Did you ever get something in your mind you just had to do? Something that just eats away at you, pokes you every once in a while. Maybe you decided run a marathon. Maybe you wanted to start a business, or have an art studio. For me, it’s always been about going somewhere. There’s a word for it, wanderlust. It sounds sexy, and I’ve got it, bad.
When I was little I played with those Madame Alexander dolls from all around the world. I would give them accents and I just thought they were exotic and exciting. My family didn’t travel too far when I was a kid. We had great vacations but camping trips and Disney were the farthest we went. Still, I always had a yearning, a part of me that wanted to go somewhere, get lost somewhere, have an adventure somewhere.
Now that I have a family of my own, we’ve traveled a bunch, but when I first came to Costa Rica five years ago, a seed was planted. I thought, what if we came here for a year, to live? We could get to know the people, the place, the language. Our kids could say, “Yeah, my parents took me to Costa Rica for a year when we were younger.” (Yes, I make life decisions based on what my kids will say about it as adults.)
Now that I’ve been here for almost two months, I’m pretty much an expert expat. Okay, I know nothing, but here are some first impressions of my time here.
Both the Ticos and the Ex-Pats have been amazing and welcoming and there’s this attitude of, “You made it! You did it. You got to paradise and we love it so much and we’re so happy to have you. Everyone helps me all the time; when I drive into ditches, when my battery is dead, when I need a ride to the store. It’s a friendliness that I don’t always experience in the states, and I’m thankful for it.
I know some people dislike the heat but I am loving it. When I see posts of my friends in Michigan talking about 55 degrees Fahrenheit IN AUGUST I am so thankful not to be there. Now, up north it is gorgeous and the leaves are changing and here it is rainy season so, meh, but overall I’m a sunshine girl and this is a sunshine place. Buuuuuut…sometimes water drips on you from no discernible source. Inside the house and out. NBD but weird.
The ocean: I could sit on the beach all day. Every day at sunset we go across the street to watch the sunset, and it never disappoints. Jude and I go to the tide pools to count starfish and have hermit crab races. It feels like magic to me.
The animals: Monkeys, sloths, iguanas, birds, bats, whales, crabs. I probably more excited than the kids when I see them. I get to see them all the time. I sit and stare at the trees and the Ticos look at me like New Yorkers look at tourists staring at tall buildings. Are mosquitoes an animal? I fuckin’ hate ‘em.
The Food: We go to the Féria (farmers market) every Saturday about a kilometer from our house to get fruits and veggies. There are really good restaurants in the Tamarindo area. I make a big batch of gallo pinto, beans and rice, every week. The secret is coyote cilantro and salsa lizano. Peanut butter is expensive. Ridiculously expensive. My kids are begging for PB&J but I can’t pay $7 for a little jar of Jif. Beans and rice for you kid. Pineapple tastes like candy and we eat mango daily. I miss blueberries.
So far I love it, and we’ve just dipped our toe in. Costa Rica has so much to see, that my wanderlust is getting wanderlust.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”