A Former Expat about Life in Costa Rica in the 90’s
Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes
I have thought about writing to you to say how much our life in Costa Rica meant to us.
First of all, I want to tell you about another special experience we had there. When we moved down to Costa Rica, I purchased two Isuzu Troopers to take with us. We heard that four-wheel-drive vehicles were necessary.
What we did know, is that you needed the special suspension system to deal with the terrible roads. You did not need four-wheel drive on the roads, you needed the suspension system for the ride and life of the car.
Before we started our life in Costa Rica, we shipped my car separately, which is a complete story on its own. We shipped Gloria’s car in the container with our household goods. We hired an agent to handle all of this, and again, that is quite a story.
Anyway, when the container arrived with the car, we had to pick up the car separately! Gloria went with our agent to the clearing office to process the paperwork to get the car. She returned home without it, and I asked what the problem was. She said that when they arrived at the Government Offices to get the car, they informed them that the woman that had the password to the computer was out sick. Therefore, they could not transact any business that day!!! They needed to return when she came back to work!!!!
Now on with my story. I have not had a sheltered life and have always had the wonder lust. I even took trips when I was in High School in my 1928 Model A Ford to Colorado and the Ozarks in Missouri from central Kansas. After college graduation, I was drafted into the Army. Again, avoiding a lot of detail, I was transferred to Fulda Germany.
I immediately ordered a new VW. They were on summer vacation but promised delivery when they opened on September 1, 1956. It was basically a 57 Model, but over there, they went by the calendar year. I immediately took a trip to Amsterdam. During my year in Germany, I traveled ALL of Eastern Europe, the British Isles, and Sweden.
Looking back, I had one of the very few new cars and toured Europe not long after the war. A real Trailblazer. Before I left, I purchased a new 57 VW convertible. Traded in my 6-month-old sedan. Anyway, I have traveled a lot and stopped keeping track of our cruises after 35.
A Normal Life?
I had a reasonable career working with big companies. I ended my career being the Buyer for the State of Texas for ALL their cars, trucks, school busses, tires, and virtually everything Automotive. What I am trying to say is that I did not sit around and live a NORMAL life in one location with one job like it is the American way.
Visit Costa Rica
The beginning of our life in Costa Rica really started in 1992. On our first visit, we stayed with friends in Cariari. We fell in love with CR. Within a year I purchased a coffee farm in San Marcos de Tarrazu.
The Big Step
I did my homework and found out this was a prime area for coffee. So, I proceeded to go down to take care of my interests. Finally, in 1996, we decided to move there. Gloria came down to spend time with me before I returned. She was a school principal and was under a lot of stress. She lived on Cokes and Advil. When she was in CR, she realized she did not need any stress pills and was a completely relaxed person that enjoyed life. I had already retired, and she had one more year to complete her 30 years of teaching. We looked around to buy a home, we had always owned, versus renting.
We loved CR so much that we sort of lost all common sense. Of course, we found our home in the mountains overlooking San Jose and the world. We worked out a deal with a willing seller. We rented the home for a year as we went home to settle our affairs.
Our Life in Costa Rica
In July 1997 we moved to and started out life in Costa Rica. At this point, I want to say it was the best thing we have ever done in our lives. It was full of adventure and new experiences.
After about 4 months, I had to sit down and write about all we had gone through. People that read it do not believe everything we experienced. There were good and bad, but the bottom line was just a new learning experience. After four years, I was restless and wanted to go back to the States. I really wanted to return to my car restoration hobby and just the American way of life that I was used to.
I was happy in CR, but the culture and the day-to-day living adjustment were just not for me. Gloria loved it all and was very active in all the clubs but will still tell you that she did want to go back.
It ended up being a good decision for the time. There were a lot of health issues and activities that we could not have done in CR.
We obviously have returned to visit good friends and enjoy the life we had there. Wanted to move back several times, but it just didn’t work out.
At the age of 88, I look back at my life and I will say in a second, that our life in Costa Rica exceeds ALL of the experiences I have had in my life!!! I look back almost daily and remember ALL the fabulous times and experiences we had there. I am the original wanderer and live for ADVENTURE!!!!
I have nothing but good to say about CR and I still say, do not ask me about CR because I will talk all day long about it.
The author of this blog and a former expat, FloridaTico, lived in Costa Rica during the ’90s. He and his wife moved to Florida and look back often to the great time they had in Costa Rica. This is one of his stories.
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