I am Costa Rican and had lived there all my life. My family
and friends were there, and I was very happy there.
As life is wont to do, I met Rick (a US Citizen) and we fell
in love. About 15 years ago, we finally got married. Discussing our future, we
agreed it would be better for me to move to the US than for him to move to
Costa Rica. He had a good job and a house, while I had just finished medical
school and still lived with my parents. It made sense to proceed this way.
So, we moved to San Francisco. San Francisco is a great
city. I like the diversity you can find in such a small area, many people from
many places live here and I’m one of them. We like that during the winter we
are a short drive away from winter sports in Tahoe and during the summer we are
also close to great campgrounds.
Having Rick with me was a big help. It was very comforting
to have a guiding hand showing me the way things worked in this new place. I
had visited SF before as a tourist, and it was very different from actually
Even with my husband’s support though, the first two years
were very difficult for me. I come from a very close-knit family and knew I
would miss them when I moved to the US. It turned out I missed my family and
friends more than I ever expected. Furthermore, it was not possible for me to
practice medicine as well, which made things harder. I now know it got so bad
that I fell into a depressive state that was hard to overcome.
Eventually things started getting better and I started
becoming more comfortable with my life in San Francisco. I found a job as a
research assistant for a breast cancer study. It was not my dream job at that
time, and was a position I was overqualified for, but it gave me a purpose and
helped me get out of that fog that had kept me down for so long. I still have
that job; it’s been good for me and our family.
While I still miss my family and friends, the absence does
not have such a strong effect on my life. I do get to visit Costa Rica
regularly, and my family visits me often. As well, I have a daughter now and since
having her I have experienced a whole new side to this city. We like spending
time in the parks, playgrounds, pools, museums, etc. There are so many
activities and resources in this city geared to families with children. We
don’t know what the future will bring but at this time we like the idea of
raising our daughter here in SF.
I feel that those first two difficult years in SF were a
part of my mourning process to say goodbye to the life I once had and to the
person I was back home. I still miss my previous life but have learned to love
and enjoy the life I’ve created here.
There is an expat community in the Bay Area, I found it
through Facebook a few years ago. They organize some community events a couple
times a year; I’ve participated a couple times but have not gotten very
involved. I wish I had found them before, when I first came to San Francisco,
but social media was not as common back then. For people relocating now, social
media is a great resource.