Persona Non Grata

or is it just a case of Outta Sight, Outta Mind...


an Editorial by Andy Browne


From the day we made our plans to return to the United States public, it seems that our circle of friends dried up faster than a prune in the Arizona desert.

This morning, while chatting on line with a friend and "ex-expat."  I relayed to her my concerns of feeling like persona non grata as we live our final days in Costa Rica.  As I explained, virtually overnight, people with whom we used to have regular contact, seemed to just disappear.  Gone were the impromptu beach days, wine get togethers at sunset, or just the afternoon gabfests on the phone.  And all of this occurred as soon as we made public our intentions to move back to the States.

I'm not sure what to blame it on or whether or not it even deserves blame.   Our friends Kathy and George, who preceded us in repatriation, also noticed the same thing as soon as they announced they were repatriating.  I don't think it is a rare phenomena, for having moved and relocated many times over the course of the last 40 years, we have seen it over and over, but never as bad, or as rapid as it happened here.

But as I chatted more with my friend, she made an acute observation that really opened up my eyes.  She described an odd dynamic that occurs within the expat community when they hear about those who have decided to return.  It's almost as if anyone who who decides goes back to the States calls into question (however "unintentionally") the sanity and wisdom of their own decision to remain here.  It sort of like they are subconsciously afraid that if they hear about your reasons for returning or your excitement and anticipation to return, they might "catch" that fever too.   That seems to be an odd way to react, but yes, when put into that perspective, it  makes a lot of sense.

I have to give my friend a lot of credit.  Her insight made me feel better about why our circle of friends dried up.  It became clear as a bell... it's not me.  IT'S YOU!

Our time in country has been wonderful and would not trade a single minute.  And that even includes our hellish first year living in the cold, foggy, wind blown, rainy hellhole of Los Angeles Sur.   But our four years at the beach have truly been the best. 

The weather (up until this year) has been much to our liking and both me and Fran have had the opportunity to do lots of good things for our community.   My fondest memories are of the kids I was able to helping to teach English  in the local schools.  I see the kids I taught back in 2009 who were only 8 and 9 years old are now 13-14 and hanging at the beach.  But the best part is when they say wave and yell "Hola Andy, how are you today?" ... and they are doing it all in Ingles.


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