Sep 04 2009

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A reader, and new friend, asked me yesterday how much time I spend each week to maintain this website.  I have to admit, not as much time as I had planned.  Back in the U.S., I would come home from working all day, fix and eat dinner, and then get to work on our website, either writing or figuring out how to do something new.  Sometimes I would work until 11pm, and just about every weekend.

But here in Costa Rica, somehow everything is slower.  There isn’t a sense of urgency to do much of anything.  I’m only working 20 hours a week at my job, but have been doing less work on the website and lately spending less time studying Spanish.  Here, whenever you are rushed or stressed about anything around a Tico, you will almost always hear them say, “tranquilo,” in other words, be at peace, don’t worry, it’s not that important.

There was a recent article online on AMCostaRica.com, an English language newspaper, about how this sense of not rushing, not pushing, not being “efficient,” of being relaxed and perhaps easily satisfied, has held Costa Rica back economically and in terms of “progress.”   But from my perspective, this is a GOOD thing.  Paul and I are definitely less stressed here.  We are sleeping better.  There are days when I’m not even sure what day it is.  If it doesn’t get done today, it will get done (maybe) tomorrow.

Our days are full, but in a different way than they were in the States.  I work 5 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, usually in the mornings.  While I am working, Paul takes a bus to go to his twice-weekly Spanish lesson (very affordable at $6 per hour), picks up a few things at the grocery store, perhaps pays the phone bill or checks our P.O. Box, then takes the local bus back home.  When I finish work, we eat lunch and then often go into town in the afternoons – maybe to meet a friend, or buy candles for our nightly candle-lit dinners on our porch, or stop by the macrobiotica to pick up some more vitamins.  Yesterday we were having guests for dinner, so I made a batch of brownies for dessert and some dinner rolls from scratch – and enjoyed every minute of the leisurely pace.  On other afternoons, especially rainy ones, we stretch out and read, or work on my Visual Link Spanish lesson, or watch a DVD on our laptop, or take naps. Tranquilo…

I think that the Ticos are really on to something.  I have no desire to return to the hustle and bustle of associated with “progress.”  As Paul often says, while some Ticos are trying to be more like us, we are trying to be more like them.  I know that I have things I want to and need to do. For instance, I promise to write more often and add more cool things to this website – but if not today, then mañana.   Tranquilo…

Permanent link to this article: http://retireforlessincostarica.com/tranquilo/