Monthly Archives: April 2013

A very ‘chill’ day for us…

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Today we had several things we accomplished but the most important things we did was spending time with important people. We began the day with a yummy breakfast with Scott’s mom, Pat. It’s always a good day when we start it with her ( and with cinnamon brioche french toast!). After breakfast we came back to the house and then my friend Cindy came to get me and we went on a mission. I have these beautiful hanging moss baskets that I just love. I had replanted them so they are bursting with color and they were a beautiful accent in our yard for all the open houses. I really want to take them with me to Panama so that I can someday use them in my new yard, but I would have to pull out all the plants and throw them away, Nooooo! My friend loves them so I suggested that if she wants, I will let her take them and she can just purchase new , empty ones for me to take. Great Idea, right? She thought so to. So our mission was to go to the nursery to try to find the same ones. They are 24 inches and they are made from pretty heavy duty black metal, not the wimpy ones with the chain that gets all tangled. Our mission failed but we did find one place that said they could special order them for us. Given the fact that we will be back to California at the end of this year to see to the packing of our shipping container, there’s no hurry. It will be a great excuse,(not that I need an excuse!) to visit with Cindy when I’m back in town. But we did enjoy looking at plants and smelling roses and we even saw a beautiful display of a huge amount of different varieties of Fuchsia plants. I think it was a smashing success of a shopping trip cuz’ it was time well spent with someone I adore.

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Did I Tell You???

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I Already Got Invited to join a book club in Boquete!!! Yipee! whoo hooo! I’m very happy about this development, as you can likely guess. Being a very big fan of reading but especially a big fan of making new friends and meeting new people, I’m overjoyed to have been invited. I was invited by my friend Sela. She is a wonderful lady who we met two years ago when we rented her casita in Boquete for our second visit there. She and her husband moved to Boquete many years ago from Bend Oregon and have a wonderful life there. As a matter of fact they are kinda our role models. They may or may not like to read that , I hope they don’t mind the title cuz’ I mean it in the most kind way! When we stayed at their casita they were so kind and generous with advise and information about their experiences living in Panama. We took notes and asked unending questions and they never batted an eye while we soaked up any information they would offer.

Fast forward to today and Al and Sela have been communicating with us frequently and giving us little bits of info when they think of it. We have emailed them a few times , well, I think I’m the one with the most questions, you know Scott, he likes to research online and try to find as many answers on his own as he can. I, on the other hand, like to ask questions. And they very generously an patiently answer and tell us how happy they are that we are on our way. It warms my heart to know that someone is looking forward to our arrival there. And to have been invited to Sela’s book club , well, those who know me know, I’m over the moon! I just hope I fit in with the ladies and that they like me. I already have the list of the books they have selected for the whole year and there are some books I’ve already read but would love to re-read and others I have wanted to read but haven’t gotten to yet, then there are some books I’ve never heard of. I’m looking forward to getting to know new people and I am still trying to imagine what it will be like to go to a ‘breakfast’ book club! Breakfast! Imagine,Not having to go to work, and going to book club in the morning! Well, it may seem silly to you but to me, it sounds sooooo decedent to have the time to enjoy a morning of chatting with a group of like-minded women while possibly enjoying a mimosa or a big cup of (locally grown) coffee! Ahhhhh! With my eyes closed, and a grin on my face, I am imagining it right now! It’s great!!

Oh Boy, It’s good to be on the same page!

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This morning I was chatting with my first client, Anika, and she mentioned how nice it is that Scott and I are on the same page with regards to our decisions and desires to make such a huge life change. It got me thinking , and she’s sooooo right! Wouldn’t it be horrible if only one of us wanted to retire abroad? Well, I guess if that were the case, it wouldn’t be happening! But, luckily, we were both of the same mind when we began the discussion about moving to another country.

When we think back to the night we began the discussion I think It was me that actually said it first, ” let’s just LEAVE!” “Let’s get the heck outta here!” I said it with a laugh and a big eye role! I remember talking about what it would be like to just ,’start over’ someplace different. Granted, at the time ( about 8 years ago), our reasons for wanting to leave would have been totally wrong. It’s never a good thing to run away from situations because,’ wherever you are , there you are’! So it’s good that we are both pretty level headed and at the time it just began to be a fun dream to talk about and imagine what we would do, where we would go, how we would do it. The dream itself became our escape during a difficult time in our life. We would just talk and talk about what it would be like to sell our house and how much money we thought we would need to make it work. Where would we go, would we be able to find a place where we would both be happy? We each spent a lot of time thinking on our own about what we would need to do to make moving to another country work for us. That night, so many years ago , little did we know, was a life-changing moment. When that conversation began we unknowingly started to go down a path together that we didn’t , at the time realize would change our life path so dramatically.

