Living in Central America for 8 Weeks: A Confession (Part I)

Dwight and I have been living in Central America for eight weeks. We spent four weeks in Costa Rica and four weeks in Panamá. This series isn’t about the touristy stuff. If you want to read about that, then head over to our collaborative blog Garlands Abroad.

This series is about my personal feelings, what I learned, and what was reinforced about myself and my existence in this world.

Let’s start with a confession/not confession.

Dwight and I had been planning a long stay in another country since we thought you-know-who was going to be president. It started with a casual conversation centered on what we’d do if he-who-shall-not-be-named won. People had begun having dangerous conversations in the States, and we live in the South where racism and other thoughts consist of more than media sound bites and empty threats. Dwight suggested buying a gun; I suggested leaving the country. We planned for the latter.

As you know, Biden won but we still decided we wanted to leave. We’re both free-spirited in that way and didn’t see it as a big deal. The only issue was the limited places that would allow US citizens to enter. Initially, we decided on Croatia, but long story short, we ended up with Costa Rica and Panamá.

My husband and I are different, so we handled leaving differently: He told his job he wouldn’t be in the country. I didn’t. I’m more of an ask for forgiveness type of person combined with a who cares mentality. I kept thinking, who cares if I’m sitting in my home office in Jacksonville or sitting in an Airbnb miles away, as long as I’m doing my job effectively, which I did, by the way. I had a student win second place in a research undergraduate conference, I successfully wrapped up Spring semester, and I began and almost completed Summer semester.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t tell anyone.

I contacted close friends and family, whom I assumed would want to know where I was. A handful of people knew this was a planned trip; others found out the morning we were leaving the country. I did it this way for two reasons. First, I didn’t want to hear anyone’s comments about our plans. I’ve learned that others’ opinions do sometimes affect me, depending on who it is. I get angry very quickly when people think they can offer unsolicited advice and tell me things I didn’t ask to hear, instead of just wishing me well or asking details. I don’t like being angry, so I’ve learned to do what I want and either tell people while I’m in process or after the fact. The second reason is because we had a failed Croatia trip, and I didn’t want to make approximately twenty-five calls and texts explaining to approximately twenty-five people what happened should this next trip not manifest.

Even though I went through all these changes, I’m still not a great secret-keeper, and I have an affinity for IG. To satisfy these two truths, I only posted about my trip to stories for the first three weeks. I saved feed posts for regular stuff, like info about my student and some beautiful Mother’s Day flowers I received. While my former director and a co-worker did see these stories, neither said a word.

Once Spring semester ended, I posted regularly.

Whew! There’s my confession/not confession. The next five posts will dig deeper into a few things I’ve learned while I was away.

81 thoughts on “Living in Central America for 8 Weeks: A Confession (Part I)

  1. I admire your free-spirited nature since I’m someone who’s a little more scared of travel and change. Since there is a lot of racism in your area, I completely understand why you’d want to move if you-know-who became elected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL RE: “living” vs “vacationing” lol

      I hear you. If the pandemic taught me anything it’s to give people the space to be themselves, as long as they’re not hurting me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your adventure!!… as has been shown, if one keeps oneself a secret, there are no happiness…“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover, acquire new friends and gain knowledge of yourself and the world.” (Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awww thank you kelley! We all gotta do what’s best for us. At first, I used to try to brush it off, but the way my brain is set up, I just kept thinking about what the person said over and over and…well, you get me.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You know how to keep a secret. 😀 When I saw glimpses on IG, I assumed you were simply on holiday. But I think it’s the best thing you did for yourself. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your experience.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Wow, this is definitely going to be a wonderful read. I’ll look forward to hearing how it went, Katherin. I visited Costa Rica in 2017 and it was a beautiful experience.
    I totally understand about the election and worries about the “who shall not be named.” Even though I am not subjected to racism, I didn’t want to be around here if that scenario played out.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I hope you did a little zip-lining while you were there. 🙂
        I actually had my best moments going river rafting in the tropical water. It was very exciting!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. How awesome! Costa Rica is so chill. I spent two weeks there in 2019 with a group of students studying abroad. We were in the middle of the country and they stayed with host families. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventure! BTW, I told my husband I was going to teach English in Italy if you know who was re-elected and I meant it!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. We were in San Joaquin de Flores. I never did make it to the ocean, but did get to a rainforest. Did not like San Jose. Someone tried to rip the necklace right off my boss’s neck.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Someone asked me how San José was and my answer was trash, but I am a little surprised about the thievery you described. That is a huge turnoff.


    1. I agree Neil. It’s also starting to filter into other parts of my own life, like my job…students have gotten very emboldened to act in particularly strange ways. I would give more details, but I gotta keep my job for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you’re trip went well and your student won second place ! That’s awesome ! Also one of my neighbors’s family is from Croatia, she’s showed me pics and it looks beautiful. Hopefully you can go sometime later in thr future .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope employers have learned this…I’m not entirely sure they have, though. For example, my husband’s job is still in “thinking” mode about how to bring people back to work or if they should, even though they’ve seen remote working actually works :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember my co-workers telling me that I should never transfer to a new location when I had a bad boss. The boss would eventually be moved, as they rotate them routinely. I may be an outlier on social media, but – as a matter of policy – I don’t see Trump as worse than Biden. Biden is actually continuing many of the polarizing policies, such as building the wall. At any rate, I heard that Panama has an entire industry based on ex-pats from the US. I’ve been watching videos on where to go if things got too weird here in the US. Patagonia, anyone? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure there are others on social media who agree with you about Trump, but you already know, I’m not one of them lol

      Panama is very similar to the US, minus the language, primarily due to the vast US colonization that took place because of the Canal. So, yeah…anyone who wants a change, but not too much of a change would enjoy the country.

      As far as Patagonia, I wouldn’t live in South America if someone paid me, well, not right now, anyway.


  8. I hope your experience in Central America brings exactly what is needed. It’s been an unsettling time in our world and if you can find a place of peace and safety I think that is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LaDonna, I thought I’d replied to this. Thank you for this understanding. Central America brought me what I wanted and didn’t know I needed: an affirmation of who I am and what’s important…a grounding ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! That’s so cool! Can’t wait to hear about this more! And yes…I wouldn’t have told anyone either because people can’t help but add their two burnished cents

    Liked by 1 person

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