O Canada, my home and native land

For anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while, you know two things:

  1. I currently live in Costa Rica.
  2. I’m Canadian.

One of those things is about to change.

Almost a year and 2/3 ago, I caught a rumour about Critical Mass thinking of opening an office in Costa Rica. That soon evolved into fact, then into reality, and led to me sitting where I am now. The conditions under which I came down here were set up for business purposes, but all led to one fact: I was leaving my home, moving away from all that I knew, to live somewhere else.

In my life, I have moved over 40 times. (I’ve lost count.) ย And I don’t mean just between the home where I grew up to university and back. I mean moved: picked up the things in my life that mattered, and transferred them to another location to continue my existence. I knew at the time that some of those moves were temporary — indeed, some of them were for school, but if I’d been told “stay put”, I’d have been quite content. Naturally, some moves — moving to Vancouver, moving to Calgary, and especially moving to Costa Rica — have been much more significant, but the basic intention is always the same.

When my family picked up to move here to Costa Rica, we severed ties with Canada. We didn’t just moved, we left. I mean, come on, we were moving to a tropical country where it’s summer all year, and everything is wonderful. Why the heck would we even dream of moving back? Right?

Right??

Yeah. Well.

Here’s the reality: for as much as the weather here is great, and as much as I love being really near warm oceans and beaches, and as much as I love the freaking coffee here (no joke), almost every other day we realise just how much we miss our family and friends, seasons that actually look different from one another, the ease in which we can do some things because we don’t have to struggle with bureaucracy, and yes, even the snow.

We’re moving home. Our home. To Canada.

Now before you all jump on me that I’ve got totally distorted expectations of Costa Rica, just hear me out. All of these things have been taken into consideration. Yes, there are things that have bothered me here. But, guess what, there are things that bother me about going home, too. Calgary’s far from perfect. Canada has lots of issues. Maybe it’s just that we’re Canadian, but they’re issues we grew up with, and issues that, in some small way, seem more manageable.

(And yes, I completely and utterly appreciate the humour/irony that we only just got our official residency status.)

When we looked long-term, staying in Costa Rica just wasn’t an option. Monkey will start school in a couple of years, and Alex’s employment prospects here in Costa Rica hinge on her becoming significantly more fluent in Spanish. As for me, my contract here ends in a couple of months, and it’s time for me to hand the reigns to someone else.

Officially, my contract ends in December, which is when we’ll be winging our way back to Calgary. I’m not looking particularly forward to returning in the winter (seriously, this could be close to the dumbest thing we’ve ever done), but it’s the right timing for us.

It’s still three months away, but already I know I will miss Costa Rica. I will miss the weather. I will miss the people we’ve met and the places we’ve been. I miss the food, especially the freshest fruit I’ve ever eaten. I will even miss the rain and the thunderstorms (mostly ‘cuz Calgary hardly ever has them).

I know we’re going to have a heck of a hard time adjusting back. Reverse culture shock, of a sort. Everything in English. Not having to argue with a sales clerk, or having to use hand gestures (note that this is a problem with us, not the clerk, just something that we’ve had to do). Having to follow enforced rules of the road (in other words, not driving like lawless maniacs). Having to actually use a furnace and blankets to stay warm at night. Wearing pants (as opposed to shorts — get your minds out of the gutters, you freaks!).

Three months. It’s equally a very long time, and will disappear in a blink. One day, not long from now, we’ll have to reminice about living in Costa Rica, just like we reminice about Calgary right now.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…

7 Replies to “O Canada, my home and native land”

  1. Hey Geoff, here’s a thought – you don’t have to completely leave Costa Rica. Buy a vacation property that you can go back to. You can rent it out when you’re not using it to your friends and family. That way you can go back every once in a while and enjoy the things you enjoy now. Plus, you can work out trades with other people who have vacation homes, like ours in Las Vegas ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. After the experiences I’ve had with developments here, I’m thinking the only house I want to own is the one in Calgary.

  3. I have enjoyed your blog, it was enlightening as we made our move to Costa Rica. I have to say that I completely understand your decision to go back home. Sure, people think it’s paradise, those same people never actually lived in paradise. Best of luck!

  4. Hi Elaine!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope your stay in Costa Rica goes well for you, regardless if it’s short-term or forever.

  5. My advice to anyone thinking about moving to Costa Rica..”dont do it.” Visit sure..nice vacation spots. If your company wants to transfer you here…say no. The people here will work 12 hours a day..but do nothing. Costa Rican’s are always looking for a way to get over on people especially if you are a gringo.

  6. Best of luck on your move back to Canada- I have been living in Costa Rica for 1 year now and can completly understand why you are moving back, if you haven’t lived in costa rica, you can’t understand or comprehend what life is like here, Cost Ricans live by the “pura vida” life, things run at a snails pace here and you need to have alot of patience. ” Manana(tomorow in spanish) for costa ricans means next week or next month, ask for directions for 1 place from 5 different people and you will get 5 different answers. People really need to do their research before moving here. All the best for you ๐Ÿ™‚

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