Piece of cake? Not so much…

Selling everything and moving to another country has been awesome…but not the easiest thing I have ever done. First of all, as stated before, getting rid of almost ALL of my stuff…was heartwrenching. Not having my son close by? Heartwrenching. Leaving my family and friends in the States? Heartwrenching. Leaving my job, the politics, the commercialism, the “keeping up with the Joneses”, the bitterness in today’s society, the extreme legalese, healthcare expense, and watching people who have dedicated their lives to employers lose their jobs? Not so much….”

HOWEVER, moving to another country who’s native language is NOT English, whose way of doing things seems so “yesterday” at times, figuring out what to do, where to go, etc”…is not a piece of cake. It’s by no means impossible…but seems like you have to always be prepared for the unexpected.

CASE IN POINT…..the driving experience. OMG. There are apparently no rules…yet…there are. Double lines down the middle of the road? Decoration. Pot holes and HUGE crevices in the road? Adventure. Passengers on motorcycles? Includes dogs.  Speed limit sign? Bird stopping area. It is CRAZY.  If they sent American driver’s-ed students to places like this to learn to drive, there would be a LOT less accidents in the USA. Defensive driving is learned FIRST and FOREMOST here. People will be coming at you on your side of the road (because they are passing…double line or not), cars are driving towards you on the right because they are pulling off the road and going to that place on the right.  Driving along side you in the oncoming lane? Yep, they are going to turn off to the left sometime soon. Motorcycles fly by with helmets on the back of their heads,  helmets on their bike,  helmets in their lap…or without helmets. They pass on the left, on the right, between lanes..  I’ve also seen people on motorcycles texting. Brilliant. Yesterday, a motorcycle passed by with a girl on the back wearing a Brazilian cut bathing suit. Her boyfriend better be a good driver because the road rash would be horrendous…..

That’s driving. Stopping? Yes….anywhere and everywhere is permitted. Just put on your hazard lights and you can block a lane talking to someone on the street, picking up someone, dropping off someone,  just because, whatever you choose. You can be driving down the road at a decent clip and then WHOA…hazards are on and they have stopped. Regardless of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” driving habits,  people are walking in the street, pushing baby strollers in the street, dogs are crossing the streets, (also cows, horses and chickens) people are stopping to take their babies out of the strollers IN THE STREETS, people are riding bicycles IN THE DARK in the streets, you name it. Realize all of the roads are 2 laned roads (at best) as well. Yes….this is defensive driving school’s best learning experience.

Don’t know if it’s the streets, the luck, or what…but I think we’ve had 7 flat tires since being here. Last week alone, we had 4. I believe they have all been repaired satisfactorily by now, but…like I said before…you have to always be prepared for the unexpected. Nothing like heading out to appointments for the morning and seeing a flat.  This week on top of another flat  tires,  the refrigerator died. Joy.

Things don’t really last long here. I know I’ve mentioned the humidity before…but Jiminy Christmas….  Things rust quickly here. Humidity + salt air. Crackers are even packaged here differently. A box of saltines is filled with 12 individually-wrapped sets of 6 crackers. Why? If you eat 1/2 a pack of those 6 saltines and return 30 minutes later to finish? They are already stale and soggy. THAT is how humid it is. Chewing gum? Don’t buy it unless it’s the “chicklet” kind. The sticks of gum? Turn to gross mush in a snap.

All that said, the vibe here is awesome. The locals are so friendly. We’ve met so many other expats here who have also left the USA for a different lifestyle. TV is watched so little here. Newspapers? Hardly read. Political drama? Only if you want to tune in to it. It’s not “thrown in your face on a second-by-second basis” like it is in the States.  I’ve thought a lot about “why” the vibe here is so attractive. Is it the lack of corporate pressure? The calm of the ocean? The laid-back lifestyle? The “not having to impress anyone” mentality? The “all of the visitors here are on VACATION or NEWLYWEDS or at least..”not working” environment?  The friendliness of the Costa Rican heart? All of the above? Many of our customers have stated that we are either “brave” or they “envy” what we have done.

No…packing up and moving to another country is not necessarily a piece of cake….but you get one chance at this game of life. Sometimes we forget our priorities and live in the corporate battle for success. Dog eat dog. Who’s going to get that raise…that promotion…how much harder do I have to work in order to get recognized….at a great expense. Before, my husband went to work at 6:45am and returned around 6:45pm. I brought work home. We both “stayed connected” even when on vacation. But now…we work our butts off to get this business to the next level…but still have time to take a dip in the pool at lunch or mid-afternoon. Grab a bit to eat or a drink at a local restaurant, or  walk along the beach. Quality of life….  Is it always a piece of cake? No. But, we don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. As my mother told me many times..”No one ever told you life was going to be easy.” No…it’s not always easy….but we sure are enjoying it….

 

 

 

americans visiting/ why they visit/why they want to get away

 

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