Costa Rica Expats & “I Live Here” Syndrome

In Costa Rica among expats towards tourists and visitors, I’ve noticed something I call the ‘I Live Here’ Syndrome… I’m guilty of it too sometimes… the little insertions in conversations with strangers around here that identify your status.
 
I get it, people are proud of their life decisions to move to Costa Rica, and want people who “just” visit to KNOW how awesome they are.
 
We went to help a guy whose car had broken down, hoping we could offer him some engine coolant, “It’s OK I LIVE here, I’ve got this covered,” assuming we were passers-through who had no idea about how cars behave in heat.
 
A friend was having some trouble with heat stroke while we were out one night. A young American woman at local in the bar comes up, “It’s OK, I LIVE HERE. I know exactly what to do,” and continued nonchalantly rattle off all the ways she was more familiar with the place than we were. I think she expected us to fawn over her.
 
I’ve experienced so much “snobbery” by some locals who need me and others to know that they LIVE here or “know more” than me or others about “the ropes” down here. It’s been annoying and hard to turn my critical eye from.
 
“Oh, you don’t understand life here, you’re just a tourist”, or “I live here, so I automatically know more than you do”, “Or I’ve been here X more years than you have so you are automatically naive”…
 
I’ve been “schooled” by so many people on how to live my life down here, but have learned to become wary of braggery veiled as advice.
 
A good reminder to stay humble, no matter how proud of yourself you are for your life’s choices. If we’ve made our decision to move here to impress people, we’re here for the wrong reasons!

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