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So, you did things differently back home? Well, guess what? They do things differently in Costa Rica than you are used to. Who says that the way you do things is the correct way?
I see expats get mad too often in the grocery store, the bank, the hospital, the market, a restaurant, and any place where Ticos do their best (not always…) to assist you in your purchases, bank wires, and other activities. As soon as you get mad at them, any desire they might have had to help will disappear.
The right way?
Whether you move or retire to Costa Rica, you are used to doing things a certain way. You do things differently than people in other countries and other cultures do.
Doing things differently doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the wrong way. It has to do with culture, with growing up in an area where winters are harsh, or summers are hotter than hell.
Now, after moving to this beautiful country, you will have to learn to do things their way, which from now on is the right way, like it or not! We learned from our parents, who learned from their parents, etc… If your great-grandparents came from Ireland, Italy, or Poland, you shouldn’t have that fear of failure that your great-grandparents had. From now on, the food, the language, and the way you do things will all be different. You’ll have to relearn a few things, and GoDutch Realty created some guidelines to help you adjust to life in Paradise.
If you want to make this fantastic country your new home, forget how things were done back home. Yes, you used to do it differently. And now you’ll learn different ways to do things, just like your great-grandparents had to. If you do so, you will be doing yourself a big favor. There is no need to go native. But don’t make yourself victim to culture shock, and don’t let it shatter your dreams.
Adjust or go back home
Many of these customs wear off during the generations, and some stick forever. There are, of course, exceptions, and some even manage to keep their century-old customs in their new country.
It’s mainly because your culture obliges you to adjust to life in Costa Rica, take it or leave it. Adjust and show respect for the people of your new country. Or save yourself from suffering and go back to what you call home. That will make life easier for you and the people around you.
The former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, told the Muslims who wanted to live in Australia:
“IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS MUST ADJUST. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. I’m tired of this nation worrying whether we are offending some individual or their culture.”
And I agree with the Prime Minister. Like you, I had to adjust to the local culture when I moved here 4 decades ago!
You are a guest
On some of the Costa Rica online forums, you’ll find expats complain all the time. They complain about
- Ticos (Costa Ricans),
- The roads,
- Locals coming late,
- The weird food,
- Why do we eat warm for lunch,
- Crazy traffic,
- Their local spouse,
- The judge’s decision in a divorce,
- Why bankers don’t think out of the box,
- Grocery stores not carrying their preferred brand,
- Meat is not as tender,
- Turkey is hard to find at Thanksgiving,
- There are too many motorbikes on the road
- It’s too hot,
- It rains too much,
- and probably 10,000 more reasons to complain.
Of course, I complain sometimes, too, and I’m married to a local. She complains a lot more than I do. But you have to realize that you are a guest in this country. And you made a decision by moving here.
When these expats complain so much, I always wonder why they live here. But, who am I to judge?
Make a commitment
It is not always easy to adjust to life in Costa Rica. But if you are committed to moving here, you must commit to your new environment. That starts with learning the language and adapting to your new home country. Why move to another country if you are not looking for a new lifestyle, an adventure, and a better life? Is it because living elsewhere is cheaper or the Costa Rica weather is much better?
Don’t do this to yourself if you’re not 100% sure you want to make this work. And please make sure your partner/spouse does so too.
A perfect place
If you don’t agree with all the above, maybe moving here is not for you, and you should not even make the move. You should definitely rent first!
If you’re willing to make an effort to adjust to life in Costa Rica, go for it! There are good and bad everywhere, and there is no perfect place unless you want to create one for yourself. You can get there by working hard at it: keep the “back home, we do things differently” out of those thoughts; this country is home now.
Would you like to play it safe? Contact us now.