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.