This moment , right now, is so peaceful. These days here at our house moments like this are few. The days are full of so much hustle and bustle and seemingly endless chaos. When a little moment of peaceful silence seeps into my day I embrace it. :::::::::::: OH::::::::::::….and just like that…. its over! A drill has begun to rupture my peaceful moment of contemplation….darn it! Oh well…It was nice while it lasted. I tell ya, the silence really is golden. For a sweet, glorious moment I could hear the birdsong. I could hear the distant dogs and roosters starting their day. And I could hear the gentle breeze rolling through the trees all around me. When the drills stop, giving me a small moment of quiet I begin to long for this construction project to end. What we’ve done in this first three years of our Adventure has so far exceeded any expectations I had during all our years of planning and researching for our relocation to Panama. And, now that we’re living in our house and most (not all) of the major projects are completed I’m ever so ready for some sweet sweet calm. I’m ready for the day when I don’t have to get out of bed when the alarm goes off at 6am. I’m done driving down the hill and picking up workers every morning. I’m ready to leisurely get up and drink my coffee and go about my day without so much mess and noise and guys everywhere.
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I find myself wondering lately if I’ve changed much since my move to Panamá? I mean, my life has obviously changed in dramatic ways! But, how about Me? In what ways have I changed? In many ways I know I’m the same ol’ Holly. Before making this life changing move to Central America I thought to myself, “ If I want to… I can ‘re-define’ myself when I move to Panamá!”. No one there will know me and so I can begin again and choose to be ‘different’ if I like. But, have I done that? Have I taken on some new persona that’s not at all the same as the “Holly” who lived in Los Altos? Is my personality any different or my likes and dislikes, have they changed? Nah…not really … But, how I live my life from day to day is nothing at all even remotely similar to my days of living in California. So much has changed in that regard, which was the whole point in moving. Why make such a dramatic move to such an incredibly different place if I wanted sameness? I mean that seems sorta stupid, doesn’t it? To move to a different country and then be surprised or disappointed in any way that life here is all so unfamiliar and strange? So, of course life itself is a bundle of massive change, obviously. But my question to myself today is, “What about me has changed?” Can you make such a massive change in your life and not change just a little as a person? I would hope not! Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday we were at Banco National trying to figure out which type of deposit slip to use to make a deposit to the Bombero’s (firemen) for an inspection. The bank was really busy for some reason and all the tellers as well as the people at the desks were all busy with customers so we were struggling on our own, attempting to read each different slip, there were about 5 or so of them, and we were kinda stumped as to which one to fill out. I kept turning around and looking around the bank for any available employee to ask, but I could see that no one was available to talk to so we just continued to sort through the deposit slips. When suddenly I noticed one of the women at the desks who was helping a Panamanian man get up and walk our way. I thought she must be going to get something but then I realized she was walking directly to us. She had noticed our apparent cluelessness and kindly came to help us! How sweet this was. We told her what we were trying to do and she handed us the correct forms with a kind smile on her face and informed us that we needed to go over to the bombers first to get their account number. This small act of kindness made me smile.
