• 0
  • 0



How I’m Adapting To A New Way Of Life

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would sell everything I own and move to a country I never had been to, I would have thought you were crazy. And yet…that is exactly what I did along with my husband, Gene and our two dogs Gidget & Gretchen. Today marks exactly eight months, and I thought I should give a recap of how I’m adjusting to not having a job, living in a small town, in a new country, with people who speak a different language.

So…we arrived in Costa Rica on the evening of March 30, 2021. We had six suitcases, two backpacks, a large duffel and our two dogs. Prior to arriving, we had found a house to rent and transportation to the small town we would be calling home. Keep in mind, neither Gene nor myself had ever been to Costa Rica. This was all one gigantic leap of faith!

Prior to leaving the United States, we had been super busy selling all our belongings. Luckily, I had already sold my Harley several months earlier to save some money. So, all that was left to sell was Gene’s Harley, our car, all our furniture, tools, camping gear, majority of our clothes, décor, kitchen appliances, cookware, etc. Surprisingly, we sold EVERYTHING! This was awesome because it helped cover our moving expenses and gave us some seed money to get started in Costa Rica!

When we arrived in Costa Rica, I was so excited and nervous. I was desperate to get to our girls at baggage claim to make sure they were ok. I think arriving in the evening was a blessing because we were able to quickly grab all our baggage, the dogs, and get through immigration and customs very quickly. Our shuttle was waiting for us, and. before we knew it, we were on the road making the 30-minute drive to our new town and home.

Our new landlord was waiting for us and was very friendly. He showed us the house and given the late hour, we agreed to meet in the morning to walk the property and learn more about our new home. Our new house is furnished, but we brought all our own bedding and towels. So, the first thing we had to do that first night was to find the bag that had our bedding, towels, and dog food. We fed the dogs and made our bed. I think we crawled into bed for our first night’s sleep around midnight.

The next morning, we woke up and began the daunting task of unpacking, acclimating the dogs to their new home, and assessing our new environment. We met with the property manager and toured the property. Our house is a traditional Tico home, which means it was built as a traditional Costa Rican style home without all the modern amenities found in the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely LOVE our Tico Home. It has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, and patio. We have electricity, running water, screened windows, a tv, wi-fi, refrigerator, oven, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, blender, washing machine, and furniture. What we don’t have is heat, a/c, a vehicle, dishwasher, or dryer. I have to say, I thought adjusting to the new living conditions would be harder than it’s been. Over the years, we had been slowly downsizing so the size our new home really isn’t an adjustment at all. I also think that because we came with a specific purpose to simplify our life, a lot of those “creature comforts” were not a priority for us.

Our priority was simplicity. We really wanted to simplify our life and to eliminate all the nonsense and minutia. Looking back, it was a lot easier from a physical standpoint. Personally, I’ve realized that I don’t need the fast-food restaurants, the big closet full of clothes, shoes, and accessories. I don’t need the big house, car, and motorcycles. (But I do miss not being in the wind, and we would like to get a couple of scooters.) We also wanted to get away from all the craziness with the judgmental “culture” and extreme political environment. It was just becoming too much for us.

The people of Costa Rica are kind. They have welcomed us with open arms and have been so incredibly helpful. We’ve been trying to learn Spanish, Gene is doing a much better job than I am. It’s funny, because sometimes, when we meet a Tico or Tica, we want to practice our Spanish and they want to practice their English!

From a cost-of-living standpoint, our housing is less than what it was living in the United States. We were paying over $1,500 for a two-bedroom apartment plus electric, cable, internet, and insurance. In Costa Rica, we are paying $650 for our furnished home, utilities, and wi-fi. Plus, we have access to an awesome pool!

Groceries can be more expensive here, but if you go to the weekly Feria (farmer’s market), you can get a healthy week’s supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for about $25. If you want to add any fresh fish, chicken, or beef, add about another $20-25. You can also get eggs, honey, fresh cut flowers, herbs and more there. Shopping this way (weekly) has been an adjustment for us. We are so used to shopping at the big box stores and buying enough groceries for a few weeks or month at a time.

You can do that here too, but it is very expensive. Plus, we don’t have the food storage like we had in the States.   We have checked out Pricesmart which is the equivalent of a Sam’s Club or Costco. We do like that we can get bulk things like trash bags, dog treats, detergent, and personal hygiene things there, but other than that, we generally try to shop local. 

One thing, that has also taken me some time to adjust to is the lifespan of the produce here. I know that might sound strange but hear me out. In the United States, we use so many preservatives, hormones, etc. to make everything bigger and to make it last longer. That is not the case here, so the meat is less plump, and the produce goes bad faster.

Milk and eggs are a different story. Eggs are kept at room temperature here and are so fresh they don’t need to be refrigerated. There are two types of milk here. Long milk and short milk. Short milk is milk that is pasteurized like in the United States, and as a result, refrigerated. Short milk is stored in liter cartons on the shelf and is not pasteurized as much. As a result, it lasts a lot longer, and in my opinion, tastes much better!

From a mental standpoint, it took me a good six months to allow myself to mentally adjust to not having to constantly be on the go. In fact, I think that is the hardest thing to adjust to. I still have to constantly remind myself that there is no rush. A friend of ours says, “Tomorrow is as good as today.”  I absolutely love that! Living here things move slowly, so you really must adjust yourself to that way of thinking.

Instant gratification is different here. You can’t just go onto Amazon, order something and expect it to arrive the next day. That just doesn’t happen here…and I’m ok with it!

Eating out is a whole different experience here as well, but I think I will save that for another blog entry!

Until then, I wish you all continued peace and love!

You Might Also Like