I’ve been wanting to post for the last couple of weeks or so, but honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to say. There were so many things going through my mind. I couldn’t get them organized. I think part of it was just shock and awe, with grief thrown in. With the rapid spread of the corona virus, life just shifted.
The enormous changes that have taken place in life across the globe are staggering and hard to process. Time is needed to adjust to this new life of social distance and physical isolation.
Costa Rica is on lockdown. Like many places, most everything is closed. Only essential businesses are open: grocery stores, pharmacies, medical clinics, etc. Travel is restricted. We cannot drive on the roads between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am (medical emergencies and delivery of goods exempted). On weekends, it is even more strict: no driving between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am. People are thinking about future food supplies, but, thankfully, not hoarding. The President of Costa Rica is showing stable, decisive, and compassionate leadership.
We were here when the crisis developed. We were planning on staying until July anyway; so, being here for the next four months is not anything new. But, the situation and the circumstances were not anything we would have guessed were coming.
People have asked why we’ve elected to stay in Costa Rica instead of returning to our home country, the United States. The simple answer is that we actually feel safe here, in spite of the presence of the virus. Today, as I write, there are 314 cases in the country, and there have been only two deaths. The government has acted quickly and decisively. The beaches were closed throughout the country to stop the usual weekend flow of people from the cities to the beaches.
In our own condo building, the staff and management are acting very responsibly. They are using cleaner on every door handle after its touched; they are wearing masks and keeping their distance; they have closed the pool, gym, and common areas. They have restricted entry to residents of the condo only.
We are grateful to be in this place at this time. We could very well be back in the US, nearer our children and grandchildren, but we still could not travel to see them. We would actually be more isolated than we are here. So, we chat several times a day with them by whatsapp video call. We laugh and carry on. We join in by video call while they dig dirt in the yard, make mud pies, and jump on the trampoline. We’re so thankful they are all well and isolated.
Our hearts go out to the many people in this community who are losing their jobs because of the loss of tourism. With borders closed, that economic sector has closed up. We are proud of Horizon Church in Jaco for maintaining ministry and love for the community in spite of having to change methodology and practices very rapidly. People are being fed; unwed mothers are being helped, the homeless are being supported. Lots of great connecting and helping are going on.
The ocean is more beautiful than ever. I think in some ways it is enjoying the reprieve from people. We mention several times a day how fortunate we are to be able to see the ocean while isolated.
We are exercising several times a day. We ride our bikes in the early mornings before other people are up; we walk 10,000 steps minimum per day. Most of the walking exercise is in the hallway outside our condo and around the condo grounds. My heart feels for those who are living in one-room dwellings with many other people.
No magic words or profound wisdom today. Just this: please cooperate with your authorities and stay inside. The only way we can beat this right now is to stop the spreading of it.
Oh, and live above fear. It creeps in and says, “what if . . .?” Don’t let it in the door. Sometimes our mind chatter gets out of control as fearful thoughts take over. I heard a speaker say today, “Mind chatter is fake news.” That really hit home with me, especially when the chatter is fearful!
One of our neighbors said to us yesterday, “This, too, shall pass.” It will not always be like this. But, for now, it is. And it is our choice how we respond. I, for one, am going to surround myself with positive, encouraging thoughts and input. I’m not going to tune in to the fearful news that can become overwhelming.
I am so impressed by the Costa Ricans I’ve seen hunkering down, sacrificing for the common good, in spite of financial loss and crisis. “Pura Vida” has taken on new meanings, as together, we all do what needs to be done in order for all of us to live and thrive.
Until next time . . . .
Paul, A Part-Time Expat
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