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Our Next Big Milestone Will Be The Close Of Escrow…

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The next big milestone for us will be the closing of escrow on the sale of the house. We don’t have a firm date on that quite yet! Originally the paperwork said May 24 but the buyers are going on vacation on May12 so we are hoping they will be able to close before their vacation, maybe May11? That will mean we need to vacate the house just as soon as that date is determined, so either by May 24 or May 11. The last few days or weeks of our stay will be spent in a pet friendly hotel.

We still have a few things remaining in the house that we are hoping to be able to fit into our storage unit and then into our shipping container. We have our couch,coffee table, king size bed,washer/dryer,patio furniture and three more big tools that Scott just ordered. Unfortunately this is where we begin to re-prioritize the things we are bringing. Why? you may be asking? Well, our storage unit is just about full already and as you may know, the two storage units are equivalent to our 40 foot shipping container so that means that whatever fits into the storage units should also fit in the shipping container! And Whatever ‘doesn’t’ fit will surely not fit into the shipping container! Yikes! There are already a few things that I know we can abandon, well not abandon exactly, but find a home for. Like a desk and printer stand,a wine rack, a corner metal bakers rack thingy,an upholstered chair, and I’m sure I can think of a few other things we can live without. The last things on my list of priorities is the couch and coffee table, although I’m pretty sure the coffee table can be disassembled and then it will fit better, I love that table! But the patio furniture is something I really want to be able to bring and the washer/dryer are non-negotable as well as the bed. Scott thinks he will have to completely unload the storage unit and repack it more efficiently. Given the fact that we had to pack it little by little, it was impossible to do a very efficient pack job. So we shall see how much more room we can find in there and just what ends up not making it into the container.

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I Have Wayyy Too Many Clothes!

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Sooooo I decided to go shopping! Hah! What’s a girl to do??? It seems as though the clothes I wear in my life here are not quite what I envision wearing when I live in Panama. The clothes I wear to work tend to be a bit more trendy and dare I say, fancy? I know…. I’m not the fanciest girl in town , but fancy as far as Panama standards go. I think I’m probably on the less fancy, more casual side in terms of Los Altos standards, of this I am pretty sure. We have spent a bit of time in Boquete and I think I’ll be wearing mostly jeans and sweats and capri pants maybe a sundress every once in awhile, but I’m not certain ,or shall I say, I can’t decide exactly what I should bring!I do know that up in the mountains it’s not nearly as hot and humid as it is down in David, so I don’t think I’ll be wearing a lot of shorts, except of course when I go to David. I have already gotten rid of quite a bit of clothes and I’ve even already packed a bunch of stuff that is sitting in the storage unit . I still have 23 days to work! (whoop! whoop!), so I have to keep a selection of “work clothes” out and I have separated a selection of things I want to take but don’t need now and can live without in Panama until they arrive in the container. The important selection of clothes is the clothes I want to fit into those four suitcases we can bring with us on the plane (sadly, I have to share some of those bags with the dumb cats and that silly man who’s coming with me!) . These are all the clothes that I will have with me in Boquete at least until the container arrives in possibly November or December. Mind you. I’m betting that when the container arrives I’ll most likely open all those boxes of clothes and wonder what the heck I was thinking! I’m hoping I will be happy with the smaller amount of clothes that I bring with me and then I can hopefully find a place to donate the excess. I just really hope to be living a much more casual life . That being said, I somehow still find myself agonizing about ‘what’ to bring! I don’t really know what my day to day life will look like, I hope we will eventually get to do a bit of traveling in and around Panama . This will call for some much cooler, lighter weight cloting. I’m hoping this post will prompt my friends who already live there to give me a bit of advice? What do you where most of the time? Sweats? Jeans? Capri’s? Shorts? Long Sleeves? Layers? Tank Tops? Huh? And don’t forget shoes? Sandals, Teva’s, rainboots, tennis shoes? I’m thinking a pair of flip-flops, a pair of Teva’s, a pair of rain boots and a pair of tennis shoes. If I go out at night to dinner or to someones house, are my flip flops gonna offend anyone? Of course Scott will not be seen without his Teva’s that’s a given, but he just doesn’t have that gene that makes him wonder what people think or if he looks ok! I aspire to someday be more like him in that respect! I’m workin’ on it! (Eye Role!)

