Every rose has its thorns as well. The cost of certain groceries is very high. Administratively, handling business can be very difficult, traveling within the county can take a VERY long time, and there is nothing like being on a Zoom work call when there’s a power outage. However, the tradeoffs are invaluable. Morning beach walks before school, turning to our seven-year-old son to translate for us, being one of the only American families at a children’s fútbol match, enjoying fresh fruits, and embracing the Pura Vida lifestyle has been a welcomed transition.
In the course of two years, I was robbed twice in Baltimore City. I was constantly dealing with stress, making poor eating choices, and I was not always present at home. Here, I have been able to cut out a lot of distractions. I am laser-focused when I work, but when work is over I enjoy time with family and friends. I am not caught up in the news cycle; I am not on social media as much. I missed 98% of professional and college sports, but I’m good with that. I am present here.
The other shoe to drop is that I do not generally encounter discrimination or racism in my daily interactions. It’s a very freeing feeling. I’m not part of the majority culture but I feel like I am valued not just by my cultural community but by all people in this amazing place. Most ex-pats I have relationships with, see me as me. Of course, there have been times when tourists brought negative energy and some ex-pats keep it going but here I made a choice to surround myself and our family with reciprocal positive energy.
We recently committed to staying another year in Costa Rica. My spouse and I both work remotely coupled with real estate investments, once to twice a quarter we both have to travel back to the US, but beyond that, we are here or traveling somewhere in Central America. We have recently started discussing East Africa again, so the children can learn French and be in a place where they are the majority. For now, we are unsure. Stay tuned.
André Hammel is the founder of www.Biadvo.com He lives in Matapalo Costa Rica with his wife and four children.