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This year, was the first time when we have actually in CR for Christmas that I didn't cook dinner for a crowd. What I found was, no matter what I cooked, the Ticos still expected/wanted 'rice and beans' to be on the menu.

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I had a similar experience on Christmas here. A friend (she Australian, he Costa Rican) invited a bunch of various "kinds" of people for Christmas dinner. I don't celebrate Christmas, but I have to say - it was the best Christmas I have ever had.

 

She put some big tables outside and we had a huge spread of all kinds of food. It was delightful to enjoy the friendship, food, howler monkeys, hummingbirds and toucans, sitting under a huge tree, on a sunny day with fleecy clouds drifting by. The friends and neighbors that dropped by to greet us all only added to the occasion.

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Here is a "Headline" from the "News" website today on which the OP's "article" was originally published:

 

'Costa Rica News – Well as you all know it is Monkey See, Monkey Do when it comes to Costa Rica’s government. USA passes a law then Costa Rica follows suit.

 

This is an obvious, although hardly isolated, example of the worst kind of Gringo yellow journalism about Costa Rica and Ticos. It is on the surface offensive and is demonstrative of a type of casual cultural arrogance and ignorance that many Norte Americanos, and especially estadounidenses, seem to perceive as their birth-right. The rest of us must do our best to repudiate it.

 

As Paul wrote earlier, there are good, not so good, and bad Ticos which can be said of any group. Before we, as US'ers (I've started to use this rather than American when writing about other places and peoples in the Americas), start generalizing about the relative quality of other cultures and it's peoples, it would perhaps be worthwhile to look at our own and at ourselves.

 

I have thought a lot about why it seems that so many people from the US ( I am from the US) seem to turn so negative about Ticos so rapidly and so vehemently. I have come to believe that a major cause of this is simply Culture Shock with which many US'ers are particularly ill-equipped to cope. Many of us are culturally naive and poorly educated with respect to other peoples. We, in general, do not speak a second language, or do so only very poorly (some don't even think they should even in CR). Many of us have had little to no serious personal interaction with people who speak a different language or who have different cultural expectations. We have also been indoctrinated with the idea of "American Exceptionalism" and the inherent superiority of the American Way of Doing Things. All of these factors make it very difficult for some US'ers to work through the very real challenges and emotional stress involved with living in, and adapting to, another culture, especially one that speaks a different language. The patience, humility, humor, and self-awareness that are necessary to adapt and find a place for ones-self in a new society may be very hard for them to muster.

 

Instead of adapting, they begin to focus on the perceived negative differences. So things that start out small -- not being able to find a certain thing, a strange bureaucratic process, etc. -- are worried at until they fester and color every experience they have. All of their problems become externalized and projected onto the perceived cultural failings of those around them. And, unfortunately, their education, experience, and cultural biases often only serve to support this idea that the problems they are having must be caused by the differences (inferiorities) of Costa Rican culture and the moral failings of Ticos. At this point it gets ugly.

 

This is, obviously, an over-simplification. Many US'ers do very well in CR and there are also many negative experiences that are caused by others and that might drive someone away. It is also possible to criticize and/or dislike a particular cultural life-style without despising the culture and it's people. However I think it is important that people who are making the decision whether or not to move to CR realize that the greatest difficulties they face may be internal ones and that their ability to step outside of themselves their culture, and their expectations of others with humility and humor may be what makes the difference.

 

Opinions found when reading "news" sites on the Internet or posts on news groups that are over-generalized and smack of bigotry -- that paint an entire culture or people with a single stoke while asserting the cultural superiority and/or moral righteousness of the author -- need to be taken with a huge grain of salt, at least. Those that promise an easy tropical paradise should also be ignored.

 

The author of the piece the OP linked to, and of the one I quoted, is a writer of trash, and I frankly think that is being kind, whose spewings don't merit serious discussion. The greater question of what drives this type discourse by US'ers about Costa Rica and Ticos is one with which all his fellow citizens should be concerned.

Edited by induna

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Thank you SO MUCH Induna for such an excellent and well-thought-out post. I totally agree with your points. I found myself nodding my head and mumbling, "Uh huh......uh huh..." while reading it.

 

I guess I don't get the point of posting some article or another and then asking for comments or feedback on it. Why not just ask a straightforward question? You can read any blog/article/column about Costa Rica which will be filled with the writer's experience - or lack thereof - or bias in some way or another.

 

I don't have the inclination to get into some kind of philosophical discussion that would be more appropriate at a faculty cocktail party. If people have real questions about real life things to do with Costa Rica, I am happy to help with whatever I can. Although ........ I can't help you find 500-thread-count sheets. :D

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Thank you, Eleanor.

 

I admit I was a bit nervous about writing that post, but it's something I've been thinking about for a while. I just want to try to turn the perennial discussion about "Is Costa Rica for Me?" back to "How Can I Best be Ready for Costa Rica?"

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Anyone contemplating moving to Costa Rica should save your post, print it out and keep it in a prominent place for re-reading. And - folks living in Costa Rica might have a different perspective after reading it. It should be "required reading" before anyone moves here! Lol......

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More head-nodding in unison with Eleanor, and another thanx to you for this post, induna . . . Although, I fear that a great percentage of those who most would benefit from recognizing themselves in it are quite unlikely to, alas!

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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Induna....I REALLY liked your post. I wish the "like this" button worked!

 

Hi Karen,

 

It's maybe just as well the 'like' button doesn't work because then we get to see members' actual reasons why they approve of someone's post. I feel that is far more illuminating and in the process helps us to better understand the respondent.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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