Owner, and manager Angela Passman entered Costa Rica as an Expatriate herself along with her husband John, 3 small children, 3 dogs, 3 cats and 2 birds. Upon arriving in Costa Rica, they were given the name of a realtor and basically left up to their own survival skills to handle everything else on their own in a country referred to as Paradise by everyone they knew. What could possibly go wrong in a country called ‘Paradise’? EVERYTHING!!!
The first week they were in Costa Rica, they lost one of their dogs and spent a week searching (not knowing any Spanish) for the disappearing dog. Being rather fanatic about this dog, Angela passed out 2000 + flyers all over her part of Costa Rica and spoke to every day laborer she could find looking for information. Fortunately after placing many ads in newspapers a kind hearted Costa Rican brought Julie home and that problem was resolved.
Angela found that everything was a challenge unlike anything she’d ever encountered in the United States. Taking the children to school everyday was the easiest part of her day, and then she had to go out and face the real world. With no language skills, she had to buy groceries for her family, go to the bank, shop for school supplies and so many other things that seemed totally overwhelming at the time because of the great difference in the way things are handled in Costa Rica.
As children often do get sick at the most inopportune times, all 3 of the Passman children had to be taken to the hospital for different reasons within the first few months of their arrival. Since the Passman family had been given no references or referrals for medical care, they went to the closest emergency room even though none of the incidents would have been considered an emergency. What else were they to do with no other help in sight?
This among all the other little things that occurred caused great strife in the family because they didn’t know the language or their way around Costa Rica leaving them feeling helpless and alone in this strange new country.
Grocery shopping, where once was an easy task, had become a grand adventure not knowing what was what or where to find anything familiar to them. Even finding clothes or school supplies for their children became a confusing hassle. The list goes on. Everything that was taken for granted living in their own country was yanked out from under them upon arriving in this new country. The onset of ‘Culture Shock’ had begun.
After 6 months or so things began to settle down a bit and the family began adjusting to the new culture and started enjoying their new lives. Being very active in the children’s school, Angela found that her family was not the only one experiencing such difficulty upon arriving in Costa Rica.
Unfortunately for the families involved, it seems to be the norm for smaller companies bringing in families to offer them no assistance with this incredible life-changing move. The company sees the working spouse handling everything in what seems to be a normal fashion (of course they are in a protected environment) while the spouse is at home pulling out their hair from frustration trying to overcome depression and chaos on a daily basis. The feeling is that of a fish out of water struggling to breath or jump back to what is familiar to them. This has caused many assignments to be cut short causing great expense to the company.
Angela took to heart the expression to learn from your experiences and not make the same mistake twice. She knew that no one could do this on their own without support from someone that had been through the experience themselves. This is when the idea of Guardian Angels CR Relocation Specialists (GACR) was born. Angela thought that if she could help one person through the transition of moving to a new country she could help more and make it less painful and confusing for someone put in her position when she arrived.
Since starting her company she has written a somewhat humorous book on living in Costa Rica from an Expatriates perspective which she gives to all of her clients to help them better understand the culture. She offers seminars on Culture Shock so that an individual or family can better understand why Costa Rican’s act the way they do, and what to expect from a cultural standpoint with this move.
She has helped many people with anything from moving their family and pets to finding an attorney for assistance with residency. She answers questions on a daily basis via email or telephone working to make the transition less difficult for the next individual coming in.
As a company, our objective is to serve as “Mentors” and answer all the questions while introducing our clients to Costa Rica. Our Representatives function as “bridges”, paving the way for each person, significantly shortening the time it takes to get acclimated to the new surroundings. GACR will open doors, introduce you to the appropriate contacts, and offer their support in making the right decision for each family or individual.
Angela has found a way to combine her acquired knowledge, honesty and old-fashioned values to ensure a less problematic relocation for all of her clients. Among other things, we assist people in a practical manner by showing different ways to adapt to their wonderful new life in Costa Rica.
After going through all of the experiences both good and bad, Angela and her family have fallen in love with Costa Rica and now finally understand why it is called ‘Paradise’. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful people and customs that they have taken in as their own. Because of this love of Costa Rica, it spreads to each client that GACR services and we hope that sharing our experiences will make someone else’s transition less stressful and confusing.
The Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International, Inc.IPATA
- (CCCBR) Costa Rican Real Estate Association
- (NAR) National Association of REALTORSÂ®
- (REBAC) Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council
- Certified International Property Specialist
- (CA) Central America
- Country Specializations
- (CR) Costa Rica