Because they were
flying home out of (SJO) San Jose airport, and had some extra time
on their hands so we encouraged them to visit other towns on their way
back to the Central Valley. We even introduced them to other
expats so they could glean additional personal insight of their life
experiences here in Costa Rica.
Upon their return
to the States, the couple called to thank us for our hospitality and
to tell us how much they appreciated hearing the stories and
opinions from other expats. Most opinions were favorable and
very appreciative of the honesty portrayed. However, they were
able to quickly discern fact based opinion from hyperbole.
Now keep in mind,
having my ego irreparably crushed by critical emails does nothing
more than inspire me to be more prolific. As you have read in
past newsletters and videos, I have little respect for those who
mislead. In fact, for those who do mislead (and you know who
you are), for you I have a high degree of condemnation and disdain.
COSTA RICA IS CHANGING
In the 4 1/2 years
since we began our due diligence and subsequent move, we can see
that the honeymoon phase of our life is drawing to a close.
Does that mean we are giving up and returning to the States.
HELL NO! What it does mean is we need to live our lives
smarter and to develop a Plan B strategy in the event the honeymoon
is over and divorce is the next logical step. OK... for you
lazy or speed readers out there who digest every third word... to be
clear, Fran and I are NOT getting divorced. I was referring to
our life in Costa Rica! :-)
When we moved here
on March 31, 2009, it was always our plan to reevaluate our lives
when we were eligible for Medicare - seven years away.
Remember, the primary motivation for us moving offshore was to seek
out a place that offers quality medical services at a significant
reduction to that of the United States. Costa Rica, for us,
was that place. However, now we are convinced that the quality
of the healthcare one receives here is totally dependent on where
one lives. Quality and availability is not consistent
throughout the country which makes your decision as to WHERE to live
even more critical.
My single biggest
advice to those contemplating a move here... if you are suffering
from any form of chronic illness which requires a hefty amount of
ongoing medical attention or considerable physical limitations in
mobility, you should strongly reconsider
options other than Costa Rican retirement. Yes, the
cost of medical services are much less than what one would pay in
the US. However, emergency medical care can be very iffy and
assisted living and hospice care is non-existent. So just ask
yourself, "What am I going to do if my chronically ill spouse is
hospitalized or worse, passes away?" These are questions you
need to ask yourself BEFORE you decide to move here.
SO WHY THE HELL ARE WE STILL
Up till now you may be asking
yourself, "why in the hell are we still living here?" Prices
here are skyrocketing, petty crime and home burglaries are on the
rise, the roads are loaded with pot holes, it's hot, the
inefficiency is enough drive one to drink and a call to 911 may or
may not yield any results. While all of these things are true,
we look at the totality of our life experience living here and pat
ourselves on the back for the decision we made 4 1/2 years ago.
The thing we love most about life
in Costa Rica are the people. They are friendly, honest
and caring. You help them and they will bend over
to help you. There is
no bigger thrill for me than to have one of my English students
come up to me on the beach and say "Hello Mister Andy, how
are you?" While we have not yet integrated into more
private, social settings with Ticos, there are venues (mostly
the beach) where we are recognized by the locals and do engage
in friendly conversation. And in the rare event we go to
the beach without our dogs, even the guy who watches our car
always asks us where are Upe and Ashka?
Yes it is hot
and so far the month of April is living up to its reputation.
But bottom line, Fran and I are beach people. We were born
on the beach and spent our entire formative years running
barefoot on the sands of South Florida. So it was only
natural that we sought out a similar retirement location having
spent nearly the last 35 years living in anything but a tropical
environment. Playing on the sand or jumping through waves
with our pets is something we are able to do unabated here in
Costa Rica. Try doing that on most beaches in the US.
Our stress level is significantly
lower since we moved here unless you had the opportunity read my
Facebook rants during the 2012 Presidential Election. :-)
Our overall health is better
because we are eating more fish, chicken and fresh vegetables.
The only canned veggie we have in our pantry is canned corn.
CR corn is used mostly to make tortillas and not good for general
eating. And lastly, Fran's allergies only emerge when
she visits the States. Pura Vida.
Just as we gringos are a source of
comic relief for the Ticos, the Ticos and their crazy processes
can be great source of entertainment for the gringos. This
can be a good thing unless you are massively Type A.
I will have to
admit, I do get my panties in a wad when dealing with assholes.
And by the way, in the 4+ years we have lived here, I have yet to meet a Tico asshole. We have
encountered very little surprises during the our time in country and I
attribute that to doing good and thorough research, being
inquisitive yet skeptical and challenging damn near everything told
to me by someone who sounds like they know it all!
Believe what you want. Fran and
I have met and talked to hundreds of people who are contemplating a
move to Costa Rica. Many are doing so because they watched
House Hunters International or got sucked into the false vision by
being told you can live like royalty on only $500 a month.
Others will look beneath the slick veneer of the Costa Rican hype
and seek out the truth. I'm not saying that the purveyors of
Pura Vida are lying to you... they are just not disclosing the full
truth. If by telling you our experiences and revealing the
good, bad and ugly of Costa Rica is being a glass half full guy...
then I am guilty as charged.
People coming here need to do so with
their eyes wide open or else you will wind up returning to your
native land disgusted, dejected and really pissed off.
If you would like to reply to this
editorial... please fee free to email me. Just realize, if you
do, I may reprint your reply for all to read. I have nothing
to hide and nor should you. If you disagree with me, have the guts to stand by