On my round of errands this morning, one stop was at the public clinic to sign up for my Coronavirus Vaccine as one of an expected. 3.7 million to be vaccinated in Costa Rica this year, basically the whole population. It has begun all over the country as a free vaccination provided by the government with millions of doses already in country. As an older adult I should be called in before younger people and within the month the technician told me. I just wait for the phone call, in Spanish, and hope they speak slow enough for me to understand! 🙂
The other day I was walking over the hill in my neighborhood and a friendly Tica woman my age or older pointed to my “Pura Vida” cap (photo above) and asked me in perfect English, “Do you know what that Pura Vida means?” I responded, “Pure life among other things!” with a big smile. She retorted, “No, it means ‘Not My Problem!’” with an even bigger smile on her face and then a laugh as she continued on in the opposite direction. 🙂
So today, the morning after the American election, with the vote-counting expected to last many more days and your idiot president already lying and threatening to legally challenge the results, I’m trying to have that version of the Pura Vida attitude.
After all . . . one of the main reasons I left the states to live in Costa Rica was to get away from the Republican Party and the ugly, racist, lying, nasty people like Donald Trump – and there were plenty in Tennessee back in 2014 before Trump ever came on the scene. And 6 years later it is worse as the rich white folks keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer and the people of color keep getting targeted and segregated. God help America!
I have only one vote and I caste it. That is all I can do to help my country of origin. It saddens me that even if Biden wins, and he certainly should, the right-wing madness will continue with conspiracy theories, lies, racism, and hatefulness that is slowly dividing and may ultimately destroy America. How sad that so many people would vote for that! My old evangelical friends no longer follow Christ but desperately seek political power instead. I used to feel sorry for people who lived in third world countries, but now I feel sorry for people who live in America, especially if they are poor or of color. And what an ugly place to raise children of any color!
But in the true spirit of Costa Rica and a new interpretation of Pura Vida, I will continue to enjoy life in this great little nature country and say to you Americans . . .
Today I received the final edition of the “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” Newsletter. This wonderful couple, Paul & Gloria, are really retiring themselves now and it is about time! I have recommended them many times and they are keeping their website up for awhile, so check it out now if you haven’t before. They give the most practical advice of anyone on retiring in Costa Rica and they will be greatly missed, though maybe I will get to see them again for other reasons or socially. I hope so. They will be dividing their time between Costa Rica and Mexico which is an unusual way to retire, but very interesting.
In their last newsletter they included a summary of their philosophy over these 12 years that has not changed. I will try to copy it here:
What is the Retire for Less Philosophy?
Sometimes we tell people that we live the “retire for less lifestyle,” or perhaps we notice that others are also living in a similar way. So what exactly is it?
Conserve, simplify, enjoy. These three words sum up the Retire for Less Philosophy or lifestyle. We believe one can:
Enjoy the simple things in life
Discard some old beliefs regarding retirement
Count your cash, get your Social Security, and go where it’s cheaper
Reinvent yourself and begin a whole new, adventurous phase of your life
Look at your life differently, embrace the new culture, and try not to be ethnocentric
Scale down, live within your means, and learn to have fun, fun, fun!
Conserve energy, go green, and live without air-conditioners, heaters, dehumidifiers, and cars, as much as possible
Live without debt, reduce expenses, and reduce expectations
Save money, spend less, use less, and be satisfied with less –less is more
They will be missed and have certainly helped a lot of people retire here and elsewhere. Now I will just continue my very simple life in Costa Rica, not owning anything including a car. Zero debt. Walking almost daily. Enjoying the simple things of life in a simple country that puts people and nature above industry and money. Where nature is king and we will be carbon neutral in a year or so! (99% of electricity now.)
Of course he pushes Costa Rica because his relocation tours here are his business, but it is a fair look at the popular retirement destinations in Latin America and the costs of living in each with many or most having a cheaper cost of living than Costa Rica. I hope it will be helpful for those considering retirement “South of the Border!” 🙂
My personal advice is to visit each of the countries that interest you first for a general comparison, then visit the country you zero in on at least 3 or 4 times before actually moving there, plus doing all the relocation detail studies concerning housing, healthcare, insurance, language, etc. And for Costa Rica the ARCR is probably your best help on details.
The Featured Photo is one of mine of a sunrise on the Caribbean or Atlantic Coast at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Hotel Banana Azul. That side of Costa Rica is probably the most affordable or lowest cost of living and rent because it is the least developed. For example, living on or near a Pacific Coast beach could cost you twice as much as on the Atlantic, while the Central Valley where I live costs somewhere in-between. And remember that both beaches are hotter and more humid than the hills in-between. 🙂
In nature, everything has a job. The job of the fog is to beautify further the existing beauties! ~Mehmet Murat Ildan
These photos were made on an early morning walk yesterday above my house looking for birds but finding a different beauty. I leave at noon today for Bajos del Toro, checking in at about 1:30 this afternoon. I hope for another post this evening and at least one a day from there this week.
One of the things that drives perfectionist Americans crazy about Costa Rica is the multitude of one-lane bridges all over the country even in the cities! Look no further than right outside the main gate to Roca Verde Housing Development! Our entrance gate is on Avenida 8, better known by the little bario (neighborhood) there as Calle Boquerón. Just outside our gate going towards central Atenas you cross the little rainy season stream that goes by the cow pasture in front of my house. And of course on a one-lane bridge! Don’t know why or who influenced it, but the city of Atenas is widening that little bridge.
