Many people come to live and work here, but they generally have a short term plan. They are on a work permit. They are young and have other aspirations. Some of them stay here. They meet people and sometimes fall in love. Sometimes they leave together. Sometimes they have families, keep working and after a few years, have to leave for their rollover.
When you come here to retire, as we did, there is no work place to meet people. We have no intention of moving on, at least until our residency certificate runs out. We meet people; people our age who came here years ago and decided to stay, but who are still working, and young people who are here for a few years.
Some of the people we’ve met have become good friends. We enjoy socializing together and make a point of trying to see each other. Others I’ve become fond of, but we really only talk and socialize because of proximity. They are not here for a long time and I know we’ll miss them when they leave. That’s the downside of life here. People leave. If people stay it’s because they already have an established social circle and community. Our building is a small community itself, so that anyone moving in or out changes the dynamic drastically.
I’ve become attached to some of the young people here, and they’ve made me appreciate my family even more than I already do. I worry about them sometimes. The lifestyle here can be very extreme for a young expat; long work hours and lots of drinking and partying outside of work. Some of our friends have found a more moderate path, some have not. The work doesn’t change. There are busy seasons in almost any field of work whether it’s accounting, the financial business, tourism or health care.
I’m happy to have met the people that I’ve met here. They are from England, Canada, the United States, Cayman, Bermuda and Costa Rica. People we meet in passing are from Jamaica, Honduras, South Africa and the Philippines.
The downside of retiring here is obviously the distance from family and old friends. Sure, we can visit them or they can visit us, but it’s not that easy. We make it to Canada a couple of times per year and it’s honestly a whirlwind. It can be a little stressful trying to see everyone. It’s expensive to fly here and it’s not convenient from Western Canada.
I miss our kids. Between their visits here and our visits there, we only see them every few months. We seldom have our whole family together. I can’t be there to give them hugs when they need it.
We would love to host Christmas, but our parents are beyond their travelling days and the trip here is a killer. I feel sad that they’ll never see where we live.
All that said, living here is very serene. Amid the turmoil of the political events in the world, we can sit on our deck and look out at the sea and it soothes the soul.