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Jew in the Jungle


In 2002 I wrote "Tropical Depression: Lost in Paradise," an essay about my misadventures as a newly minted expat. It was published about six months after I arrived from San Francisco to tiny, rural La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica. Relocating to Central America seemed like a good idea at the time. The previous year, I'd spent an idyllic six-week vacation here. So why not make the move? It was only after I arrived that I remembered that "Vacation Life" and "Real Life" aren't the same. By then, it was too late to turn back. I had an empty bank account and a bungalow full of stuff I'd paid dearly to ship from the States. I also failed to anticipate the experience of being the only Jew in town. I'd always lived in communities that were primarily non-Jewish, and since my level of observance tended to ebb and flow, it wasn't a problem. There were always shuls, Jewish organizations and businesses available to me when I wanted them.

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