The concrete tubing for water flow has already been extended and fill dirt and rocks added around it and as I photographed Monday they were pouring concrete for maybe a base to something or a wall? These two school kids out of school for Coronavirus will probably soon be joining the city construction team as they sit here and learn how easy it is to build a bridge over a concrete pipe. 🙂
“If Rome had been built in a day we would have used the same contractor.”
Like Costa Rica’s emblematic Sloth, the people here are always smiling and prepared for come what may – even Coronavirus! Feature photois by the Sloth Rescue Ranch, not me, and from Tico Times. Read on to see how better prepared little Costa Rica is than the big ol’ USA and thus we will get over it quicker too! 🙂
Thursday’s Tico Timesedition reminded us of how better prepared we are than a lot of bigger countries for the pandemic, like our great university is already making emergency respirators for when/if needed at only $140 each! (You think the U.S. would ever do that?) People are ready to sacrifice financially for the 25 days we are closed to all outside tourists (and it will be much longer before tourism is back to normal–like by next winter we hope). Here are the specific articles this week in Tico Times about the pandemic’s affects on Costa Rica:
“El gorjeo” or “tweeting” or “chirping” is what many of the birds are doing every morning now and earlier than usual, before sunrise! But none of the birds are singing as much as the Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro it is called here (feature photo), the National Bird of Costa Rica. Yigüirros have started their pre-rain singing earlier this year, which is usually in April. This chirping is why it is the National Bird with tradition saying they are calling in the May rains or the “green season” as it is called by many here. Hopefully this earlier singing means the rains will come earlier! Listen to a recording of song 🙂 And soon the wind stops blowing which is almost constantly now. I AM READY FOR GREEN SEASON! 🙂
In one sense it is a little like “Spring” in the north, but maybe a backwards spring as we move from hot-dry-windy to daily rains, cooler temps, greenness & more flowers. It is a tropical paradise that most tourists miss because they want to avoid rain. 🙂 But most of us who live here prefer it to the “dry season.”
“Don’t let the rainy season deter your visions of outdoor adventures! This is Costa Rica’s most beautiful time of the year, when every landscape explodes in vibrant colors, with blooming flowers and blossoming fruit trees, not to mention cooler temperatures.” ~costarica.com
One Tico family picked me up at the airport and took me to la casa de Doña Vera Garcia with a hardy welcome from a very energetic & talkative 4 year old Daniela. Her father, Daniel, was working late tonight at the shoe store in the nearby Mall. There are 2 other boarders here, college-age Tico boys from smaller towns going to trade schools here in Heredia, a very big suburb of San Jose. The students went out and will eat here later as many Ticos do, but I ate at about 6:30 (late for me) and talked the best I could with Vera in my malo español.
The small apartment complex where they live became more lively as it got dark and people came home from work with little Daniela running in and out of the house and relating to all the neighbors and many coming in our house visiting; a close, friendly community, like a big family with everybody talking, in Spanish of course, and usually much faster than I can understand. And who knows where the college boys went? But first, one of them helped me get on the WiFi which Vera didn’t understand. And I settled down in my private room working on my computer. It is much cooler here than in Atenas and noisier because we are near downtown Heredia. I’ll be in bed soon. Hope I can sleep. Big day tomorrow!
And of course I have a “Trip Gallery” of photos from this week, titled:
A dear friend just shared this link to an article in the New York Times that I have to re-share since it has some good ideas and information that might help those of you American readers considering living in another country. The article, How to Be an Expatriate in 2020:
I might check into the two sources they referenced on transferring money from the states to another country, since a regular bank wire of money is too expensive I think. I have my SS check auto-deposited here in my CR bank account which covers my basic living and I get other money from my U.S. Credit Union via ATM here for free at my bank’s ATM which doesn’t charge me and my stateside CU doesn’t charge at that end. When you move anywhere you have to work out these little details over time. “Where there’s a will there’s a way!” 🙂
They also referenced International Living Magazine which I took for two years but found way too commercial for me and I think they are mixed up in real estate, especially in Ecuador which they push a lot, plus their gimmicky ways to get rich on the internet. Be careful of such schemes if you subscribe.
The article also mentioned some networking organizations which can be good, and the one for women sounds especially good for them. I tried the other one mentioned, InterNations, which is heavier on the younger expats in the big city of San Jose here and it did not meet my needs. One year was enough for me!
Right here in little Atenas we are getting more younger couples with children and jobs coming from the states. Some use local private schools and some home school and the rare one who is “really international” send their kids to the local public schools in español and of course they are the ones who are integrated into the community. 🙂 The young Americans here who are still working do all their work online. The internet has really shrunk the world! 🙂 Of course they are a different breed from us ol’ retirees! 🙂 But in some ways we are a community. 9 million Americans living overseas it says.
Anyway, I like to share things like this I learn about that might help you who are considering a move here or to any other country.
NOTE: This week I’m living with a Tico family in Heredia while in an Spanish Immersion Class at Tico Lingo. I will try to report on some nights about the experience. A little scary! No English for a week! But hopefully a good way to learn Spanish! 🙂
The “Trip Gallery” from my Thursday trip to Rio Tarcoles is ready to view with 35 species of birds photographed out of about 40 species seen. A good birding trip!