28 November 2014

On Being an Ex-Expat

Several years ago, we immigrated to Costa Rica. We officially became expatriates, aka expats.

We had spent a few years going back and forth, slowly getting accustomed to the life and culture of our new country.

Then we spent a few more years really living in Costa Rica. A couple of years ago, we found ourselves gravitating back to the states. Finally, we decided to make our new reality official yet again - we gave up our Costa Rican residency, and moved to New Mexico.

It is interesting for us, as ex-expats, to notice how different some things are; things we just lived with (either here or abroad), and how our expectations have changed.

Yep, we made a list; it's probably not exhaustive, but here it is!  I expect to expand on at least a few in future posts, so keep an eye out :-)

  1. Holidays - Turkey at Thanksgiving, Christmas hype, Easter week
  2. Plumbing and Electricity - Hot water, toilet paper, water outages, grounding
  3. Driving and public transportation
  4. Doors (push, pull, or ring the bell?), sidewalks, one-way streets, crossing streets down from the corner
  5. Language - learning new ones, and reevaluating how we use our mother tongue
  6. Music - venues, open mics, symphony
  7. Weather, seasons, changing daylight hours
  8. Children and Family - raising children, living with an extended family, care facilities for elderly or handicapped family
  9. Health Care - different responsibilities, pharmacies, blood tests, family involvement, and what's most important
  10. Politics - election rules, campaigning, trust in the government
  11. Bureaucracy - it's everywhere!
  12. Renting - finding, applying, maintenance, laws
  13. News, and how to find out about things
  14. Grocery shopping - where to go for what, how often, learning from mistakes
  15. Time - sense and anxiety
  16. Cafecito or Happy Hour
  17. Allergies and irritants - Pollen, fragrance-free, cigarette smoke, car fumes
  18. Manners - what really is polite, what is important?

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