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As I’m typing this I have a contented smile on my face. Why? Well, aside from the sounds of my hummers happily devouring their morning treats from my feeders, and the sight of my sweet dog laying at my feet happily snoozing, I just had the most heartwarming conversation with one of our workers. Federico, I must admit, is one of our favorites….I know, we shouldn’t have favorites, but we just can’t help it. I think the others may have noticed this because they harass him all the time that we have adopted him and call him Federico Carter! hahahah! He’s a young indigenous guy, about mid 20’s. He just came out to the terrace where I’m sitting with my coffee to tell me how happy he is today. Read the rest of this entry
I just have to tell you this funny little thing that happened this morning…
How should I frame this funny experience? Well, I’ll begin by telling you that yesterday I went to see the local doctor in town. I don’t go to the doctor often, I’m a pretty healthy person and just hate taking pills so I don’t often want to go see a doctor only to be prescribed medications I really don’t like taking. Unless of course I’ve got a serious issue, then I’ll reluctantly go and pop the pills, (eye roll)…but, as I say, ‘serious’ issues don’t often arise. Which is why it was my first visit to the doctor. It was a very pleasant experience. One I wish all my friends and family back in the states could also experience when they needed to see a doc. But, sadly, I remember what a pain in the butt it is to just have a simple consolation with a doctor in the states, not to mention the pain in the pocket book too but…my experience seeing a doctor yesterday was extremely tranquilo. I simply walked in, with no appointment of course, said I needed to talk to the doctor. I was asked to sit down. I waited for maybe 5 minutes then walked into the little office where the Doctor was sitting. I sat down and told him why I was there. In case your wondering, its nothing earth shattering, just complaining of having no energy, waking up tired and feeling unusually foggy all day long. I suspect its to do with my particular age and this wonderful change a woman goes through right about now in her life…you know the big M word! I thought it would be prudent to make sure I am not suffering from any vitamin deficiencies or maybe a parasite from the water.(we have a very good filtration system here at our house but you just never know) So, as I was saying my consultation with the doc went smoothly, he wrote up a request for the lab to do a full blood, urine and stool sample workup. He checked all my vitals, no problems and sent me on my way with instructions to fast and to go to one of the labs in town first thing the next morning (today). If your curious this appointment cost me a whopping $24.00…hah! Read the rest of this entry
My gardening helper…Scruffy-the plant smoosher!
Before I get to this update, I should update you on our electrical dilemma from my last post. Your maybe wondering if we’ve been powerless this whole time…nope! Its all fixed and fairly quickly and efficiently as well! I often make sarcastic jokes about Panamá and the frequent and hard to understand inefficiency we often run into, well, when something goes smoothly I have to jump for joy! Our electrician had one of his associates out right away, he figured out what the problem was and spent an entire day fixing it and voila! Power is restored and all is well again. I’m so glad it was not a giant issue and that we were up and running again so quickly. Read the rest of this entry
Isnt that just the way it works? Everything seems to be movin’ right along, going smoothly, then suddenly the day changes and the shit hits the fan. Hah! Things have been going pretty smoothly for us. I mean, it’s never really especially ‘calm’ up here in our world, but, ahem… stuffs going pretty darn good. Good, but not easy, cuz’ if you didn’t notice we didn’t really sign up for ‘easy’! I mean, come on! We moved to Central America and signed up for a full blown ‘Adventure’ , right? hah! When you want a simple life, one filled with predictable stuff you don’t pack up and start your life all over again in an entirely different country, right? Not to say life doesn’t provide plenty of challenge no matter where you happen to live, but lets just say, we happened to have requested and extra portion of potential shit-hitting-the-fan-days! hahahahahaha! So, here we are…. Read the rest of this entry
A photo taken at a concert in San Francisco just before our move…
How could It already be our 3 year anniversary? Ummm, well…I’m a tad distracted by a little project we’ve been working on so it snuck up on me. Hah! Three years…sigh….for me this anniversary is a great time to reflect on what this move has done to our lives. So many changes and so many incredible adventures have transpired in this last three years. Where do I begin? New home, new dog, new friends, new language, new culture, new experiences with every corner we turn. When we first came up with this idea to expatriate, so many years ago, I must admit I didn’t really believe we’d actually do it! I know! Right? In my head I quietly just sorta thought we were dreaming and it all seemed way too crazy to actually make it happen. And here we are three years into a life changing adventure that brings us so much joy and has changed us in ways I could never even have imagined. With each passing day I feel more and more a sense of being home here in this heavenly place. (not to say its “perfect” here, but man! is it pretty and so full of so many things to love!) (besides, no place is Perfect, right?) Read the rest of this entry
Well, life has calmed down a bit. Of course what counts as ‘calm’ in our house is maybe still hectic to some. Pat went home on Monday, sigh. Having her here with us was so much fun. It really helped to have her here right as we were settling into this new space. She’s so good at organizing and I don’t think anyone takes over a laundry room with quite the efficiency as my mother in law! This week, our first week in our house alone, without Pat, I’ve had to break down and enter her laundry room to reluctantly clean some clothes! Darn it! I’m happy to report working those cleaning machines is not unlike riding a bike, it all came back to me! hahaha! As I mourn my return to being responsible for laundry the dog is mourning that nice lady who spoiled her rotten! She seems sad that Pat isnt here, especially during mealtimes….small treats were consistently and lovingly shared and now she’s sadly disappointed. Pat would make sure to have a special slice of cheese just for Scruffy and would bit by bit dole it out while she ate her food. I have found the dog fast asleep on the floor in the guest room a few times, I think she is hoping when she wakes up that nice lady will be back! Hah! Read the rest of this entry
relaxing on the terrace, enjoying the time before the beetles come out!
