This is our last week in Costa Rica before returning to the United States to visit our family and enjoy the holidays together. We have been in Costa Rica since early October – the first longer stay in our new lifestyle. We will be returning in early February.
We wondered what the adjustments to this new life would be like. Here are some of the questions that roamed our minds as we began this venture. Answers follow.
What will it be like to be away from our grandchildren (and children, of course!) for 9-10 weeks?
Well, it was different….and it was hard some days. We missed them all terribly. But just when we were really feeling it, the phone would ring, and it would be the grandkids calling to show us their Halloween costumes or tell us what happened at school or ask if we will take them to see Frozen 2 when we return. Sometimes we talked two or three times a day. That made such a huge difference. We even attended one of the kids’ music programs at school via whatsapp video call. So, yes, we missed them a lot, but thank goodness for modern technology! We are so excited that we will have them in our arms on Saturday!
Will I be able to adjust to life without a schedule driven by my professional career?
This was a lot easier than I thought. In one of my previous blogs, I shared my morning routine of activities which gave some structure to my mornings. This was a big help. It also helped that there is a lot to do in Jaco. I found that I was ready to not have my day scheduled out every minute, and I’ve enjoyed the freedom to decide what I will do each day. My wife has liked this, too – it has made our life freer and less hectic. And, the daily afternoon swims in the pool by the ocean have eased the transition also! I have taken on some new activities and interests, and at this point, it all feels balanced and good.
Will we make friends and find a community in which to share and contribute?
This may be one of the biggest surprises during this first stay in our new revolving lifestyle. We have made numerous friends among the expat and Costa Rican residents here. We’ve had people over to the home, we’ve had dinner at people’s homes and in restaurants together, we’ve gone to celebrations, and enjoyed the many activities and inspiration offered by Horizon Church. The international church community has welcomed us with open arms and encouraged us to share our gifts, talents, and callings. They’ve encouraged us to serve in outreach projects in the community and welcomed our input. This has made us feel a part of the community quickly. Also, the people in Jaco are very friendly. Now store clerks, vendors on the street, and local residents recognize us and greet us, ask us how we are doing, etc. We love our new community.
Will we miss the cold weather?
We can answer this in one word: NO.
Will we able to establish a healthy lifestyle that will provide us energy, vitality, and enjoyment for adventure and service?
Yes! We have daily step goals for walking, we ride our bikes frequently, and we only use a car if it’s pouring rain, the destination is outside of town, or we are sightseeing in this beautiful country. We daily eat fresh fruit and vegetables grown locally, and the normal Costa Rican diet is very healthy, so we are surrounded by healthy food. We just have to say no when other choices rear their heads (like anywhere else).
Some of our adventures are a bit on the exciting side. For instance, when we were climbing Miro Mountain just outside Jaco, a fellow hiker killed two fer de lance snakes (terciopelo in Spanish). These are the most deadly in Costa Rica. The one I’m holding is definitely dead!
I read a couple of very interesting quotes that really summarize my thoughts after this first season in Costa Rica. They come from a very interesting book called Why We Left (An Anthology of American Women Expats) by Janet Blaser. While the writers are women, and I’m not of that persuasion – their stories are compelling. Someone with genuine interest in living overseas will find information, encouragement, inspiration, and even entertainment.
Here are the quotes:
“For sure, there’s been lots of stumbling – the language, the customs, . . .but even more, there’s been smooth sailing. I smile more, relax easily, am more patient and open to that very …….(Costa Rican? – I added that) concept of ‘manana.’ I don’t stress about the small stuff and watch curiously those who do…….I’ve evolved, I think, into a better person.”
And then there is this statement the editor makes about the purpose of the book. I find that this statement also expresses my desire for this blog, so I’m borrowing it.
“My hope is that this book ( . . . blog – my words) does two things: That it inspires others who may be feeling an urge, an itch, something deep down that just won’t go away, to live a different life, outside of the proverbial box, where happiness is easier to come by. And secondly, that it applauds the grand adventures these women (. . . people – added by me) are having.”
Enjoy wherever you are today.
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