Why I Stay in Costa Rica
It’s my birthday today and I’ve done a bunch of favorite things so far: gotten a facial, gotten a massage, hung out with my baby, spent time with my amazing husband, and now I’m writing.
I’ve been pondering a question I got from my friend John during our last trip to the United States. I’ve known John since 2002 when we crossed paths in massage school. Over the years we’ve had a friendship that’s worn many hats, and some of which were that we worked together and I was his boss. When that phase of our relationship ended we still hung onto our friendship and one of my favorite things about him is that when we speak, it’s always rooted in the heart and we meet each other exactly where we both are.
On a sunny afternoon in Salt Lake City, Adam and I found met John at Liberty park, rolled out a blanket and talked. John asked me a self inquisitive question as always, but this particular one I hadn’t given much conscious thought to. He knows the story of what took me to Costa Rica (a yoga retreat where I met Adam), but he wanted to know what keeps me here in Costa Rica, and I loved the question. So on this day of my birth, I’m going to share why I love Costa Rica and why I’m laying my roots down here. So in no particular order, and just a few off the top of man of the reasons, here are a few I’m sharing for now:
The person I am here
When I first moved to Costa Rica I wasn’t Harriet who owned Align Spa. I was Harriet from Utah, the girl who Adam chose to be his wife, so in that sense, I had big new shoes to fill. But in another sense, I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. I could literally start over. It’s been fun over the last 6 years to explore that freedom of recreating myself in a sense. What I’ve learned is that I’m still up to the same stuff as I was in Utah, just a different expression of it. We’re holding sacred space here, but for lodging, yoga and events, whereas in Utah it’s for the spa.
My business outgrew me
When I took my 5 month sabbatical Winter of 2012, I gave my business permission to grow without me being there physically. And it’s been growing steadily ever since. Now when I visit I’m mainly a customer, and the day to day operations of the spa just don’t need me around these days, and that’s great. ❤️
What I love about Potrero is its smallness. You know or know of most people, and a lot of our friends or acquaintances own the businesses here. We love that we can drive through town and wave to those on bikes, on foot or in their cars, and people in town rally together when needed. There’s also a town Whatsapp and facebook group that feels like a true way locals communicate and I love that. It’s been a long time since my hometown of Park City, felt like that. But even when it did Facebook or Whatsapp weren’t around yet. Wow neither were cell phones. So yeah, I’m a small town girl ❤️
There’s exact time and then “ish” time in Costa Rica that can do a number on your brain, but sometimes that’s a good thing. And what’s interesting is many businesses and people operate on ish time. This means an appointment, a bus arrival or a store opening may be around 10am, but not AT10am. And it takes a lot of patience to do the dance of ish time. Me, I’ve been raised as an exact time kinda girl, especially coming from the day spa world where sessions are calculated by the minute. So for me and my yoga classes and times I say I’m going to be places, I’m there. But let it be known I’m married to an observer and participant of ish time. Apparently there’s no late if someone’s on ish time; it’s a different clock. And as Adam says, people arrive precisely when they’re supposed to. Sure this can present frustrations at times, but for the most part, it’s helped me relax my archaic tight grip around time.
Entitlement and convenience
I’ve noticed that Americans, and often me in particular, are used to having good service when we go to a business and we’re also used to the convenience of things in America. In Costa Rica, you need to let go of any attachments or feelings of entitlement to either good service or convenience, and activate your gratitude when you have those things. Adam says that Costa Rica often makes the easy hard, and that’s one of the ways the countries is so lovable.
I’ve observed a lot of the people here often live by a more simple standard of life. I find they’re happier, friendlier, less connected to gadgets, and more connected to each other, yes to that.
I love that the sounds around me are mostly wildlife, not honking horns or buzzing cell phones. It lets my mind relax. And I may not have a bathtub for an epsom salt bath, but I have the ocean.
There’s certainly more to share, but I’m at my 1000 limit; I think the main part of living in Costa Rica and what really keeps me here is that it keeps me humble and more present than I would be in the States. It gently removes me from my comfort zone and offers another way to navigate the world. And to me, anything that offers the opportunity to ruffle the feathers of your beliefs and habits is ultimately quite healing and powerful. And to me, that’s what Costa Rica is: healing, powerful & unforgettable.
Maybe come for a visit, you’ll see. :)