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Warmer than Canada

A Family Gap Year in the Era of Trump

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katiequirkauthor

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On the Road in Latin America

Imagine dedicating a year to exploring Latin America. That's exactly what my friends Keith and Michele Bailey did. This month as part of my Warmer Than Canada series highlighting other families' gap years abroad, I was fortunate to interview the... Continue Reading →

A year on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Here at Warmer Than Canada, I’m launching a new series featuring other families’ adventures abroad. As part of the series, I recently interviewed friends whose kids opted for full Spanish immersion in one of Costa Rica’s public schools. This month,... Continue Reading →

Call for stories: other family gap years

So far Warmer Than Canada has offered a deep dive into my family’s gap year in Monteverde, Costa Rica. As wonderful as our year was, we realize it was just one approach to enjoying family time abroad. As a result,... Continue Reading →

Multigenerational Travel in Costa Rica

I recently published a travel article in The Boston Globe about a ten-day hiking and birding trip my family took with visiting grandparents in Costa Rica. We arranged our travel around three of Costa Rica’s northern regions known for their... Continue Reading →

El Regreso

We've been back in the States for about half a year now. In many ways, the return has felt quite seamless: we're in the same house with Maine woods out our back door and a short walk to town out... Continue Reading →

Public Schools Abroad

Finding the right school for our kids during our family's year abroad factored heavily into our choice of location. For a number of reasons, we ended up choosing a private, bilingual school. Nevertheless, once we were in Monteverde, I found... Continue Reading →

Parenting Abroad

Raising kids abroad can be liberating. In some ways, expat parents have the best of both worlds: they can adopt local family norms (insisting, for example, that their kids formally greet adults, as local children do) or they can chart... Continue Reading →

Comic Book Care Packages

Our family is composed of library junkies. In Maine, we visit our fabulous public library at least once a week and reliably stumble back home home under the weight of tote bags overloaded with books. Maybe it was the years... Continue Reading →

Fresh Perspectives: Climate Change

We're back in the States after our family's gap year, discovering the many ways in which life in Central America has offered us fresh perspectives. There have been some lifestyle changes--more on that in a few weeks--but today I want... Continue Reading →

Traveling with Kids

Over the course of our family's year in Central America, we had a base in Monteverde, Costa Rica, but we also did quite a bit of traveling. Our first month was spent in Guatemala around Lake Atitlan; we also explored... Continue Reading →

Packing for a Family Gap Year

Moving your family abroad for a year does not come without its challenges. In the month before we left, I wondered if all of the packing could possibly be worth it. Now that we're months into our stay in Costa... Continue Reading →

Nicaragua and Visa Runs

One of the highlights of our year has been our quarterly (and sometimes more frequent) trips north to Nicaragua. As we planned our year in Costa Rica, one problem presented itself almost immediately: everyone we spoke to recommended that we... Continue Reading →

Spanish in Monteverde

The other day I was chatting with a Tica friend about cultural adjustment. Though Costa Rican, this friend lived in California for decades. In her first months there, she cried every time a plane passed overhead, wishing she were in... Continue Reading →

Fútbol and Its Many Lessons

Sometimes being moved abroad by your parents for a year of "intercultural living and enrichment" is a drag. Gone are your Legos, your trusty bike and your favorite picture books; familiar friends and teachers are nowhere to be seen; and... Continue Reading →

Montezuma and Beach Hiking

My family has never excelled at sun bathing and beach sitting. I love the idea of stretching out in the sand and reading for hours, waves crashing right in front of us, but we have yet to actualize that dream.... Continue Reading →

Manzanillo and the Carribean Coast

Though famed Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey was Jamaican, his start with political organizing happened not only on his island home, but also in Costa Rica. In 1910 Garvey moved to Costa Rica to work as a timekeeper on a United Fruit... Continue Reading →

Bijagua and Rio Celeste

The most stunning turquoise water imaginable--that's how I'd describe Rio Celeste. Just a few months after we moved to Monteverde, a friend showed us pictures of the mineral-infused river located in Tenorio Volcano National Park. This last February we finally... Continue Reading →

Arenal and La Fortuna

Last month the dry season had fully arrived in Monteverde—dust from the roads coated everything, our azalea bush was covered in magenta blossoms, Monstera and banana leaves drooped from lack of water, and instead of being defined by clouds and... Continue Reading →

Getting the Travel Bug

When I was in seventh grade, my parents pulled me and my brother from school for three months to travel through Spain, France, Ireland, Wales and England. We started with a car and a 10-day-long apartment rental in Spain, but... Continue Reading →

More Monteverde Gems

Even during a family gap year, when part of the mission is changing up our surroundings and aiming to see life with fresh eyes, we’ve found it easy to settle into routines. We often frequent the same local eateries that... Continue Reading →

The Monteverde Friends School–Bilingualism, Community and Good Folks

This year Liam and Reid are attending the Quaker school in Monteverde. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a group of North American Quaker pacifists moved to Monteverde in the 1950s after some of them were imprisoned in Alabama... Continue Reading →

Los Migrantes

An American friend living here in Costa Rica recently pointed out that more U.S. citizens live in Costa Rica than Ticos live in the United States. In 2012, Americans and Spaniards tied as the third largest immigrant groups in Costa... Continue Reading →

Forcing Spanish on My Kids

Moving abroad with children has its ups and downs, and there have been moments when I've doubted whether we were being fair to our kids, particularly as we threw them into a new language. For my youngest son, anxiety came... Continue Reading →

Just say sí!

I've already written here at Warmer Than Canada about the logistics of attending Spanish language school in Guatemala and described a day in our lives spent there last July, but two weeks ago the L.A. Times published my article: "Just... Continue Reading →

Monteverde Sister March

Here's to all of the marchers around the world who gave us so much hope this last Saturday at women's marches around the world. In Monteverde, we also broke records--nearly 250 marchers of many nationalities, ages, and genders popped out... Continue Reading →

Travel-Sized Games: Magic for Life on the Road

Travel involves patience and waiting, something kids (and thus their adult associates) don’t often enjoy. We’ve spent many an hour this year waiting for restaurant food to come, sitting on buses or ferries, and killing hours at hotels, on park... Continue Reading →

Monteverde, Beyond the Reserves

So, you've made it up the mountain to Monteverde and visited a cloud forest reserve or two, but now you're ready for something different. How about swimming in warm thermal pools, visiting an artist's workshop en route to fabulous views... Continue Reading →

Monteverde Reserves

During the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, tourism explodes here in Monteverde. For visitors looking for a tropical escape, the cloud forest offers a temperate, naturalist's wonderland, particularly ideal for those who want to be active outdoors but... Continue Reading →

Christmas Tamales

'Tis the season for rainbows, blustery wind, renewable bamboo Christmas trees, and a whole host of wonderful holiday traditions here in Monteverde. Many of the Monteverde Christmas traditions began with the arrival of the North American Quaker pacifists over 50... Continue Reading →

Nationalism without Militarism, a Lesson from Costa Rica

This month Costa Rica observed a unique national holiday, Abolition of the Army Day. I will admit to some confusion about the celebration after I spotted a sign at my kids' school  announcing El Día de la Abolición del Ejército.... Continue Reading →

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