Whew…

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IMG_2280 I’m exhausted! And Scott is, kickin’ butt! I had to abandon my Spanish classes just for this two weeks. I just could not focus on studying, both mentally and physically. The amount of work we have right now is a bit daunting, to say the least. The good news is that this time next week we will be officially living in our new house. We will be a total disaster area but, shrug…who cares!:)
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This Feels Familiar…

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This period of time, as we’re scurrying around like crazy people trying to make our new house just barely livable, is not a new sensation for me. We did this in California and our scurry to live in the newly built house may have been for entirely different reasons but hurrying to finish off just the basics to make it inhabitable is not so different right now. Back when we did this in the states it was ME who was making us rush to make our new home inhabitable. Because we had been living in a tiny little studio cottage in the backyard for two years with our daughter and two indoor cats! I had just about reached my limit and had finally put my foot down! And one thing that’s bringing it all back to me is how friggin’ exhausted we both are. Not only exhausted but I gotta say I’ve been a little on the , ahem…grumpy side and I hate to admit…. sorta weepy at times too…Gulp! Read the rest of this entry

It Won’t Be Long Now…

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my newest Heliconia bloom!

my newest Heliconia bloom!

About fifteen more days and we will be officially moved into our new house! Holy Moly! I can hardly believe it! Seriously…it just seems so surreal to finally be nearly ready to live up in that house that we’ve been working towards for so long. We’ve been really working hard to get it ready and although its going to be ‘just’ livable and not even close to finished, it will be home for us. Once I get past my nerves about all that needs to be completed I know I’ll be a lot more excited. Right now the biggest priority is getting the kitchen up and running. The first step is getting the ceiling finished which should be today. Then they will paint and next up will be installing the floor tile. Read the rest of this entry

Casa Carter Continues To Evolve…

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Rainbows in Boquete never stop amazing me!

Rainbows in Boquete never stop amazing me!

Four weeks from now we will be living up there in our new house. Four weeks! Wont be long now! Yesterday was Easter and we had some friends up for a wonderful Brunch. We took a stroll up to the house to show them our progress and I was telling them how nice it will be to finally be settled into our home. Thinking about finally settling into our new house makes me think about just how transient this last few years have felt for us, well, by ‘US’, I actually mean “Me”! I don’t think Scott’s really been phased by all this moving around, I’m much more of a ’nester’ than him. But, I was thinking about how our journey began way before we even set foot in Panama. Read the rest of this entry

Mission Accomplished…We Have Granite!

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Lito is THE MAN! The truck driver who agreed to drive to Panama City to pick up our ten slabs of granite and bring them to our property in Jaramillo Centro in Boquete is a man of his word. It’s hard to find those types of men..you know, the ones who do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it! But this man is such a person and I feel so grateful and lucky to have met him. The plan was for Scott to fly to PC on Sunday night, and meet Lito at the warehouse at 8:00am on Monday morning. Lito was there at 7:30 a.m.! Scott helped them to load and secure the ten slabs into the truck. Lito said he would be at our house on Tuesday morning at 7:00am….he was here this morning at 6:30am! Gasp! I love this guy! Read the rest of this entry

Only In Panama….I lovingly say, with a smile on my face…

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In my last post I mentioned our latest adventure in buying slabs of granite from Panama city for our kitchen and bathroom countertops. The ‘buying’ was not exactly the adventure but the figuring out how to transport the ten huge slabs from Panama City to Boquete is what I speak of as the actual adventure. You see, I should explain…In case you feel sorry for us that we live in such a remote area that there’s no granite to be had nearby and we have to go all the way to the city in order to buy it. Nope. That’s not remotely the case. There are at least two sources in nearby David to purchase granite countertops. But they refuse to sell us the raw slabs without hiring them to do the fabrication and installation. All our good friends here have had them fabricate and install granite countertops at their homes with much success. But, as we all know Scott loves to do everything himself and even though he hasn’t got much experience in Granite fabrication he has decided he doesn’t have enough projects and he wants to do it himself! Need I say…Ugh! hahaha! Read the rest of this entry

Project Update…

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For my friends and family who like to keep up on what’s going on around here, this is for you…


First I should make sure to report that at long last we have our electricity! I can hear the cheering and Whoot! Whooting!:) With all the visitors we’ve had lately and so much going on around here I must admit that finally getting power up to our property is a bit anti-climatic! Sigh…But, of course we’re thrilled to have that hurdle over and done with and to finally be totally up and running with our very own power. We’re so eternally grateful to our friends and neighbors Kat & Alan for coming to the rescue and allowing us to run that ugly pipe from our house to theirs to highjack electricity from their house since November. Getting rid of that darn generator was such a godsend! And now that we are officially hooked up to the power supply we need to run all the tools in Scotts workshop, he’s up there as I’m typing this cutting plywood for the carcass’s of our kitchen cabinets in the house. Read the rest of this entry

