By Erin Morris – March 6, 2012 http://internationalliving.com
Life in Costa Rica feels like a dream—but one I don’t have to wake up from.
The climate here is awesome. Sunrise and sunset are at the same time every day, allowing my internal clock to get into a natural, uninterrupted rhythm. The sun rises at 5.00 a.m., warms the land and fills me with happiness for 10 months out of the year.
A cool breeze flows through the Central Valley, where I live, never allowing the temperature to get too high. I live in a house without air conditioning or heat and enjoy the fresh breeze as it wafts through an open window or door.
My dog can run freely in and out…I don’t have to worry about insulating or paying outrageous energy bills. Back in the States, I suffered with allergies. Here, they have almost entirely disappeared.
And that’s not the only health benefit to life here.
The food in Costa Rica is delicious, inexpensive, and so fresh. Fruits and vegetables grow in profusion and if I can’t pick it myself, I only have to stroll to the nearest fruit and vegetable stand to stock up.
I buy my produce at a local farmer’s market (feria). Each town has its own farmer’s market, usually on the weekends. Dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans are also delicious and cheap. I eat less red meat here, but the rich chicken, pork and seafood more than compensate. These days, I eat healthier.
Even in the city, I’m still surrounded by a natural kaleidoscope of colors. Exotic tropical birds buzz and fly from flower to flower. I find it incredible that they all come to my backyard to feast on the abundant fruit.
Each town in Costa Rica boasts a slightly different culture, but they are all full of friendly people. One of my favorite pastimes is to attend the various festivals they hold. In a town festival, I can expect a horse parade, Tico-style bull fighting, yummy festival food, and music and dancing.
Trips are easy and frequent for me. The Pacific is a one-hour drive from my home in the Central Valley, while the Caribbean coast is four or five hours away.
When I feel like a change from being at the beach, I head to the mountains for something more adventurous—maybe white-water rafting or zip-lining. Another favorite destination is the volcanoes. I love to relax in the hot springs and hike around the craters.
When I’m craving something off the beaten path, I head to see the crafts in Sarchi, churches in towns like Cartago, or odd destinations like the ‘haunted’ former insane asylum at the base of Irazu Volcano.
I fund these frequent vacations and my life in paradise by teaching English. The average monthly salary for a native English speaker is $1,000 per month for 20 to 30 contact hours. Here, $1,000 a month easily pays for rent, utilities, food, transportation and vacations.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would like teaching at first. I had no prior experience and no desire to teach. But after hearing friends rave about how much fun it was, I decided to try it out. I love it—and everyone tells me I’m a natural.
The students are eager to learn and treat teachers with a high level of respect. This promotes a positive learning environment and you can see the positive effects that your teaching has.
Teaching English in Costa Rica is very rewarding and has allowed me to live a life in paradise that brings me happiness every day.