaches, small villages. Tamarindo doesn’t really fit into those categories.)
One evening I was sitting alone at a local restaurant (Nougi’s for those of you who are familiar with Tamarindo) having a sunset beer and started chatting with this guy sitting next to me at the bar. He said he was a potter with a studio in town and invited me to come check it out. Being an artsy kinda’ gal, the following day I went to have a look-see. Next door to his studio there was a small retail space that sold jewelry — mostly touristy kinda’ stuff with shells and wooden beads, nothing too fancy, but the shop was always closed. I asked pottery guy about it and he said a friend of his owned the shop, but the guy ran multiple businesses and just didn’t have time to run this one. He was trying to get out of his lease. For whatever reason, a small nudge inside said “Oh really!? Very interesting.” The gears in my brain slowly started turning.
I arranged to meet with the friend to see the inside of the space and just get a bit more information. The shop decor was definitely (**ahem**) “rustic” on the inside. The floor was gravel and covered with a few different patterned sheets of rolled linoleum, the walls were covered practically from floor to ceiling with stuff.
The space had some great features once you looked past all the clutter. Windows all along the storefront, wooden beamed ceilings, great natural light, and it was right in front of the beach (hello!!).
At this same time, the VW bus travel mate invited me to go to Italy for an indefinite amount of time. I’ve never been to Europe, and so that was kinda’ appealing, but I had my reservations. I’d been aiming to come live in Costa Rica, not Italy. But since I was at a transition in my life, I was open to anything that unfolded in front of me as a potential open door that maybe should be walked through.
Obviously, where ever I ended up, I needed to figure out what I was going to do for work. I’d saved up enough money to live off for about a year, but a year passes quickly! I needed to be thinking about where I wanted to live and what I was going to do to feed myself. The possibility of actually doing jewelry full-time started to seem like an option. But still, I was not 100% convinced that Tamarindo was where I needed to be or opening a boutique was what I needed to be doing.
The friend and I began talking about his lease and what he wanted to do with it. His idea was to sell me everything in his shop and pay him the nearly $3000 that he was behind on his rent so he could get out of the lease. Obviously, I didn’t want the stuff in the shop and I wasn’t about to pay $3000 for his back rent. He had the impression that since I was a “gringa” — I was more than likely wealthy. He definitely misjudged that one! The value of the few things in the shop that I wanted totaled a few hundred dollars at best. Plus, the space really needed some serious interior decorating, TLC and remodeling.
I didn’t see him for about a week after that, I looked around for him, but we just didn’t cross paths. I chatted with my inner circle about the potential opportunity, and understandably, most were a little wary of the idea. (They probably thought I was going to end up coming to my senses and return to LA instead of chasing this fantasy of living in CR!) Still I thought …..m-a-y-b-e this would work out. And if it didn’t…? It wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it? I also still had this Italy thing on the table. I was confused and cautious. With either choice, I’d be digging into my savings to live off while either idea fully launched to a place where I’d have an income again. If I made the wrong decision I could potentially eat through my savings and have nothing — leaving me only to return to LA. That just couldn’t happen!!
I’m not a religious person, I do have a deep belief in God, and any time in my life that I’ve found myself in a truly confused place, if I simply ask, I get clear directions. So that’s what I did. I went to the beach, sat on a rock, watched the sunset, and laid it all out. I asked for a sign that would let me know without a doubt what I should do.
Over the next few days I just thought and thought. The more I considered Italy, the more I came to the conclusion that it was not the right choice. I’d go through so much more money, I didn’t know the language, it just wasn’t feeling right. On the other hand, I started envisioning the little shop. What I would do it if I rented it. How I’d set things up. I decided to talk with the friend regarding the money and offer him a low, very random, odd-numbered amount, something that he wouldn’t just pull up on his own. I wrote the number down in my journal and decided that if he agreed, I’d take it as a sign that this was for sure where I needed to be.
That evening, we ran into each other, he said he’d been trying to find me for days. He’d been considering our negotiations and had come way down in the price. He offered me the exact random, odd number that I had written down. I smiled, got goosebumps and took this as my divine answer that the shop was where I needed to be. We struck a deal and I spent the next month and half remodeling the shop. I’ll have to write and post photos about that experience of one of these days! I opened my doors in May 2008 and every year since has only gotten better.
Fast forward to today and I know without a doubt that I made the right choice by moving to Costa Rica and opening the boutique. My space, my life and my way of being has been completely transformed in many stages over the years. I’ve arrived at a place that makes me feel like I’m home in a way I never did before. In fact, I’ve grown to really love this little town of Tamarindo!
It’s a crazy little story and I often think of all the times I came to Tamarindo. I went to the bar right next door to where my shop is, bought clothing from the store that was upstairs from where I am now, and walked by what is now my shop many times. Never once knowing that that little corner held my future! Just goes to show you, you never know what’s coming down the pipeline at you and what path your life may end up on. It’s the excitement of that unknown that makes life amazing.