Did I mention how happy I am to be finally living in our new house? I did? Well, okay…then, did I mention how noisy and dusty and hectic it is living here in our new house? Well, let me tell you a little bit about living in a partially finished structure…well…okay…”house”! So….where to begin…first, before you get it in your head that I’m complaining, I’ll just say right off…shut up! I’m not complaining, just ‘sayin’! It’s friggin’ dusty and not just the normal, everyday kind of dust….this is really DIRT! And its in everything! Everywhere! Every nook & cranny, get the idea? I mean, its not really any good getting out the pledge and dusting anything, cuz’ that just moves it around and creates even more dust! Heaven forbid you should pick something up and try to shake it out! Hah! And, if you ever find yourself living in a not-so-completed house, don’t ever drop something, like a little fabric footstool that sits in front of a chair for instance, because this creates a dust storm to rival any dust storm you may have seen outside in say, a dirt field! Oh! this reminds me…. we were having lunch with Bond & Luana the other day, there was a field up on a hill that we could all see from our table and suddenly we saw a little mini dust tornado running down the field. I could not help but quietly think to myself…“huh…that reminds me of my living room”!
So, needless to say my sweet little cleaning lady, Daisy, who I was paying to clean the casita when we were living down there,( as much as I loved having the help), I’m not having her clean up here quite yet. What’s the use? I just gotta embrace the dirt right now…sigh… Read the rest of this entry
We’ve slept in our new house for eight nights! Getting ourselves all moved in was a flurry of craziness but we managed to make our goal and move in when we hoped to move in. Mind you, by the time we moved all our things both from the casita and from our storage unit this house was stuffed full and looked like the home of a serious hoarder! hah! Knowing we’d be having Scott’s mom visiting just a few short days after moving into our new house really added another layer of crazy to our move. And, when I say, ‘crazy’, I mean the best kind of ‘crazy’! Read the rest of this entry
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 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
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
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
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
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
For my friends and family who like to keep up on what’s going on around here, this is for you…
the stone on the front of the casita turned out nice too
two raised planting beds for veggies!
I love the railings, they turned out great!
the wall that boarders the parking spot in front of the casita
its looking good
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
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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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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Turning 50! A milestone for sure! ….
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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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 $285.00. The Agent had the assistant both send me an email and personally call me to make sure I knew that the mistake was completely her fault and not the fault of the agent. She also informed me that the office would be reimbursing me for all the money we had paid as a result of their mistake. Then later that day the agent called to personally apologize for the way we were treated. Im glad that in the end we received payment for money we should not have had to spend as a result of their mistake and that an apology was given for the unprofessional way our situation was dealt with on the telephone.
I hate that saying! But, unfortunately it’s oh so true. My last post was all rainbows and unicorns. Reflections on a delightful moment that filled my heart with joy. This post however will not be so joyful. Because like the title of this post S#$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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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…
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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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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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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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Our life right now…
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
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
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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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
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
Two Year Anniversary…
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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The terrace overlooking our own private jungle!
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
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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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 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