Yesterday we went to have a consultation with an attorney to get a trust started. I had a very exciting ‘milestone’ moment, while filling out the paperwork I got to put “RETIRED” in the box that said vocation! Wow! It felt so foreign to refer to myself in such a way. RETIRED? REALLY? Well, 23 more days, but who’s counting? This move is a big one! So much is changing in my life and honestly, my wardrobe is the least of it but it’s a great distraction from some of the bigger changes. For now I’m kinda thrilled to begin to redefine myself beginning with the style of clothes I will be wearing. It’s an exciting transition and one that I am not takin lightly. But really folks,what’s a girl to wear for her life of leisure? Given the fact that the fashion police will probably not care , I’m pretty sure my new sweats and jeans will suffice for my new life in Boquete . Mostly, Scott is just hoping I can fit everything I need into the allotted four bags we can bring without incurring large fee’s for excess baggage. I know It wont be a problem but I just want to bring the right things.

Back To The House…

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This week we went back to stay at the house until the close of escrow. Sigh. It’s just not home anymore. I can’t really pinpoint why I feel that way but I do. Although it could have something to do with the fact that I have nothing personal in the house anymore. (Shrug) Also, the reality is, it isn’t our home anymore. I think I may have said at one point in a post awhile back that I couldn’t wait to be ‘homeless’! Wellllllll, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for?? Yep! It’s true, we are on a path of our choosing and heading down that path there are going to be a few bumps and even a tear or two (or three or four). But as Scott says, ‘It’s a means to an end!’ I’ve said it many times and I continue to say, leaving our house is indeed very bittersweet. At the core of it though, It’s exciting and it’s something we will look back at and feel proud of having accomplished as a team. To have designed, and then actually built such a beautiful house all on our own, never even having had any experience doing such a thing before , is something to be proud of, for sure. I don’t know many people who would take on such a project and actually survive it! Or should I say, the relationship survived it! In the 13 years we have been together we have found immeasurable reward in participating together in activities that are new to us both. I swear, every couple should put themselves in situations and commit to activities where they are both learning something new as a team. I suppose most people who choose to have a family together are doing just that! Scott and I didn’t have children together and we have often joked that our house has been our baby. Hence, the attachment we feel for it. Just like a kid that grows up and eventually goes away, it’s time to let go. For goodness sakes! What a total and utter SAP I’m being! Geesh! I’ll be glad to be gone from the house again. Going back hasn’t been a good thing for me. I know Scott is not at all emotional about it like I am. To him it’s a means to an end. I promise I’ll stop these silly emotional posts as soon as we walk out that door. Oh, I also have to walk out the door to my salon as well for all the sappy stuff to be completely over! Again, Geesh! It’s been quite a ride this whole year. When we finally made our final decision on where we would move, the ball really started rolling fast. It’s been a forward motion and a march through list after list of ‘to do’s’. I think we’re both at the point in this process that we are just ready to go. The lists are shrinking and there are just a few more tasks to complete. With each step we make we get closer to our goal and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

We aren’t sure when the close of escrow will be, it looks like sometime between May 11-24. Now It’s time to begin sorting through the rest of the small amount of belongings we have not yet put into storage. We will be able to bring four suitcases on the flight with us. One bag will likely be for cat stuff, litter box,food and water bowls etc. So Scott will have 1/2 a bag (shorts and a few t-shirts!) and I need to attempt to make do with whatever I can manage to fit into 2 1/2 bags! This is where Scott gets to role his eyes! Of course, it’s possible I could manage to squeeze Scott and The Cat’s stuff into one bag then I could have three whole bags! HMMMM! That may be a good plan. We are gettin’ down to the nitty-gritty now and if I thought I had paired down my belongings before, I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Until our container arrives and we are able to get to some of the things from there, we will be just making due with the bare necessities. I honestly , in all seriousness, am looking forward to a much more simple existence in our next phase of life. As long as I have my iPad and some good hair products, oh! And my sweet man! LIfe is good! Wellllll, a couple bottles of wine too! ha! ha!ha! I better stop now , before that more “simple” existence I just claimed to be looking forward to begins to look awful similar to life as I know it now! ( But seriously, a girl’s gotta have her hair products, right?) Cheers!

