When the Honeymoon is Over

It’s Thanksgiving Day as I write this, so I’ll start by giving thanks. I am thankful for the weather here. It may rain too much sometimes, the wind may howl and require me to put on a sweatshirt once in a while, it may get so warm I perspire even with the fan on once in a while, but really… I have never been anywhere where the temperature is closer to my ideal more often than San Jose.

I’m grateful for the national health service, the ‘caja.’ For what seems to me a tiny amount of money I get all my medicine free, office visits free and hospitalization free. I’m grateful to be able to live without the burden of owning an automobile. I’m grateful for pollo a la lena. I’m grateful for my reasonable rent. I’m grateful I don’t need a heater or air conditioner (see weather, previous paragraph). There, that’s enough.

With all that and a few other things I can’t think of right now, I am slowly falling out of love. I have developed a wandering eye, so to speak. I have started reading up on Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador… And much like the middle-aged crazy husband who can’t ignore other women, I am focusing on the ‘faults’ of my current situation.

Sometimes the reason something is good is the same reason something is bad, at the bottom of things. The reason I can afford to live here is the same reason all the windows have bars on them and all the walls have barbed and razor wire on top. The long lines at the bank come from the same place the mellow, low stress attitudes of the Ticos come from. The fact that I can get my house cleaned for next to nothing is a result of the same forces that make it chancy to walk outside after 9 pm.

To use an overused cliche, Costa Rica is what it is. I can change where I live (by moving) but I can’t change Costa Rica. Despite the incredible power of this blog, the country refuses to reform itself along my ideas. The nerve!

Looking at a few alternatives, I see that the grass is simply a different shade of green on the other side(s). Nicaragua? Well, there are a few places with climates similar to Costa Rica’s Mesita Central, but not many, and they are small and rather isolates. I already did the ‘get away from it all’ bit back in the 90s and I found that although I loved being without some parts of ‘it all’ there were other parts I didn’t want to live without. Internet, potable water, a social life… that sort of thing. Panama fails for me for the same reasons, though I think the water may be fine. The only less-than-sauna areas are pretty isolated. Colombia has been recommended by some friends, but they don’t really encourage residents, health care is a problem (all private, insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, which means almost everything when you are my age) and there’s that pesky revolution thing.

Peru? Well, it has a few pluses such as places where it seldom rains and good food. Having visited Lima I enjoyed the safety of the place, but then again, outside Lima you have those pesky Shining Path folks. Venezuela? I would have to visit there first, and I hear Caracas is a nightmare that can’t be avoided if you are traveling there. Ecuador? Oxygen shortage (altitude) or steam bath.

I can hear you now… PICKY PICKY PICKY! You’re right. As yet another cliche goes, I would say to Costa Rica… It’s not YOU, it’s ME. Yes, bottom line is, I am going through another of my moods. Glenda the Good once told to Dorothy Gale from Kansas:

If you can’t find happiness in your own back yard, then maybe you never lost it.

I never exactly understood that. But I will say if you (as a gringo with even a bit of money) can’t find happiness in Costa Rica, you probably won’t find it somewhere else. I need to listen to my own sermons.

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  1. Check out Uruguay. Stable, No. Cali. climate, friendly to residents (Uruguayan passport after just 3 years), close to Buenos Aires if you want some spice. Don't know about the health ins. scene, however.

  2. Steve Fisher says:

    I hear the Nazis and the Bush Family in Paraguay are fun neighbors.