A Visit From A Good Friend…

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Angela came to visit and my heart is so happy! Ive been looking forward to sharing my wonderful new home with friends from The Bay Area and boy did we have a blast. It’s a funny thing, living in a place where others come for a vacation. Playing tour guide has been a delightful experience, exhausting, but good fun! And experiencing Panama with a friend who’s never been here was more fun than I imagined it would be. I must admit though, I had a tiny bit of butterflies hoping that she would like this place i now call home. I had nothing to worry about, she was mesmerized by the beauty that is Boquete. Of course… Angela is well traveled and understands and appreciates all the cultural differences that one experiences while visiting different places in the world. She see’s the diversity and magic that a different culture has to offer and she embraces it all with such wide eyed enthusiasm! I just love that about her. Central America is not the United States, and while it may not always be quite as organized and tidy as we’re accustomed to in the States, its easy to fall in love with this vibrant culture and to adore the kind, welcoming Panamanians.
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The ebb & flow of this life has become familiar and I love it!

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Driving around town the other day, (with two smelly tanks of gasoline in the back of my car, yuck!), I was navigating the traffic in the tight little intersection where the gas station is located. As I sat at the stop sign waiting for my turn I was thinking about this little town and about how much I’ve grown accustomed to the rythym of how things work here. We’ve been living in this beautiful little mountain town for nearly three years already! Sheesh! How the heck does time fly by so darn fast? It seems like it wasnt all that long ago when I was writing about feeling a little bit of culture shock living in Panama. I remember feeling sorta outside myself for a little while in the early days of my move. I was in such uncharted territory and feeling out of place.
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I’m 50 Today! Wow!

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Turning 50! A milestone for sure! ….
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This milestone birthday has me thinking about what turning 50 really means to me. Well, first it means , of course the obvious…I’m getting older! But as I reflect about moving into the next decade of my life what else does it mean to me? Aside from seeing lots of changes in my body, a bit more weight, a ton more gray hair, a few more wrinkles around my eyes, and other physical changes that remind me time is going by, this milestone birthday has me thinking about each decade that’s passed and the experiences that have helped to make me the 50 year old woman I am today . Reflecting on such things always adds even more appreciation for each little moment in-between with the knowledge that each new day brings endless opportunities for learning, for growing and for experiencing the fullness of life.
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A Brief Update On Our Insurance Snafu…

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I think it’s only fair for me to publish a post about what has transpired with our insurance agent. On Monday we went to the insurance office and got a corrected proof of insurance. Then we went to David and went through the process of paying for the ticket, then going to the impound lot and getting our car. All told both the ticket and the charges for the impound lot was a total of $285.00. The Agent had the assistant both send me an email and personally call me to make sure I knew that the mistake was completely her fault and not the fault of the agent. She also informed me that the office would be reimbursing me for all the money we had paid as a result of their mistake. Then later that day the agent called to personally apologize for the way we were treated. Im glad that in the end we received payment for money we should not have had to spend as a result of their mistake and that an apology was given for the unprofessional way our situation was dealt with on the telephone.

Music Monday ~ ¡Aquí vuelve Samy y Sandra!

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Fellow Blogger Karen who Lives in Pedasi has given a fun explanation of the story behind this popular singing duo’s latest video. I’ve seen posters on the road between here and David about Sami & Sandra and wondered who they were…now I know! This little video gave me a smile on this Monday morning, I hope it does the same for you!

In Da Campo

I read recently  that the new Samy y Sandra official video for Carnaval 2016 was out on YouTube so I thought I’d share it today.  I’ve watched it a few times, but unless you’re Panamanian or lived here long enough to know a little about the country you won’t get some of the inside jokes or nuances.  You’ll probably just think it’s loud and there’s a lot of shaking going on.  And you’d be correct on both parts.  So to help you out a bit I thought I’d share what little knowledge I have gleaned from my almost four years of living here.

The Azuero Peninsula is large enough for three provinces and is Panama’s southernmost landmass. Herrera province, Panama’s smallest, is to the north; Los Santos to the southeast, and Veraguas, the only province with a Caribbean and a Pacific coast, is on the western side of the Azuero. Samy and…

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Sometimes S?!T Happens…

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I hate that saying! But, unfortunately it’s oh so true. My last post was all rainbows and unicorns. Reflections on a delightful moment that filled my heart with joy. This post however will not be so joyful. Because like the title of this post S#$T happened last night. Here’s what happened… We drove into town to meet friends for dinner and then we were going to stroll through the Flower & Coffee Fair, well our evening out went terribly wrong at a police checkpoint. What we thought would be ‘no big deal’ because we had every piece of paperwork we needed to assure a random checkpoint goes smoothly ended with us standing on the side of the road with a hefty fine and waiting for our car to be towed away!
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Reflections of a day…

