Tips for Living in Costa Rica Without Dying of Frustration
Life in Costa Rica can be a bit frustrating at times. Unlike the United States, where stress is the overbearing and unbeatable issue in most people’s lives, in Costa Rica frustration reins supreme. While frustration stems from disappointment, or having an situation turn out in a way you didn’t expect, it’s still a much better problem than stress, simply because of all the health implications attached to significant amounts of stress. Still, frustration can be a very…well, frustrating problem.
Dealing with bad customer service, constant road construction, annoying and rude TV/cable companies, and endless amounts of paperwork at banks and government institutions all results in frustration. But what is the root cause of this frustration?
It’s expecting something else. You expected something else out of life in Costa Rica. In the past, you have come to expect a kind of standard protocol for the way that life, road construction, customer service, and government institutions are supposed to function. That is the way that life works in the United States…but not in Costa Rica.
When you pick up and move to another country, you have to rid yourself of the expectations you’ve amassed from your home country. Costa Rica has a completely different culture than the United States, so how could you expect things to be exactly the same?
The creating factor of perfect storm of annoyance, frustration, and, yes, stress is when you live abroad is trying to take your old home, with all of its familiarities and expected protocol, with you. The United States is not Costa Rica and Costa Rica is not the United States. You can’t expect them to be the same. You just have to take a deep breath, calm yourself, and remember that this is the culture in Costa Rica.
Here are some tips for avoiding disappointment while living in Costa Rica:
1. Learn Spanish (Not being able to communicate is the biggest frustration of all)
2. Use public transportation more. This decreases traffic on the streets and allows you some time to meditate quietly or plan out the rest of your day
3. When going to the bank, bring a book or a magazine (Cellphones are not allowed)
4. When using craftsmen or professionals, ask for several different price quotes. 5 is a good number to ask for
5. When you have an appointment with someone, make sure you have a back up plan, or 2. Get to your appointment and if the first person doesn’t arrive in 15 to 20 minutes, move on to your backup plan
6. Do yoga and meditate. This will help you stay calm, strong, and fit in the wake of all the small frustrations. Also, it’s just plain good for your health.
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