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Regrets? Hell no.

13 December 2009 292 views 5 Comments
Yes, he's wearing Elvis shades and trying to stick as much stuff in them as possible.

Yes, he's wearing Elvis shades and trying to stick as much stuff in them as possible.

I was chatting with a friend and mentioned moving back to the US and his response was ‘I’m so sorry man – too bad it didn’t work out for you.’ I was a bit surprised because I hadn’t thought about it in terms of regret at all – because we have no regrets about our experience.  Another couple of friends, one of whom I’ve known since high school, got it right – 1) we spent a year in paradise and 2) having made it here, we know we can do anything now.

Those two sentiments are right on the money.  Would I trade this past year for another year of the same old, same old in NY, with a boring-ass job, a commute and cold weather?  Hell no.  And the feeling I got after spending 4 years realizing this dream is that we really can do anything.

Plus we never imagined this as being forever.  I don’t know if I can live anywhere for a long time, without getting the itch for something else.  We’re thinking Florida now, but we will maintain our permanent residency here.  That means coming back for 4 months a year.  Having an excuse to come back to paradise is a good thing :-)

Here are some of the positives I got out of the past year:

The lineated woodpecker - now I know where Woody got his hair.

The lineated woodpecker - now I know where Woody got his hair.

This little guy/gal is looking for cookies to steal.

This little guy/gal is looking for cookies to steal.

  • Great weather.  We even lucked out with the rainy season not being so rainy.
  • Realizing that our preference for warm weather was right on target – we’re really happy with the heat and still want to live in a hot climate.  It’s ok to admit that We Don’t Like Cold Weather and do something about it.
  • Language – I’m happy with what Spanish I’ve learned and want to continue learning.
  • We had an amazing birth and an utterly beautiful baby, two things we will always associate with Costa Rica.
  • M & J had to be with each other a lot by necessity and their relationship has really blossomed.  Could be just them growing older, but I see a closeness that is more palpable than before.
  • Nature up the wazoo – all the neat birds, lizards & creepy crawlies.  Toucans, lineated woodpeckers, pelicans, herons, tanagers of various colors, parrots and other colorful tropical birds vs cardinals, robins & sparrows?  That’s is pretty one-sided ;-)
  • Monkeys.  If there’s one animal that we truly loved, it was the monkey.  They’re adorable yet give a glimpse into ourselves.  I definitely need to see more monkeys before we leave.
  • Amazing plants & witnessing the constant growth.  Fragrant breezes smelling of citrus, flowers or the sea air.
  • The Caribbean beaches.  Usually so sparsely populated that we felt like they were just ours.  The water was a bit warm, but always easy to get into.  And you could always count on seeing some sort of wildlife.
  • A monkey stole my cookies.  Yes, he was a little fucker but it was fun to watch him scurry away.
  • Witnessing the rhythms of different seasons & weather patterns.  Seeing microclimates in action.
  • Fresh, locally grown organic coffee.
  • Weekly trips to the feria (farmer’s market), where we met our local coffee grower, some of our farmers and Tom & Jan, a wonderful couple from Pennsylvania who made scrumptious baked goods.
  • Realizing how important having like-minded parents around us is.
  • Realizing – again – that I’m married to my best friend and there’s no one else I would rather be with through thick & thin.

It’s been an amazing experience that we will return to in 2011.  It’s also been something that we’ve learned from and that has changed us.  I don’t feel anything negative about it at all, and in some ways will be very sad to leave.  Knowing that we’ll be back makes things easier.


  • Trish said:

    Awwwww. You’re making me teary-eyed now.

    But anyway, I agree completely. No regrets.

  • Chris said:

    I think it’s pretty courageous and admirable to do what you did. I don’t see how there could be regrets.

  • Arp (author) said:

    Thank you :-) I kinda look at it as just part of our unschooling lifestyle – we can’t really teach our kids anything, but we can live the example of being passionate and learning from all our experiences.

  • Jan Yatsko said:

    It was wonderful to meet you, Arp and your kids while you lived in Atenas. Imagine my surprise to see Tom and I listed on your no regrets list! We are all connected in some way.

  • Arp (author) said:

    Jan, your & Tom’s kindness was most appreciated – the best baked goods in Costa Rica were an added bonus!