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Culture Shock

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Content
Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

Most Retirees Never Feel Lonely

Asked if they ever experienced loneliness, the Rorstads replied: "We were not lonely. There were times when we pined for loneliness. People here make friends at a pace that takes your breath away. One of the broader observations of Costa Rica is the very rapid rate of change. There is almost nothing that is available in the US that cannot be found in Costa Rica. That is not necessarily a positive comment, but it is a reality. There is not a real limit to activities. There is more than anyone really needs." Their advice to arriving retirees to Costa Rica is "be open-minded, flexible, and inquisitive. If that is difficult, go home."

Kalervo Oberg, an anthropologist who worked for the US Agency for International Development in Brazil, (I too worked for it in Costa Rica), says that no matter how broadminded or full of good-will you may be, a series of props have been knocked out from under you, followed by a feeling of frustration and anxiety. He further says that in culture shock people react to the frustration in much the same way. First, they reject the environment which causes the discomfort: "things at home were always better."

There is regression in their minds. The home environment assumes an enormous importance. To an American everything American becomes glorified. All the difficulties and problems are forgotten and only the good things back hone are remembered. It usually takes a trip home to bring one back to reality.

Oberg points out that nostalgia is one of the two components of culture shock. The other is idealization of the home country and a belief that they have made a wrong decision in moving because they feel insecure physically and socially. Many of those who at first complained about their new country which is now Costa Rica, eventually decided they would never go back home again.

An example is Charley and Betty Lewis both in their early 80s. Their first contact with Costa Rica was when they arrived in their sailboat which they anchored off Playas del Coco on the Pacific. There they stayed three months, always taking short trips by bus inland to get to know the country. From Coco they proceeded south along the coast and anchored first at the Estuary of Puntarenas, remaining there for two months and later going still further south to Golfito for a few other months from where they also took other exploratory trips inland. All along they liked what they saw.


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