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