When it is winter up north, it is summer here in Costa Rica. That means the snowbirds arrive and settle into their cottages and cabins scattered in the hills above my little town in Costa Rica.

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They come from British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Seattle, upstate New York, Wisconsin. They are here for a couple or three months – they come every year – joining us in the morning in the Parque Central where we share our yesterday’s events and plan today’s.

As we sit on our benches – a bunch of happy folk from up north but living in Costa Rica – we watch the tourist buses arrive and unload. Folks with cameras begin to pose in front of our magnificent red-metal church. It is easy to play “spot the gringo.” They seem to be enjoying themselves, but very few smile.

It is also very easy to play “expat living in paradise.” We smile – a lot!