Next On Our List Of ‘To Do’s’.

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Now that the biggest things on our list have been accomplished its time to slowly , one , by one , work our way through the remaining list of ‘To Do’s’. We need to set up our mail forwarding service in Miami. This will be our new U.S. address where we will receive any correspondence . First thing we need to do is get rid of as much paper bills and such as we can. Setting up electronic bill pay for whatever isn’t already set up that way. This shouldn’t be too many things because Scott already has most of our bills set up that way. Also, we shouldn’t have too many bills after we cancel out everything here.(Did anyone say whoohooo?) So the mail forwarding service will collect our mail and we will be allotted a weight amount that we pay monthly for. Anything over the allotted weight will be an extra charge. Then they send it to Boquete, possibly to Mailboxes Etc. We will gather our mail once a month.

I found an interesting solution to all the tons and tons of junk mail that we really want to stop receiving. If we keep getting junk mail we will end up actually paying for it! No thanks! There are services to rid you of all the tons of catalogs and credit card marketing junk. The one I have found is $35.00 for five years! So for five years they will continue to make sure you are off all the lists of mass mailing organizations. This sounds good to me. It will take about six weeks for it to actually kick in so it’s a good idea for us to get this started asap. Of course I just realized that means I have to actually try to stop throwing it all in the trash as I remove it from the mailbox. I need to give the name of the catalogs that I wish to have my name and address removed from.

This is yet another part of our preparations to begin our new life. Next up, making sure we have enough original copies of personal documents like marriage licenses and Birth certificates. These things can be very important especially while applying for certain documentation at government offices. They just love documentation in Panama, so we have read. We have also read that poor Scott will be required to actually wear long pants when going into government offices! Gasp! He’s not happy about having to bring pants with him , just when he thought he was finally going to be “Mr. Shorts”! Well, I suspect, he will mostly achieve that goal of nearly never having to actually be forced to wear those dreaded Dockers! It will hopefully be only very infrequently that we will be visiting government offices. After we retain our Pensionado Visa it should be a “shorts” only life for him.

There are still a few more ‘to do’s’ on our list but that list is slowly getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. We’re almost there, for sure! It wont be long now and these posts with start being about our new life in Boquete.

You Can Call Me! Go Ahead! It’s Like I’m Right Next Door!

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We picked up our Magic Jack yesterday. This is a device that we had heard about from other expats who raved about the efficiency of using it to keep in touch with their family and friends back home. It basically assigns you a local, California phone number when you activate it, (of course not ONLY California, you choose the location of the local phone number). Then, when we are in Panama we will have a local number for people to call us on. It costs us about $20.00 a year and that’s it. So it is equivalent to making a local call for anyone who calls us. It’s using wifi to place phone calls not unlike Skype or Vonage which are similar to Magic Jack. There are many different ways to go in terms of internet phone services but we are hoping this is going to be a good solution for us. We shall see. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it goes! For now, I”m very excited that we can give all our friends and family an actual local telephone number where they can reach us. Technology really has made the world a much smaller place. Of course, we have to be at home for our phone to actually work! Good luck catching us between hiking, exploring,roaming around the countryside and generally enjoying our new home.

Flights are Booked!…WHAT???

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We booked our flight to Panama! It’s official, we are actually doing this! I’m in a strange fog at the moment. This whole plan has been in the works for such a long time. The research, the planning, the dreaming, the work, work, work ! It’s all culminating in a flight to Panama City on Tuesday, May 28th. Time is flying by fast now. My move is changing so many peoples lives , and although everyone is really happy and supportive , they are very sad to see me go, as am I. It’s unavoidable, everyone knows that. But , there is no way around this period of time. My leaving is a loss to many. We have been in each others lives for a long long time. Even though our relationship consists of seeing each other mostly only once a month it’s still very hard to experience the end, not of the relationship but of the way we are accustomed to experiencing the relationship. Endings are really hard and its especially hard for those who stay when the other leaves.

