Reflections on Easing the Transition to Becoming An Expat

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

I have a secret to tell.  Life in Monteverde is not perfect.  Cue in the gasp!  I cannot find a Smart Zip Ziploc bag to save my life. There are no Morningstar Vegetarian products anywhere here.  We don’t have a movie theatre or a symphony.  There are bugs everywhere.  No matter how many times I scrub the counters, the ants make their way back every day.  We have to take the bus to San Jose for passport photos.

But I am happy.  I have looked beyond these minor issues to appreciate the reasons for the lack of these conveniences.  Living in a place where reduce, reuse, recycle practices are so prevalent means that there is less availability of trash-producing items such as Ziploc bags.  Most of the food here is natural and locally made, which means that there is a limitation on certain types of hyper-processed foods such as Morningstar veggie sausages.  Even though there is no movie theatre or symphony, we have so many beautiful places to enjoy the outdoors with an endless choice of hiking trails.  I have also accepted that we have bugs everywhere because we are smack in the middle of the rain forest.  If there was no forest, there would be no bugs.  While having to go to San Jose, a noxious cesspool of the human condition, for the nearest Apple store or photography needs is a pain, the nuisance makes me appreciate the smallness of Monteverde.

I would not trade these “imperfections” for the world.  I have become a better person after living here for a few short months.  I am a better mom.  I am writing every day.  I finished the dialogue of my TV pilot and now I will start editing and revising it.  The stillness of Monteverde life inspires me daily.

As mentioned earlier this week, you have to prepare yourself to ease the transition to expat life and be able to face culture shock, primitive technology, and a slower pace of life.  I did it, and have been rewarded with patience, friendship, and joy.  If these are the things you are looking for, look no further than Costa Rica.  Despite it’s “imperfections”, right now, Monteverde is exactly where I want to be.  Forget Paris!

“People wonder why so many writers come to live in Paris. I’ve been living ten years in Paris and the answer seems simple to me: because it’s the best place to pick ideas. Just like Italy, Spain.. or Iran are the best places to pick saffron. If you want to pick opium poppies you go to Burma or South-East Asia. And if you want to pick novel ideas, you go to Paris.”― Roman Payne, Crepuscule

Pura Vida!

About Noemi Gamel

Noemi Gamel is a physician who prefers writing diverse children's fantasy stories instead of medical charts. She is a geeky nomad, too.
This entry was posted in Becoming an Expat, Redesigning Your Life, Reflections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reflections on Easing the Transition to Becoming An Expat

  1. Costa Rica is a good place to test whether or not you are a happy person. Things can be frustrating here, sure. But if you ignore the beauty around you to be grumpy that you can’t find your favorite brand of candy bar, you’re priorities aren’t straight.

    • Noemi Gamel says:

      Yes! I remember when I first moved here I was bummed that I could not find my favorite coffee creamer. But one hike through Bajo del Tigre made m forget all about it. And the coffee here is so darn good, that you dont need anything but plain milk and sugar to flavor it.

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