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SydB

Common stereotypes of Americans living in Costa Rica....

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and attempt to describe Americans living in Costa Rica. Of course, I'll probably end up making generalizations and at worst offend people with my bluntness and at best make them laugh with my short-sightedness and negativity, so feel free to correct anything that you believe is inaccurate or not true.

 

It is my belief that most Americans who move to countries like Costa Rica are liberal and a little bit crazy. You probably won't find a lot of republican expats in Costa Rica, that's for sure; and by "a little bit crazy" I don't mean crazy like "Wild Bill" or crazy because they left a first world country for a third world country, but crazy like "a little bit odd" by both American and Costa Rican cultural standards. Aging hippies, ultra religious people and hardcore do-gooders come to mind. There is also the adventurous, risk-taking entrepreneurial type, who saw an opportunity to make money in Costa Rica and moved there. Of course, there are also the scammers, the drug addicts and the pedophiles, but those are a minority and not worth discussing.

 

I also believe that one of the main draws of moving to Costa Rica is not only the fact that the cost of living is lower in Costa Rica than in the states or the fact that Costa Rica has beautiful beaches, but also the fact that in the US you can be another boring American, whereas in Costa Rica you can be a big shot because you are gringo. (You might have noticed that Costa Ricans are very friendly, but does their friendliness extend to those who are not gringo? Possibly, but what if they go out of their way to be nice to you just because they think it is convenient to have a "rich" gringo as a friend?)

 

That's it. As you can see I don't have a lot of thoughts on the subject and the few thoughts I have are limited to the impressions I have formed of the few expats I've met. You probably know a lot more expats than I do, yourself included, so feel free to correct me if you disagree with anything I've written.

Edited by SydB

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Syd -- you posted this why?

 

You are right about one thing - you cannot generalize about expats in Costa Rica anymore than you can generalize about people who participate in this forum - or any other group of people, including Costa Ricans.

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I will go out on a limb here, too, and state that most folks that get a Liberal Arts degree are void of direction. They haven't a clue what they want to do in life, they were told to go to college and so they did but didn't know what else to study - so they took "general" studies and partied most of their college life. THEN, upon graduation found they were not wanted or needed and their degrees essentially worthless unlike that of their peers who got meaningful degrees in say, engineering, law, medicine, science, math, (well, you get the picture). They then become bitter and angry at a young age and attack those that had foresight and are now enjoying the fruits of their hard work. I also don't think they study history in the Liberal Arts program because they don't know the real definition/meaning of "third world countries". Here it is for you Liberal Arts majors - The term 'Third World' arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned or not moving at all with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World) or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions.

 

The term continues to be used colloquially to describe the poorest countries in the world.

 

Costa Rica with all its faults is not one of the poorest countries in the world - think Somalia.

 

Personally, Syd, I moved to CR because it is a pretty place to live, the people of CR are genuine as are the ex-pats that live among them. Sure, there are wing-nuts and bad apples but there are those wherever you go and live. To me, it just seems nicer here. I enjoy the Ticos and Gringos alike. And I apologize Syd, if I have offended you, I might even like you if we met and you learned to chill out a bit and knock that chip off your shoulder. B)

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You are correct, David, there are no definitive ways to live life or get degrees or what you will actually wind up doing many years down the road after college or no college for that matter - Michael DELL never finished college, for an example.

I was just trying to make a point with Syd that you can't generalize about anyone or anything, kinda like ASSUME as an acronym, prolly.

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SydB: You are a very offensive person I am sure. I actually think you are just someone sitting back,scanning the forums,seeing who you can offend, then having a big laugh. First of all CR is NOT a 3rd world country. I am dual Canadian/US retired 64 yr. old nurse.I was a Liberal in Canada & Republican in US. I have never been told I am odd or a bit crazy. I am not a hippie;not ultra religious;not a hard core do-gooder;not a risk taker or adventuresome;not a scammer,drug addict or pedophile; & not earning money in CR. I am just a quiet,friendly,honest,kind,law abiding person making myself a quiet peaceful life. that all said I do not think you should impose yourself on any country & stay where you are.

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I am sure this will end well.....

"Truer words were never spoken." My compliments on your insight.

 

Costa Rica has it all. Left, Right, Weird, whacked... and everything in between. Most are very nice people, so this thread just gets their hackles up and has no other purpose.

