Tica Gringa: A Bicultural Perspective
Welcome to my blog! I’ve been living back in Costa Rica for almost two years now, and although I’ve been writing articles and newsletters for many years, this is my first blog and I’m excited about writing for you.
I want to give you some idea of who I am and why I’m writing this blog. If you decide to subscribe, and I hope you do, my intention is to be a source of information and motivation, while providing you with both amusing and serious food for thought.
I want to share my musings because I’ve led an interesting life straddling two cultures. When I land in Tennessee, I’m home! When I land in Costa Rica, I’m home! And yes, that’s exactly how I feel. I belong to both places, yet I’m not quite a perfect fit in either one. I’m not 100% Tica, nor am I 100% Gringa. Being caught between both worlds is the price one pays for the experiences and perspectives that come with being bicultural. The upside is that it gives me dual perspectives to share with you.
I know many people my age are thinking about retiring and moving to Costa Rica. Younger people come here seeking a more laid back lifestyle. Families uproot and move in order to give their children the opportunity to experience another way of life and to learn another language.
A few individuals like myself are here to start over and build a new life in this land of mountains, beaches, volcanos, and abundant Pura Vida. I’ve been surprised at the number of older women like myself who came here alone or who have stayed here alone, even though their families are in other countries.
Then there are the many friends, family, and former clients stateside and around the world who are curious about my return to Costa Rica at this point in my life. While some shake their heads saying, “I can’t imagine doing that,” for others I’m the nudge, the inspiration, to push the limits of their comfort zones.
Some will be armchair travelers and others will have practical questions. How hot does it get there? You have an active volcano in your back yard? Why does everyone say I have to have a lawyer to live here? What’s it like where you live? Is it hard to move to there?
I’ve lived just under half my adult life in TN, and the rest of it here. Costa Rica isn’t perfect. No place is. But here I am. I want you to know is that while it’s easy to romanticize a place like Costa Rica, I’ll honestly tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly as best I can. I’m not an expert, and I was gone for 20 years, but I believe I have many valuable insights worth sharing. It’s changed a great deal in these last two decades and occasional visits did not always prepare me for the current reality, but I’ve been playing catch up pretty quickly.
Some of my posts will be related to adjusting to life in Costa Rica. Some will be about the ups and downs of starting over again as a woman on her own in this other home country of mine. Every now and then I’ll toss something into the mix that will seem totally random, but whose roots are more Costa Rican than not. And sometimes, I will experience something serious that I feel must be shared.
I want to give you glimpses of the traditional Costa Rica of my childhood and of my mother’s. And I want to share informational tips that will make living here a little less stressful and mind-boggling. I’ll talk about my observations of everyday comings and goings. I’ll do my best simply to give you a picture of what it means to me to be back home in Costa Rica.
And there you have it. I look forward to interacting with you here and hope you find Home in Costa Rica worth reading and sharing.
*A quick explanation of terms: A Gringa is a female from the US, a Tica is a female Costa Rican, and Pura Vida is a term that defies definition because it’s used in so many ways: how’s it going, life is good, everything’s under control, blessed, it’ll be ok. Discussions of some other terms can be found in various blog posts.