I often have long, deep philosophical conversations with our wonderful neighbors, John and Gay. Many times these conversations are over a drink or two and ideas for articles about our lives in Costa Rica are given life.
One of our recent conversations was about Type A personalities and how those people with a strong Type A may have a more difficult transition into a Costa Rican lifestyle, the land of “pura vida” (pure life) and the “siempre mañana” (always tomorrow) attitude.
You see, often, the traits about a place and culture that you most love are the ones that will make you crazy in the end. In the case of Costa Rica, it is often the laid back, carefree attitude about life of the Costa Rican people that gets under the skins of those Type As that believe they want to call Costa Rica home.
To help make the transition a little more pleasant, below are a few tips from Gay, or as we refer to her on the mountainside, “Mz. Boggs”, on how to go from a Type A to a Type Z in Costa Rica in one easy lesson.
The most important thing to do is move to Costa Rica. Live your dreams now and don’t wait for tomorrow. Post haste. Tout de suite. Vaya con Dios. If you don’t like it, what is the worse case scenario? You move back to where you came from, plain and simple. Remember, you create your own destiny in life.
In Costa Rica remember “less is more”. Think about your lifestyle expectations and then have a date with reality. Costa Rica may or may not be for you. If you expect things in Costa Rica to be like they are back home, wherever home may be, then think again.
Having said that, if you give it a chance and change your perspective, Costa Rica will transform you and remind you just how life is supposed to be lived. There is a natural rhythm to life here unlike anywhere else in the world that I have ever experienced.
One of the most valuable lessons to learn is that it doesn’t have to get done today, tomorrow, this week, or even this year. After years of living in Costa Rica, I am used to delays and getting the answer of “mañana” (tomorrow). Typically, things are done in a timely manner in Costa Rica.
But, when things are delayed, just relax, think about it and ask yourself if what you are waiting on is life threatening. If the answer is NO, then that is just part of the “pura vida” or pure life mentality that Costa Rica is famous for. Mz. Boggs and I have learned this together with our cabinet maker, a.k.a.
Carlos, who says he will always show up on Wednesday. Interestingly enough, he never says which Wednesday, but when he finally shows up (and he always shows up) it is on a Wednesday.
There is always a second chance to make a first impression in Costa Rica. Ticos are very forgiving and understanding. They are also very welcoming of foreigners and are often as curious and eager to learn about us as we are to learn about them.
There will always be cultural differences, but Costa Ricans will often overlook our indiscretions or politely explain our mistakes in a way so that we understand where we went wrong. These types of things often happen when you are first learning the language and mistakenly use a word or term that means something completely different than what you thought it meant!
If you don’t get it right the first time then try again and again, and yet again. In Costa Rica, time is on your side. There is always tomorrow, “siempre mañana”. For example, banks are famous for giving you a list of requirements for opening an account.
However, if everything is not perfectly worded and in order, with all the i’s dotted and all the t’s crossed, expect to be sent away until things are just right. It’s just the way things are done down here.
As long as you are polite and respectful no one cares how you screw up. Ticos actually want you to succeed. Costa Ricans are very helpful and will often go out of their way to assist you in any way they can. I can’t tell you home many times I have heard the phrase “no te preocupas” (don’t worry) for one thing or another that I had done wrong.
I have learned that no matter how frustrated I may get at someone or at a situation, a little sweet talk and brown nosing will get you everywhere in Costa Rica. Also, bribery with pastries goes a long way!
You are trusted and trustworthy until you prove you’re not – not the other way around like we are used to in the good old U.S.A.
More often than not, the honor system still applies in Costa Rica. When we first moved to Atenas, we had two family medical emergencies at once. In my haste to leave the house, I forgot my wallet. I realized this when I went to pay two different doctors and the ambulance service. When I explained the situation, I was told to leave and to simply come back and pay when I could.
I could tell you countless other stories of things that have happened here in Costa Rica that have had the same ending. Your word and a hand shake still have value in Costa Rica. How refreshing!
There is no such thing as a bad day in Costa Rica. When bad stuff happens, good stuff follows that will make you smile and laugh. It’s just the law of nature in Costa Rica. It seems that Costa Ricans are naturally tuned in to the Law of Attraction. When you wake up in the morning to stunning views, vibrant nature, and happy, smiling people, how could you have a bad day?
If you are like many of us who move to Costa Rica with a Type A personality, think about WHY you are wanting to move here. Take a deep breath, realize that this is an awesome adventure and thank goodness that it is not going to be like it is “back home”.
Remember in life that you can’t get it wrong and you will never get it all done. There will always be something else and hey, at least in Costa Rica, there is the belief in “siempre mañana” – always tomorrow. If you can relax into the rhythms of life in Costa Rica, I can assure you that you will soon learn the real meaning of “pura vida”. So, no te preocupas!
How I Went From Being A Type ‘A’ To A Type ‘Z’ Living In Costa Rica In One Easy Lesson.
Article/Property ID Number 5469
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