I have been living in Costa Rica now for a little over 5 months! The time has flown by and I have learned (and still learning) so much about this country. We have a saying in SI Costa Rica. "It is not better or worse, just different." Meaning that there are somethings here are not better then the states, or worse, they are just different. Different from what we know, like and are used to. And honestly that is my new normal. Learning and understanding the differences of this country. So with that, here are 25 things that some of my co-workers/friends and I came up that are not better or worse, just different. :)
1. There are no refills on drinks at fast food places and some restaurants
2. You can pull over anywhere on the street just as long as you put your emergency lights on.
3. There several honks that people do. ( to let you pass, tell you to stop, say "hi", etc)
4. You can by medication without prescription. (there are pharmacy's everywhere and for most medications, you DO NOT need a doctors prescription.)
5. You don't flush toilet paper down the toilet. (the pipes are small here)
6. There are no such thing as "personal space" in a bus. (when there are no more seats available in the bus, you stand in the middle of the walk-way back to back with people)
7. Stopping at a stop sign is optional. (meaning that people do a lot of California roll here)
8. There are no street signs on streets. (so when explaining how to get to a place, you use landmarks and meters for directions.)
9. Pedestrians DON'T have a right away.
10. Everyone runs on tico time (which is late)
11. Tip is already included in the bill at a restaurant.
12. You don't pump your own gas. (every gas station is full service here)
13. An umbrella is a must whenever you leave your house. (it could and will rain sometime during the day)
14. If you need to see the doctor, you need to stand in line that morning (like at 5am) to get an appointment for that day.
15. When a person dies, you bury them within 24 hrs.
16. Expect to be hover over when shopping at department store. (meaning that someone will be near you at all times, watching you as you look around)
17. You don't throw your trash away at a fast food restaurant. (they have people pick it up for you and clean your area when you leave)
18. Every house has metal bars on the windows and doors and double locks.
19. There are "watchy man" that keep an eye on your neighborhood. (they come around on a bike and honk to let you know they are there)
20. You can buy produce from a guy who comes down the street from the back of his truck.
21. Houses in the city and where I live and work dont have yards.
22. Monthly bills are thrown in/put on your front gate.
23. Cafecito is a normal thing. ( just a midday coffee break with sweet bread or cookies)
24. Sunday is family day not "fun day" (people are not watching sport games on tv, there are usually at the park, BBQ at someones house and spending the day with family)
25. The money texture here is plastic, not paper like the states dollars.
Now you have a small idea of the culture here in Costa Rica.
Remember it is not better or worse, just different :)
Till next time!