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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home - Cross Posted

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

- Robert Frost, Death of a Hired Man, 1915

And while our need is not that great, I am so grateful to have so many homes to welcome us.

We have thought long and hard about the choices we have made and the life that we are living. Costa Rica has been a wonderful experience, but like so many gringos that try it out, we won't make it past two years.

In the end, language barrier (totally my fault), lack of family and multitudes of friends, and fear of experiencing crime first hand have tipped the scales to our return. The final nail in the coffin was when I realized that we had successfully replicated our Silicon Valley life here. My husband is working the programmer schedule 10-7, nice for a single guy, sucky for a family guy. Might as well do that at home, where Mom can network with the other soccer/girl scout/karate/boy scout/ballet/science club?/PTA moms and understand the instructions.

After the decision had been made, we learned that Costa Rica is thinking of drastically changing the residency requirements. My friend talks about it in greater detail. So far they are just thinking about it, but.... um no. In a very amusing coincidence, our residency cards are finally ready.

You just can't make this stuff up.

I am sure that I will write more in the future about Costa Rica and our decision/transition to return home. And we will try to squeeze in as much more Costa Rica as we can in the meantime. But for now, there is so much to do.

26 days and counting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gym Addition and Revelation

I may have neglected to mention it, but we FINALLY joined a gym. We picked Arena Trak. We picked it for many reasons:

  • possible star siting of the ever-famous Saratica!

  • proximity to our house

  • value for cost (probably the most important factor)

It really has what we are looking for:

  • Cardio equipment (bikes, ellipiticals, treadmills, and other items of heart beating torture)

  • Weight lifting stuff

  • Classes in things like yoga, pilates, dancey stuff, and beat yourself up as hard as you can

  • Extra stuff (that costs a little extra) like power plate equipment and pilates machines. Stuff that I want to try and for a much smaller sum and commitment than in the US, I can. I'll tell you about it later.

My only disappointment is that we didn't join a year ago. If we had, I would be one year fitter. Or not. But anyway, it feels like we wasted that time. But from now on, we will do good. We will go regularly. Work hard, look better, feel better, and all that good stuff.

I may have mentioned before that my husband looks a little young. I may have mentioned that the guys that work as security guards and the like are referred to as "muchacho" (literal translation is boy). I may have mentioned that I am a little overweight and starting to look a little older.

When we work out at the gym and people want to switch machines with Barry, they refer to him as "muchacho".

I have been called "Senora" (Mrs.) and on occasion, "Dona" (lady of the house, usually reserved for older women)

I am a "Dona" married to a "muchacho."

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.