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This morning as I sit on my terrace I’m reflecting about this moment in time. In this very moment I’m feeling so happy and grateful to be right here. Sitting right here, in this chair overlooking this beautiful place and soaking up all that is this life, I feel as though my heart is nearly bursting with a peaceful sense just simple pleasure in the moment. Scruffy is sitting on the floor at my feet watching with adoring eyes as I type. I hear the sounds of saws, hammering and the laughter of the guys up at the house working with Scott to build our new house. As the day tumbles by it seems that the banter of the guys becomes more and more boisterous, they always sound like they’re having so much fun harassing each other as they work. Although I know my gardener doesn’t exactly appreciate the good natured teasing he gets from them. He’s a new gardener and doesn’t quite get the jokes, I’m pretty sure he’s offended by being teased and has expressed this to Scott, asking him to make them leave him alone. Hah! Scott told him that if he talked to them about it, its very likely the teasing would only become worse! I shake my head in disbelief and good humor at “my Guys”….I love the ongoing joking and lighthearted jests that are full of childish good fun. The sounds I can hear this morning make me smile…

"Love me!"

“Love me!”


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The Gift Of Giving…

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Having the opportunity to give without expectation of reciprocation is something I’m enjoying tremendously. Another part of giving I enjoy is giving without any feelings of obligation. To give someone a gift that they didn’t expect is so much fun. Living here in Panama I’m finding that I have unending opportunities to do just that. To give without expecting anything in return is gratifying on so many levels and makes my holiday great. Although, while I may not receive anything in return in the material sense I receive so much more that feeds my soul than any material possession could ever do! Especially this time of year when I reminisce about Christmas’s of past I feel deeply rewarded by the opportunities I have here to give in simple ways to those who expect nothing.
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The Life And Time’s Of Us…

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What’s up with us? Well, a lot and not much all at the same time. How can that be? Well, see it seems like most of what I have to write about has to do with the continuation of our construction project. Not much exciting to write about so its hard to write a blog post. Hence the lack of any new posts lately. I find myself sitting down to write something and I figure if I get bored just writing it, who would want to read it, right? But, I do so love writing so I’m going to attempt to keep this post brief…good luck right! I do have a tendency to go on an on an on….I know this about myself…


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Trying To Hold Onto Friends From Afar…

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Moving away and leaving all my friends was hard ( well…‘hard’ doesn’t even come close to expressing it, but… shrug, I don’t wanna sound too dramatic! Hah) . The fact that It’s hard to leave friends is pretty obvious, I mean, leaving people we care about shouldn’t be an easy thing after all, right? But, now that some time has gone by since I’ve left all my friends, and I’m coming up on my three year anniversary of living here in Panama , I’m noticing more and more that there’s a distance that’s slowly beginning to develop with my friends from California. Not because of anything they’re doing, or not doing and certainly not because of any lack of caring for each other. I believe it’s simply an unavoidable change in the dynamic of a long distance connection that naturally happens when friends move away. Am I surprised by this? No. Why do I write about it now? Well, Its something I’ve been quietly observing as time is going by, relationships that are separated by so much distance are bound to develop a feeling of disconnect eventually. Even though I knew there was no way to avoid it, somehow It still makes me sorta sad and nostalgic for what I’ve walked away from. I’ve had many friends move away in my lifetime, but being the one who has done the leaving is proving to be an entirely different feeling….gulp. Read the rest of this entry

The Holidays are upon us!

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The drummers have begun the drum-drumming away in preparation for the festivities which began this past weekend. El Dia De los Muertos , and Independence from Columbia as well and flag day or colon day were first up and Independence from Spain is up next. There was a parade on the 3rd and the big Disco tech was booming lots ear piercing music until all hours of the early morning. The town has been decked out with streamers and dressed up for the many celebrations. Its fun to see the town Square transformed into a huge party for one and all. It seems like one can almost feel the energy of all the people coming together for their mutual celebrations this month. The town of Boquete is a vacation spot for Panamanian tourists, many from the city. I think its like going to Lake Tahoe for a big holiday. Escaping the big city and enjoying the cool, crisp mountain air. I remember doing just that when we used to visit the beautiful mountains in Tahoe or Yosemite. This little mountain hamlet is very similar to those lovely mountain towns. Read the rest of this entry