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I can't explain why, but I'm seeing an image of the gringo sitting in a bar or soda and talking just a little louder than the other people in the room, sharing all of their semi-informed opinions to anyone who happens to sit near them while trying to enjoy their beer...

 

...And the self-actualized observers feel a little embarrassed that they are from the same country as that gringo.

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SydB, you are so far off base in your assumptions it's laughable. If you take the time to look, you will find expats with diverse political views all across the entire socio-economic spectrum. I'm not that closed minded to think I can guess at other folks motive for wanting to live anywhere. I am a "gringa" with adult tico children that DID NOT marry for CR Residency and I know it is not possible to simply pigeon hole people into fixed categories with fixed motives just because they are expats living in Costa Rica. We each have our own unique reasons for being where we are, and I for one do not fit into any of your assumptions.

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And by the way, SydB, you still haven't explained the " . . . whiten up a bit" remark. When are you going to explain that one?

 

I will in the other thread, since this one concerns expats and not Ticos

Edited by SydB

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Syd, Ticos (sun)tan relatively easy. Seriously.

 

Virtually all Ticos we see now are in fact Spanish (European) descent, not descended from the dark-skinned Indians who lived in the area that became CR. Nicaragua resisted co-mingling with the Spanish conquerors much more than the original CR Indians, and the Nicaraguans look different from Ticos for mainly that reason.

 

On a personal observation, my Tica girlfriend and I live in the Bay Area of NorCal, and the area is very diverse-lots of ethnic groups well-represented here. My girlfriend's skin is about the same shade of darkness as many ethnic groups living here, and lighter than most Mexicans, Asian Indians, and even some other people from Aisa, and I'm sure that most all of those people check the "white" box on the census.

 

The CIA could not care less about encouraging foreign investment, except as a stabilizing force, but that foreign investment has happened throughout the Carribean, where native people are mostly "black". So I don't see a correlation between skin color and the CIA's supposed objectives.

 

It's true that many Ticas have a somewhat idealized view of male gringos, but I don't think it is at all related to skin color.

 

How many millions of dollars a year are spent by US Americans who are trying to obtain a skin color like that of a Tico's? :D

Edited by ciclista

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and attempt to describe Americans living in Costa Rica. Of course, I'll probably end up making generalizations and at worst offend people with my bluntness and at best make them laugh with my short-sightedness and negativity, so feel free to correct anything that you believe is inaccurate or not true.

 

It is my belief that most Americans who move to countries like Costa Rica are liberal and a little bit crazy. You probably won't find a lot of republican expats in Costa Rica, that's for sure; and by "a little bit crazy" I don't mean crazy like "Wild Bill" or crazy because they left a first world country for a third world country, but crazy like "a little bit odd" by both American and Costa Rican cultural standards. Aging hippies, ultra religious people and hardcore do-gooders come to mind. There is also the adventurous, risk-taking entrepreneurial type, who saw an opportunity to make money in Costa Rica and moved there. Of course, there are also the scammers, the drug addicts and the pedophiles, but those are a minority and not worth discussing.

 

I also believe that one of the main draws of moving to Costa Rica is not only the fact that the cost of living is lower in Costa Rica than in the states or the fact that Costa Rica has beautiful beaches, but also the fact that in the US you can be another boring American, whereas in Costa Rica you can be a big shot because you are gringo. (You might have noticed that Costa Ricans are very friendly, but does their friendliness extend to those who are not gringo? Possibly, but what if they go out of their way to be nice to you just because they think it is convenient to have a "rich" gringo as a friend?)

 

That's it. As you can see I don't have a lot of thoughts on the subject and the few thoughts I have are limited to the impressions I have formed of the few expats I've met. You probably know a lot more expats than I do, yourself included, so feel free to correct me if you disagree with anything I've written.

You are out there on a limb but I'm inclined to agree that many expats are " out there " . My husband and I have lived in a beach town here for nearly 10 years and not a day goes by that we don't hop into the seclusion of our car after venturing out and say simultaneously to each other : " Well, he/she was yet another oddball ! " followed instantly in unison by the speculation that we might be odd ourselves ! That said , I think that beach towns everywhere attract people who aren't conventional and beach towns in CR are magnets for the ultra nonconventional.

