“It was a dark and stormy night” – actually, it wasn’t stormy but it was dark and raining. Two years ago, on May 31, 2011, at 8:30 pm, our plane landed at Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica. We set foot on Costa Rican soil for the first time ever and thus began our adventure of living in a new country with a new language and new culture.
We knew no one but had a San José hotel booked, our immigration lawyer selected, our cat boarding with an excellent vet in Santa Ana, we knew the town we wanted to live in to start with (Atenas), six suitcases and were eager to start this exciting new chapter in our lives. We had left Vancouver, B.C., but had arranged it so we could easily return there if we decided Costa Rica was not for us.
Looking back on the past two years, we are very happy we made this decision to relocate here. Costa Rica suits us well. It is incredibly beautiful, of course, and the Ticos (as the Costa Ricans call themselves) are truly wonderful people – welcoming, generous, content, hardworking, innovative. I think they have the capacity to enjoy life more than many others. The tropical weather is another attraction, as are the incredible numbers of plant, bird and animal life here. The abundance of year ’round fresh fruits and vegetables is another plus. We have lots of seafood from the two coasts – the Pacific and the Caribbean.
We still have so much to see of this country but have been delaying any trips of more than a few hours because of our elderly cat, Genny. With failing kidneys, she needs to be monitored to ensure she is eating and drinking lots of water. We don’t mind – this is all part of the responsibility of pet ownership. Costa Rica will always be here.
Chile and Equador are two other countries that we hope to visit one day and of course now we are perfectly positioned to do that.
I often think that, if we had not done this two years ago, we would still be sitting in Canada saying to each other, “We really should try this”. Time passes by and, in the blink of an eye, it is too late to try anything except the next insipid meal at the rest home.
In the past two years, we have made many friends, both expats and Ticos. Yesterday, we received an invitation to a Tico wedding in November and are really looking forward to this new experience. The network of expats in Atenas and neighbouring towns is exemplary. We share information about where to find different foods, butchers, doctors, dentists, gardeners, vets, the lady who does clothing alterations, new restaurants, when a road is closed or when it has reopened, etc.
There is a Facebook page entitled “Atenas Costa Rica Info” where information is shared. It is open to the public and is interesting reading for those thinking of relocating to our small town.
I heard a phrase the other day that sums up what we and other adventuresome types have done. It is “Life Reimagined.”
- Link to original posting on Diana’s Costa Rican Blog (June 4, 2013)
- A Different Form of “Due Diligence” by Diana Miskell Turlock