La Casa Principal…

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We’re making good progress on the main house and hoping to be able to move into it by March! Mind you, just because we plan to move in to the house , this in now way means that it will be totally finished…no way! Hah! Oh, how I wish that were the case, but alas! I’m doomed to only ever live in a partially completed home…Poor me…:( I know, I can hear the violin playing a sad, sad song…hee!hee! Well, I jest…I’m super excited about how much is happening up there and I just can’t wait to live in that house! Every night, after I drive the guys down the hill I take Scruffy for a walk up to the house and just wonder around imagining what it will be like to live in that house which we’ve worked so hard on. I’m just getting so excited, I can barely stand it.. Read the rest of this entry

Reminiscing….Cuz’ Halloween is Upon us…

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This is the time of year when I find myself quietly reminiscing about Halloweens gone by. As I recall fond memories of my favorite holiday I find myself not so nostalgic of the celebration as the people who joined us for all the preparations and shenanigans. To me Halloween, (or as we liked to call it, Hollyween) was about having FUN, and sharing it with all who cared to join in! Read the rest of this entry

Wet Season And The Battle Against Moisture…

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There’s green stuff growing on my wooden cutting board! When I say, “stuff” I don’t mean trees and flowers and veggies! I mean, mold! Ugh! It’s friggin’ damp up here right now! Here in Boquete there are many different microclimates relatively close in proximity. So, if you don’t like the weather in one area, maybe , lets say, its too windy here, or too rainy there, or just too warm for you there, you can choose to try out a different area. It’s really quite amazing just how different the weather can be in such a reletively small place like Boquete. Of course if you buy a piece of property and spend every waking hour working on building yourself a home, well, then, ahem… it’s a little too late for trying out different areas! hah! Lucky for us we had already gotten a pretty good idea of most of the different microclimates we had to choose from and we just fell in love with the Jaramillo area. What one must do when faced with the reality that its the ‘wet’ season inside and out, is rage a full blown war on the dampness that is invading your house! Or just learn to live with mold and mildew and hope like hell it doesn’t make you sick! Nope…. its war! Read the rest of this entry

What’s Going On?

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Well, actually, lots is going on. Our life is busy and fun and a little frustrating at times and crazy productive with a bit of exhausting thrown in on occasion. So, if your wondering what happened to my regular blog posts that used to keep you updated on a regular basis…well, life gets in the way most everyday. I wish I had the time to sit and write more often, but what with all this work going on up here at our property and Spanish classes three days a week, grocery shopping , laundry, socializing, happy hours, driving down the hill everyday to buy gasoline for two generators, working in the garden, ahem, you get the idea! I keep busy and hardly have time to sit and write , which I really miss. I keep thinking, “One of these days I’ll have more time to write and catch up on my blog”. But, it seems each day just flies by faster than the last. Read the rest of this entry

You can’t make this stuff up!

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My friend Susan has written a blog post about what’s going on at her house. We went over to have dinner with them last night and got a first hand look at the ‘small inconvenience’ they are having at the moment. They had warned us about the road work and told us not to wear good shoes and to be prepared for a bit of a hike to get to their house….hah! We were laughing as we trudged through the mud in the pouring rain! With a shrug and laughs all around we just had to say…”Ohhhhh Panama!”:)

Latitude Adjustment

Let me set the stage here: the house we’re currently renting in the Volcancito Abajo area of Boquete is accessed by a single, bumpy gravel road that leads for about two city blocks to our front gate. For us and our next-door neighbor, it’s the only way in and out. The road is a right-of-way through a large parcel of land surrounding both our houses. Let me also explain that we are at the height of rainy season, when even in the best situations gravel roads tend to turn to muddy soup in places.

New culvert being dug across the entrance to our road. Our house is down on the right, past the white fence pillars. It's further than it looks! New culvert being dug across the entrance to our road. Our house is down on the left, past the white fence pillars. It’s further than it looks!

Early last week, we heard a rumor that the owner of the surrounding property was planning on ripping up our little road to do some drainage/culvert work. Our neighbor heard about…

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Raising the Roof, Panamanian-Style!

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The Recipe For A Good Time In Panama…

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I bet you’ve been wondering what it takes to have fun here in Panama. Well, luckily I’ve got just the recipe! You start with the completion of a brand new Techo, or Roof for my non-Spanish speaking readers. Then after the sparkly new Techo is completed the required fun must commence with a few key ingredients. The first and most important ingredient for a fun time at this traditional celebration is the food. And , specifically the main dish which is called Mondongo. Basically, this is Tripe, or at least similar to it, let me be more specific….Cow intestines. I know….many of you may be saying..”Yuck!” I’ll stick to Non-Cow intestines please! And I would not disagree, but the traditional celebration of a newly completed Techo is aptly named a Mondongata because these fun-loving folks here love it! It’s Party Food! Shrug, I’m pretty sure we very likely have a taste for many things they think is crazy as well, so, let’s just roll with it, k? Read the rest of this entry

