Before I heard of Costa Rica, I always thought of international travel as a glamorous thing; and, that living abroad would be the ultimate experience. A lot of people think this way, but only a few actually make the leap. I always thought that I would find myself and become more wise, as a result of moving to Costa Rica.
I also thought that I would be an eternal bachelor. I would continue to live the American Dream. My career path would continue to sky rocket. My personal wealth would not be challenged.
Guess what? That was ALL WRONG!
I am now married to a Costa Rican woman. We have three children together. The American Dream has since died. I turn on CNN and experience acid reflux and almost vomit in my mouth. The violence back in the USA is truly shocking. School shootings. Cops shooting people. Many people who live outside the US are terrified of the US. My reaction to all of this is to laugh and explain that the US is not exactly a peaceful country.
Why do we think we are so peaceful? The country was born from rebellion and bloodshed, as we fought off the British Empire. To date, we are the only country who has used nuclear weapons against another country – Japan. We have always turned global matters into our own war arena. From Korea to Vietnam and now we are confronting with a mounting mess in the Middle East which will never end.
I used to drink the Koolaid that the president just served to the entire nation. I don’t believe the bullshit anymore.
In fact, I don’t even know who I am anymore.
In Costa Rica, I’m a misfit. I will never be a local and will certainly never agree with the majority of Americans HERE or THERE. I consider myself to be a watered-down patriot. I still pay taxes. However, I struggle to see the rationality behind anything the government is doing. I also view Americans as caged gerbils. Keep running on the carousel and drinking that Koolaid. Everything will be fine in the end. The economy will never collapse. The government will never default. China will never invade.
Americans live inside a bubble of comfort and convenience.
Trust me – I’m American and I wish I could rediscover my bubble. Instead, I have a crack addict sleeping on the sidewalk 50 yards from my house. For the first five years, I tried to convince myself he was mentally disabled. I’m sure he is by now. I finally found his real problem. He spends every minute of everyday looking for his next rock, which costs about $1. I even saw him beg his dealer for a rock in broad daylight, because he couldn’t beg for enough money that day. His dealer looks like a rich little Tico…. about 25… probably in private school. His dad is probably a doctor or a dentist.
I have tried FOREVER to convince this bug infested, disturbed, homeless man to leave my street to no avail. In fact, I have recently learned that I cannot remove him through any legal measure such as the police or the judicial system. Instead, I have to live my days knowing this guy is just rotting on the sidewalk.
He doesn’t just rot….. He also throws garbage everywhere. He even takes a shit in plain view because he doesn’t care. Last week, I heard him screaming crazy shit “Tome Tome…” then he came running out of the tall grass of vacant lot practically naked. When he say me, he said “Stupid, Stupid, Stupid….” Note I dropped the “e” at the beginning and the “o” at the end, because he knows I’m a gringo and that is what he called me.
I’m pretty certain he has never seen my resume or knows anything about me. Although, he has probably been picking through my trash. Who knows what of stuff he has found? I hear dumpster diving can be pretty profitable to identity thefts. Those scammers love hiring drug addicts to do their dirty work.
At the end of the day, I almost feel like this crazy drug addict, is sending me a message. I am stupid, if I bring my cultural norms and toss them up over my life in Costa Rica like a warm blanket. That shit is proven not to work.
Everyday, I’m greeted by this dirty derelict, and I am shaken. What the fuck am I doing in Costa Rica? Which fork in the road did I make a bad turn? Is this some kind of a punishment? Or, should I start sipping more Koolaid and say “Hey this is all cool!”