Costa Rica it is.

Costa Rica it is. We realized it was pretty near a foregone conclusion, as, whenever we considered another location (France, Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Panama), we were always comparing it to CR. Nothing wrong with any of those locations as retirement/expat locations. We would most likely be just as happy in all of them. Our hearts just landed on Costa Rica for three main reasons: world-class healthcare that we can buy into, the Pura Vida lifestyle that lands them high up on lists of the happiest people anywhere, and their location as one of five “blue zones” on planet earth where a higher than usual number of people live much longer than average due to diet, environment, and lifestyle.

Everybody has their own reasons for liking or not liking a location, but high on the list of reasons expats become disenchanted with Costa Rica and leave is cost of living (it’s not the third-world economic paradise it once was), the slow pace of life (see also government bureaucracy), and homesickness for family.

Our eyes are wide open on this. We are fully aware of both the expat honeymoon phase and the U-Curve Adjustment Theory, which begins with a honeymoon period, followed by a difficult period of adjustment in which many expats give up and leave.

The U-curve of cross-cultural adjustment Black & Mendenhall, 1991 |  Download Scientific Diagram

But if you stick through the dip, there is a rising period of adjustment and adoption. This curve also applies to taking on difficult tasks like diet, exercise, and learning a language—things I am also attempting to master.

Our time frame will depend on the sale of our house, which goes on the market May 1. It could sell and close anytime between the end of May and the end of July. In the meantime, we are deep into purging our things, preparing the house for showings, and researching what to do with money, cellphones, important documents for residency, transportation, health (prescriptions, c-pap, vaccinations, etc.), and what to bring. The tingling notions of excitement are mixed with a healthy dose of nausea at times, but this is mainly due to the long periods of waiting that fill one’s head with doubt, fear, and “Oh, shit. What have we done?!”

More to come…

Published by Tom Cox

Tom & Jean, a couple of contemplative ex-pats from Pittsburgh, shed all their earthly belongings and move to Costa Rica. What could possibly go wrong?

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