You live here because

Lisa Martens
3 min readMar 19
Photo by Jamison Riley on Unsplash

You live here because you bought it, and now you’re in limbo. It’s not the dream you thought it would be, but untangling the knot would be too complicated, and staying, well, staying is not that bad, but it’s not what you want, what you thought, what you dreamed.

You tell your family this is compromise, and they say you’re just crazy.

You’re telling yourself to look on the bright side a lot. There’s a distant legal battle, but you won’t see any money if your side “wins.” That will go back to banks and developers.

They’re trying to take this place out from under you, and that makes you even more stubborn.

You are here because this was the choice you made and keep making every day. When there’s no water, you buy it or de-salt the ocean. When there’s too much, you use buckets and sweep out the storm. There is hardly ever electricity, so everything you own is battery-powered. “This is no place to raise a family,” you tell the mold on the walls.

You hear more banks are collapsing and it makes you check the year. It has been a long time. You know the rumors in bars: They are talking about you; they are wondering how you got past the guard.

You remember your first time here, when you decided to live here. You were young and had a good job. You wanted to work remotely — you were early to that idea, and now it’s common. But you were a pioneer.

Now, you’re a different kind of maverick — a man trying to survive in a drowning tower. You have your own curtains, which most single men do not bother with. Your stone home is cool at night, sometimes too cold, but it’s better than too hot. The guard turns a blind eye. You’re not on drugs, but everyone assumes you are, so you act crazy enough not to be bothered but not so crazy that they don’t let you into the supermarket.

You’re a pro with dry shampoo and washing with a rag, and sometimes you fill the bathtub of your $100,000 abandoned condo with water and luxuriate with a bar of chocolate, exactly what you made fun of your ex-wife for.

You get it now. The day to day is hard.

You think you look more handsome as an older man — wiser, for sure. The person who thought he would move here, work remotely, keep his high American salary — all nice idea, if it were not for the fall. He was a fool. A simple fool.

But this man here, he can survive anything. This man turned an abandoned hole on the beach into a livable nest.

You do yoga every day, and it’s not quite a happy life, but you’re more awake than you used to be.

And if everything collapses again, what will happen to your tower? Will they come for it, will they try to buy your lot from you, will they give you pennies for your home?

Inspired by the abandoned Sonesta tower in Jaco, Costa Rica, where it is rumored that some former investors live.

Interested in reading more tales from Costa Rica? Download my book Illegals here.

Lisa Martens

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