It seems that that’s the first question when someone hears that you plan to leave Costa Rica, whether it’s to move on somewhere else or move back to the States (or Canada).
And for lots of folks, the really truthful answer is, “No, not nearly as much as we’d hoped.”
But for us, the really truthful answer is “Yes, overall we don’t just like it, we really love it.” So that begs the question, “Well then, why are you leaving?” and I’m going to be doing my best in the coming months to share the “long version” of that answer.
But there really is a simple short version and it has two key parts: one, and the biggest one for us, is — as I’ve already described in my opening post — our priorities shifted in ways we hadn’t imagined when we held our first grandchild and then saw how much she was changing as the weeks went by. The reality of seeing that change primarily from afar struck home in a powerful way.
Yes, admittedly, modern technology helps: Jen can snap a picture on the fly with her cell phone, immediately email it to me, and I’m seeing it practically in real-time. Skype with its mind-boggling video capability is a godsend as is the simplicity of shooting and posting their flip videos. But none of it compares to being there in real life to be on the genuine receiving end of that precious smile.
So if that’s the first and biggest “part” of why we’re moving back, what’s the second, smaller part? It’s hidden in that one word when I said how much we loved it here. “Overall.” Did you catch that? I’d said that “Overall we love it here.”
Overall leaves room for the “other” bits, don’t you know? (Should the parts that aren’t “overall” be called “underall”? I guess maybe not.) I defy anyone to love everything about living in Costa Rica. Hell, I defy anyone to love everything about living anywhere.
I’m feeling pretty solid when I say that there is no perfect place. And I can assure you that many of the same things that drive gringos crazy about living in Costa Rica also drive Ticos crazy. But for most of them, there’s simply no choice. This is their home, and they usually can’t just pick up and leave it, even if they wanted to. But for most of us, it’s our chosen home, not our assigned one, and that’s a big difference. As easily as we chose to come here, we can choose to go somewhere else.
So we choose to go where we can be an integral part again of our family’s lives.
If it weren’t for the pull of family, there is absolutely nothing we dislike about Costa Rica strongly enough to make us want to leave. And maybe if Costa Rica really were somehow (magically, since it seems impossible through any ordinary means) to be an absolutely perfect place to live, we’d decide to settle for pictures, Skype, and annual visits. But when you put the two factors together, it seems an easy choice for us.
I think, too, since our “overall we love it” feeling really is very strong, it would be a much harder choice if we didn’t have very sincere and committed plans to return as much as possible in the future. (And it’ll be interesting over the future years of this blog to see how those return trips go: will we be glad to be back? I’m pretty sure so. Will we be sorry we left? I’m pretty sure not. But only time will tell.)
There are many things we’ll miss, and certainly some that we won’t. But we’re certainly not moving away because we don’t like Costa Rica!