Always Learning about how much I don’t know…

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Just when I think I’ve acclimated to living in Central America, and I really got this, I hear myself say something to someone that’s just totally ignorant. Pfffft! And I wanna kick myself! Ya know? Sometimes I have the hardest time with really remembering just what a different world some of my new friends, workers and neighbors live in. Maybe I should give myself a little credit, I shouldn’t say I don’t understand, as much as I just sometimes, somehow, inexplicably sorta forget. As I spend time with Panamanians and feel as though I’m making friends and bonding with our crew of workers I occasionally get a little reminder of how foreign my ways must seem to them. I forget sometimes that we’re from a different culture and that our way is soooooooo not EVERYONES way. I don’t know why or how I could forget such a common sense truth, but, the truth of the matter is, at times, I just do. Humph… As much as I desire to assimilate and to fit in here with respect and admiration of the culture of my new home, I may never quite be able to shake what I’ve grown up with as my ‘normal’. It will always be a part of me in some way. My hope is that one day the many glaring differences may not seem quite so ‘different’ to me, because Its my goal to learn to acclimate to this place I now call home. Maybe someday I’ll have fewer of these ‘foot-in-mouth experiences. For the time being, I just gotta laugh at my faux pas and try to live and learn… Read the rest of this entry

Gardening In Boquete…

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Before I moved to Boquete, Panama I really enjoyed my garden in Los Altos. I always found it to be endlessly therapeutic spending a day with my hands in the dirt. Weeding, planting, trimming, creating a garden that pleased my eyes was something I could easily loose myself in. Entire afternoons could slip away as I made my way through the yard. I had so many little areas of my yard to work in and each area seemed to have its own personality. I don’t consider myself an extremely knowledgable gardener but I loved to learn by trial and error, all I could about my little plot of dirt in Los Altos. Through the years I learned a lot about my yard, I learned that the soil was a little different in each area of the yard. Different sides of the house had differing amounts of sun and shade which provided a mix of suitable climates for many different plants and flowers. As I worked my way around my garden it was as if I were traveling through tiny little micro climates where I slowly began to learn what plants thrived where. Some areas needed more water than others. Some area’s needed more weeding and others needed more fertilizer. But after time I grew to understand how to best tend and care for the specific areas and what plants belonged where in my yard. Gardening was a pastime that really fed my soul and made me feel happy. Read the rest of this entry

Finding A Balance That Feeds My Soul…Or, Figuring out how to be content with the moment…

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Before making this life changing move to Panama my focus was mostly on the ‘getting here’ part of the move. Preparing to exit, leaving my salon, selling things, saying sooooo many heart wrenching goodbyes, Sigh…and, making decisions on how and when to make the move happen. I didn’t have any way of knowing just what it would be like to live my life without the things I was leaving. How could I possibly even expect to know what this new life would be like? Although, to be honest, the ‘not knowing’ part of this life change was part of the Adventure. I was really looking forward to the experience of everything being new and different! And, boy…I have not been disappointed in that respect! hah! You know what they say about being careful what you wish for? Well… I wished for ‘different’ and this new life, living as an expat in Panama, is all I wanted and much much more! (Big Smile!) But still, even as I enjoy soaking up all this ’newness’, the significance of not having a career and all that goes with it, (and what effect that would have on my psyche) is something that’s been kinda hard for me at times. It might have been much easier had I left a career and a life that wasn’t rewarding or if I’d ran from a life that I was trying to escape from. But I loved my career, my friends, my home, and the place I lived. Naturally making my transition at times bittersweet. Read the rest of this entry

A Little Update…

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Our life right now…
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Life’s just cruzin’ right along! Of course we’ve been keeping incredibly busy, as I’m sure you could guess. Between building our third and final building and creating a garden in the jungle, getting a new dog, enjoying spending time with friends, doing regular household chores and errands and learning Spanish, I have a really hard time finding moments to just sit and write. Which I regret. I really love writing and sharing our story and I know I’ve become a very bad blogger. So, here’s a little peak into what’s going on in our world… Read the rest of this entry

Our Family Has Grown!

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We did it! We adopted a dog! And not just any ol’ dog (not that there is such a thing!) but we think she’s pretty special. Her name is Ruffy, which is short for “Lady Rufina”. I know what your thinking..”I thought she said there was a ‘heart to heart’ about this and they decided the timing was all wrong for a puppy?” And, well, Ahem…you would not be wrong about that recollection. But, shrug, ya know sometimes life just happens. Although, we didn’t get a puppy, we got a very well trained five year old dog who is just right for us and fits into our life like she’s always been here. Read the rest of this entry

