The below article was written on March 7, 2019 and not posted until November 30, 2019
I hear from people who tell me that they have read my entire blog. I find this difficult to believe. When I started blogging (I think this was around 2003), it was recommended that blog articles be around 1,000 words long. Since that time the attention span of readers has been cut by more than half that. I have gotten so very much accustomed to writing 1,000 word articles that I can almost do it without the use of the word-counter function.
Also I have a rather strong aversion to the changes to the world that have caused this reduction in attention span. I blame YouTube, Facebook, smart-phones, etc… This change can’t be good. So, living true to my iconoclastic personality type, I continue on with my (what is now considered to be) long article format. The recurring confirmation that there are still people out there who read more than snippets, encourages me to think that this information may actually be of benefit to someone. I do understand that what I’m writing about is very much niche, niche, niche (and perhaps even a couple more niches could be added.) So, if you are reading this, you may have a vested interest in moving to, regularly spending part of the year, or investing in, Costa Rica. You likely take this move very seriously and so are studying up on the matter. I hope that you find the information in these pages helpful to you. I welcome your thoughts on this matter. My email is my name “ben” followed by the @ sign and then the name of this blog: guysinthezone.com.
A large part of my motivation for writing and posting to my blog is very personal. So, even if no one were to read or benefit from what I write – I do. This article is the first since making my big life’s change. I’m finding that life tends to indicate which way to go, whether I expected what it indicates or not.
Life’s unexpected and expected changes
Unexpected: I have moved back to the United States of America after living in Costa Rica for 20 years. How did this happen?
Let’s go back to the beginning.
Expected: I moved to Costa Rica in January of 1999. The idea was to live there for 6 years, have a great Latin America experience. My family and I would have a broadened view of life. We would be bi-lingual and bi-cultural. I would be in my mid-40’s, so I would simply jump back into the work life of the States and repeat what I had previously done, although this time it would be to work towards retirement.
Unexpected: The 6 year mark was an accurate estimation of when our funds would dictate that I needed to get back to work. However, what that looked like when we got there was a bit different than what I had anticipated.
No so entirely unexpected: I had fallen in love with Costa Rica. We were living in San Isidro de Perez Zeledon in Costa Rica’s southern zone. We were (at that time) 45 minutes to the beach, and 5 hours from San Jose. (Due to developments since that time, it is now 30 minutes from San Isidro to Dominical Beach and 3 hours +- to San Jose.) We were living immersed in the Tico culture. So, as that time presented itself, we owned our home, our last child had moved out, and real estate was booming on the coast.
Unexpected: “Empty Nest” set in. My wife of 27 years and I parted ways.
I joined forces with a local entrepreneur and opened Horizon Properties, a real estate company in Dominical and decided that I would not be moving back to the U.S.A. Horizon Properties was a resounding success. This was at the beginning of the pre-crash time of 2004 and there was lots of available money floating around and word had gotten out about Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone.
And on it goes. The intervening years provided a plethora of “expecteds” and “un-expecteds”. Let’s fast forward to the present.
Expected: So, I am approaching my 20th year in Costa Rica. I am very settled in my small home in Playa Hermosa de Osa. I am extremely content with my home, friends, work & play.
Unexpected: I get a call from my sister. She is my favorite (granted, she is my only, but if I had several sisters, I’m sure she’d be my favorite. :).
Audrey calls and says “our brother is in the hospital with a mystery brain thing”. I said that I’d have the phone by my bed and to please call regardless of the hour. I woke up the next day to an e-mail that said simply “Just come”. So I did.
Unexpected: 5 weeks later our beloved brother Joe died. He was 8 years my junior. This was truly unexpected.
He and my sister had been caring for our aging mother. During those 5 weeks, it became apparent that proper care of Mom required two people. I would move to California. I returned to Costa Rica saying that I’d be back to Davis in a month. Three months later I returned. I’m not nearly as mobile, nor “simple living”, as I had thought.
Expected: Life is a fascinating, perplexing, at times difficult, but wonderful ride, which are among the expected conditions of my life. And they continue to be the unchanging constants that I can count on.
I call my present state of being my 2nd adolescence. I am in a huge learning curve. I have actually encountered culture shock in moving back to my home culture. I still think in Spanish in some of the settings that are pure Spanish in Costa Rica. Things like engaging in banter with the checker at the grocery store or, talking it up with the waitress. In such situations, I reverse translate, although this is gradually shifting. Also, I am occasionally at a loss for what is meant when a common or popular expression is used here.
I get out of bed in the morning wondering what I’m going to learn today. I am a regular feature in a senior living community here (where Mom lives). I spend time with people that use walkers to get around and some of whom I simply re-introduce myself to every time I see them. This is quite a change from trekking about in the jungles of Costa Rica with other very agile people.
I continue to regard Costa Rica as my home, and I am in daily contact with aspects of my life there. I will continue to blog about real estate, and life-in-general issues there. But this will now be with the perspective of one living as I am.
So, we’ve begun. Got the first one out. It will be interesting to see what comes up next.