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Published: November 16th 2009
Typical retiree/expat home by our builder, Fred Hayden
Over Four Years…..
I’ve been so busy I missed the fact until just now that on June 5th I marked my fourth year of living in Costa Rica. It has been an amazing time. Since living here, I’ve gone to the beach more in the past four years than perhaps in the last 20 years, repaired/replaced my car brakes more times than in the last 25 years, and have laid in my hammock—well I never had a hammock in the states! In all seriousness, my time here can be described in many ways: rewarding, interesting, enlightening, enthralling, exciting, and even frustrating at times, however, I have no regrets about living here whatsoever. So, overall, it’s been very good.
You might be wondering what has made living here a good experience. Of course, each person’s view is markedly different.
First, the many people I have met from all walks of life through our B&B, tours, real estate, and just hanging around my town of San Ramon has made it a very interesting experience. Here’s a small sample of the people I’ve met:
• senior business executive;
• a “Green party” founder;
• college professor;
• jazz musician;
• independent film maker
• a guy who once lived in a teepee;
• “intelligence officer;”
• a priest considering a new career outside of the Catholic Church; and
• a drunk man who claimed he lunched frequently with President of Costa Rica and appeared to have a “Lolita complex.”
There are, of course, many others tending toward your average American, Canadian, or European couple just looking for a less expensive and more peaceful life here during retirement. What is terrific about all of these people is that I learned something from each one of them (whether I wanted to or not in some cases!).
It seems, though that people naturally fall into groups based on socio-economic status, education, work, church, sports, or social activities, however, here, we’ve all come together because we love this country whether as tourists or expats. So, I certainly would not have expected to have as a business partner and close friend someone who wasn’t born until I was 20 years old, nor would I have expected to help a guy who spent time in the jungles of the
Real Estate clients
Fred Hayden, our builder on the left and Mark and Sheryl (M&S). M&S will live in our first community, Pacific Hills, before too long.
Congo find a girlfriend (and then his wife, sadly before he died earlier this year). I’m not even sure I knew any people from Cuba when I lived in the states (I know several now). So, it’s definitely the people who come and go—and those who stay—that have made this on-going adventure a fascinating experience.
Second, working for myself, has made this a great experience. Before 2005 I had the typical corporate career, moving from one management-type position to the next every five years or so, each time for a little more money and the hope that the grass would be greener on the other side. However, to move here with savings that took many years to accumulate and money from a house sale, and then having to figure out how to get monthly cash flow so I wouldn’t go broke, having never run my own business and in a foreign country was a challenge! The possibility of failure was very high indeed. However, now that I’ve done this on my own for over four years, and I’m still a good 20 years away from the average retirement age, there is no chance I’d work for someone else. I’d
rather have a hot dog stand on a beach somewhere than work in some big corporation again. It’s really a matter of how your perspective changes when you get to do things for yourself rather than others. Someone asked me recently about what I would do if I ever moved back to the states. She told me, “You’d need a job in order to live here again.” I told her whether it’s the U.S. or some other country I would never work for someone again—NEVER.
Third, because I work for myself and live cheaply, having freedom to do what I want and when I want to, has been an amazing opportunity. It’s just a good feeling to no longer look at Mondays to Fridays as the “work week,” or think about things such as September is time to get ready for school or it is October so I need to rake the leaves or clean the gutters (well, yes I do still clean gutters actually). Sure, there are definitely chores to be done at certain times of the year here but by not having the pressure of 50 or 60 hour work week, you can get things done at more relaxed pace.
Finally, it really is the more relaxed pace that has been the best part of living here. The Costa Ricans don’t naturally have “A-type” personalities and as such, they take the time to enjoy life, particularly with their families and friends. Yes, things may not get done as quickly here as in the states, but when you realize you have the time to pursue other things like reading a book, having a three-hour conversation with someone at 2pm on a Tuesday, or taking a long nap, it sometimes just doesn’t matter if the repair guy doesn’t show up for a few days. You can just lay back and know that at some point it’ll get done. Leaving your worries behind and spending more time enjoying your life is what really makes this lifestyle paradise. Now, if I could only figure out how to avoid the long arms of the IRS, life would be truly perfect!
* I went to down the beach at Manuel Antonio a few weeks ago and to my delight found that the government finally put in new bridges on the route there. The two old bridges were in horrible disrepair and frankly it seemed like quite a risk to use them, especially when behind a large truck.
* We had an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale last Friday. It wasn’t as bad as the one in January (6.2) but my house did shake a for about 15 or 20 seconds. I was sitting at my kitchen table calling someone in the States and I let it go for a bit before deciding if I should move to under doorway. It stopped before I had a chance to move.
* We had a cold front move in last week and it got really cold and windy for a few days. I think it dropped down to about 55 degrees at night and only hit about 64 degrees in the daytime. For someone who has been here a while, that feels like freezing!
* Unfortunately, there is a rather disturbing article about the decline in Costa Rica’s turtle population. You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/science/earth/14turtles.html?_r=1&em
* Please check out our new home construction page here: http://www.crcommunities.com/crcconstruction.html
This page provides a lot of information about building a home in one of our communities.
* I checked and my blog is now 221 pages and over 113,500 words! Maybe I should just take it and put it into book form! Hell if it’s good enough for Sarah Palin, it is good enough for me!
That’s all from paradise. Thanks for reading.
www.CRCommunities.com (real estate and more!)
www.BoomersInCostaRica.com (4-day/3 night relocation/retirement/real estate tour!)
www.CostaRicaRealEstate.typepad.com (Boomers’ Real Estate & More Blog!)
www.AngelValleyFarmBandB.com (the B&B!)
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