We just got back from three weeks in the States and are back home in Costa Rica. And you know you’re an expat family when you call it “the states”. We went to Colorado to do some snowboarding and then to Minnesota to visit my family over the holidays. The more we are away from the States the more we feel like Costa Rica is our home and calling it home is now pretty comfortable. However, our kids are a little confused. McKenna asked me “When people ask where we are from, what are we suppose to say?” And I told her, “Well, if you want to keep the conversation short just say California, but if you are feeling chatty then tell them Costa Rica.”
This conversation came up a lot when we were traveling in Colorado. Usually on the chair lifts, at a restaurant or in casual conversation with people also traveling with kids. Usually the first question is “Where are you from?” or “Where you visiting from?” When asked this question, Harris and I would always pause for a quick second and our eyes would meet to see who was going to take the question and explain our situation. For most people this is a very simple question and an easy one to answer, but when you tell people you live in Costa Rica, then there is an avalanche of questions that usually follows.
We live in Costa Rica
Don’t get me wrong, we usually LOVE telling people we live in Costa Rica but sometimes I am just not in the mood or don’t have the time to go into my whole life story, so I’ll just say California to keep it short and sweet. Usually the only question after that is what part? I say Los Angeles or Pasadena, they nod their head as if to say oh okay, I know where that is. End of conversation or we move on to talk about the weather. If I say “We’re from California but we live in Costa Rica” I have then set myself up for a full conversation and have to be prepared to answer a handful of questions. How long have you been there? What part? Do you speak Spanish? Did your job bring you there? The kids go to school there? How’s the cost of living? is it safe? Then we get the people that say “My wife and I love that show House Hunters”, I giggle a little and Harris proceeds to tell them that we were on the show.
McKenna, who never misses a beat, noticed we kept having to tell people where we were from and I that is always had a variety of answers, it was never really cut and dry. Especially because sometimes Harris likes to throw in that he is originally from Florida and I am originally from Minnesota, which really confuses people and I’ve told him it’s unnecessary.
Our kids were both born in Minnesota so technically I guess they are from Minnesota too. I never thought the word home could be so complex or confusing but I guess to a 10 year old that was born in Minnesota and has lived in Arizona, California and Costa Rica doesn’t really have a solid answer for where home is and where she is from. We did figure out that she has lived most of her life in California (4 years) so if she goes by where she has lived the longest, she can just go with that answer.
Where is home?
We have asked them both where they “feel” home is and they both said Costa Rica, and that made us feel good. The truth is, we are a family that travels and currently our physical home is Costa Rica, but home is really just the four of us together, no matter where we are. I guess home is truly where the heart is.
Harris is squinting because of the sun and it was so bright outside! But don’t worry – he can open that left eye.