About Pura Vida

Pura Vida is a phrase I learned while living and studying in Costa Rica. Ticos (Costa Ricans) use it in so many ways it’s dizzying. It literally means “pure life” but of course the definition of a pure life differs from person to person. For a grandmother, it may mean teaching her grandchildren how to avoid being wasteful. For a young professional, it may mean finding work/life balance. For a dedicated surfer, it may mean relaxing at the beach all day. CR culture generally values spirituality (they are mostly Catholic), peace (they have no army), and living green/healthy.  But they also use “pura vida” to mean awesome. As in “Beyonce es pura vida” for so many reasons.

Of course I do not seek to represent Ticos. I was blessed to be briefly immersed in their culture, but in no way do I claim to be an expert or role model.

Pure Vida is important to me because it became a motto for me and my closest friend. Call it corny, but we met in an intermediate Spanish class in CR and just hit it off. We traveled around CR together and later other countries as well. We visited each other and built on our idea of Pura Vida over the years.

For us, Pura Vida meant living life to the fullest, and appreciating it to the fullest. Even when work is stressful. Even when you have to save extra for a trip. Even when you get dumped. Even when your biggest celebration today was finding time to eat cereal.

Even when her cancer returned. Even in hospice. Even at the end.

So I’m creating this blog to share some Pura Vida with the world. I hope that I can demonstrate at least a fraction of the positivity and energy she did, and I hope you’ll embrace it to brighten your life as well.


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