Posts tagged: gardening

Longtime expat writes memoir of Costa Rica

Sandy Shaw's house, overlooking Lake Arenal

Sandy Shaw's house, overlooking Lake Arenal; photo by David W. Smith

Sandra Shaw Homer, who has lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years, did something a little over a year ago that all writers will applaud and probably envy. She pared away from her life all but the essential, so that she might, for a year, concentrate on writing the book she knew she was meant to write.

And dammit of she didn’t write that book! In a year.

The book is Evelio’s Garden: A Memoir of Costa Rica. It centers around a garden on her land on the shores of Lake Arenal, an organic garden a longtime friend, Evelio, tries to create out of nothing. Evelio is a local, born and bred in the Arenal area, and he has a natural talent for planting and tending. But trying to garden organically, and on a plot ravaged by the winds off the lake, turns out to be more than he–and Sandy, as his enabler/landlord/cheerleader–bargained for.

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica; photo by David W. Smith

Sandy describes the ups and downs of the gardening project, but more than that, she details how the achingly beautiful land around the lake is at risk of devastation. Not incidentally, a portrait of expat life emerges, as we learn of Sandy’s neighbors from Europe and North America and Costa Rica and see how they all coexist, sometimes peaceably, sometimes contentiously.

Click here for more on Evelio’s Garden and to read an excerpt.