Monday, June 2, 2014

Expat life in Costa Rica, one year later.

Family, friends and even readers ask me how easy was it to make this move; I am going to be honest and tell you it wasn't an easy transition. We grew up with the privilege of having the best of two countries just a quick drive away: Mexico and United States, moving here certainly had its culture shock and not to mention location shock all at the same time. However we were always positive about our decision to move and did a great job sharing the enthusiasm with our kids. 

Before our move we had a talk with them explaining that due to work we were moving across the continent to a new country and searched online everything about Costa Rica in fact we have a pinterest board with places we wanted to visit which now also includes our adventures living here. They were so excited that our then 7 year old began planing our move:

Yes, she's something alright. She had two different routes planed out: one via NorCal directly to Costa Rica and the other making stops along the way visiting family and friends. Personally I would've loved the visits to family. 

So much has happened in this past year.

A year ago this past weekend we said our goodbyes to California, we packed up essentials for a month in one sunday afternoon and when the movers showed up at our doorstep they packed and loaded up our entire home into a container to be shipped overseas to Costa Rica. It's unbelievable that this weekend marks our first year anniversary since arriving in Costa Rica, a new life, a new home, a new chapter in our family's book.

We arrived, lived in an extended stay hotel for a month it certainly was lots of fun and though we were mostly out and about searching for the perfect new home, schools and car I enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to clean and the nice breakfasts in the morning that I didn't have to cook and their warm water pool. 

After just a few days of arriving here I was already driving {something that takes lots of skill AND courage!}. We moved into our new home, slept in 4 twin sized mattresses in one bedroom and made the best of it, our belongings arrived 10 days after we moved in and we unpacked it all in just one day! 

Our new house was now a home and we were beyond happy to see the comforts of home, having a chair to sit on now or tv to watch, the kids' toys ready for them to play with them and above all I was ecstatic to sleep in my own bed. I remember the kids' faces as they came home from school and found their bedrooms setup just as they'd remembered them with all their belongings seeing pure joy in their faces. 

By October we were finally settled into our new lives, everything was smooth sailing until our car broke down. In Costa Rica during rain season having a car is a MUST, for me personally having a car was my way to escape when my feelings would try to come out and I would feel homesick. I would just jump in the car and drive off to explore while everyone was in school or at work. 

The holidays came and with them our first guests arrived, my family visited for 3 weeks and at the end of their visit we had the worst that's happened to us as a family happen: my husband was admitted into the hospital and underwent life threatening surgery, 9 procedures later he was recovering wonderfully. His parents visited and we had all the love and support from all our new friends and neighbors. We also felt all the love from back home. 

Trying times for sure! I felt like I was going to break down, but as the saying goes "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" and that was true. With the love and support of family and friends I overcame a nervous breakdown and stress. I learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit, I have so much strength in me. I kept it together and 1 month later life was getting back into its new normal. 

We've been through a lot, fun times and not so fun times but still I wouldn't change any of it. Today as I sit here writing I realize how much I've changed, we are just a few weeks away from our first trip outside of Costa Rica and back home and yes I'm beyond excited but my long shopping list from the US has been significantly reduced. Remember all those things I said I couldn't live without? Well guess what, I've been living without them for a year now even the ones my family brought me when I asked them they are still in their original closed package. 

This past week as I was talking with a friend who just arrived 5 months ago, she was distressed over the cultural differences and I was just smiling and saying what another friend had told me last October: "Relax and enjoy life, you can't change the way it is and you won't change it". Funny that was me just a few months ago, trying to adjust and understand the culture. 

As my own mother says: "you're the outsider, you're the odd one out here and it's ok because you are just temporarily here so just enjoy the ride and adapt to change". Well mom, you were right {as always} I have to embrace my cultural differences and sometimes our language barrier and accept it for what it is. Even our kids have, so why wouldn't I? 

Here we are a year later happy, healthy and rediscovering ourselves. 
Here's to another year in Costa Rica and living the "Pura Vida" lifestyle. 
Here's to enjoying all the green scenery, the rain, the thunder, the lightning and power outages.
Here's to one year down, two to go. 


  1. Congratulations on making it through the year. :)

    1. Thank you Cynthia, :D a year full of adventures.

  2. Can't believe it's been a year already and what a year for you guys... like I always tell you... just enjoy what is surrounding you right now because the minute you leave you'll definitely miss it. So embrace as much as you can now, while you can. xoxo

    Uhm... you didn't really ask for advice, huh? LOL We need to find some time to catch up soon.. =)

    1. Thank you Jamie, I always remember your words so it's good you reminded me. I should write them out and tape them to my fridge ;) so everyday I keep it mind.

  3. What a journey! You really are stronger than you realize!

    1. Thank you! I think we all are stronger than we realize :D