Google Search


Thursday, July 10, 2008

CA vs CR

I recently spent several weeks in California. I was very interested to see how I would react, having been out of the US for almost one year. Here are my thoughts:

What I missed most about the U.S.
1) Street signs
2) Radio options in the car
3) Fountain Diet Coke that tastes so good.
4) Being able to chit chat with just about anyone I run into.

Can I live without those things. Yes, of course. But life there is definitely more convenient. But it also seems to take longer.

What do I dislike about there:
1) SO SO MANY Street lights.
2) People actually follow the rules. Yes this is good, but they do so without thinking if things make sense.
3) Life seems so much more compressed and fast paced at the same time.

Another big difference: Costa Rica is dirty outside, clean inside - the US, with it's manicured lawns and filthy restrooms, is quite the opposite.

What was interesting, on the airplane trip there, the airline showed a segment about the happiest places in the world. You have probably seen this, Denmark tops the list. But in the preamble they said, "...many countries lead the U.S., including ....Costa Rica." So I started thinking. Where were people (speaking in general) happier. And I think that they are definitely correct. Costa Ricans as a whole are more content than those in the US, or at least my little corner of the US. But that is the key word. Content. In a simplified idea, happiness is at odds with ambition. People here are happy, but not pushing hard for more. Or at least that is the way it feels to an outside observer.

But what about me? It is fine to speak in generalities, about the happiness of a group of people. But what about me? As I mentioned the other day, I can be happy anywhere. Part of me likes this place, the difference of it and what is available. Part of me wants to go home. Only time will tell which part wins out.


Anonymous said...

Ooooo, I can relate! Costa Rica has won my battle. There are moments I still want to go back, but no more homesickness. Life is just easier there, but I'm more content here.

Funny, some friends of mine and I were talking about happiness vs. contentment. Happiness is such a silly goal: happiness is an emotion. So fleeting and sorta made up. Whereas contentment can be attained via acceptance and living in the moment. WAY easier to maintain.

Good post, good writing. thank you1 said...

Hello. I'm over at I'm going to link your site. It's fun to see others making it too! I too just got back from States. It sure is a contrast! Susan at

don_mecca said...

I must agree with saratica, and a nice comparison of happiness and contentment.
We have come down for the summer (June till mid August) to see if we like it, and how we can live here. And all of us dont want to leave. Now we have to figure out how to make the jump (and earn a living here). We are tired of the traffic, rat race, and decline of the society of the US.
Sure there are some things that we will miss, but the attitude/lifestyle here is way above that of the US (for the most part). I just hope that we dont ruin it much more (here).

BreeWee said...

Hola amiga (or from where I live ALOHA!)

I was day dreaming... I used to live my summers in Costa Rica and the other time in the Florida... BUT I moved far to Hawaii and have not been back in about 5 years. So, today, day dreaming I googled Costa Rica blogs and yours popped up.

What a great post to find... I needed to read this. I miss my time in Costa SO much, you have certainly brought back many memories for me as I read through bunches of your posts!

Enjoy Costa for me...until I return!

marina said...

I also just spent some time in the states, and there are lots of things I miss about it in comparison to Costa Rica. One main thing was the options of organic food, CR just really lacks in that! and with all the craziness going around, i dont' want my son to be exposed to it all.

Hi, I'm new to the blogosphere, and just saying hello to fellow Costa Rica bloggers.
Hope to see you on my blog and develop a blogger friendship:)

vacation costa rica said...

I'm European and i'm thinking of moving to Costa Rica next year with my wife. In a house in dominical

Hapiness is an individual feeling and each and everyone of us has it's own objectives in life. That's why immigration should be legal for anybody anywere...

As you said, what most attracts me of Costa Rica (appart from climate and beaches) is that people are not so BOUND to rules and laws. That's MY point of view but I hate being told what I have to do or not and here in Europe they are all sorts of laws against nearly everything.