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Living Abroad in Costa Rica
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Brenda Burnside works out
in her jungle gym

Brenda named her jungle compound “the enchanted forest”

Brenda Burnside: a jungle gym

Where and what Brenda was BCR (Before Costa Rica)
Brenda was a professional boxer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as the Tigress, she had a film made about her called A Tiger by Her Stripes. (She has tiger-stripe tattoos on her arms and legs.)

How Brenda came to be in Costa Rica and what she's doing now
Her first visit to Samara (on the Nicoya Peninsula), in 1999, coincided with an enormous arrivada, when sea turtles arrive on the beaches by the hundreds, scrambling up the sand to lay their eggs. Brenda had never seen anything like it, and she went to sleep that night with images of the vast army still in her head.

On the remaining days of her vacation, she looked into real estate, and learned that a nearby piece of land was available. She bought it, and began to fashion the jungle compound that would become the Enchanted Forest, the centerpiece of which is a boxing ring where she trains local kids.

Brenda jokes that it's her Flintstone gym--along with the regulation heavy bags are sand-filled inner tubes, and some of her weights are Coke bottles filled with sand. The local boys love it, but she wants especially to encourage the girls. Brenda's dream was to be an Olympic athlete, and though she was good at many things--fencing got her closest, she thinks--she never quite made it. Women's boxing has become an Olympic sport, and Brenda would love to see a girl from Costa Rica make it to the Olympic ring.

Brenda, do you have any advice for people thinking of moving to Costa Rica?
"Look around. Ask questions. But in the end, you need to follow your dream. If the turtles tell you to stay, you stay."



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