by Ivo Henfling
GoDutch Realty agents and staff relocate people from all over the world every day. Depending on where they come from, they adjust easily or they don’t adjust. There is nothing in the middle even though some think otherwise. Most of us complain sometimes, it’s hard not to.
We all strive for a better life for ourselves, at least all of us who moved from somewhere else to Costa Rica. The question is what is the reason for moving to another country and are we successful with the move and adjusting to our environment.
I moved to Costa Rica in 1980 because my whole family was ready to move somewhere else and I was fed up with high taxes, little opportunity and the thought of a future of having to use the same desk for the next 25 years. Well, 30 years have gone by, I have had more desks than I can count and I have never regretted it. I’ve had more adventure in one week than most of my friends in Holland have in a life time. When we moved here, we had a huge party for friends and family to say goodbye and life has been an ongoing party ever since. Though most of you don't read Dutch, you will understand the message we gave when we sent out the following invitation for that party:
Our real estate agents came all from a different environment and became a realtor in Costa Rica, something none of them planned to do. They came to Costa Rica to do something different in life, something they could enjoy for the rest of their life. I’d love to hear their comments below this article about their move to Costa Rica or if anyone else can add to this list.
What can you do to make the adjustment to your new environment easier? It is very simple and easy to follow the 10 commandments for easy living in Costa Rica:
1. Learn as much Spanish as you can before you move and keep learning after moving here. Learn one word a day and you’ll be fluent soon. Ticos will love you to death for trying hard.
2. Accept you are in a different country with a different culture. They do things differently here than they were doing back home. This is the hardest part of all, I still complain about things that I don’t understand why they do it a certain way.
3. Learn to do things the Tico way, like driving on the left side of the road, don’t complain while standing in line at the bank, drink Cacique instead of whiskey and put ice or salt in your drink.
4. Wherever you go, bring a book or I should say your iPad, it will make waiting so much easier on you. Many of you are retired in Costa Rica anyway, so what’s the hurry?
5. Confirm your appointments. Ticos don’t use their agenda the way you do and many foreigners adjust too fast to the Tico Time.
6. Buy yourself lots of sunblock and an umbrella because you’ll be outside a lot more than you are used to.
7. Try not to miss the food and other articles you used to get back home. Try the abundance of new food and articles Costa Rica has to offer. I’m not telling you to eat rice and beans every day, there is an amazing amount of things you’ve never seen or heard of, try it.
8. Enjoy all that Costa Rica has to offer. You’re lucky enough to have moved to a country where you can afford to have a housekeeper. There are lots of advantages that Costa Rica has to offer, like day trips to volcanoes or rainforest, weekend trips to either the Pacific coast or the Caribbean coast. Where else can you do things like that?
9. Don’t ever scream at Tico employees because they don’t do it the way you think they should, you’ll never get anything done. Don’t be ugly, be nice all the time and you’ll get anything done.
10. Enjoy every day like a new one because it will be another day in paradise.
I am sure that these guidelines will help to make you happy in your new country. Believe me, I sometimes have a hard time with it too, we all have good days and bad days. But it not perfect in any place on earth, Costa Rica is pretty close to it, but you have to work at it yourself. You make the perfect place to live, nobody does it for you.
By Ivo Henfling, your realtor in Costa Rica, the best place to retire, who adjusted more than well and wants to help newcomers to adjust and find a home in this beautiful country. I sell Costa Rica real estate. Contact me if you’re looking to purchase that 2nd home or make an investment in a condo in Costa Rica.