You’re moving back?!?

Okay, every blog has to have a “first post” so this is it.  Five years ago we moved from Maine to Costa Rica (well documented in my book Unraveling the Mysteries of Moving to Costa Rica) and overall we’ve loved it here.  But here we are, five years later, house for sale and moving back to the U.S.


What happened?  Well, first, foremost, and undeniably the most critical factor is simply that we welcomed our first grandbaby into the world in April.  Sleeping AngelAfter three weeks spent (with me mostly just holding the baby!) back in the U.S., we knew that we were going to want to “make a new plan” that would include spending more time back in the States, specifically in Salt Lake City where our daughter Jen, husband Larry, and wonderful new granddaughter Avila live.

But initially we expected that would mean continuing to live in Costa Rica more-or-less full-time and hopefully spend some weeks, maybe even a couple of months back up there.

As weeks went on, though, and we began to see how much Avila changed just over short periods of time, it led to re-thinking things and, in the end, we decided to reverse the order of things.  We would move to SLC as our “primary base” and plan to spend some weeks, perhaps as much as a couple of months at a time, back here in CR.

We’ve been very active in our local community of San Ramon, and our leaving has come as a shock to lots of folks, although pretty much anyone with a grandchild of their own has found it easier to understand.  But particularly as my book sales about moving to Costa Rica continue to grow and as I struggle a little to reconcile our huge fondness for Costa Rica with our growing enthusiasm and excitement to be back in the States… well, it seemed that a blog to explore it all in more depth would be useful — both to me as a “process” and to my readers and others investigating the whole idea of moving to CR.

Over the coming weeks and months (years?) I will look back at what led us to move here and explore more deeply the thinking behind deciding to move back –not only the part leading up to making the decision, but the ongoing one-step-forward, one-step-sideways experience of actually putting the decision into effect.

You’ll see lots of posts to come about things we’ll miss about Costa Rica — and things we won’t!  Things we’re looking forward to about being back in the States, as well as things we’re not looking forward to.

My hope is that you’ll find it useful — and, dare I say, entertaining too!  All too often folks seem to be “selling” Costa Rica — whether literally (as in they’re selling real estate or some other product) or at the very least “selling themselves” that they’ve done the right thing by moving here.

Or you too often see the flip-side — someone who is disenchanted and moving back and now can spew nothing but venom for the country they plan on leaving behind.

Interestingly, I think we represent a middle view that will be very useful to folks — we love it here but we’re still leaving.  Maybe having a chance to look inside our thoughts and experiences and processes will give you insights too — both to help you decide whether or not to move here in the first place, and maybe to give some perspective on whether you want to stay forever.  Some folks do.  But lots of folks don’t, and that doesn’t automatically mean they made a mistake coming here.

In my next post I’ll talk more about the idea that coming here has to be “forever” and how we look at this whole idea of coming or not, staying or leaving.  It’s been an interesting journey in my own mind over the past 6 years since I first began investigating moving here, and the trip isn’t over yet.

Stay tuned.

This entry was posted in Moving back to the U.S., Moving to Costa Rica, Things we won't miss, Things we'll miss. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to You’re moving back?!?

  1. arden says:

    Free free to comment. Comments are unmoderated, but I reserve the right to edit or delete anything I find objectionable. It is my blog, after all. ;-)

  2. Peggy says:

    Arden… Once again, you fail to disappoint me…for the most part…lol I know that I will follow your blog faithfully (is that stalking?) because, as always, it is informative & entertaining. The disappointment part comes as it did with your book…I’ve barely started reading something REALLY good & it’s done far too soon. As someone who has just made the move TO Costa Rica, i still realize that nothing HAS to be forever. You also know that we made our move here with a lot more thought, planning & research than a lot of the disenchanted do. so while it may or may not be forever, right now it is what’s right for us. I look forward to seeing you again before you move “stateside” & know that wherever either of us is living, we will remain friends. Now THAT is something I thank Costa Rica for! Keep blogging!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Peggy — Great to “see” you and hope you do enjoy following along. It’s fun to know that friends are reading!

  3. Mike Styles says:

    You and David are one of the biggest reasons we enjoy living in San Ramon: you will be missed and will count the days between your return trips. Thank you for all your ‘grounding’ and for being so special. We love you both and appreciate you more than these feeble words can communicate.

    • arden says:

      Aw Mikey, you’ll be high on the list of “Things we’ll miss” for sure!! Love you back, and we’re looking forward to staying in touch over the years to come. Thanks for everything!