Now that I’m at the part of my adventure that requires saying goodbye, It’s getting very sad and emotional for me and everyone else. Sigh. Let’s all be grateful for the time we have had together and for what the future may hold. I’m so grateful for each moment I’ve had the honor of sharing with all the people who have sat in my chair or in Natalie and Elisabeth’s chairs! I’ve had the pleasure of spending my days, for so many years, conversing with countless people who I admire, respect and have felt blessed beyond belief to have gotten to know. while I will miss the day to day exchange of conversation with all the wonderful people who I come into contact with in my salon, I am exceedingly grateful for having had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with each and every person I have chatted with . We have talked about books, travel, children, houses,husbands, school, childcare, teenagers,men, men and men,decorating, landscaping, ,work,motherhood,divorce,business,collage,retirement,sports,a bit about hair,death, life,family,marriage, sex,movies,health,animals,grandchildren,hobbies,art, iPads,Kindles,food, and countless other topics. I have LOVED connecting to each and every person who has walked through the door of my little salon . It’s a big part of what defines me. I have really enjoyed styling hair but I must admit I have found the most value and reward in just being in the presence of so many people who I admire. The reward that I find in the people I come into contact with is beyond description. I hope somehow to hold onto and never loose all those connections. Although they must change and even be redefined, they don’t really have to completely come to an end. No, it’s possible to remain connected through the magic of technology! I have finally caved in and joined the Facebook game and my blog will keep everyone updated on all the details of our adventure. For those of you who have access to Facetime on your Apple devices, I will be so pleased to video chat with you! My email will remain the same so please send me emails anytime you think of it. But most of all, I really hope that after we get settled in , you will come to Panama to visit! I know most will not do that but I will still have high hopes for at lease a few visits.

This next few weeks is sure to be pretty emotional so I will make sure to provide a box of Kleenex on my station at the salon for all the tears that will fall from our eyes. I think this is a good time for me to throw away my mascara! Let’s just get this weepy,sad,emotional part over with , shall we! There’s no escaping your “last” appointment and I’m touched by the fact that I am an important part of your life (as you are mine) and that you will miss me. No “Goodbyes”! Just, “See You Soon”! Cheers!

Tying Up Loose Ends…

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First things first. Airline reservations, did I mention ‘One Way!’ ( Whoo hoo!) Before we can book our tickets we first have to confirm that we can get the cats booked into Cargo on the same flight which is a Copa flight from LAX into Panama City. Of course they don’t make this an easy thing to do. There is no local office where we can just go talk to a real live person, nooooo. We have to call and arrange that with someone over the phone. So we leave messages and wait, and wait, and wait some more. GRRRR. It’s kinda frustrating because we are not able to purchase our tickets until we are certain they will be able to be in cargo. We have found flights into Panama City on Tuesday, May 28th. Ok, here’s where a whole weeks worth of clients begin to panic! Yikes! I have a booked schedule that last week through June 1 and now my email, Facebook page and voicemail is beginning to fill up! I’m sooooooo sorry everybody, please forgive me? It’s not a done deal quite yet, still working on the scheduling and booking but that is a date that looks like it would be workable, ( not for you, I know.) . I’ll do my best to get everyone in early so we can say our farewells. try not to panic quite yet, like I said, it’s not a done deal yet.

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Today is our Day!

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We are planning to rest, relax,recover and rejoice! Yep, No work or worry on our agenda today. We have begun our day with coffee while we give the cats some love. So far we are undecided what direction our relaxing day will take. We have toyed around with the idea of a hike and a picnic, or possibly a bike ride, since Scott spent the better part of yesterday revamping our very neglected bicycles . Then we thought about the possibility of a train ride into the city to wonder and explore, which we always love to do. Culminating in dinner near the water so that after it gets dark we can go see the new light display on the Bay Bridge. Then again… we do need to do a bit of shopping for a few things we know we will need to bring with us to Panama. Given the fact that we just have about six more weekends left before our departure we really might need to try to gather the last few items we are planning to pack into our container to ship over to Panama. We have a list of a few essentials that we know will not be easy to find or at least easy to find for economical cost and of decent quality. Read the rest of this entry

