What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I dreamed that I would come to a place peaceful cooperative living was the norm. I dreamed of beautiful sunny skies, friendly people, opportunities and time to walk, hike, bike, and learn some new things. I hoped to learn Spanish, driving a manual car, a new job, a new culture, and other things not expected. I hoped to ride horses again. I hoped to own my own dog. I hoped to practice my sketching, and to write the book that is in my heart to write. I hoped that work would find me and that I would continue to live in Costa Rica for the foreseeable future. I hoped to find other like-minded spiritual people. I hoped to practice more yoga, meditation
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
Very, Very well. Been here ONLY 3 mos, a time frame my gringo friends say is when things really get interesting, or sometimes there are challenges.
Culture shock was more of a factor then I'd have expected. was homesick, missed my friends in the US (a lot), have times when I think not one more Spanish word will go in my head. I can NOT own a dog where I live, BUT I have adopted someone else's dog as my surrogate puppy. I do have time to do ALL the things I had hoped to do, and do them, with the exception of not starting yoga (really, 4 times since January don't count), nor have I started THAT book, yet. The manana syndrome has set in on both of those and I'm OK with that. I am starting to let go of my type A personality (didn't know I had one). I have gotten to experience how flexible in other ways (not yoga) I can be, and sometimes I am asked or simply must stretch further then EVER before in my life, and I do. Sometimes its not pretty or I don't want to, and then I do. I have become conversational in Spanish, on my own, w/o instruction (I don't recommend this, but I'm a language teacher, so I have an edge). I do recommend practicing every, single day. If you skip, your brain w/ suddenly not work in Spanish, even for simple things. I practice Spanish every day, I make all kinds of mistakes, I am not afraid to sound stupid because I keep improving and I listen and now folks are helping me to correct my grammar, verb conjugation, and other refinements. I do not have pie in the sky ideas about this positive feeling. Some days everything is great, sometimes not. Work is still challenging, even though I enjoy it, so is living in another country. I now know what alien residents feel like in my country because I am one in Costa Rica.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
In my work, my supervisors do not tell me anything ( and they are a combo of Tico and Gringo), but contracts, invitations to return, my value as an employee is not, well valued very much, I am replaceable. I wish I had my car, made more money to buy a scooter, or the busses ran on a more efficient schedule. I really "can't get there from here" because if you can't walk to it, or you don't have a car, you can't get there EASILY, and EASILY means your travel time between places that would normally be about 20 mins with a car, can take oh, recently 4 hrs. Wish I had my car. :(. Finding a male companion who does not want to marry for my money (don't have any), or have sex with me w/ or w/o friendship, or who is even willing to be a good friend has been VERY challenging, and really does not exist where I live. Your choices are: Tourists, guys that left home to find a date here, guys that have lots of girlfriends and or espouses ( equivalent to wives). That can make things for a single, straight lady, a bit lonely. Oh and so far, I have not found a place close by to learn how to do Latin dancing. Oh yeah and many gringos seem very negative about life in general. I feel sad for them, and expect that they feel somewhat trapped here, often having come to invest a lot of money in real estate or dreams of owning and running a hotel, and making their retirements secure, that then fell through. I have a lot of sympathy it seems to be very hard. I also observe that there is no reliable source or system for house sitting for resident gringos who live in the country