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Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in Brasilito, Costa Rica

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Brasilito

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

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Comments about this Report

KristenG
Apr 16, 2012 09:23

Do you have a TEFL certificate & did you arrange your teaching job from home? I hope to embark on a similar adventure in CR or Panama & welcome anyone telling the truth about challenges involved! My gringo 50-ish husband & I may be looking for months-long house-sitting opportunities in CR next summer...are people looking for us or do they want locals? Thanks!

lapiloto
Apr 16, 2012 21:48

How are you working legally without residency?

brianwolf
Apr 27, 2013 02:40

Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts! Please feel free to address any of the following questions or issues. I also hope a nice guy down there realizes what a great catch you are, as you seem as deep as the Pacific! Best wishes! I'm a retired teacher too! I'm definitely interested in a condo or house on the eastern shore or cays of Belize or the Pacific coast of Costa Rica (I hear the crime on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is a definite deterent) !. My main requirements for buying or renting are: 1) It's close to many fine quality diving sites within an hour or two travel from home. I enjoy diving warm water less than 100 feet deep that's filled with a wide variety of colorful fish, other underwater animals and corals. Deep water wreck dives aren't necessary. 2) There is a fresh water swimming pool nearby to use (at the house or a group / community pool is fine) 3) Beautiful scenery is nearby, with azure turquoise water being especially desirable! 4) English is understood in the area. I'm willing to learn some Spanish, but it will be a long time before I can be fully conversant. I'm not afraid to use what I know, and often just the effort to try using the native language often prompts the locals to use their knowledge of English if they sense that they know English better than I know their language. I've traveled in Europe four times and in the Caribbean six times and found out that attempting to use their language often signaled that you weren't another "rude arrogant American". 5) The area is relatively free of theft and crime, and violent crime like murder and physical attacks are very rare. 6) There are plenty (at least 100 in nearby community) of Americans or Canadians nearby to network with 7) Cost under $250,000. I earn about $80,000 per year as retirement income. 8) Amenable taxwise as well as logistically to living in from approximately Nov 1 to April 30 each year 9) Affordable food, good tasting fresh water, and some form of automobile repair shops 10) Not oppressive temperatures or humidity or insects (mosquitoes, flies, gnats, sandflies, etc.) 11) Americans are welcomed by the locals, not resented 12) Some forms of entertainment, music, or restaurants are available. No need for five star fancy restaurants or lodging, just decent quality is fine. 13) Ability to access higher elevation to get cooler if the temps start becoming stifling. Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica or Panamanian Mts. is good for that I hear. Is any of Belize high enough to offer a cooling effect? Do ocean breezes moderate the temp or humidity? 14) The ability to do small sailboat sailing, canoeing or kayaking, tennis, golf, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing, hiking, and / or backpacking are also definite pluses! 15) The ability to drive to other countries makes a Central American destination more desirable than a Caribbean Island, especially a small one like Aruba. 16) Favorable income tax laws / residency laws / and land purchase laws and relatively noncorrupt and democratic government (or at least no more corrupt than in the Chicago area where I live, which has several former IIllinois state governors presently in jail for corruption ,as well as a funding of retirement plan deficit of several hundred million dollars due to corrupt and ineffective state legislature policies, and also Chicago is the number one murder rate city in the USA - I do live in a far northern Chicago suburb which is not crime-ridden) Thank you very much for your response! I'll be in Costa Rica (all parts of the country) from about Jan 10 through Feb 18, 2014. How many hours does it take to drive from San Jose,Costa Rica, to see the eastern coast of Belize? To see Ambergris Caye (including boat ride time) ? Is the scuba diving in Belize more plentiful, closely spaced, warmer, colorful, accessible, and varied than in Costa Rica or are both countries equally endowed? It looks to me like the Belize diving is more concentrated along the huge 100 mile long barrier reef system, whereas Cosat Rica diving is scattered in the various corners of the country such as Chahuita (and nearby Boco del Torro islands in Panama) , Papagayo Bay (Catalina and Bat Island chains), Manuel Antonio (marine park reefs) , Osa peninsula / Cano Island and then Coco Island 300 miles offshore. Does this spread out pattern of dive areas in Costa Rica mean that one has to pick one of the areas to live near and probably not be able to dive the other areas within a couple hours drive because of the mountainous terrain, curvy and sometimes dirt roads and distance between the areas ? Thanks a ton for the info you'll be sharing!!! I'd appreciate detailed answers, but speed of reply isn't that important since I won't be travelling in the near future. My tentative game plan is to investigate Costa Rica spots in winter 2014, Belize spots in winter 2015, then rent month long stays in the areas I'm most interested in during winter 2016, and buy a house or condo in 2017. Feel free to call me anytime at 847-502-0190 11 am to 3 pm CST any weekday. Thanks!!!! Brian 847-502-0190

brianwolf
Apr 27, 2013 02:42

What exactly is house sitting? Is this one possible way for me to spend a couple of months during the winter i n a couple different locations that are close to scuba diving areas? Thanks! Brian

annas
Mar 8, 2014 13:44

I've lived in Brasilito. SO TRUE. Yet, I keep on going back for more... I'm going back in April. I want to make a life there. Brasilito is such a beautiful little town but, it can be super lonely at times. (especially when you're traveling alone!) I mean, I've made some amazing friends there!! But, finding a 'boyfriend'?...hahahaa uggghh. This article is going to stick in my head. If you're still in Brasilito I hope we'll run into each other sometime and we can drink coconuts @ playa conchal.

Geegs
Aug 7, 2014 13:17

Hi Everyone My husband and I visited Brasilito as tourists last year, among several other coastal towns in Costa Rica. I personally fell in love with Brasilito, my husband not so much. He feels it's too remote and far away from comforts of modern life like grocery stores, hospitals, etc. We will be relocating to Costa Rica in September, but have not chosen a specific town yet. Since we will be relocating without a car, and relying on public transportation alone, my question to the group is: Can one live comfortably in Brasilito without a car? Where do you shop for your groceries? Is public transportation available to neighboring towns, airports, or even San Jose? And do you need to go out of town for basic needs such as shampoo, household goods, and most importantly groceries. thanks in advance for your help. All comments/advise will be much appreciated.

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