Two days ago we had a visit (Yay!) from some very good friends that we met the last time we were down here in Costa Rica. The last time we saw them they had just moved down here to open a wedding photography business (her pictures are amazing) and moved with their 18 month daughter to live full time in paradise. We were able to catch up with them and they are doing great. It was so awesome to see people who really followed their own dream by bucking the traditional "American dream."
The Husband and I often talk about what it would be like to live down here. These conversations typically come up more in frequently during October-April while we are dealing with those hellish New England winters. When you are away and you imagine what it would be like to live down here we always have visions of the best part of our trips. The sun, the ocean, the sunsets, the local food. We discuss how unbelievably nice everyone and what a great experience it would be for the little man. While a vacation house is a more likely option than an actual move, whenever we do finally make it back to our little home away from home I remember just how hard it is to live down here.
While we are living in a developing world, our accommodations are much closer to that of the first world. They are not, however, anywhere near that of what would be considered "luxury" accommodations (which is exactly why we come here.) One likely wouldn't realize some of the challenges of living in a tropical jungle if you were only visiting for a week. Prior to our last few trips, we would come down for a week, have an amazing time, go home and dream about being back on the beach; your typical vacation. The thing is some of this changes when you are actually living here.
- It's hot. No shit right? You are living on an equator. Let me tell you, if you are not used to the heat, like us city folk, it can be extremely oppressive. Like omg I actually have to walk one block to get milk, I may die, I can't cool off, EVER, type of heat. On a typical day the air is about 90 add in some serious humidity and it's a lot like Texas in the Summer, except here it is every day. The fact that we bike or walk everywhere adds to just how hot you can be. Throw in a lack of AC (except in the bedrooms which we only use at night) and a 88 degree pool and you find that it is really hard to ever get relief.
- The bugs. Right now I have about 30 bug bites on my legs alone. It is to the point that I hardly even notice when I get bit, but at night I. JUST. CANT. STOP. ITCHING. It's not just the mosquitos, it's the Army ants, the spiders the size of the little man, the beetles, you name it we've got it.
- Given the heat and the bugs it's really hard to feel clean. From the second you step out of the shower you start sweating. You are constantly covered in sand, and salt water, and chlorine, and sweat, did I mention the sweat? What I wouldn't give for a "real" shower.
- It is exhausting just living. Now we know why people down here only work from 9-12 and 1-4. It is really hard to make it through the day. Unless you are in an air conditioned building (of which there are 3) a person just can't make it all day in this type of heat. I forgot what it was like to be so tired. The little man feels it too and is sleeping a lot more than usual. I would imagine once you get better acclimated some of this would go away, but I have to think that the "Siesta" was created for a reason.
- The access to medical care. We are 2 hours from the nearest hospital. That two hours would have to assume we had a car, which we don't. I got an ear infection the first few days we were here and I had to wait a week for someone who was driving through to bring some ear drops. Last night the little man spiked a fever (I think he's cutting his molars) we just laid here hoping the tylenol would do the trick (it did) because had things gotten hairy we wouldn't have known what to do. No phone, no car, no 911. It's a scary thought.
- Kids are much harder to entertain. Sure the LM loves the beach and the pool, but we have to keep him out of the sun because it it too intense to be in all day. Therefore, we are spending a lot more time indoors (where it is really hot) trying to occupy a bored little boy. He is watching more TV than I would prefer, but just like us he too is so tired. When I ask the locals how their kids adjust they say that they don't, they are really bored also a lot of the time. It will really make me appreciate, when I get home, the park, the T, the play groups, did I mention the park? I think the little man will be pretty appreciative too.
I make this list not because I am complaining in any way. If you told me I could magically be transported back home or stay here for another week I would 100% chose to stay. In fact, things are actually getting easier the more we get used to it. Would I come back. Absolutely! In fact we are planning a trip for August. I know most new places take some adjusting, and like I said our friends are doing great. This trip has made me realize that as much as I love being here, I just don't think I could live down here.
Do they make a "permanent vacationer" status? Hmmm I'll have to look into that one.