I was chatting with a friend and mentioned moving back to the US and his response was ‘I’m so sorry man – too bad it didn’t work out for you.’ I was a bit surprised because I hadn’t thought about it in terms of regret at all – because we have no regrets about our experience. Another couple of friends, one of whom I’ve known since high school, got it right – 1) we spent a year in paradise and 2) having made it here, we know we can do anything now.
Those two sentiments are right on the money. Would I trade this past year for another year of the same old, same old in NY, with a boring-ass job, a commute and cold weather? Hell no. And the feeling I got after spending 4 years realizing this dream is that we really can do anything.
Plus we never imagined this as being forever. I don’t know if I can live anywhere for a long time, without getting the itch for something else. We’re thinking Florida now, but we will maintain our permanent residency here. That means coming back for 4 months a year. Having an excuse to come back to paradise is a good thing 🙂
Here are some of the positives I got out of the past year:
- Great weather. We even lucked out with the rainy season not being so rainy.
- Realizing that our preference for warm weather was right on target – we’re really happy with the heat and still want to live in a hot climate. It’s ok to admit that We Don’t Like Cold Weather and do something about it.
- Language – I’m happy with what Spanish I’ve learned and want to continue learning.
- We had an amazing birth and an utterly beautiful baby, two things we will always associate with Costa Rica.
- M & J had to be with each other a lot by necessity and their relationship has really blossomed. Could be just them growing older, but I see a closeness that is more palpable than before.
- Nature up the wazoo – all the neat birds, lizards & creepy crawlies. Toucans, lineated woodpeckers, pelicans, herons, tanagers of various colors, parrots and other colorful tropical birds vs cardinals, robins & sparrows? That’s is pretty one-sided 😉
- Monkeys. If there’s one animal that we truly loved, it was the monkey. They’re adorable yet give a glimpse into ourselves. I definitely need to see more monkeys before we leave.
- Amazing plants & witnessing the constant growth. Fragrant breezes smelling of citrus, flowers or the sea air.
- The Caribbean beaches. Usually so sparsely populated that we felt like they were just ours. The water was a bit warm, but always easy to get into. And you could always count on seeing some sort of wildlife.
- A monkey stole my cookies. Yes, he was a little fucker but it was fun to watch him scurry away.
- Witnessing the rhythms of different seasons & weather patterns. Seeing microclimates in action.
- Fresh, locally grown organic coffee.
- Weekly trips to the feria (farmer’s market), where we met our local coffee grower, some of our farmers and Tom & Jan, a wonderful couple from Pennsylvania who made scrumptious baked goods.
- Realizing how important having like-minded parents around us is.
- Realizing – again – that I’m married to my best friend and there’s no one else I would rather be with through thick & thin.
It’s been an amazing experience that we will return to in 2011. It’s also been something that we’ve learned from and that has changed us. I don’t feel anything negative about it at all, and in some ways will be very sad to leave. Knowing that we’ll be back makes things easier.