A very Rude Dog…

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Today was a first for me. I went for a walk with my friend Kat this morning and I was bitten by a dog! Sheesh! I’m still in shock as I write this. In all my life I’ve never been bitten by a dog! I just cant even believe how fast it happened. Ouch! I’m okay, don’t worry. As soon as I got home I washed it really good with soap and water then I sanitized it with peroxide and slathered it with Neosporin. So I feel pretty good about it not getting infected, although I will keep a close eye on it and go see a doctor if it shows any signs of infection. I just had to tell someone cuz’ sheesh Its a crazy thing to have a strange dog just come from nowhere and bite like that! So, maybe there’s a good reason almost every Panamanian I’ve met has a healthy fear of strange dogs. I’ve never felt afraid of dogs. I mean, I don’t make a habit of just walking up to any ol’ dog and petting them, but not because I was fearful, only respectful of animals in general.
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This ‘n’ That…

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Here’s a bit of what’s on my mind. Our Adventure living here in Panama is feeling less and less like such a huge adventure and more like , just ‘Life’. As the newness of this expat life has begun to fade its really hard to think of things to write about that seem interesting or share worthy, Hah! I know all my friends and family back in California like to keep up on our happenings and I really like the feeling of continued connectivity my blog seems to provide. Its always so great to hear from people and to know that we haven’t been forgotten about. Here are just a few things we’ve been up to and things that just came to me as I typed. Nothing especially earth shattering, but just a bit of this n that! Read the rest of this entry

Where have I been!

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Oooooop! Sorry, I´ve really been slacking in my writing. First I went on vacation for three weeks then I just seem to get so caught up in my days that I dont stop to take the time to write.  So, let me get you caught up on what´s happening here.  Well, I´ll begin with our project, the never ending house project!  So, we have two new workers that we hired, bringing our total crew to 9 guys now.  The main house has all the  walls finished and now the roof is just getting started.  It should take maybe a month or a little more to complete.  Its really fun to see it all come together and to wander around imagining what it will be like to live in it.  I´m really excited about how much I like the design and floorplan that we worked so hard to design together.  We really put a lot of focus on outdoor living space because living here makes it so easy to spend a lot of time outdoors.  Our terrace alone which wraps around the entire back side of the house facing the amazing view is about 900 square feet in size.  It will be completly roofed and protected from the elements.  It will be like a room without walls!    We plan to have our dining room out on the terrace  on one side and a living room area on the other end, with an outdoor sofa and some chairs.  In the outdoor living room we are planning to have a gas fire pit.  There will also be a big wood burning fireplace out on the corner of the terrace.  Scott has an outdoor kitchen as well which will be about 200 square feet.  The total size of the house, not including the terrace and outdoor kitchen is about 2400 square feet.  We will have two bedrooms, a living room a laundry room, the kitchen and a recreation room for our pool table.  One aspect that I´m sure I´ve writen about which I´m really excited about is the outdoor shower off the master bedroom.  This will be a treat since we can use it pretty much all year around living here.  The guest bedroom will have an indoor shower so if its especially rainy or chilly we can use that.   Read the rest of this entry

Our Two Year Anniversary Living In Panama!

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What? How the heck did two years buzz by so fast?? Sheesh! Tomorrow , May 29th it’ll be two years ago that we got on that plane with four bags and two unhappy cats headed to a new life in Panama. I just cant believe we’ve been living here in Boquete for two years already. Its funny, in some ways it feels as though we’ve always been here and then in other ways it seems like we just got here!

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Back to work…Oh, I know I thought we were retired, but, shrug, there’s work to be done!

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And the construction continues at the Carter propiedad! Before our vacation we liquidated all our workers. Which means that we paid them all the required vacation and decimo pay and basically laid them all off. Scott let them know that they could resume work on the first Monday of our return if they wanted to. But, we didn’t know for sure if they would still want to come back to work for us because we couldn’t assume that they wouldn’t go find different work for the three weeks we were gone. So I drove down to pick them up at our regular meeting spot at 7:15 on Monday moring (right at the end of the bridge in town) and….Gulp, no one came! I was sad, I kinda thought in my head that they all really, really liked working for us and that “of course” they’d all be back! The two indigenous guys , Federico and Arquiles both showed up at the job site ready to resume work but no one else on Monday. So Scott very calmly said to me, “No problem, Shrug, we’ll just move on to Plan B”….Gotta love a guy who is calm and adaptable! That vacation really renewed his “Tranquilo”! hah! So Plan B in his mind meant that we would just let the main house sit on the back burner until the next dry season and for now if none of our crew aside from the two guys showed back up we would refocus on finishing up all the details on the casita. There’s still quite a bit to finish up like cabinetry, soffits, all the outside hardscaping, walkways , steps, exterior painting, stone work on retaining walls, just to name a few things. Read the rest of this entry

Vacation…It felt so different in so many ways, all good!

