Judith Donovan is an active Nandamojo resident who volunteers her time and talents for several community organizations, including Hope 4 a Street Dog. Friends ask, “Why would you move to a developing country?” “Can you drink the water there?” Sometimes it is with awe, genuine curiosity, often an incredulous disbelief. What is a developing country, I wonder to myself? One that maybe the infrastructure is not up to U.S. or European standards? Or the government has unethical practices. That might be the U.S. too I think somewhat secretly. Or the medical system, which everyone is mandated to pay into, is not up to U.S. standards? Then why are U.S. insurance companies paying for their policy holders to come here for certain procedures? Maybe Costa Rica is not a developing country after all.
The language barrier is my challenge and that is under my control.
All of this becomes irrelevant as I sit on my screen porch, looking over the mango trees towards the ocean. I breathe deeply, my body relaxes. The breeze soothes my skin, even as I sit later on my couch, and little green parrots screech through my meditation. The ions from the sea float through the air bringing health to body and mind. Purples, reds, blues and yellows make an intense collage in the pure air. Hummingbirds suck their breakfast nectar as I eat mine, slowly sipping full bodied costa Rican coffee or fresh orange juice from our trees.
I smell the sail air, mingled with sweetness and nearby workers laughter. The fragrance of new foods frequently delights my nostrils.
How often have you sat as I do, gazing at the multitude of textures, and shades of green painted on the azure cloudless sky. The sun smiles each day and warms your heart as well as your skin. My heart beats slower, my patience, acceptance of what is in the moment all increase in this blue zone environment.
Later the waves are my lullaby, as the moon smiles down unto my bed. Thousands of stars twinkle above my dreams.
Sure I can miss being carried away in fantasy during the latest movies. However, to be in each moment, filled with gratitude over shadows any perceived lack.
As I reflect back over a few short weeks, remembering the abundance of experiences I remember:
The surprise of a flamenco guitar player with a sound that brings tears of joy, while we enjoy world class dining in the cool night air.
Or a spiritual and healing walk through cacti at the worlds’ largest labyrinth, followed by an all senses involved dinner, straight from the garden of our exquisite hostess. All this under tiny white lights helping the moon match the light in our eyes.
Or maybe you prefer a sunset bonfire and pig roast on the beach where we meet old friends and new. We even meet some folks from our home town in the U.S., others from around the world. Small world experiences occur daily to our consistent wonderment. All of this held together by a fabulous band from Argentina, playing everything from Elvis, to Spanish Eyes to background for the flamenco dancer. Actually, the entire community was soon dancing together under the full moon.
Then the vicarious glee of a friend’s horseback ride on the beach. For one who has always eared horses I am inspired to now experience that glee first hand.
A couple of sanghas, a book club, and a writing group fill in the spaces. Then take in a manicure/pedicure for $10 each, opera or a play for $6, what more can a person desire?
Last but far from least is the sweetness of folks whose easy smiles welcome us. And who work harder than I have ever seen, singing all the way. My admiration abounds
Sure I push past old habits and ways of being, changes that keep me feeling alive in retirement. As I dance to life in my adopted country or drive the bumpy dusty roads, I feel such gratitude for the people who open their hearts to strangers, who share the love of nature that heals body and soul
So why doesn’t everyone move to what some label a “developing country?” Where life is a kaleidoscope of complexity and simplicity, peace, relaxation and frustration, new challenges daily to expand your inner self? Change does not come easy but here you are held in the accepting loving arms of Mother Nature, each moment. Here one can experience a bouquet of the senses. You feel alive as you grow and change with each new experience infused by the glory of nature.
Judith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.