Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Costa Rica Culture Shock

I hate to admit it, but now that I've lived here almost 3 months, Costa Rica culture shock has definitely set in.  I actually didn't know that my feelings were defined as "culture shock", until I stumbled across the topic on some other "living in Costa Rica" blog.  But all the signs are here - disillusionment, depression, idealizing life the way it was back home in the States, not agreeing with the way things are done here, believing that the bugs and mosquitoes here have a special affinity for my skin and blood as compared to that of the locals, and on and on it goes.

Ok, so I'm currently in what some experts would refer to as the 2nd stage of my Costa Rica culture shock phenomena.  Wikipedia defines the four stages of culture shock as:

Stage 1:  The Honeymoon Period.  This is when you first get off the plane and you're all excited about your new adventure in Costa Rica.  Posting pictures of your new life on Facebook is super fun!

Stage 2:  The Negotiation Period.  Cultural differences between your old and new cultures are becoming evident and starting to cause anxiety, loneliness and depression.  This is currently where I'm finding myself in my own Costa Rica culture shock process.

Stage 3:  The Adjustment Period.  At about 6 to 12 months, I'm supposed to begin to adjust to my new life abroad. The Costa Rican culture will begin to make sense to me and my negative reactions to it will be reduced.

Stage 4:  The Mastery Period.  During this final stage, I should be able to participate fully and comfortably in the Costa Rican culture and really begin enjoying my new life here.

Still, since I am still in the 2nd stage of my Costa Rica culture shock, please allow me to gripe a little.  I know that some of these complaints may sound a little ridiculous but this is how I'm currently feeling, so bear with me.
  1. I hate the fact that I live so far away from shopping, movie theatres and other conveniences
  2. I hate the fact that the Miramar municipality (the town in which I currently live) turns off my water every single day at the most inconvenient times!
  3. I hate the fact that most "major" highways are only 2 lanes for their entire length. 
  4. I hate the fact that even after getting married, getting a permit to work here may take as long as 4 to 6 months. 
  5. I hate the mounds and mounds of bureaucracy anyone must go through to get anything important done in Costa Rica.
Seriously,  I love my Costa Rican boyfriend and really want to adjust to life here in his country.   So I patiently await getting to Stages 3  and 4 of my Costa Rica culture shock syndrome.  But in the meantime, I actually feel better getting these feelings off of my chest;)

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1 comment:

Junu Jinnie said...

I think first of all we should learn the language of Costa Rica to know the culture of that place. The Spanish Language Program by Chac Mool is one of its kinds and takes care of everyone including the adults, children, teenagers as well as professionals who come with time restraints. Those with special demands of timing and inability of attending regular classes are also met with here and solved.

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