InterNations Featured Blog
John and Pat: Mi Chunche
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Costa Rica, etc.
We are John and Patricia Wegner. John is originally from Illinois and I am originally from California. I lived in Costa Rica during most of my 20’s and when I left Costa Rica to settle in Texas, I left a piece of my heart with the Ticos in Costa Rica. In 2006, I brought John to see my former home and he fell in love with Costa Rica too. It was then we made the decision to retire permanently in Costa Rica. It took us 5 years to put our retirement plans together and we made the final move to Costa Rica in July, 2011
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
We purchased the property for our new home in Costa Rica back in 2006 and decided this would be a great time to being blogging about our experiences. Between us, we have a very large family and lots of friends. We thought this would be the best way for them to keep up with us and stay involved in our daily life here in Costa Rica.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
After almost 6 years of blogging there are many favorite blog entries. I think John is the better writer out of the two of us. Here are some of my favorite entries:
- I can be such a sap
- I was right all along
- Making a "new" car a "used" car
- Our non-confrontational Tico neighbors
Tell us about the ways your new life in Costa Rica differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Life here is so different than in our “old” country. I won’t call it back home, because consider Costa Rica home now. I have the advantage over many expatriates because of all the years I spent here in my youth. I haven’t experienced any culture shock per se; it’s just re-acquainting myself with the Tico way of doing thing. John is learning and I think he gets a little frustrated sometimes with the way things are done. Fortunately for both of us, we have a great sense of humor and we tend to just roll with the punches.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Costa Rica? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
We spent five years getting ready for the final move and we were fully prepared. We first built a small (300 sq. ft) apartment and garage to have a home base for all the vacation and due diligence trips we made prior to retirement. Looking back, I can’t think of anything that we would change. It is everything we expected.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
See this blog entry: http://www.michunche.com/2012/05/our-non-confrontational-tico-neighbors.html
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Costa Rica?
- Don’t buy any property or build a home until you have lived here at least 6 months.
- Learn to speak Spanish. This is critical to understanding the culture and being accepted in the Tico community
- Don’t think moving to Costa Rica is a way to leave all your problems behind. Remember, wherever you go, baggage and all, there you are. If you are unhappy with yourself, you will be unhappy in Costa Rica too. If you are a generally happy person, with an open mind, you’ll stand a better chance of adjusting to life in Costa Rica.
How is the expat community in Costa Rica? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community in our little town of Atenas, is actually larger than we expected. We have made some great new friends in both the expat community and in our own little Tico neighborhood. My two sons are half Tico from a previous marriage, so I am very fortunate to still be a beloved member of my Tico family. They always included us in family functions and holiday celebrations.
How would you summarize your expat life in Costa Rica in a single, catchy sentence?
We are incredibly happy here in Costa Rica, enjoying our retirement and the Pura Vida!