A new apartment. A new flight ticket. And eventually everything makes sense.

While you were wraping and unwraping (ideally not the same ones) Christmas presents I’ve packed moving boxes with our belongings. We have a new apartment! The lease of our old one in Sunnyvale expired and we had been looking for alternatives. We wanted to move a bit closer to Stanford – the commuting was a little bit annoying for Matthias, and a little bit expensive for me.

But the closer to Stanford, the more expensive the rent gets and the more shabby the apartment.

But then. An ad, too good to be true. An apartment with patio in Palo Alto for only $ 2100 *). We have a look at it and we like it and we want it and – we get it!

*) Yes. It IS cheap! In Silicon Valley you pay much and get less. Apartments are small and their standard is way below the one we are used in Austria! But although our apartment in Vienna is just gorgeous and with a great view – here, with garage-sale-furniture, I am equally happy 🙂

So we rent a truck (U-Haul is best! The right one is ours) and move on to Palo Alto.

And our new home? We have to make a few compromises. Kitchen and bathroom are very, VERY old and it is not as sunny. Eh, sure, now we live in Palo Alto and not in Sunnyvale anymore… But positive aspects are: the patio, the location and the windows! Finally the windows close tight! This will dramatically reduce our heating costs! Besides, it is bigger as well. And the most important thing: we like it!

Our new living room:

The kitchen, with view to the dining area…

…the living room with view to the dining area

And – the bathroom:

And this is Leland:

He drops by daily and says hello. And then he gets a walnut – his favorite nuts.

What about the flight ticket? Where to?

Despite of all the sunshine – my visa and thus my residence permit ends once again. Again, I have long considered what I will do. I had already thought of returning to Austria – this limbo in which I have been living for almost two years now, never knowing how long you will be where, is often not that easy. It is a great exercise to live in the here and now … But I think I have learned this lesson now and therefore I want to take a step forward.

My first step leads me into an airplane. The pilots task is to bring it to Costa Rica. Yes. Costa Rica.

Costa Rica? How boring, Kiki was already there…

Right. But my Spanish is not perfect yet. And I still have good contact with my familia. And then the tickets were so cheap. And my familia is looking forward to having me.

And besides, I’ve been trying to write a book for months. And I never find enough time and peace – there is always something that seems to be more important.

In my little village, San Gerardo, in the mountains of Costa Rica, there is not so much you can do and therefore not much distraction. And so, my computer (of course, it has a name too: Gretchen), my camera and I retrieve there – and write.

I’ll come back in the US in March 21. Then I’ll let you know how the journey through my life continues.

Two months Costa Rica. Two months for my book project.

My boss of the NGO, for which I worked last time as a volunteer, is very excited that I come back.

“Oh, please, please, could you make photos for the website again? I love your pictures!”

Hmmm, sure! And in return I may use the internet in the hostel for free 🙂

Speaking of pictures – here are some of Santa Barbara. We celebrated New Year’s Eve there with a colleague of Matthias and made a nice beach walk with her and dog Knut on New Year’s Day.


We are lucky. It’s  low tide and we see some nice tide pools.


With that said I say goodbye to California 🙂 Even though I will probably write more on my book than on my blog – I’ll keep you posted what adventures are waiting for me this time!

Muchos besos,

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