A new life in Costa Rica

Sharing our journey from the U.S. to the Osa region of Costa Rica

Observations of a gringo

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Costa Rica.

Beautiful, peaceful country.  Friendly people.  Incredible natural resources (both food and water).  No military (never bombed anyone, never will!).  Crime rates that, even in the largest cities, are FAR below what you’d find in an average U.S. city.  Real freedoms that now exist only in the history books of countries that claim to be free.  These are a few of the reasons we chose to move to this amazing republic.  Not on our list…a terrific place for gringos to hang out!

Since we’ve moved here, we’ve had the opportunity to meet many Ticos who grew up in this area and have called it home for their entire lives.  Despite our limited Spanish, we’ve made friendships that we now cherish.  We are slowly learning what it means to be Costa Rican, by seeing on a daily basis how kind and helpful so many Ticos are.  When you are in need, they are there with an offer to help.  Randy, Jimmy, Aldemar, Alexis, Carlos, Alonso, Marilyn, Alex and many others.  When we moved here, local families greeted us with fresh fruits from their gardens.  It is not uncommon for a store owner or artist to tell you afterward that you now have a friend in them…just let them know if you are ever in need.

To be part of this amazing country and its people is what we chose for ourselves.  Our residency will be finalized this week and we couldn’t be more proud.  We love the old school values of neighbors helping neighbors, expecting nothing in return except friendship.  Genuine acts of kindness are the norm here, not something you must turn to Facebook to read about.  I could provide many examples, but you get the idea.

Randy Madrigal, helping out a fellow Tico

Randy Madrigal, helping out a fellow Tico

Given the beautiful nature of Costa Rica and her people, why do so many expats choose to simply relocate their American lives to a location with better scenery?  Why do so many decide that learning Spanish really isn’t necessary?  Is that consistent with the opinion they held of “Spanish only” speaking folks back home?  Why are the parties typically with other gringos, and maybe a few Ticos who speak good English?  This certainly isn’t everyone who moves here from the states, but it seems to be far too many.

If you do choose to move to this amazing country, might I suggest doing so with a plan to learn what the people and the culture are about.  First and foremost, have a plan to learn the language.  It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight (believe me!), but chart yourself a course to learn it over time.  You can make no greater statement about your adoption of Costa Rica, and your rewards will be…unlimited.

Pura vida!

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