Monday 2 October 2023
HomeExpat Focus"Costa Rica Rediscovered…”

“Costa Rica Rediscovered…”

My name is Randy Berg and the past few months I have had a few postings here… until recently. And we all know what “until recently” really means. Yeah, “the virus.”

And I asked my wife this morning… “how long has it been since we first realized how bad things really were?”

Exactly… just a little over a week.

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We were planning on returning to Minnesota and decided to extend our stay by a few days just to ensure that there would be no snags or problems.

We had to make one last border run to Nicaragua (yeah, the same day they closed the borders)… and we were concerned about a few other things that we had forgotten.

We purchased tickets for a week later… meantime the world changed… our lives changed… and they will never be the same.

And the borders were closed.

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We couldn’t leave.

And then, almost everyone from back in Minnesota was telling us how lucky we were… and how crazy it was “back home.”

And honestly… it still seems like a bad dream … or that we are characters in a science fiction story about a pandemic or the end of the world.

And yes, it does seem unreal.

I remember my father telling me stories about World War ll. How scared everyone was… and how no one really knew what the future held…
He told us how his ship was bombed and how he and mom… my mother… got married during the war during a furlough… because they never knew if they would really be able to be together in the future.

And all of my Dad’s brothers enlisted… all six of them.

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One didn’t come back.

And my sister and I heard about how everyone followed almost every step of the war through the radio and newspapers and word of mouth.
And everyone pulled together… every single community across the country.
And they were threatened then… just like we are now.

But it is different now, isn’t it?

…Because we don’t know what to believe any longer. We don’t know what is true and what isn’t.

The last years we have become a nation and a world that has no confidence in our own future… we don’t believe what we hear and what we read… and we don’t trust any longer. And the “older generations” still remember what it “used to be like”… but the new generations?

Yeah, they are a lot different than we were.

We can blame politics… we can blame the press or “big business”… or the government… for our problems…

And almost everyone does.

And no, things are NOT the same as they were 50 or 75 years ago. And in many ways, that makes me sad. Because my children and grandchildren are alive in a world that simply is not the same.

And now I am here in Costa Rica and my wife and I cannot get back to visit our children and grandchildren.

But I also want to tell you about WHY we are here in Costa Rica…

You see, my wife and I moved here shortly after 9/11… we sold everything we owned and moved to Costa Rica to “retire.”

And we loved it here.

We traveled … we made friends … both Costa Rican and “gringo”. ( North Americans )… and eventually we ended up selling real estate and building homes for others.

We accomplished a lot and … for the most part… we loved it.

And then the bureaucracies struck… and I was too damn stubborn to cut my losses…

And we lost it all.

And we moved back to Minnesota.

And it was not until five years after that that we moved back to Costa Rica… because even in spite of the hard time and the loss of almost everything… we still loved the country and its people.

And six months ago we returned. But we saw that it was not the same… as when we left. At least I didn’t think it was.

I saw the same things that I saw back in Minnesota… a lack of trust, name calling, and zero confidence or belief that there was almost nothing good left in Costa Rica.

It was disheartening… and I was gradually accepting the belief that Costa Rica was simply not the place or had the people that we had fallen in love with 15 years before.

But then … little by little… things happened that made me believe that much of what we had grown to love was not gone… Maybe there was less of it… but slowly, I began to rediscover what both of us had grown to love almost two decades before.

And it was more than just little things… like being charged only $2 to fix a flat tire… or having someone actually pump gas for you and check your oil ( when is the last time someone did that for YOU “back home”? )… or seeing families together on their front porches for Sunday dinner?… or watching a mother and daughter walk down the street with their arms around each other?

Then something else happened to me… I was out looking at a property with a Costa Rican friend and we had just returned from touring a jungle property near a beach and near a small town… and I was talking to the owner and he was telling me about his land and how it had been in the family for four generations.

And the he started to cry.

And I waited and then he told me that he was about to lose his home because his wife had had heart problems and he had to borrow against his property to pay for her medical bills. And he told me that he almost lost his faith in God because of it.

I didn’t know what to say at first. But then I told him about my problems with alcohol and what it did to me and how I had struggled with any belief at all in God at that time.

And both of us… cried… and then we hugged each other. And that was when I knew that the Costa Rica that I knew from two decades ago was not dead. And even though, neither of us spoke the language of the other, we understood each other perfectly.

I will never forget those moments… because they showed me that Costa Rica and its people are not dead…

They are alive and well.

It just took a little time to see it. Again.

So now… when we go back to Minnesota… God willing… we will look forward to coming back…

Because Costa Rica will be our second home again.

With family and its people again.

Some things change… but the important things will always be here.

Thanks for reading.

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Randy Berg
My name is Randy Berg … and I am, I guess, officially an “old guy”. Now, my best guess is that you are thinking something along the lines of “why should I give a sh.. ?” And you will have to be the judge of that as one of the editors of this online “newspaper” asked me if I wish to contribute my writings. And no, that does not mean that you will like my writing. But I hope you do… and I want to start by telling you that my writing is a little different than most. I don’t use flowery language and I usually write too much on each subject, mainly because I don’t know of any other way to write. It is what it is. I write from the heart and I tell it exactly as I see it.

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