1. Old age doesn’t have to mean less energy.

Exercise is very common among the Chinese elderly. Whether early in the morning or late at night, old women and men run, dance, do tai chi, or play hacky sack outside — anywhere. They don’t need a gym, an iPod, or a special trainer. I even dare to say that I’ve seen more people of age than young ones sweating it off. Maybe this is their secret to an increasing life span?

So tell your Tico grandpa and grandma (or your parents, or yourself) to be more like the Chinese the next time there are complaints about having to walk to the grocery store on the corner.

2. The wisdom of traditional medicine.

I’ve heard of Ticos going to their clinics at work and being prescribed a shot of dexamethasone just because they have a cold. Other Ticos take strong pills for backaches that stem from the fact that they are stressed or just need a bit of exercise. Ticos value time so much, yet we don’t ever seem to have time to get better.

Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, using Chinese herbs and acupuncture, look at the patient in a more holistic way, treating not only the disease but the underlying cause of it. Many Ticos reach for pharmaceuticals with side effects that might cause more damage than good to our bodies. So next time you catch a cold, Ticos, skip the pharmaceuticals and look into taking some natural herbs.

3. Have a good understanding and appreciation for our culture.

The Chinese are very knowledgeable about their customs and traditions. Many can recite famous poems or share old legends. Identifying with your culture keeps it alive. Even though Costa Rica is a small country, we have a lot to rescue from globalization’s brushfire.

Can us Ticos mention at least 3 Costa Rican painters? Writers? Can we name all the aboriginal groups living in our country? Are we familiar with their traditions? Sadly, most of us are more ignorant than the average Chinese person when it comes to local culture.

4. Appreciate the freedoms that you now have.

China’s political system doesn’t allow for its citizens to exercise many of the rights us Ticos take for granted, like freedom of association or demonstration. In Costa Rica we can still openly challenge political views. It’s sometimes sad to see some Ticos shouting not very nice things at demonstrators, not even knowing why they are out on the streets in the first place, but every Tico can exercise their right to protest.

Another right we can enjoy is freedom of speech, and we can use the powerful tools of social media without been prosecuted. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and many other platforms are banned in China — so enjoy what you have easy access to, Costa Rica!

5. Fresh, clean air.

China has some of the most polluted cities worldwide. You might be familiar with the apocalyptic image of people wearing face masks — the Chinese would love to have the air we have in Costa Rica! In Costa Rica, whether you are in the jungle, at the beach, or in the middle of bustling San Jose, you can still open the window and take a deep breath without worrying about the 2.5 PM. So go on, Ticos, breathe your O2 and appreciate how clean our air is here!

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