The Next Step…

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Well, it’s time to begin the next step or the next few steps! The house is sold, the cats are ready,our belongings are packed and ready for shipping,my salon is sold,my clients are extremely sad,gulp. What? you may ask is the next step? Well as soon as we put our signature on that contract for the house Scott was online looking for flights to Panama! Yep, first things first. Then we will contact the airlines to confirm that they have availability in cargo for our two guys. Retain the services of the pet relocation people, Golden Frog, Jose is the name of the person we have gotten very good reviews about. I’ve shot off a few emails to contacts in Boquete to see if anyone may have any recommendations of short term cat friendly lodging for us when we first arrive. We may not be able to secure our long term rental until we are actually on the ground in Boquete so it would be great to, at the very least, know we have a place to stay while we scour the area for something that will work for us for the first six months to a year. The right thing will pop up, of this I am certain. Otherwise you may read about the two globetrotting homeless people who are wandering around Boquete with two very angry kitties in tow. Ha!Ha!Ha! I jest, of course! I have no doubt that the right situation will reveal itself to us just when we are ready! Life is like that, isn’t it? So far, this whole Adventure has fallen together just as it should without too much pain and agony. Well, maybe a bit of pain but certainly no agony! : ) Here It Goes! An Adventure is Beginning in Earnest !

Gettin’ The Kitties Ready To Go…

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Yesterday, Wednesday, Scott took Midnight and Copper to the vet to have their check up and to update all their immunizations. I thought he was pretty brave to take such a chore on all by himself. Even attempting to collect them one by one from their hiding spots under the bed in the apartment would likely be quite a challenge. Not to mention trying to corral them into those travel crates without losing too much skin would be a very tricky maneuver with one person. Those pesky kittys are very determined to do everything in their power to stay out of those crates.

Lo and Behold, when that man sets his mind to accomplish something there’s just no stopping him! He, of course, successfully got those two furry guys to the vet with a minimum of blood loss, (his blood mind you!) . Midnight apparently was very unhappy with the temperature taking procedure! Scott was in charge of the front part of the cat while the vet probed the back end, culminating in a loud ‘HISS” and a sudden appearance of Scotts blood ! As he said with a shrug of the shoulders in classic Scott style, “It Happens”. That’s my guy! And apparently both cats had a change of heart regarding those crates when the choice became ,1.let the vet handle them or 2. take refuge in those familiar,( yet unpleasant), boxes. Funny how they changed their minds .

The good news is we can check one more thing off our list. We have yet to officially retain the services of the Golden Frog, pet relocation company. The final step is to make one more trip to the vet for the official certificate of health which must be no more than ten days before travel. This document is then taken to Sacramento to two more government offices to be stamped and authenticated. This will be the completion of the documentation required to import the cats with us to Panama, at least until we arrive in Panama City . There is a period of time when they must be quarantined to our home for a bit. I’m pretty sure Midnight is hoping there will be no more of that rear end temperature taking! Geesh! According to him, that was just rude, HISS! As soon as we are able to purchase our airline tickets and have a firm date of departure we will then feel like it’s the right time to arrange the services of the Golden Frog, to aide us in getting our little fur-balls to Panama. In the meantime I suspect they are planning to spend as much time as possible hiding under the bed and avoiding any more trips to that rude vet. Of course Scott will shake his head and say,With a shrug of his shoulders, “We gotta do what we gotta do”.

A Walk To Remember

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Ive written about my walk to work in earlier posts. Today,( Wednesday) I had a late start, 12:00. We had a couple of things to do at the house so we went over there from the apartment and I decided to walk to work instead of having Scott drive me. I really took the time to enjoy my walk to work since , very soon, I may not have many more opportunities to do that walk . My time alone as I stroll through my beautiful neighborhood is a time of reflection, a time to decompress, it truly feeds my soul. One of the many things I love to soak up as I walk are all the flowers in the gardens I pass by. There are so many different varieties of flowers blooming during different seasons of the year. This time of year the tulips are just about done doing their thing but they are still beautiful as they begin that iconic tulip drip . One yard always has a gorgeous display of springtime tulips and I never walk on by without gazing upon them with much appreciation. During the summer I love the roses! There are endless varieties of roses as I walk down the sidewalk. I especially like the house with the white picket fence that has a very happy climber that covers the little fence, bursting with miniature pink roses. I often think that little picket fence looks as though it couldn’t survive the weight of even one more little bud. I witnessed the evolution of that particular rose through many seasons. I see it burst forth with growth in the summer, growing and growing as the hundreds of tiny buds appear and then it just bursts, almost overnight, with beautiful tiny pink roses that smell delicious as I walk by with a smile . Then the display slowly fades as the tiny roses finish their show for the season. I never tire of pausing to take a whiff of the roses that I pass on my walk to work. Mother Nature is so amazing to me. And I believe I am a very fortunate girl for having had such a delightful walk to work day after day for so many years. Read the rest of this entry

