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Back To Costa Rica – Monthly Happiness Report – March, 2016

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Published on , last updated on October 3, 2020

Amazing muse concert in the Ziggo Dome

Another month. Another monthly happiness report. March was an interesting month for me. My relationship had finally recovered, and I was fully enjoying my life again. Things were going great. I also got the opportunity to go back to Costa Rica again on a business trip. I was only going to be abroad for 3 weeks tops, so I was actually really excited for this!

Let’s take a look at the monthly average happiness data.

My happiness continued to climb in March. Awesome πŸ™‚

Monthly happiness

The chart below visualizes exactly what my happiness looked like throughout the March, 2016.

This chart shows that I was continuing my happy normal life in March. I simply enjoyed a lot of easy days. The highlight of this period was easily the Muse concert that me and my brother visited. It was the 3rd time I went to a Muse concert, but I was totally flabbergasted again. These guys know how to rock a concert hall!

Anyway, you might read in the chart that I went back to Costa Rica again? That was the start of a new adventure, just like I had done before. I worked on the same project as before, but now in a different role. More on that later!

Happiness factors

I first want to show you all the factors that had an influence on my happiness. The table below shows all the happiness ratings for March, 2016.

Up until the 21st of March, I was completely happy with my regular life. Heck, my previous monthly happiness report wasn’t called “Back To Normal Life” for no reason.

At the start of the month, I heard that I was going back to Costa Rica again for my work. I was instantly worried about my scheduled marathon. I was going to run my second marathon on the 10th of April, so I needed to be back in the Netherlands before that date! Luckily, my work was quite flexible in this regard, and my return flight was booked on the 6th of April. Awesome! As a result, I was really looking forward to this brief period abroad πŸ™‚

One of the better days of my simple life in the Netherlands was the day I went to the Muse concert. It was a spectacular night, and the beer and good company obviously made it better. The following day was unfortunately affected by a hangover! Worth it, though!

Amazing muse concert in the Ziggo Dome
Yes, that is my empty beer cup. It was still one of the best pictures of the night. The others were even more blurred, whatever the cause for that might have been πŸ˜‰

I also enjoyed a fun weekend with a group of friends. It was basically a weekend filled with games, beer and relaxing. Even though the hangover was pretty big, the weekend was certainly a succes! It was the last weekend before I had to catch a flight to the project in Costa Rica!

F-ing up my flight to Costa Rica

My flight to Costa Rica was scheduled on the 21st. I was fully prepared and ready to go.

My flight departed from Schiphol, Amsterdam and I was well on time to check-in and drop my luggage. After checking in and passing the customs, I headed to the gate. It was at this moment, that things started to go wrong…

I had a stopover in Atlanta, in the United Stated. I had never been to the USA. The USA requires every person stopping over to apply for an ESTA visa. This is a very small (and quite insignificant) travel document that must be registered online. I did this well in advance, so didn’t worry about it at all.

Well, I should have!

It turns out I messed up my passport number on this ESTA visa. They logically couldn’t match my real passport number with my ESTA application, so I couldn’t board the plane. This tiny little online visa of about $20 (if I remember correctly) was stopping me from boarding this flight. Total madness!

It was pretty busy at the gate, so the staff couldn’t help me arrange a last minute application, so I was officially screwed. I realised I was not going to make my flight when the staff contacted the crew to stop my luggage from being loaded on board… I was feeling sick to my stomach.

So I had to call my bosses, letting them know I made a mistake in the ESTA visa and that I therefore missed my flight. So I left the busy gate to a quiet area in order to make some calls. I left my carry-on luggage at the desk with the gate-staff.

“This would not have been a problem if my laptop and carry-on luggage weren’t also MIA”

After 30 minutes of apologising and re-arranging my shit, I headed back to the gate. Luckily, my employer was able to book me the exact same flight, only a day later. Good news, I thought. Things must get better from here.

NOT! After returning to the gate, it was completely empty. Totally deserted. This would not have been a problem if my laptop and carry-on luggage weren’t also MIA! They were gone. That’s when I really started to feel miserable.

What followed was a couple of very frustrating hours, in which I circled the insides of Schiphol multiple times searching for my stuff. I couldn’t fly the next day without any of my stuff, so it was absolutely critical that I relocated my bags again… After 3 hours, a very kind worker at Schiphol knew where my bags were and agreed to hand them over to me the next day, before my new flight would depart. Pfew! That prevented the day from becoming a total disaster.

However, I was already beyone pissed at this point. A single, tiny, stupid mistake had resulted in a lot of headache for me, the project staff in Costa Rica and my managers in the office. I was exhausted, stressed and sad as a result, and I couldn’t get rid of that feeling for the rest of the day… It was the worst day of the month, and I rated my happiness with a 5,0.

Back to Costa Rica

Luckily, my second attempt at flying to Costa Rica via the USA was succesful. My new ESTA application was okay, so I was good to go. The adventure could finally start! πŸ™‚

I had my work cut out for me, and my time in Costa Rica was very busy. Despite the busy schedule of the project, I really enjoyed it. My work was a big contributor to my happiness in March!

I want to show you an excerpt from my happiness tracking journal. I wrote the following on the 25th of March, and it paints a nice image of what my life was about when working on the project.

Another great day. I really like my work at the moment! It’s very rewarding, and I feel like I’m really contributing to this project. Time is flying as well. It’s certainly busy, but the good kind of busy. I spent most of my time offshore, which is also interesting. 

Working >12 hours does influence my energy levels, though. I’m pretty exhausted, so I also decided to skip my exercise routine tonight. I could have forced myself to do it, but I really didn’t feel like it.

Staying in touch with my girlfriend is difficult, with the time difference and busy work and all. There’s nothing we can do about that, and it doesn’t seem to effect our relationship. I’m happy we are able to do this without it affecting our relationship!

As you can read, I really enjoyed my time on the projects. Sure, my life was mostly dominated by my job, but it didn’t stop me from being happy!

Positive happiness factors

Below chart shows all the positive happiness factors during this month.

This chart really shows what kind of month March was for me. I was enjoying my normal life again, and the trip to Costa Rica only added to my happiness! Even though I only spent  days working on the project, it was almost the biggest positive happiness factor! You don’t see that very often now, do you? πŸ˜‰

Negative happiness factors

This month was obviously a pretty good month! Well, then that should be reflected by the list of negative happiness factors, right?

There’s not a lot here, as you can see. My happiness was only negatively influenced 7 times! In my opinion, this is a testament to my happy life in the Netherlands, and the fact that I liked my trip to the project!

Things were going great!

Closing words

And with that, I want to finish this monthly happiness report. March was a really good month for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The trip to Costa Rica continued in April, and would end just before I had to run my second marathon in the Netherlands. More on that later! πŸ™‚

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer you!



Hugo Huijer

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

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