This week is a big week for me. In my head that is. I have now been in Costa Rica for 5 months. The exact same time I was in Belize. Time sure does fly. So why does it seem like I have only been in Costa Rica like half as long as I was in Belize? I think there are a lot of factors. I think the main one has just been that I have been sooooo busy here working on physical projects during the day and night and throwing in some pizza testing and learning Spanish at night. Or, is it that I just plain like it here more.
This is not an indictment of Belize. I enjoyed it there. I miss the camaraderie of the team I was a part of. I miss the local friends that I made. And I definitely miss some of the rough edginess that that little independent nation has to offer. But, I think I just like Costa Rica better. It suits my lifestyle more. Yes, people are definitely more active here. And the ocean is a part of my “almost” everyday life. Even at the start of the Green Season there are people coming in to town. The refreshing daily showers cool and cleanse the environment and the people keep coming. There is a reason for that. It’s beautiful here in Costa Ballena.
The other aspect is still the people. I was at first worried because I had NO SUPPORT here. In Belize it was built in and I formed an even larger network based on that support group. I helped make that circle larger just because I am a happy-go-lucky dork and I meet and talk to people. So when I got here, that did not exist. So, I put my best game face on in my daily activities and did what I do best. Talk to the people that you see and engage with everyday. Because of the scope of my little place I have two places that revolved around. The grocery store (BM Supermercado) and the hardware store (La Jungla El Colono Ferreteria). I now walk in to both places like it is Gene’s Market and Murray’s Lumber back home in Grant. Greetings and smiles from the workers and someone is always magically ready to help you find something or assist or just make some quick small talk. The added plus to this is that these two places attract other expats with similar projects and likes. So I have met and engaged other people that have made the Costa Ballena area their home. This really is the home of Pura Vida. In Belize the most common place to engage other “gringos” was the bars. They were usually pretty good people, but just like dating, the bar is also not the best place to find a quality person you want to be involved with on a daily basis.
And just like happened in Belize and back home in Michigan, if you put your best foot forward and you are a good person, you will make good contacts and get a good reputation. I can feel that happening here. Because I talk to people, I now “know a guy” for so many things. Plus, now being a part of the neighborhood gives you security and a network of people that have your back. The Playa Chaman area where we are located is family oriented and very close knit. From one end to the next, you are greeted and truly happy to be seen. You help them and they help you. They come to Chaman Pizza and our little restaurant Costa Marina and say hello and socialize and buy stuff. It’s a nice little life. The people are just wonderful.
If I were ready to retire on a budget, I would choose Belize. But because I am still of working age, I am choosing to live and invest overseas here in Costa Rica now. I hope you can come and visit and at least get a glimpse of life elsewhere.