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I'm moving! The owners of the house I was renting in Grecia, a wonderful little town in the Central Valley, are finally ready to leave Texas and enjoy their retirement dream home permanently, so it's time for us to go. My wife and I decided to make a big change and go back to Tamarindo, a small beach town on the northern Pacific coast. We lived there briefly two years ago and loved it. (I'll tell you more about Tamarindo, a very popular expat spot, in an upcoming monthly note.)
I speak Spanish and that's made life in Costa Rica much richer. I have great conversations with taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and neighbors—not to mention getting around the bank or government offices is easy.
On my last trip back to visit family in the U.S., I was somewhat taken aback by the lack of civility. Surly store clerks, rude fellow diners at restaurants...let's not even go into the behavior of people behind the wheel! In fact, after living in Costa Rica for several years, you could say I experienced culture shock visiting my home country. You see, in Costa Rica politeness and respect is very important. It's a way of life and I quite enjoy the little rituals that go with it.
January is traditionally a time to make resolutions. As somebody who's serious about making a move abroad, one of your goals for this year might be to buckle down and research places to live in Costa Rica (and elsewhere). You might even be planning a scouting trip.
Feliz Navidad from Costa Rica! Ticos love Christmas. Homes have been decorated with lights, shiny garlands, and holiday signs for a couple of months already. Many people put their Christmas tree outside on their front porch, too.
Thanksgiving is coming up. And even though we're in Costa Rica, we still celebrate and it'll be a surprisingly traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
One of my favorite things about living in Costa Rica is that I've finally found that small town atmosphere that was missing from my life in the U.S. Perhaps you already have this way of life or you grew up in it. In my previous home in the urban and suburban sprawl of South Florida, I certainly hadn't experienced it in many years.
If you've ever visited Costa Rica you've probably noticed that costs associated with tourist activities, like national park tickets, admission to hot springs, or fees for zip lining, can be a bit pricey. With the economy so heavily dependent on tourism, it's no surprise really. And you'll find the same thing in many countries.
There we were, my wife, two kids, and I, walking the trail through the forest, up the mountain. We were the only ones out there. It was quiet…peaceful. A blue-crowned mot mot landed on a nearby branch and then took off again. The small holes in the dirt walls lining the trail were probably home to tarantulas, but we didn't see any. Thanks to the elevation, it was actually a bit cool…low 70s.