'Want to be happy? Move to Costa Rica'. That was the title of a Forbes Magazine article in November 2014 after Costa Rica was voted "Happiest place on Earth". While many factors contribute to its #1 ranking, what stood out to me the most was that it ranked among the lowest in loneliness and among the highest in social connections.
It can be daunting moving to a new place with your family and settling in a community that is already established, but my experience has been that for the most part, Costa Ricans make you feel very welcomed.
From the moment we moved into our neighborhood, our neighbors greeted us with open arms, especially when it came to our daughter.
One thing I was concerned about was Amaya adjusting to a new country and new language, but as you know, kids brains are like sponges and so in no time she was going on play dates and making herself understood to the other neighborhood kids.
They took her on as the 'communal baby sister' and made sure she felt included in everyday activities
such as playing with their pets,
playing with dolls and learning how to dress.
Even though Ciudad Colon is a small town, there are always activities for kids happening like Friday afternoon story time at the local library or amusement park day in the central park.
I doubt Amaya will keep the Spanish that she's learned in the year that she's spent here (especially since in Switzerland she'll be entering a French nursery and we speak English and German with her at home) but I know she'll look at these pictures some day and get a feeling of happiness.