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Taking the Plunge: How to Decide to Move to Another Country

I will admit decision making is not one of my strengths, particularly when it comes to major life events. I am the type the agonizes over every option and breaks down every scenario, making endless pro and con list, and then when a decision has been made, I begin the doubting phase.

This is probably why it took me two years to find our last apartment. And perhaps why it took Rob and I 10 years to get married. But both of those things have turned out pretty okay, so maybe I’m not so bad at making decisions as long as I have time for my due process. In the decision to move to Costa Rica, time was of the essence.

So, how did we decide? What was the process?

Well, Rob emailed me one Monday afternoon essentially saying “my company wants me to move to Costa Rica for a year. Do you have any interest?”. My response: “ALL THE INTEREST”. So, that’s how the conversation began.

A little background info: Rob has been learning Spanish for the past 4 years and has come to Costa Rica a couple of times to work at his company’s San Jose office, so it isn’t a completely new place to him and he knows several colleagues in Costa Rica. The offer for him to be relocated was a good one, and a positive career move.

I will admit, after my immediate reaction, I started running through all the potential scenarios, creating my ‘pro’ and ‘con’ lists, and reflecting on what this would actually mean for us and to be honest, I went a little off the deep-end. I was less than the best version of myself for sure, but eventually was able to get to where we needed to be to make the decision.

There were four things that I needed to be figured out: my job, our apartment, our Toby cat, and figuring out of Rob actually wanted to take the plunge.

  • My Job:
    • I love my job. I love the work I do, the people I work with, and the opportunities I have been given. I have long-term personal career goals that my company supports and encourages and I really didn’t want to give that up.
    • So, with some hesitation, I boldly asked if I could work remotely. To my surprise, it wasn’t an immediate ‘no’, in fact, it wasn’t a ‘no’ at all. After many discussions about the realities and logistics of me working from Costa Rica and my commitment to the company (ie. will I actually come back from Costa Rica), it was approved. Check!
  • Our apartment:
    • If you’ve rented in Toronto or looked for an apartment in the city, you know that the housing market (buying and renting) is bonkers. We love our apartment, have decent rent, and did not want to lose the great deal we had.
    • It just so happened that my sister needed a place to live in Toronto and was having a tough time finding an apartment, so she is going to be living in and taking care of our apartment while we are away.
  • Our Toby Cat:
    • What would we do with our babycat? We couldn’t leave him! But also, the thought of taking him in a plane and finding someone to look after him when we visit home is nightmare inducing.
    • Luckily, since my sister is taking over the apartment and she loves Toby, it was a match made in heaven. While we will miss Toby desperately and he will probably miss us for at least the first week, we’ll be able to visit him when we come home. And also, we have a Furbo (pet camera) to check-in on him…and my sister.
  • Does Rob want to take the plunge?
    • I have been lovingly bugging Rob to move anyway for at least a good 5 years and his only desired destination to live was Toronto. So when this opportunity came up, I was not convinced that this was something Rob would be into and I didn’t want him to feel pressured by me to agree to this move if it was only because it was what I wanted and not because he wanted this for his own career and personal growth.
    • Turns out, sometimes the people you know best change right in front of your eyes and you don’t even realize it. Rob has embraced this opportunity as a chance to push the boundaries of a comfort zone and utilize those Spanish skills he’s been working for 4 years to develop. While we both have worries and hesitations, we are in it together and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

So, with the job, apartment, and cat situations sort out and a husband that is fully onboard, it was decided: We are moving to Costa Rica.

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