  4. Dave says:

    Hey there Arden,

    We heard you had decided to move back to the States, but had no background on your decision process. Now you have given us all a chance to follow it and gain some of your excellent insight.

    For that, and for so may other things you have done for us to make our move to Costa Rica less stressful, and our life here more interesting, you have our sincerest thanks and appreciation.

    I am glad to see you will continue to be a part of our lives here, for at least the next little while at least, and I look forward to following your blog.

    God bless you and your family, and may He watch over you and bless you as richly as you have blessed us.

    Dave & Patty

    • arden says:

      Hi, Dave and Patty,

      Thanks for the kind words! Yes, we’ve been such an integral part of things here in Costa Rica that I know many folks have wondered about our moving back, so it seemed like it could be useful both for *me* and for others to blog about it. After all, that’s sort of how we writers work — something “happens” in our life, we write about it! ;-) Hope you enjoy reading along and I look forward to being able to use the blog to help stay connected with folks!

  5. joan weinberg says:

    Good luck with your move back to the states. You were very helpful to us when needed info on moving to CR

    • arden says:

      Thanks so much! Glad to be able to help, and hoping too that my ongoing observations about life here as well as the story of moving back will be helpful to others as well. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. Brady says:

    Welcome back…I’m so glad I’ll still be able to visit you down there at some point, but it’s awesome that you get to hang with your new little one. My mom did the same thing, moving back from Santa Fe to be near my little Arden.
    Speaking of which, have you seen Arden’s recent pictures? She’s about 5’7″ with bright pink/red hair. Easy to find in a crowd. :-) Hope everything is going peachy and we can chat soon.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Brady,

      Great to hear from you! I’m so glad you and Arden got a chance to come visit while we were here and hopefully we can make it work again in the future. It’s funny, we just didn’t really expect how *strongly* we would feel about the grandbaby. It’s been amazing to see how much she’s changed in just a few months, and we just realized we wanted to be a real part of her life growing up. Hard to believe about your Arden — my god they grow up fast! Truly doesn’t seem that long ago when I was sending little honey baby wash to her as a little baby! Be sure to tell her hi and give her a hug from “big Arden.” (If she’s 5′ 7″ I’ve still got a few inches on her and I’m sure quite a few pounds, so guess I get to still be “big Arden”!)

      Lots of love!

  7. George and Kathy Ernst says:

    Hi Arden,
    We are now a little farther away from you up here in Playa Hermosa, but still sad to see you leaving. I understand that one of the biggest factors in returning to the US is family. Logically I can understand it. Yet personally I can not feel it. While I have good relationships with my kids, we are not physically close. We saw each other maybe once every 4 years in the US. We will probably see them more now that we live here. Geography in Costa Rica is a factor also. The Central Valley is beautiful, the Ticos are better educated, more friendly than here. We miss those things. Yet here we do not have the rain, wind, fog and cold. Instead we have a lot higher temps, but beautiful mornings and evenings. We have maintained our friendships with the people we care about in San Ramon and will continue to do so. There are always tradeoffs in life and we don’t yet know where we will settle, but it will never be the US. Fortunately we are permanent renters, so there is flexibility. The US housing market has made that decision for us without our input.

    We will miss you guys and San Ramon will miss you. I hope you can come to a balanced life between the two places, at least until you sell your beautiful home there.
    Keep us posted!!

    • arden says:

      Hi, George and Kathy,

      Yeah, you know it’s funny — we, too, lived across the country from our kids when we came down and just sort of accepted that as the “way it is” — and, as you note, they’d rather come to Costa Rica to visit us than back to Maine. ;-) So we really were unprepared for the incredible “heart-swell” when we held that grandbaby and then started seeing (from afar) how quickly she was growing and changing. So an interesting side effect of that is also realizing that while we’d “accepted” that we lived far away from our kids, we’d really *prefer* to be more a part of their lives. We’re all really looking forward to that. Even though we’re moving to SLC where our daughter, her hubby, and family live, it has the benefit of also being a day’s drive away from our son, so it’ll be great to all be closer. Many things about Costa Rica we’ll be sad to leave, but we’re really looking forward to this next life adventure and very glad that we’ll keep coming back. We’ll stay in touch.

  8. Vikki says:

    Oh Arden…….. how sad I am to learn that you won’t be in CR when we FINALLY get to move there. You’ve been on my list of people I’m just waiting to get to know better since we were first in touch, some four years ago now. I am truly glad to know you’ll still be visiting CR. I can understand how the grandbaby could change things for you. Andre` and I probably won’t ever have that and if we did, would have to share with the other two parents and scads of grandparents. But still I do think about it so this is interesting to follow your journey. We have other CR friends returning to the states too, Barbara and Doug whom you may know, and another Vicky down in San Isidro. We are watching the new income tax laws very carefully too. Thank goodness you’re gonna to be blogging all of this. We’ll be following along and staying in touch. Namaste.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Vikki,

      I know — we, too, have been looking forward to having you and André finally here as part of our wonderful group of friends in Costa Rica. But we’re serious about coming back to CR, so we’ll still get to know each other better — just on a more protracted timetable. Yes, we’d just heard about Doug and Barb and there are others around too. One of the things that I’ll really be exploring further is the idea I touched on in my post “Why Forever?” which is this feeling most of us have when we make the move here that it will definitely be forever and ever, our final home. Kinda weird since we rarely look at a move *within* the U.S. that same way.

      And certainly for some people it may well be just that. But I’m also coming to see that there’s a somewhat natural “life cycle” that may be more appropriate for many folks where it becomes a great move for a while (having been here 4 to 6 years seems to be a critical window of time) and that in time, it will feel like time to move on. Among all of us moving back at the moment (well, at any moment I’m sure) there are as many reasons as there are individuals, and I do think we represent a somewhat “interesting balance” where even though we love it here, we’re still going back. So, hopefully there will be some interesting things to read in the future! (I’m sure I’ll find them interesting to write!)

  9. Gregory Spann says:

    I heard from Allen that you guys where thinking of moving back to the old US of A. New adventure but kind of sad. What a time I had living in CR and all the great friends we made. A new life and a different direction. But CR and the time there will always be special.
    The best of luck to you and David and if you should ever get to central Texas, the welcome mat is out.


    • arden says:

      Hi, Greg,

      Yep — we hadn’t ever thought we’d be one of those going back, but we just weren’t prepared for what an impact that new grandbaby would have on us. So… we’ll looking forward to coming back over the years — this is “home” now, too — but also looking forward to new adventures, indeed, up there. Hope to stay in touch…

  10. David and Arden has been one of the first good expat friends we met here, Ana and Me will always appreciate their good advice and friendship.

    Thanks for all the effort to improve the Education and contribution to make a better Community. We will heard your good advice and input.

    Sus Amigos.

    Adrian Orozco
    Consultation and Relocation Services
    Cell # 8-862-4063 / Phone #2-447-8174

    • arden says:

      Hola, Adrian — Thanks for the kind words. You and Ana will always hold such a special place in our hearts. I can’t imagine what our first weeks in Costa Rica would have been like all those years ago if it weren’t for all your wonderful help. We’ll look forward to continuing friendship in the years to come as we return to CR.

  11. don burgett says:

    hi y’all,
    a bit melancholy as i sit here on a cold windy rainy day here on the north coast of oregon. my thoughts brighten though as i think back on the wonderful times i spent with you as i explored your wonderful new home in costa. i have extemely fond memories of all that passed in my time there with you. i do indeed understand what is happening with you right now as jessica will be soon be blessing me with a grand daughter due on the tenth of dec. i only hope we can spend some time again in costa a little further down the road. best of luck with your new move.

    • arden says:

      Hi, Don,

      Congrats on the impending granddaughter! We’ve just had a blast these past 7 months watching Avila and we’ve been a little bit blown-away by how strongly we feel about being part of her life. AND, of course, back into our own kids’ lives on a more “regular” basis. So while we’ll miss many things about Costa Rica, the pull of family has proven to be stronger! And we’ll enjoy coming back in future years and visiting and sharing “our Costa Rica” with Avila and the rest of the family. One thing that will always be special about Costa Rica is that it provided the “reason” for us to reconnect after all those years. We’ve had great visits over the years as you’ve come down and hope to have others in the future!

  12. Amy Speth says:

    Congratulations to you & David on both Avila & your new adventure. Chelsea & I have fond memories of your hospitality in CR, which forever carved a special place in our hearts. Now, SLC will also be graced. Like you, I started a new life adventure living on my boat in Jacksonville, FL. I hope we cross paths again soon.

    • arden says:

      Wow — that’s a life-step we missed! Living on your boat in Jacksonville?!? The funny thing is that my company ships a container periodically from JAX so I have this odd connection there. Please do tell us more!!! We, too, really enjoyed seeing you and Chelsea and hope to see you again.

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