“Poco a Poco!” (Little by Little!)

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When I think about all we need to accomplish in the next eight weeks I feel a bit weak in the knees! The biggest thing is the house needs to sell, then we have to shut down my business and transfer it to Stephanie, prepare the rest of our belongings for transport, prepare the cats and all the important documentation to transport them. Have you ever considered what needs to be done to shut down your life and start it up again elsewhere? Of course, many of you have done just that , your the ones who have ( in many ways) inspired me! We have a long list of phone numbers and account numbers of everything we need to cancel, credit cards, AT&T, PG&E,Homeowners insurance, health insurance,Water, Garbage,bank accounts, Whew! And that’s not including all the Salon things that I need to cancel or transfer. If for some crazy reason our house isn’t sold and escrow closed by June 1, We are kinda screwed cuz I wont have a job anymore ! Yikes! I don’t even want to think like that ! It has only been two weeks, almost three since the house was listed for sale and there has been a lot of interest, just no official offers yet. The landlord at our temporary apartment told us we will only have the apartment until May 4 so hopefully we will have a much more solid vision of what comes next. This Limbo time is very troubling and Im trying to think positive and remember the “Poco a Poco” mindset ! Little by little Holly, Just one day at a time is all we should focus on. It’s hard when your a planner by nature. Scott is much better at this mindset. He seems so untroubled by the temporary uncertainties that are facing us. I try to adopt his relaxed , seemingly untroubled demeanor but It’s doesn’t always work. I’m pretty good at faking it though, I probably look calm on the outside but boy oh boy, I’m not! I am constantly reminding myself to focus on today, one step at a time, relax, breath, all that good stuff I’m sure to believe it sooner or later. Don’t get me wrong, I have moments of calm and I know everything always works out just as it should. Usually as soon as I just let go, thats when Everything falls into place. So, I think my mantra for the day is, “Poco a Poco!” , “Poco a Poco!”, Ahhhhh! Much better, this is me, relaxing and letting go! Any minute now things will be tumbling into place and before I know it I’ll be writing a post about how crazy we are as we try to prepare to set up all the details of the move. Well, Well, Well, be careful what you wish for, I wished for an Adventure, and an Adventure I am having! Life is good! Crazy, but Good!

Eight More Weeks!

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The time is fast approaching. We’ve worked really hard and concocted a plan that we have been very focused on achieving. It seems as though we have been obsessed with our relocation to Boquete forever! In reality we made our final decision on the location last year in June. I remember how excited I was to have finally made the decision after so much time researching where to go. The decision to move to another country seemed easier to make than the decision of ‘where’ to go. We decided on a path, made our list of tasks that needed to be completed and began to march in that direction. The biggest milestone in our march towards our final goal has been to ready the house to sell. Now that we are anxiously awaiting an offer on the house we find ourselves able to sit back for a minute and take a deep breath. Of course while Ive been at work Scott has been trapped in our little apartment getting all our taxes ready so we can submit it on time. He’s not feeling like he’s necessarily gotten to catch his breath quite yet!

