Friday, October 1, 2010
Costa Rica is like a rose: beautiful and sweet, but you better watch out for the thorns. Is that too cliche of a metaphor? Either way, it's an apt description. I had to learn some lessons the hard way this past summer during my time in Costa Rica.
My fiance, Wilson, and I decided to buy property on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast three years ago because we had fallen in love with the people, the food,the diversity, the community, the nature, and the laid back culture. We now have our own little retreat in the jungle- a two bedroom house on a quiet road in the rain forest. We have neighbours, and have made friends with almost everyone on the road.
Anyone can see how it would be easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. We had already had our place broken into twice, so we knew all about the underground "tax" we paid as foreigners. However, the ultimate shocker came during the middle of a peaceful, quiet day. I was sitting at the table on my porch, writing on my laptop, and took a break to bring Wilson a glass of water down in the yard.
Our porch is ten feet up, and I locked the bottom door. Plus, we can see under the house, as we haven't yet finished building the bottom. I figured my laptop would be fine for five minutes, especially since I would only be about twenty feet away.
When I got back to the table, the laptop was gone. My first thought was, "Damn, that was fast!" My second thought was, "How long had someone been watching me?" Knowing that I had been staked out made my skin crawl. So much for knowing the neighbours.
For weeks after, every time someone came down the road I wondered if they had been the culprit. I was suddenly suspicious and paranoid and overly cautious. Those thorns sure hurt.
I'm the kind of person who likes to think that people are good at their core. I tend to see the best in people upon meeting them, and assume that people have good intentions, until proven otherwise. So, it's difficult for me to switch my thinking to "everyone is a potential enemy until proven otherwise", which is now my motto.
I'm still happy about owning a house in Costa Rica, but I've learned from my mistakes.