Ex Pat John Living in Costa Rica
From Costa Rica Travel Guide: Vacation and Travel tips
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First, a little background on exactly what culture shock is:
Culture shock is the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) that occurs in individuals adjusting to life in an unfamiliar culture. Basically, culture shock happens when a person finds that the ways they have always done things no longer work in the new culture.
EVERYONE who leaves their home country to live on foreign soil for any extended period of time will experience some degree of culture shock. Degrees can fluctuate significantly, depending. * Culture shock is the primary reason an estimated 40% of those who move to Costa Rica return ‘home’ within the year. These people will continue READING.
Basically there are three types of gringos that call Costa Rica Home (and per the picture, can often be difficult to spot the differences at first glance). I’m sure there are exceptions, but normally they will fit into one of these three categories.
Obviously, just my observations,,,,,,,,,,,I could be wrong.
The gringo with money is the first type. Not necessarily rich rich, but maybe. This gringo comes here but doesn’t really want to change their lifestyle in anyway. As a matter of fact, they fight change every step of the way, but won’t actually admit to it. They may purchase a smaller house, or not, but it will have all the amenities, as this gringo will NOT do without. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just sayin. They usually live in the ‘burbs around San Jose, particularly, Escazu, or in pockets around the country where other gringos with money congregate, such as Tamarindo. This gringo frequently doesn’t know or want to learn Spanish, and will often talk to ticos in slow, exaggerated English like that will make them understand it better, and even have the audacity to get upset when they don’t. They can frequently be overheard saying things like, “That’s not how they do it in the States.” Whether they’re aware or not, they tend to be very insulting to Costa Ricans in general. These are the ones you want to say, “Then why don’t you go back where you came from if it’s so much better there.” These gringos want Costa Rica to be like the States and also tend to be whiners and complainers, but again, won’t admit it. On returning to Costa Rica from the States, they’ll stock up on trivial items because, “You just can’t find those here.” I should note; many gringos do this, but with this breed of gringo it’s usually something stupid like Q-tips (I’m not making this up). This person was pretentious when they lived in the states and they’re pretentious here. The only thing about them that has changed is their address. These gringos often make you scratch your head and say, “WTF did you move here for?”
The second type of gringo, to which I belong, came here with a little money and want to make a go of it. Typically, not independently wealthy, this gringo will eventually have to find some source of income, or if they don’t need money, they’re interested in getting involved in ‘something.’ Disenfranchised with the materialist thinking of the States, or perhaps the political climate, this gringo is usually seeking the simple life of sorts and wants to experience everything Costa Rica has to offer- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Learning Spanish would be mandatory, as this type of gringo couldn’t imagine otherwise. Of course there will be problems. The concept of ‘tico time,’ will be a hard adjustment, and ‘gringo pricing’ will also take some time getting use to, but in the end, this gringo will take the good with the bad, but appreciate the difference. I think I can speak for this type of gringo when I say, “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else…at least for now.”
What to say about the third type of gringo? Well, I can say they give the rest of us a bad name. Haters they are. They really wouldn’t be happy anywhere. They complain, and whine, and talk (to anyone who will listen) how LIFE has dealt them a blow. They’re irresponsible and blame everyone and everything for their lot in life (but with passion, they’re often very believable). And yes, they’re frequently running from ‘something’ i.e., the LAW, or other ‘problems.’ Outcasts in their own country- this gringo could, and does live where other riff-raff gather- beach towns, tourist spots- places where they can scam and con their way into making their next rent payment. This gringo is ALWAYS searching for the big payoff, of course without the work, or the capital, but ALWAYS with an IDEA. They could have easily landed in Costa Rica by spinning the globe and randomly placing their finger down stopping where ever… (remember that game?) They’re the ones that kept spinning until they landed on Hawaii or some other exotic location, never happy. Luckily, they’re easy to spot. They normally start drinking beer around lunch time and congregate where tourists are- at first, very sociable, even likable. They LOVE to talk about the state of affairs in the U.S. (all negative), as they HATE and ABHOR the political system, and in particular- anything BUSH. And I’ve never heard a conspiracy theory they didn’t adhere too. But beware; eventually, they’ll be attempting to sell you on something, usually LAND. They are the go-between, as they don’t usually own the land themselves, but they might. But here, you get paid to be the go-between, and after all, it is money you can make while suckin down the suds, SWEET! Hang out with this type of gringo for ANY length of time, and you’ll know. Really, they’re just sad and in all actuality- I feel sorry for them.
Quick inventory- I don’t care for Bush, I DO think 9-11 was an inside job to some degree, I DO have land for sale AND it’s 12:20 in the afternoon and I’m on my second Imperial. Ummm…?