First impressions are often lasting impressions. Most of us are more than meets the eye but it takes time to see beyond a stereotype and as unique as each of us may be we can't escape being stereotyped. Many of the expats where I live succeed brilliantly in reinforcing their designated stereotype on a daily basis. Though I always make every effort to refrain from being judgemental there are those individuals who make it very hard to do so. Those would be the ones who appear to be serving little or no purpose other than self indulgence via various substances. We also have many people who are here with a purpose and a passion and for them I am always grateful because they contribute much to the community. We have what I think is an uncommon number of people afflicted with a wide variety of personality disorders some of them bordering on the psychotic and some of them just flat out psychos.

Costa Rica is user friendly for anyone who fell through the cracks at home. There's the lack of law enforcement that attracts the " wanted and the unwanted " and the lack of our own social parameters and infrastructure ( family , churches , schools , pier pressure , widely accepted and enforced social mores ) to discourage people from acting out their urges or fantasies. No interventions here at the beach !

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and attempt to describe Americans living in Costa Rica. Of course, I'll probably end up making generalizations and at worst offend people with my bluntness and at best make them laugh with my short-sightedness and negativity, so feel free to correct anything that you believe is inaccurate or not true.

 

It is my belief that most Americans who move to countries like Costa Rica are liberal and a little bit crazy. You probably won't find a lot of republican expats in Costa Rica, that's for sure; and by "a little bit crazy" I don't mean crazy like "Wild Bill" or crazy because they left a first world country for a third world country, but crazy like "a little bit odd" by both American and Costa Rican cultural standards. Aging hippies, ultra religious people and hardcore do-gooders come to mind. There is also the adventurous, risk-taking entrepreneurial type, who saw an opportunity to make money in Costa Rica and moved there. Of course, there are also the scammers, the drug addicts and the pedophiles, but those are a minority and not worth discussing.

 

I also believe that one of the main draws of moving to Costa Rica is not only the fact that the cost of living is lower in Costa Rica than in the states or the fact that Costa Rica has beautiful beaches, but also the fact that in the US you can be another boring American, whereas in Costa Rica you can be a big shot because you are gringo. (You might have noticed that Costa Ricans are very friendly, but does their friendliness extend to those who are not gringo? Possibly, but what if they go out of their way to be nice to you just because they think it is convenient to have a "rich" gringo as a friend?)

 

That's it. As you can see I don't have a lot of thoughts on the subject and the few thoughts I have are limited to the impressions I have formed of the few expats I've met. You probably know a lot more expats than I do, yourself included, so feel free to correct me if you disagree with anything I've written.

I shared my impressions of some of the expats living in the beach community where I live in a previous post. It may or may not provoke debate and I'm always open to other points of view. Debate often helps to enlighten us.

You invited us to correct you on any of the stereotypes that you concluded are living in CR due to your limited immersion here. I would have to add my observation that it's far from the truth that expats are largely of a liberal persuasion. I know many expats that would cringe at that label and who hold highly conservative points of view. As a whole the expats that I know reflect the entire political spectrum. That being the spectrum that applies to Gringos. My community has as many or more europeans in residence and their political views as they pertain to the states, Europe and the world at large are equally varied. Being in such a diverse community keeps one from succumbing to a rigid mindset. A substantial number of the expats that I know are well educated and though they stay informed about worldly issues they have distanced themselves from the politics in their home countries and take a greater interest in the politics in CR which is now their home.

While it's true in my observation that there are expats who have reinvented themselves as " big shots " I also know just as many or more who were once bigshots but came here to put that behind them and live a tranquillo lifestyle that doesn't require all the trappings and competitive efforts required to maintain one's big shot status. Alot of expats are here to be bored and be boring because they've had enough of the stressful lifestyles they once led. There are a whole lot of expats who rarely come out of the woodwork because they're leading peaceful lives that they prefer not to have interrupted. I doubt that you encountered any or many of them in your brief travels.

Ireha s

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I'm gonna go out on a limb here and attempt to describe Americans living in Costa Rica.

 

I fail to see your point... If your saying that those who make the choice to give up the life normally lived in USA and Canada for life in CR are somehow different from those who stay behind, don't you think you are stating the obvious?

 

Whether they are/where liberal or conservative, do you really think many of these pilgrims were "center of the road" in either direction?

 

I love this discussion. It's a real blast, But the author (Sydb) is stirring muck using nothing but well know, obvious concepts about what makes us EXPATS!

 

Jim

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