Sunday, September 12, 2010

Living in Costa Rica - Best and Worst (for now)

People often want to know "the worst" and "the best" about living in Costa Rica - unfortunately, this list changes, depending on what kind of day you're having :-S.
So, my list for today is all about the unexpected...

Three of the best things about living in Costa Rica:
- sharing a moment with others while waiting for or riding a bus. Or shopping. Or watching a tope. I love it that so many people get a gleam in their eye, for no apparent reason. Then a smile, then sometimes a comment about the line, or the weather, or whatever, that sometimes leads to a lovely conversation.
- the fiestas that never seem to stop! The new year starts with the end of Christmas fiestas, then continues through school summer break. Then fiestas leading up to lent. You would expect things to quiet down during lent, but noooo! It's *summer,* and March is a *huge* month for weddings, horse fairs, and other celebrations. Then Easter! It is the biggest week for family vacations to the beach, as well as religious parades. May slows down a bit, but there are still plenty of fiestas. Then June and July have major events - Guanacaste day, and San Juan's little summer. August sees patron days in San Ramon and several other cities. The entire month of September is Independence Month, with clean buildings and parks, flags and buntings streaming, parades and fireworks. October and November seem to build up to Christmas, and December is chock full of fiestas!
- the bus system! Every time I really think about this, I have to laugh at myself. I used to practically *live* in my car - drove since the age of 9; I never used a bus (except for school, and then only until I could legally drive). Now, in Costa Rica, I have yet to drive a car. And I get a special thrill out of finding a new way to get somewhere by bus. So call me weird.

Three of the worst things about living in Costa Rica:
- news from USA. More and more, I find that news from the states is just plain depressing. The rest of the world seems so much more sane by comparison. But that might be because I am less vested in the details of the rest of the world.
- cherries and blueberries. Unattainable at a reasonable price, and even if you could bring yourself to pay $25 for a handful, you could only do this for a very short time each year. Mitigated by luscious, year-round mangoes :-)
- that uncomfortable feeling when you think you should know what to do in a situation, but you don't. When and how do you invite someone to coffee? What do you do to thank someone for an invitation? How closely do you calculate time spent on a job, and therefore determine pay? What hints are you missing? It's a minefield...

These are some of the things that were unexpected - let's not forget that the original reasons for even investigating Costa Rica as a place to live still hold:
- We can live (really live) together, as we like, spending real time together
- Medical care is excellent and affordable

and the expected difficulties:
- culture shock - yes, it still attacks, but less frequently, and less severely. And it is more recognizable each time, and therefore more easily dealt with.
- safety, and the necessary suspicion that goes with it - this is still hard to accept and live with, but it is becoming a more natural part of life. I'm telling myself that is a good thing.

No comments: