It’s funny, when we moved to Costa Rica, we somehow — can’t tell you how since it’s crazy! — developed the idea that we were never going back to the U.S. Not just in the sense that we didn’t expect to move back, but we really somehow took on the attitude that we were literally never going back, even to visit.
Why? I really can’t say. Unlike some folks, we weren’t running from anything, we didn’t have any particular antipathy towards the U.S., we had family that we loved — children and siblings, not to mention aunts, uncles, and cousins — as well as a huge array of friends that were in the U.S. We didn’t (and don’t, in fact) think the U.S. is going to hell in a hand-basket so we cannot count ourselves among the rats fleeing the sinking ship.
But for some inexplicable reason, the day we boarded the plane for Costa Rica, we believed we wouldn’t ever be going back. It defies understanding, but I think it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, just a couple of days ago I was at a party and was sitting at a table with a friend who had arrived a few months after us (five years ago), and has just sold her house to move back to the States.
Not surprisingly conversation turned to the topic of going back and I happened to comment about what I now see as this odd attitude that we’d come with of expecting never to go back. She practically shrieked in agreement. “YES!” she exclaimed. “Us too. We NEVER thought we would go back!”
I went on to say that I didn’t just mean that I didn’t think we’d move back, but that I somehow really hadn’t thought we’d even go back, for visits or anything. (As I say, inexplicable.) But she continued to enthusiastically agree, “Us too. I don’t know why we thought that!!”
So… the good news is we’re not alone. There’s just something odd that takes over when you start making plans to move to a foreign country — maybe not for everyone, but we’ve seen it with many of our friends here. The idea takes root that you’re making this change, you’re committed to it, and by-god that’s that. Never goin’ back.
Interestingly, this attitude has an effect on your experiences here. To some extent, in my view, that’s good. I’m a big believer in making the best of where you are, your happiness is not dependent on your external circumstances, and the like. So if you believe you’re here for good, then hopefully that will give you the easy-going attitude necessary for “successful” living here. After all, why bitch about what isn’t going to change, yes?
For those of you who have read Unraveling the Mysteries of Moving to Costa Rica, you’re familiar with my own personal experience of totally being freaked out whenever I heard of someone who had moved here who was now “moving back.” (Ah, the dreaded phrase!)
At the time I couldn’t really get enough perspective to analyze it, but I’ve since come to see that it’s simple enough — anyone moving back when you are in the process of deciding to move down here, by definition, calls into question your own judgment in planning to move here. Right? It’s simple really, but so complex at the same time.
If they’re moving back, doesn’t that suggest that you’re making a bad decision to move down?
Well… it’s not so simple, and will be explored in much more depth in future posts, but I’ve made a huge 180-degree shift in thinking in the past five years and now think that, no, not at all. Someone moving back doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t move here. BUT, I do think that you might find yourself better informed by looking at why they moved down here, why they’re moving back, how similar (or DISsimilar) do they seem to yourselves, and is it possible that you might shift your thinking to understand that moving here might be a GREAT choice for you, but maybe not forever.
More thoughts on this to come.