For a small country Costa Rica sure has a lot of mature Canadians and Americans living in condos – sometimes it feels like a hillier, less humid Florida. While the gated community lifestyle doesn’t appeal to me it certainly seems to be popular. I heard one older woman gush in the mega grocery store “it’s so great here, like living in the U.S. only the maids are cheaper!”
I’ve been coming here for nearly 20 years now in my pursuit of the Spanish language and I’ve had the privilege of home stays with families who hosted me because, quite honestly, they needed the money.
And over the years I’ve really come to enjoy wandering the narrow streets in the modest places where most ordinary Costarricense families have their homes. In a way they remind me of the working class mining villages in Wales that I knew as a young woman…but with smart phones… and SUVs… and flat screen TV’s and perfect weather…okay so maybe it isn’t like Wales!
So as my husband is teaching his annual course at the UN University for Peace I got to do a little wandering around the town we’re staying in – Piedades de Santa Ana. The University, through a generous donor, just acquired a former meditation centre called Quizur on one of the hills of Piedades and that is where we are housed.
In typical Costa Rican style it has its metal gates, as do even the most modest of homes here, but it blends in well with the community as well. It is reached up the typical one lane winding road that is the mark of villages everywhere here.
Perhaps they’re getting fitted for a new pair of handmade boots – the sign reads ‘we have a payment system’.
It seems though that a lot of Costa Rica is for sale these days to those wishing to escape the northern weather and congested cities. Let’s just hope it doesn’t loose its charming self in the process.