Bill and I came to Costa Rica for many reasons.
But we also didn’t come for lots of reasons as well. We weren’t running away from family, debt, or jobs we hated. We had family we loved and still do, jobs we liked, a great house with a fixed mortgage that we were able to pay, savings in the bank, and zero credit card debt. Most importantly, we had each other.
We also had the strong support of family and friends, and enjoyed many things including going out to dinner, to community theaters, and movies. We loved entertaining, our friends looked forward to our camping trips, and we looked forward to all the extended family parties.
While we didn’t agree with a lot of what was (and is) going on in Canada, we are still grateful to be Canadians / North Americans and for all of the advantages that has brought us.
We came to live a different, simpler life, with a slower pace.
We came to broaden our perspective, to experience the fact that the rest of the world does not necessarily think, live, or make the same choices, as we do in North America.
We came to live less expensively; and for people from the USA, that definitely includes affordable health care for everyone.
We came because we wanted to create a new life for ourselves.
We came so that we would have more time to enjoy being together, while we are both healthy.
We came so that we could be healthier!
We came so that we could eat fresher fruit and vegetables! In Alberta, Canada our produce in the stores, has been in storage for up to, and sometimes over a year! “New crop” apples, were most often last year’s crop! Here, where I buy my groceries, the produce was on the farm, at most 3 days ago! The pork may have been alive this morning, and often the beef as well! (we age our beef in our fridge and then it is as good as any we have had in Alberta!) We had fish for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants yesterday, and the fish was caught that morning. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
We came so that we could live where it is warm, and could be outside 12 months of the year!
We came to get away from the cold and the high cost of winter. Have you ever looked at what winter costs you? Heating and electricity bills, winter clothing, warming up your card, plugging in your car’s block heater so that it will start in the frigid mornings, etc?
We came so that we could life our lives in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops! No more closed toed shoes or long pants for us.
We came so that we can go to the beach and swim in the warm, tropical water, whenever we want!
We came to live where there is almost no air pollution! No jet trails overhead, much fewer cars, no furnaces spewing exhaust, etc.
We came so that our arm gets tired from waving at all of our friends and neighbors on the way to work at 7:15 in the morning.
We came so that we can count the number of Blue Morpho butterflies we see on the way to work each day.
Is it perfect here, living in Costa Rica? Of course not.
Like everywhere else in the world, there is crime, noise, dysfunctional government, poverty, drugs, and a few not-so-nice people. While some things are less expensive, other things (like gasoline and imported goods) are more expensive. But in our experience, living in Costa Rica isn’t all about perfection.
We often use the expression, “well, it’s another day in paradise.” While to us it is paradise, it certainly isn’t perfect.
No place on earth is perfect.
There are always trade-offs. You can’t build your dream house on the top of a hill, without being open to the wind. And you can’t have tropical plants and flowers, without having rain and a few bugs.
We choose to look at our day-to-day experiences here as opportunities to learn, enjoy, and integrate into the culture of our little village and our adopted country.
We choose not to dwell on the aspects of the culture that we don’t like, and there ARE things we don’t like.
Power goes off in the rainy season, when there is a storm, for a few seconds to a couple of hours.
Internet can do the same.
Getting paper work completed can be onerous.
Roads and highways can be rough and have potholes.
Our corner store is 3 kms away, (but it only takes us 5 minutes with our ATV.)
Like with anything, you have to accept the good with the bad, but maybe we can also try to make it a better place, however and whenever possible.
Are we happy living here? Yes.
Are we able to afford our cost of living? Yes.
Do we enjoy living in a Spanish-speaking country and struggling to learn the language? Yes.
Are we able to do the things that are important to us? Yes.
Are we having fun? Definitely.
Can we pursue our dreams and interests? Yes.
Do we have a strong social network and sense of community that includes both Gringos and Ticos? Yes, YES and YES!
Do we have access to good medical care and medicines? Yes.
Do we feel like we can make a difference here? YES! I am one of the founding members of the Ojochal community Food Bank and Family Support Center.
Will we live here forever? Who knows?
But for now, we call Ojochal, Costa Rica home.
We are following the beat of our own drummer, and we are loving the way it sounds.
Every day, at cocktail hour, after a day of work and play, we always comment about how much we love living in the jungle, in the mountains on the Ballena Coast! How we do not regret a thing!
How grateful we are that we had the courage to make the change; to get in that truck and drive from Calgary to Ojochal to live here full time!
Rita and her husband Bill Campbell live in Ojochal, on the Ballena Coast.
Bill is a partner in Century 21 Ballena Properties, and Ballena Homes company, in Ojochal. They have lived in Costa Rica full time since that drive in 2012. Prior to that Rita lived here 6 months of the year from 2007- 2012.