Our first visit to Costa Rica was nearly 5 years ago - oh, how things change! Our original plan was to pack up everything, sell the house, ship all our stuff to Costa Rica, and settle in. We ended up doing things a *lot* differently! We did what I now call a "slow move" - in the first 4 years, we made several trips, living in different towns each time. Each new time, we brought suitcases of things we missed the last time. Some places were furnished, some were not. As we bought and brought the few necessities, subsequent trips back to the states meant we had to find a place to store our Costa Rican things. First we left a few bins with friends, then we rented a small storage area. On the other end, when we finally moved out of our state-side house, we also stored a few items - we used these basics each time we came back. We finally trimmed our state-side stuff down to less than half a storage unit, and... YES! *Shipped* our stuff!
The main reason for shipping via container, instead of continuing our suitcase method was that we finally decided it was worth it to move our mattress here. And, of course, it is too big to ship any other way. You may think "gee, they're awfully attached to a mattress!" - and you would be right :-D. We looked at mattresses here, and found one that was close enough. If we hadn't already owned one with plenty of use left in it (stored in the states), we would have bought the one here - it was a cushy king for $1600, at Artistica. When we checked around on shipping costs, we found that we could get our mattress here for about a third of that. On top of that, we weren't going to use it anymore in the states, and there was no good way to get rid of it - basically, you can't give it away, and you have to pay to take it to the dump!
Once the decision was made (waaaaay back in August!), we found that it was worth it to add in a few more items - there was room in the container (shared with others), and didn't add unreasonably to the cost. We said we could wait for several months until the others were ready to ship. Fortunately we really were flexible on the date, because it moved - first it was going to be late September. Then late October, then mid-November, then late November... Right before Christmas, we heard that the container was in Costa Rica, and would get through customs the next week. Frankly, we were surprised, because most government offices are completely shut down the last half of December and the first week of January (and very slow on either end!). But I guess customs is a different story. Maybe...
Sooooo... NOW Anticipation *strikes!* If all went as planned (snort), we could have our things delivered Monday, or maybe Tuesday. We don't hold our breath, but we do move some furniture around and out of the way. Tuesday comes. And goes. Now Wednesday... Don't start thinking about unpacking. Don't start imagining feasting your eyes on long-stored books. Don't, and I mean *really* don't think about falling into sleep, blissfully tucked between your favorite comforter and your oh-so-perfect-for-you mattress!