Starting a new life in Costa Rica as a kid
It's not just getting used to a new house and neighborhood, it's the weather, the plants, the food, the culture, the way people talk, everything. I think the first thing that I noticed when I arrived
It’s not just getting used to a new house and neighborhood, it’s the weather, the plants, the food, the culture, the way people talk, everything.
I think the first thing that I noticed when I arrived in Costa Rica at the age of eight years old was the warm and rainy weather, the bright blue sky, and the incredible green vegetation. As a child (and still everyday as an adult), I fell in love with the lushness of this tropical paradise.
I was amazed by how easily you could access different regions by traveling short distances. We drove about 44 kilometres from the Juan Santamaria International Airport to the center of Cartago and found ourselves in a completely different environment, even though we were still in the Central Valley. I was born in a much bigger country and my father had to drive my mother and I, hundreds of kilometers until we found noticeably different biomes.
Starting school in a different country can be confusing. I remember how uncomfortable I was to step into my first day at school and not understand what my classmates or teachers were saying. Not just from a language point of view, but also from a cultural one. However, being from abroad was something my peers found interesting and that’s how I made most of the friends who taught me the customs and made me feel like a tica.
My classmates got me acquainted to Costa Rican slang like “varas” (meaning “things”, “stuff”, or “weird” depending on how it’s used), “tuanis” (meaning “cool” and its also used as a greeting), “güilas” (meaning “kids”), and many more. I also got to share Costa Rican meals with them and their families. From the first time I tried it, chifrijo became one of my absolute favourite foods!
Growing distant from family and old friends from my home country was inevitable. Luckily, technology allowed us to stay in touch, which is now easier than ever. It is always fun to show my loved ones what we’re up to here in Costa Rica as a family and share our different experiences. Some of my cousins never fail to comment how jealous they are about the fact that I get to spend New Year’s Eve at the beach around a campfire surrounded by palm trees while wearing a simple t-shirt, shorts, and sandals.
It has been a privilege for me to grow up in Costa Rica. I hope you have an even better journey!