Dad threatened many times when I was a kid to move the family to Costa Rica. His love for the Central American country was based upon secondhand knowledge and photos and stories from books and magazines. One of his co-workers had traveled to Costa Rica and enthralled Dad with tales of a cheap cost of living and the locals’ love of Americans (and their American dollars I’m sure, this was when the dollar was still pretty strong.) He told Dad that most of the locals spoke English and you could get a huge house on the beach for cheaper than renting in California.
Most are all of this may have been true. But Mom and I were not too worried about having to pack up and leave the country. My dad’s dreams of Costa Rica were more a way for him to battle his frustration at the high cost of living and unemployment woes facing him in California in the mid-1980’s. I also think part of him cherished a romantic ideal of living the life of some bohemian writer or artist in a tropical paradise. Maybe his Costa Rica dreams helped him survive all of those years living in boring suburbia!
Many kids would have thought a move to a foreign land would be exciting, but I was not the type of kid with an adventurous spirit. I always backed my mom up when she would shoot down Dad’s occasional “let’s move to Costa Rica” campaigns.
How different our lives would have been if we had made a move like that!
I hope he was able to escape to the sunny beaches of Costa Rica at least in his mind as his mental and physical health declined.