Okay, yes, I’m aware it’s been over 2 months since my last post, and I’m sorry about that.  Interestingly, once you start “blogging” you start seeing your world through the eyes of “that would make an interesting blog post.” And that hasn’t stopped for me, even over these past 2 months of no posting.

However, a couple of months ago, I ran into a “problem” with that. Or, perhaps we could call it a “challenge.” (Ever the optimist, an “opportunity” perhaps?)

I started this blog with the belief that I could be a fresh voice in the world of ex-expats.  We’d loved Costa Rica, so had no ax to grind even though we were leaving. I thought that would make a nice “middle-ground” perspective, somewhere in between the rose-colored-glasses folks who were “selling” Costa Rica and the “it’s-hell-on-earth” disillusioned folks who seem to have an equal lack of perspective.

But despite my belief that I was writing this marvelously “balanced” view of what we’d loved about Costa Rica, and what we were now loving about being back in the United States, a couple of months ago I had two separate friends — good and dear friends — tell me their concerns that my “being so negative” about Costa Rica was going to keep people from wanting to move there, which might impact on their [current or future] house sales.

Hmmm… okay.  That brought posting to an abrupt stop.  (I did point out to both of them that I thought — given there seems to be a total of about 72 readers of my blog — I was probably not all that impactful on the state of the world of moving to Costa Rica, but still….)  The last thing I was seeking to do with my blogging was hurt my friends.

I still believe I was offering a fresh perspective that wasn’t “black or white” about CR vs. the U.S. but it seemed that everything I would think of over the coming weeks to write about would have the potential to be viewed by my friends as “more of the same.”  And they’d already expressed their concern about that “same.”

So I took a breath and paused, and thought about what I was writing.  And now, two months later, I can clearly write again about the joys of our being back in the U.S. (and, indeed, things we will continue to miss about Costa Rica) with a new-found perspective that it is the very CONTRAST of life that makes us appreciate things.

Unlike some of our friends and acquaintances in Costa Rica, we never allowed the “petty annoyances” and cultural differences to bother us. We might laughingly acknowledge some of those frustrations and differences, but never with any “personal” sense that they had a big impact on our lives.

And yet, now that we’re back, it’s impossible NOT to see things through the lens of contrast.  How can we not “contrast” the miraculous ease of the valet parking at the local university hospital with the complete lack of any parking at our local San Ramon hospital in Costa Rica.  How do you feel about having to find street parking (somewhere in the surrounding blocks of downtown commercial area) when you’re trying to go to the hospital?

And how can we not contrast the ready availability of organic food right in our local small grocery store (in a town of 16,000) with the near complete lack thereof in the largest grocery stores in San Ramon (a town of 30,000 to 70,000 depending on which statistic you pay attention to), particularly when even the worst of the non-organic food here at least has less deadly chemicals on it than what we were likely to find in Costa Rica.

Do we not contrast the stock at our local Wal-Mart (a couple of miles from our house) with the vastly more limited selection at the “local” Wal-Mart (45 minutes from our house) in Costa Rica? Or our incredibly wide roads (unusually wide, even for the U.S.) with the typically narrow and pot-holed roads down there?

The simple fact is that there are, of course, lots of contrasts — and why wouldn’t there be? We’re talking about arguably the most highly developed nation in the world compared to a tiny country that only recently has left the ranks of being considered “third world.”

But, what we find, is that our 5+ years of living in Costa Rica — which, let us remember, we thoroughly enjoyed! — has had the added benefit of giving us that contrast to more fully appreciate so many things here. Things we would have taken for granted were it not for that interlude.

So, please, don’t take our appreciation of things here to be a criticism of things there.  All of those “qualities” about living in Costa Rica that might be taken as negatives, can also be taken simply as part of the challenges and adventures of living in a foreign country.

And if you don’t want challenges and adventures, then nothing I write is going to dissuade you from moving to Costa Rica — or any foreign country for that matter! — you shouldn’t even be considering it in the first place!

So, with that said, I’m back and will be posting much more often again in the future.  Stay tuned.