In raising our two daughters here on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, we are faced with both the similarities and stark distinctions which this lifestyle provides parents and other residents of Manuel Antonio when compared to life in the USA and Canada.
This past weekend was a perfect example of both!
The Similarities Between Living in Costa Rica and…Life ‘Up North?’
While a world away from the lifestyles and routines of many of my friends, clients and family members in the USA, our lives are still filled with responsibilities, school, exams, work schedules and many of the other routines which by their very nature become dominant aspects of our day to day existence.
My two daughters are in school now, and I, like many parents are working on remembering my algebra, social studies and other courses and work to balance my children’s homework, extra curricular activities and chores around the house.
As I watch through the social networks, I realize that so much of these macro level responsibilities and rights of passage (losing first teeth, school performances, PTA meetings, etc) are universal experiences and while language, infrastructure and culture make them unique, they are in essence parallel worlds.
The same can be said of my work schedule and that of many full time residents here..
We keep office hours, have responsibilities and schedules that can at times be incredibly busy and hectic and the cycle of work, family and responsibilities on its base level is the same around the globe.
Living in Costa RicaThose Little But Important Differences!
That said, the differences in how these schedules and what we do around them is where the biggest differences lie and in essence are why I love living here and why I think so many readers of WeLoveCostaRica.com are attracted to the lifestyle.
There are many similarities in terms of the education, responsibility and lessons that both the school and parents must inculcate into our children.
What I love is that this core is the same as in many of the finest schools in the USA and Canada.
The differences are that my children are in a great private school here which is a rainbow of cultures, economic backgrounds and lifestyles which force kids of all ages and backgrounds to appreciate one another for who they are and what they want to be.
In my daughter’s class there are kids from Italy, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, France, and Israel, along with many kids from Costa Rica with parents that range from incredibly wealthy families to others who by any global standard are living at or below the poverty line yet there they are, playing marbles in the yard, swimming, surfing, learning about ecology and the key elements of being a good person.
As for work, sure the schedule can be hectic, but as I sit here typing this reflection, I do so in my formal work attire which is made up of shorts, a collared polo shirt (I got dressed up today :o) and my most elegant pair of flip flops.
Out of my back window we can see a troop of titi monkeys jumping from tree to tree in the rainforest and in the other direction? The beautiful Manuel Antonio beach is a few hundred yards away.
At the weekend, rather than trips to the mall to buy things we really don’t need, or to the movie theatre to watch movies that rarely enrich us, my family and I enjoy the day at a local cooperative farm or, in an ecological project in the rain forests of our area or at the beach in that great big healthy outdoors.
I find that the real difference in living here and experiencing Costa Rica, for those who are not fortunate enough to simply retire or vacation here, is that our lives outside of our work and family schedules, which for the most part are very similar regardless of where you live in the world, are filled with a focus on the simple joys and beauty of this area and its people.
The ocean, beaches, rainforest, eco tourism activities and small communities whose focus on family, community and well being are rejuvenating forces which truly recharge and energize each of us.
I find vacationing to be more tiring that just living here as it normally means my family is going to the USA, visiting the malls, shopping, eating, running around and while easy to get caught up in, it is exhausting for us all.
No Money Needed, Just Sandwiches, Your Spirit of Adventure and a Love of Nature.
When considering Costa Rica, remember that the real differences in this culture and lifestyle may be in the nuances related to how you spend your free time.
For those who are blessed to have a lot of it, retirees or others, the lifestyle is obviously different, for others, it might requiring reflecting and asking how you spend your free time and weekends in the USA and Canada and, do those moments fill you up and provide the inspiration and give you a passion for life so that you are able to overcome the struggles which each of us inevitably face in our daily lives.
For me, my wife and our two wonderful daughters, living in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica somehow inspires us, it gives us an empowering passion for life and leaves us feeling confident that we can face whatever challenges the future may have in store for us…
A “Passion For Life” Living in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Article/Property ID Number 3785
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