Expat Extra – Mike & Martina

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We first met Mike & Martina just recently, after hearing about them for a while and people telling us that “you just have to meet them, we know you’ll like them!”  Well – we do!  They are our age (a rare thing here!), down to earth,  sweet and so easy to talk to.  We plan on seeing them much more – they are just our type of people.

Here is Mike to tell you about him and Martina: 

Where are you from? Tell me about you, your family and your life before you came to Costa Rica.

Martina and I first met at work. We both worked in IT but worked in different buildings. One day, Martina’s boss called me to come over to their building and fix an IT issue.  That was the first time we met. Shortly after that – we started working on a project together and began dating. We never kept it a secret at work but co-workers were completely shocked when we told everyone we got married. Nobody believed us – but that was almost 14 years ago!!

We moved to Costa Rica from El Dorado Hills, California. We lived in EDH for about 3 years, having relocated there for a work assignment. Prior to that, we lived in the great southern state of Mississippi for about 7 years – and prior to that, we lived in numerous cities in Southern California.

We have 3 awesome kids that aren’t really kids anymore. Our oldest daughter is married and lives in Colorado Springs, our son is an amazing chef living in Northern California and our youngest daughter is in vet tech school in Northern California.


How did you decide to move to Costa Rica?

Like so many other expats, we fell in love with Costa Rica from the first time we visited and have been coming here about twice a year for a decade or so. We are fortunate that we both ended up in jobs that are flexible and allowed us to make the move much sooner than we thought.

Puerto Jiminez, Costa Rica Lapa Rios airport office

Where do you live now in Costa Rica, and how did you decide to go to that particular location?

We now live in Santa Rosa de Poas. We really like the higher elevation because of the cooler weather. The beach areas are beautiful but just TOO hot for us. We rented for a little while in Grecia, and then we bought this wonderful home from Ms. Beverly Kronquest who recently returned to the United States.

Puerto Jiminez, Costa Rica Lapa Rios airport office

Have you lived anywhere else around the world?

Just the United States – this is our first time as expats and we love it.


Have you experienced “Culture Shock” at all?

There are definitely things that take getting used to and there is a lot to learn – it’s a new way of living your life – but we haven’t come across anything YET that we weren’t anticipating or has been shocking. Costa Rican’s do love their “stamps”.

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Do you guys do anything work-wise, or are you retired?

We both still work but are looking forward to an early retirement. We have talked A LOT about what retirement will look like day-to-day but we still have many years to get there.


Tell me about a “typical” day for you.

We are both early risers, so our day starts at 5am. We have coffee on our porch and then take our new dog (that came with the house we bought) on a walk. We love to listen to the birds and the roosters each morning – observing the beautiful garden that Ms. Beverly made. On the weekends we head to the feria (local farmer’s market) and then run our errands. Since we both still work our days are still dedicated mostly to our jobs. We like to spend some weekends exploring this amazing country.

Do you have any funny stories from living in Costa Rica? Please share!

Martina’s father came to visit – a Southern gentlemen that has never been out of the United States before. We pulled into a gas station and there was a Tico sitting on the curb, his truck broke down. My father-in-law walked up to him and asked him what year his truck was and the Tico told him, “No habla ingles”…. So my father-in-law, in the loudest voice he could muster up, asked him the same thing but much slower, “HOW………OLD……….IS…………YOUR………….TRUCK”? I tried to explain that he wasn’t deaf and that he didn’t understand English…..

Tell me a few of the “best” things about living in the Costa Rica.

I think the feeling of peace, tranquility and adventure are some of the best things for us about living here. Access to such a variety of fruits and vegetables we’ve never seen before. And we sincerely appreciate a simpler way of living life.


Nowhere is perfect, it cannot be “pura vida” all the time. Can you tell me about one of the worst things you’ve experienced here?

I think as an expat you have to be aware that you “may” receive different pricing on things. The roads definitely take some getting used to!!!

Any advice for new people moving to Costa Rica?

My #1 piece of advice would be to learn Spanish before you come, and definitely learn the money. I can say this because we DIDN’T do this, so learn from our mistake.


Thanks Mike & Martina, for joining me on my Expat Extra!  You guys rock.  
See you soon!  🙂 — Jen


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24 Responses to Expat Extra – Mike & Martina

  1. Jen,
    This section just gets better and better. I love hearing expat stories — even
    about people I will never meet — we are all on the same wonderful, exiting,
    challenging journey — and our stories are parallel in comforting ways. Thanks!!

  2. Jen,

    Such a great interview! I love the photos and your questions are so relevant to those considering moving to Costa Rica. You’re our ” Girl on the Ground “! 🙂 Keep ’em comin’!

    Bonnie Smith
    Clemmons, NC

  3. Great job again Jen! Love “meeting” Mike/Martina through your article – especially we are “young” also and still working so we share very similar events of the day!

  4. Well written, lively article – reflecting their personalities. M&M are definitely a great addition to our ex-pat community. Bonus – we know their house AND dog;-)
    Good job, Jen!

  5. Great article, Jen. I look forward to each new issue.

    My one question: my wife and I are considering CR as a place to move to for two years. We have been going to CR for about 15 years now. She feels CR is too expensive now, compared to Mexico and Equidor. Do you feel CR has out priced itself?

    • I do think Mexico and Ecuador are less expensive, but of course – it also depends on “how” you live in any of these countries. Thanks for reading!

  6. Great story Jen, always enjoy learning about others and their reasons for moving here. Damn good looking fish they had.

  7. Happy to learn you young, lovely couples are good friends. You are all amazing people. I’m so impressed by all four of you and your workings and doings.

  8. Such fun to read about 2 of our very favorite people in Costa Rica whom we met too close to the end of our time living in Grecia. You’ve captured their spirit and we knew the 4 of you would hit it off. The “thing” we miss most about Costa Rica? Our friends. Thanks for the pictures and update.

  9. So much fun and very exciting to read about other’s adventures . Wishing Mike and Martina all the best!

  10. Heart-warming to know that such good people have taken up residence in “Beverly’s house” and are loving Doby!!!!! Wish I were meeting them in person but your writing makes them seem very real. Nice job!!!

  11. Hi Jen, I have read your Costa Rica Chica book and your blogs, but I have never written, so I thought it was about time. Love your writing and your information! I read everything I can about moving to Costa Rica, and my husband and I have visited three times (going on 4) in the last 1 1/2 years. I was particularly interested to see if there was any way you could help us connect with Mike and Martina, as we also lived in El Dorado Hills (the town they’re from and a rather small town at that) for 15 years. We also plan to move to Costa Rica soon and for me to continue working remotely (as they are). I also wanted to say that I’m planning to make your Arroz con Pollo (from your previous blog) for a lunch for our church group this Sunday who will be coming to Costa Rica in November. We’re leading that trip to work with the poor in Jaco. Thanks again.

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