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Coming home from vacation felt entirely different to me this time! This is our first big vacation away from our new home here in the highlands of Panama and I must admit, after nearly three weeks away, I was looking forward to getting back to my little casita in the mountains. We’ve taken several pretty long vacations in our past and normally we’re never really ready to go home. We love to travel and see the world and seldom have we looked forward to returning to the grind that was our life in California.
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Our Peruvian Adventure…

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Eighteen days, Six cities, Planes, Trains, taxis, boats, busses and hiking around more ancient Incan ruins than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means!)….. Luana and I both agree that the Peruvians have no lack of huge old rocks in this country, that’s for sure! hah! But, that being said, we’re all just totally “Awestruck” by Machu Picchu… how could anyone not be? It’s simply magnificent! And Lake Titicaca blew us away as well….I was stunned by the floating reed islands and the life they live there! We all loved the town of Ollantaytambo, our first stop on this adventure. Its one of the few places where the people are still living in an original Incan city! The narrow cobbled streets, walls and many of the houses are original and we marveled at the history that was still alive there. This Foursome feels as though we’ve really “SEEN” Peru! Read the rest of this entry

Day 7…Writing 101

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Day Seven: Give and Take

Today’s Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

compare and contrast….

Dreaming of doing something totally unexpected and freeing or continuing on down the same path your on. Getting up everyday and doing the same thing for years on end. Coming up with an idea, a crazy, wild idea and working towards making that idea a reality. This is a comparison I’ve made in my head many times. I often wonder if, had I not come up with my crazy idea to expatriate and begin an adventure in a different country, would my routine have become so unbearable to me? Or would I have eventually come to feel exactly as I was feeling about the sameness of my days by the time I was prepared to leave? Did the dream of doing something different slowly make my current existence feel unsatisfying? Up until I began dreaming of living in another country and changing my life completely, I was perfectly satisfied with my life and the routine I had created for myself. I often wonder if I would have eventually begun to slowly sink into that feeling of monotony. Read the rest of this entry

Day 6..Writing 101…

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Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us). Read the rest of this entry

A dog banned, A first bribe, and other happenings…

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Poor little Chumbo, the neighborhood doggy who wanders up to our house for love…and food. (I suspect mostly food, but oh well) Yesterday we had to hang chicken wire all around our terrace to keep Chumbo off the terrace. Aww, Poor guy. That may sound mean to you but it had to be done. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop him from peeing on everything! Ugh! I know! Gross! He peed on the BBQ, on the chairs, on my plants in the pots on the terrace and on the pillars too…He really wanted to be sure any other dogs in the neighborhood were well aware of who’s territory our terrace is. And well, he was not aware that it’s not actually his territory at all….it’s Scott’s! Yep…Scott couldn’t enjoy his hammock time with the fumes of Chumbos markings all around him. Now Chumbo has been banned from visiting our porch. He’s more than welcome to visit our yard, I moved his food and water bowl out to the front of the house, so no need to worry about him getting nourishment! I really love dogs and I’ve been looking forward to the day that we can get our own, so I thought I would love having Chumbo up here , and I do, but I must agree dog pee isn’t a pleasant fragrance. He’s such a sweet dog and If he were mine I’d train him not to do such an uncivilized thing, but he’s not mine so I’ll just have to live with the ban on his terrace time visits. Darn it. Read the rest of this entry

Day 5…Writing 101

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Today’s Prompt: You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible….yeah, right…eye roll! hah!

What’s that? It looks like a white envelope. Right over there, under that tree where the Resplendent Quetzal is peeking out of it’s nest. My what bright, beautiful colors that Quetzal has…strange, it seems to be looking right at me… Read the rest of this entry

Writing 101 Day 4….

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Writing 101, Day 4…

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Traffic, working 12 hour days, PG &E, AT&T, Los Altos Garbage co, State Farm, Blue Cross, A Huge Mortgage, Property Taxes, State Taxes, These are just a few things that used to be in my life but aren’t in my life anymore. This small list just off the top of my head are just a few of the things that made my life stressful, and for the majority of my days , not fun , and I’ve said, “Audios” to them forever. Oh what a glorious day it was when I had the pleasure of spending an entire afternoon with all my bills in front of me calling each one to request that they cancel my account. Read the rest of this entry

Day 3..Writing 101…

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Day Three: Writing 101…

“Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Nailing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5 on your alto sax. Making perfect pulled pork tacos. Drawing what you see. Or, writing a novel. Each requires that you make practice a habit.

