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Dealing with homesickness in Costa Rica

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Costa Rica can turn out to be a wonderful human, social or professional adventure... with potential moments of nostalgia and homesickness along the way.

What are your personal tips to prevent homesickness?

How do you deal with such feelings?

Are there shops or stores offering products from your home country in Costa Rica? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

Having things "from home" helps a lot. I also find that enjoying media in English to be sort of comforting.

As far as preventing the feelings, that is not possible. Culture shock is a universal experience of anyone moving to a new culture. The good news is that you adapt eventually. And the best advise to just stay here long enough for that to happen.

Priscilla :

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Costa Rica can turn out to be a wonderful human, social or professional adventure... with potential moments of nostalgia and homesickness along the way.

What are your personal tips to prevent homesickness?

How do you deal with such feelings?

Are there shops or stores offering products from your home country in Costa Rica? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

I'm probably not typical re this subject, but I don't miss much of anything from the USA except a couple good friends.

Now, I do miss stuff like great Mexican burritos, great Thai food, calzones and other foods we got there that are not readily available here.

I miss Trader Joe's and their affordable organic flax oil and coco oil and great frozen pizzas and cheap chocolate and many choices of budget wines and beers!

But I don't feel "homesick", really.

In fact the reason I moved here by and large was because I was sick of the USA and it's rules and regulations and fines and politics and so on. I know  Costa Rica has these too but it's just not as bad here, at least not for me, not so far. To me the USA is not the land of freedom but the land of rules and regulations! I feel much more free here, free to do as I please and while there are RTV and other rules and regs here they are fewer and further between.

With the internet I can keep in touch with the whole world, I can play all the music I always did, and with FB and email, whatsapp and skype, I can keep in touch with everyone back in the USA, as well as friends in other countries.

Aside from the food, the one thing we miss is good quality products at a lower price. Costa Rica has many things that are higher priced here, though labor is cheaper and other things are cheaper so that kinda makes up for it.

So, no, no real "homesickness" here.
I think people who have very close-knit family connections are more likely to get homesick. That is not an issue for me.

My husband and I did our best to remember that 'home is where the heart is'.  We began to develop relationships quickly.  We immediately found a good church where we could start to develop deep bonds.  We got involved there so that some of our emotional and spiritual needs were being taken care of.  We also got involved in the community and stayed busy and kept contact with friends and family from home.  We often reminded ourselves, (and still do) that Costa Rica is our new home and think about the good reasons we chose to be here.  There are so many reasons - the people, the climate, the quality of life...  It wasn't long before the homesickness feelings became less and less and Costa Rica became our new home.  I hope you love it as much as we do!

I have been here almost 9 years and have absolutely never had any home sickness.  I never did from day 1. Maybe it is because  my children from my x wife are adults in the USA and have their own lives.  I have remarried to a Filipina and we had a girl born here with another baby on the way next year. At my age I was uncertain about another baby but it has no negative effect on my thinking. It is all in the mind and how one sees the world  rather than living in a bubble in the USA. With the current political and crime situation in the states I know for a fact that I will never return to live there. Yes, Costa Rica has it's own problems but compared to the states this is truly a far better choice. I did  try living in the Philippines in 2014 for 8 months and returned to Costa Rica because the political climate in the Philippines was getting bad. My wife is extremely happy here and has learned to be fluent in Spanish in 8 months of private classes in a language academy in Palmares. Our 2 year old understands a lot of English and Spanish but not too much Tagalog from his mother yet

I have been here for a little bit, over a year. I do not miss the states. This feels like my home. I will never go back. I feel that the country (USA) is going downhill. I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren, living there.

mike  its e rick ohman  did you ever get your residence yet  either permanent or pensionado    curious

All I can say to anyone living here now or considering it is
do not buy a house right away this may not be your cup of tea.  unfortunately it is usually the wife if you are married that gets homesick.
live here for a year before plunging into buying a house. peronally i prefer renting.
  if you are up in age and potentially may need major medical care then consider living in the san jose metropolitan area so that you can readily and expeditiously get to  hospital biblica, cima or catolico which are private and have great english speaking staff, many of their doctors have been trained in some of finest medical universities in the usa. bear in mind that medicare will not cover you here. because i have flying benefits on a major airline i retired from in 2002, i have an advatage over most xpats. in one week i am flying to sarasota florida to get my left side carotid artery cleaned out of blockage from colesterol and medicare will cover most of it.   
at the very least learn basic spanish and you will find friends that are not necessarily gringos. costa ricans are very friendly for the most and more than willing to socialize with gringos or other xpats from other countrys.
be ready to make adjustments in your lifestyle. unless you have a big family,  you do not need a big house with 4 bedrooms plus. think of all the money you will save to go on those special trips or to buy things you want without getting into credit card hock.
you can find american style restaurants like tony romas in escazu but there are many others all over with a mixed menu to satisfy your tastes.
get out and visit other citys and villages. learn to appreciate the culture.
i could go on and on but these are some of the more important ones to definitely do.
  in finality-get rid of all the stress you may have been  having in the usa.
stress kills
so enjoy your new lifestyle

I agree with Rick said above.
Homesickness can be light or heavy or non-existent - it depends on the person.

Unless it is a very bad case I think most people will see the up-side of living here. I've been talking to a couple other expats here and one thing we notice is that we are healthier here. We walk more. We do more. We're outside more.
If you live in the "campo" the air is clean and you can get plenty of it.

I have lost weight here - not sure how much, but nearly 5 pants sizes! None of my pants fit any more!

How did I do it? I didn't even try. I just do more, burn more calories  because I am always working in the yard outside.

We downsized to a very small house and it's fine because we are outside most of the time except when it rains and when we sleep.

These are just some of the pluses but you definitely need to weigh the pluses against the minuses, as there are going to be both.

Rick is right, it is often the women who want to move back so make sure the wife is on board with it. If not, this can be a major problem. I've known plenty of guys who divorced because they wanted to stay here and their wife and/or kids did not. For some reason it seems men like it here better than women. Maybe it's the homesickness that does it, or maybe men like the "old west" sense of adventure and freedom you get here, depending on where you live.

No, I have not. I have moved back to the valley from Jaco. I am in San Juaquin now. I enjoyed the beaches but being from Colorado, I enjoy the cooler evenings here in the valley. I am going to get married this month to a very lovely Tica. About the comment of being homesick here.......last winter, after being here for only five months, I made a trip back to Denver. I was gone only for five days but was anxious to get back home to Costa Rica. Having a house here makes it feel like home. Even though, I am renting.

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