(QCOSTARICA) How does it feel being Costa Rican? The question came up recently in my Quora feed.
Reading through some of the answers, this one by Jorge Guntanis, born and raised in Costa Rica, impressed me. And I am not easily impressed.
I feel very proud. Costa Rica is a very tiny country, but we have always managed to develop extraordinary talent; today we have a NASA hall of Famer, a Nobel laureate, pioneers in science, sports stars, Olympic medalists, record setters, famous artists… You get the drift.
Not bad for a country of just some 5 million people.
I feel lucky. I grew up in a place where we don’t have to worry about much. Public education is excellent and all the way to undergrad is also free, graduate school is so affordable it might as well be free and financial aid is abundant and affordable (compared to other countries). We don’t have to worry about going to war. Our staple diet is based on rice, beans, and a protein; it’s hard to be hungry. Costa Rica is a beautiful and ecologically diverse country, you are a couple of hours from a tropical beach with world-famous surf, a beautiful rain or cloud forest to relax while sipping on some expensive scotch or a stunning active volcano that you can admire while soaking in a natural hot spring.
I feel amused. Costa Ricans are very “funny”, they have a very cynical, sarcastic, self-deprecating humor. They turn any situation into a joke. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I feel insecure, after living in cities where I could let my guard down and not get mugged, beat up, or potentially killed; I started realizing Costa Rica is not as safe of a country as I previously thought. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a dangerously unsafe country. But no matter how safe the place is, you always have to be alert.
I feel worried, about the country’s political fragmentation, the lack of transparent political talent, and the cynism of the people in power towards the democratic process and the government. I feel worried about the over development of the country caused by globalization. Let’s keep Costa Rica green.
I feel my country is too expensive, while real estate and rent are still somewhat affordable, practically everything else is overpriced. Things like eating out or drinks are comparable to an American city like Los Angeles. Cars are about 50% to over 100% more expensive than in the U.S. So is pretty much every other non-commodity.
I feel annoyed, because considering all of the above, the infrastructure and services are subpar, so you don’t get a lot of value.
I feel humbled, for having been born in a country that lots of people either have been and (most) love or want to visit. Sometimes is easy to forget how awesome your own country is.
All in all, being Costa Rican feels Pura Vida!
Read the other answers here.