What is it about Cos-ta Rica that attracts so many accomplished, independent women to start new lives here? In her first book, “Free to Bloom,” California-born, Florida-reared Jill Green tells a personal story about starting a post-divorce, new life as a pioneering homesteader in a remote area of the Southern Zone. Although thinly disguised, these are autobiographical stories told with heart and humor, leavened with soulful introspection.
From the trials and tribulations of building an off-the-grid house to romantic encounters and harrowing adventures in the wild – including an intimate relationship with a botfly – Green’s tales will resonate especially with like-minded women already living here, and with anyone contemplating the leap into life in Costa Rica.
Green is an excellent storyteller, weaving flowing conversational prose with lyrical passages that capture her love affair with the “stark, shocking beauty” of the southern Pacific coast where she has chosen to live. Along with evocative descriptions, she segues seamlessly into perceptive philosophical musings about the simpler, but never boring, life in Costa Rica. She learns to appreciate, too, the slower pace of life here, accepting the Tico approach to time: “… time isn’t something to beat, it’s a continuum of life from morning to night.”
Green’s book grew out of her personal blog, which she posts to keep friends and family apprised of her adventures. Many women will find her personal aperçus concise and compelling, too. After 25 years of a rocky marriage, Green finally sees her way through to breaking free: “I don’t need to be afraid with him any more. I’m no longer afraid without him.”
Living alone in a foreign country can be challenging for anybody. But in light of some recent horrific attacks on extranjera women living in remote parts of the Southern Zone, does Green have any new concerns about single life on her mountaintop?
“When I look at what’s happening worldwide with the bad economy and the poor getting poorer and hungrier, I don’t think things are much different in other locations,” Green answers. “… On my mountaintop near Uvita, I have lots of big barking dogs and a wonderful caretaker and his family nearby. My daughter and her family living in the area also helps. I don’t have second thoughts of living alone here any more than in the U.S.”
“Costa Rica is the place where I became an independent woman,” Green adds. So the title, “Free to Bloom,” is apropos. And although her author’s note states, “This is a work of fiction,” many local readers, from Dominical down to Uvita, are enjoying some entertaining gossip, trying to work out just who is who in the book – especially a mysterious “caveman” who provides a very steamy interlude in Green’s personal growth.
“Free to Bloom,” published by A Cappella Publishing in Sarasota, Florida, is available as an e-book ($2.99) from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or as a real book ($14.99 plus shipping). Visit www.freetobloombook.com for ordering details and access to Green’s blog.