Moving from Costa Rica to Oahu, 5 things you should know

3 min readJul 17, 2022
A picture of the beach and mountains on Oahu Creator: Art Wager 
 | Credit: Getty Images

The odds that the topic of this article will be relevant to anyone are about as great as the odds of me meeting another old fat lesbian with an obsession with English history and novels from the 50’s here in my new retirement home.

But just in case….

My wife of 20 years and I had planned to retire in Costa Rica. We moved there in 2018, spent 4 years doing renovations and repairs (living in the jungle means constant maintenance) and hiding from Covid.

During my time there my middle son died of a drug overdose.

There are a lot of good things about Costa Rica, but as the years went on I began to realize that it just wasn't the place for me. After my son died I lost my ability to learn Spanish. No idea why that was a side effect other than my brain resisted concentrating. I couldn’t find many people I wanted to spend time with, or that wanted to spend time with me. There were no libraries, movie theatre, plays, architecture or local colleges where I could take classes.

On the other hand, there is pretty much nowhere in the states where we want to live. That is why we went to CR in the first place.

So what to do? The only place we could agree on was Hawaii. My wife lived on the big Island many years ago and we have traveled to Hawaii many many times over the years, she loves the big island, but I love Oahu, so we ended up here.

Before you hate me for having the resources to even have this problem, in my defense I did work 3 jobs for over 30 years, and I also had the privilege of having a union at my main job which gives me a pension. However the truth is we can’t really afford to live here, bottom line, unless we are smart and don’t make any mistakes. Even then the whole thing could easily go catastrophically wrong.

In the meantime, we are in Oahu. I mean, it’s paradise. Every day is a blessing. I am resolved to enjoy each moment here for as long as I can.

So getting back to my title, here are the five things you should know

  1. You will never know what’s going to happen to you in life, until it does
  2. Moving is hard, especially when you are old and “special”
  3. Where ever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you. You can’t run away from sadness
  4. Being gender queer is actually more of a problem in the states. Strange but true. In CR, although I was often called Señor, I never got much pushback. Here I am feeling a bit like a circus freak. If I could stand to move back to Oakland, this would be less of an issue, but it’s a reality here in Hawaii. The young lesbians that I see all look str8 to me, I’m an anachronism. I came out in the 70’s for god’s sake, we all wore plaid and suit vests. And combat boots.
  5. Enjoy your life whenever you can. You only get one. Unless you believe in reincarnation, but then it’s just the same thing, living life. Just takes longer. I’m hoping to go live in the clouds instead after this.

Historically Curious, Queer, Aging, Anglophile, World traveler, lifetime researcher with a sarcastic bent