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.” Read the rest of this entry

Day 2…Writing 101…

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A Room With A View…
Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

If I could zoom through time and space to anyplace at all I would go to the house in Morgan Hill where I grew up. I would be sitting at the top of our staircase with my little sister by my side. It would be the wee hours of the morning, not yet light, but not totally pitch black. It’s Christmas morning and our Father’s favorite time of the year. He’s been preparing for this morning all month long, he loves nothing more than surprises and seeing us all happy. And this is the moment he looks forward to most! It’s also one of the few memories I have of a time when my little sister and I clung together as one in solidarity. Sitting close together, excitedly huddled at the top most step, in the wee early, dark of Christmas morning… Read the rest of this entry

Day 1…Writing 101….

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I hope this doesn’t bore you too much…I have decided to participate in a writing exercise hosted by Word Press, the hosting site that I use to publish my blog. I Really love writing but I’m not a ‘Writer’, per-say… This post is my first attempt at participating in this four week long writing exercise. Word Press will be emailing a prompt daily for the next four weeks, so please be patient with me as I attempt this daily writing challange. Today is the first of these writing prompts and for the very first one I’m supposed to just write anything at all that comes to mind for twenty minutes! Yikes! So I thought it would be a good way to explain why I may be writing a bit more than I normally do. I’ll try my best to stay within the topic of my blog, but who knows what they may throw at me! Read the rest of this entry

Update on Casa Principal…

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Here’s a little update on the current progress on the main house. It’s well underway and I went up to take a few photos of the action. As you can see in the photos there are walls going up already! whoohoo!! They are still backfilling the terrace and the master bedroom and will be pouring the floors in those areas as soon as they have it all filled in with dirt. The water and gas has been run through the floor and the septic is in as well. They are framing up the corners and soon will begin to pour concrete for the begining of all the outer walls. It will still be a couple of weeks until the floor is done. After the floors then comes the walls and then the roof begins. We finally got the approval for our electrical run. We emailed the electrician today and hope to see the work on that begining soon. Scott and I have been doing a lot of work on the computer for the electrical plan inside the new house. Deciding where all the light switches and plugs will go. We have all the light fixture locations planned out as well as the kitchen design and the plumbing design. It feels like we’re pretty well orgainized at this point. Next week we will be going down to Elemec, the plumbing and tile store, to pick out and purchase all those materials. The woman who always helps us there, Dinah, called today to let us know that they’re having a big sale on April 12. So we’ll get it all picked out and she will let us actually place our order after the sale begins. And, one bit of good news….the little dump truck that could, is back again!!! We’re so happy that its risen from the dead and bringing material up here once more! yeah! Can you hear the angels singing again??? I can!! hah! Here’s a few pics from today…

Hiking, Birdwatching, Orchid Festival and our first house guest…

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We’re enjoying our first house guest here in our little casita.  Emma is on her spring break from teaching in Panama City.  She flew into David on Sunday morning and I drove down to pick her up.  This is the first time we’ve hosted anyone in our new casita.  I’m glad its Emma because she’s so low maintenance and doesn’t mind that we’re still kinda roughing it up here.   We don’t’ have a guest room in the casita so it’s the air mattress on the living room floor for her.  And we also don’t have any interior doors yet which means you must actually say the word, “SLAM!” when you shut the shower curtain that we have as our bathroom door! hah!  And then there’s the no electricity thing…well, we have electricity but its coming from that good ol’ generator still. So, Scott has to go out at night and turn it off and then he has to get out there in the morning to start it up again. And heaven forbid the generator should run out of gas in the middle of watching a movie or cooking dinner…ugh! All this hasn’t seemed to faze our first houseguest. She’s lived in Panama for nearly four years so she’s been thoroughly desensitized to things being ‘not-quite-right’ all the time. Read the rest of this entry

An Adventure…

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Adventure!

Today (Monday) I shared on my Facebook page, a little adventure I had with one of our workers Martin. He came to talk to Scott this morning (Monday morning) as our crew was just getting started. Apparently he needed help getting his young wife to the hospital because she was in labor. Yikes! This conversation with Scott took place on my terrace right in front of the open kitchen window where I was washing dishes. I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my keys. I could understand enough of the conversation to get that Scott told Martin I would drive them to the hospital. So I happily grabbed my purse and my keys, Martin and I got into my car and he directed me to where they live. Martin is only about 21 years old, he’s been working with us on our construction project for about 6 months now. He and his wife are a very young indigenous couple and he speaks very broken Spanish she speaks no spanish or english. Their native language is the Ngobe language and he seems to have about as much Spanish as me, maybe even less! So his ability to direct me to where he lives was a comedy of errors, but I got there eventually. Read the rest of this entry

A Buen Dia! (I know its not correct but its how they say it here, humph!

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To Have A “Buen Dia”….

What does it mean to you to have a good day, or as they say here..”Buen Dia”? To smile. To see my friends, To laugh with my friends, this makes every day good. A day is good when I know the people I love and care about are well. When I know my daughter, my mother, my sister, my friends, my sweet hubby are all well, this alone can make my day a good one.
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