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Selling The Salon…

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She’s gonna kill me, this picture of Stephanie from my Hollyween party is the only one I could find! As you can see , she is extremely talented! My good friend Stephanie James has decided to buy the salon from me. She’s been a stylist in town for at least as long as myself and used to work at the salon next door. For almost as long as I’ve known her she has aspired to have her own salon. I know she has looked high and low for a location but has not ever had any luck. She told me that she always wished she could work in my salon but the opportunity just never arose . When the situation changed here I immediately thought of Stephanie but I thought she was already involved in a partnership at the salon she is currently working in. I sent her a text just to let her know that the situation had changed and she told me she had not officially made that commitment and was re-thinking her decision. My timing was perfect! She and I got together to chat about my thoughts and plans about the salon. We then set up a time to meet at the salon one evening when no one was working and she brought her husband , Kevin, along to check it out . That night we four decided to grab dinner together and just talk while sharing a glass of wine. It was so great to hear her talk about how much she loves my salon and has always wished she could work there. It feels so right to hear her enthusiasm about taking over and making it her own. I’m sure she has ideas of ways she can tweak the decor to make it reflect her without totally changing the unique design . Natalie and Elisabeth are also thrilled to have Stephanie join them here. I know the three of them will be a great combination and although it will be different with a new person I have a good feeling that she’s a great fit here. She is very excited and that just makes me smile! Stephanie and I have both had meetings with the landlord and he is very supportive and is agreeable having Stephanie take over the lease of the building. I have only to submit notice of my intention to discontinue my lease then the two of them can establish the new terms between themselves. This is the last big hurdle concerning the salon and then it should be smooth sailing . Whew! This is a hard one!

The Joys of Connecting Via My Blog

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One of the best things about blogging (in my humble opinion) is making connections with so many interesting, supportive and often inspiring people. I have had the pleasure of chatting, (via my blog), with a number of other expats who either already live abroad or are , like me, planning to move and start an adventure. I’m a ‘connecting ‘kinda gal, I find great pleasure in getting to know people. To me, finding a commonality with a new person gives me so much pleasure. I’ve found through the years, especially in my business, that there is almost always something to find that I have in common with someone. It’s like a treasure hunt, finding that one little connection that links us and makes us a little less complete strangers and closer to friends. Rarely have I met a person who I cannot find something in common with.

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Hurry up and Wait…

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We are in limbo at the moment. While we wait for someone to step up and buy our house there are so many variables and so many aspects of our plan that we are unable to really move forward on just yet. Scott and I are still going over to the house to finish off little details and maintain the beautiful garden so that it looks spectacular for potential buyers. The little detached garage/cottage in the back really needed to be cleaned up so we gave it a fresh pain job inside and cleaned it up as best we could so that it looks nice. It’s hard to know if someone will like the versatility of having the ability to use it as a guest house or office or will they want it to be a garage? Who knows. So we go back and forth between the possibility of staging it as a cottage or leaving it just a clean slate so someone can use it as a garage. I think for now we will just leave it as is and see what happens. On Wednesday Scott is meeting a guy at our storage unit to get an estimate on shipping everything to Panama via container. We will most likely get estimates from at least two shipping companies. Then he will spend the rest of the week getting our taxes done so we can finally get that chore off our plate for this year.

Today at lunch we were brainstorming about what our options are for finding a place to live in Boquete. Ideally, in the long run we would like to find a furnished home that is pet friendly where we can live for at least the first six months to a year. Given the fact that finding and securing a situation via the internet is kinda risky, you just really never know who you are dealing with online. There a people everywhere who will be glad to take our money in return for a house they want to rent us sight unseen. We have had an email interaction with a man who has a house he and his wife would like to rent so they can care for his aging mother who lives abroad. Sounds pretty much on the up and up except for the part where he wants an entire year worth of rent paid upfront before we have even been there to see the place. He emailed pictures and it does look lovely but who in their right mind mails a complete stranger an entire years worth of rent for a house that may or may not even exist? Not us! I don’t know, just how we will find a long term situation without being there to really see it and meet the people who will be our landlord. It seems to us that the best plan will be to find a short term B & B or hotel or something where we can just spend a week or two while we hunt for more permanent lodging. Of course our cats are the problem with this plan. I did just make a new friend through my blog who has a lovely B & B in Boquete and it is pet friendly but she has two cats and we would have to see if our cats would get along with hers. HMMMMM, I’m just not sure how they will behave with other cats? I would feel so bad if they were really mean to two kitty’s who are just innocently welcoming them into their territory. I’ll have to see if it would be possible to just keep our guys in our room for a few days . Or the next idea we had is , as soon as the house is sold, possibly Scott can go to Boquete without me and the cats and stay in a cheap hostel while he shops around for a furnished place for us to live. This would require him to return so that he can travel back with me and the cats and some luggage. I just don’t think I could manage all by myself when it comes time to make the move. This may be a possibility. Right now we can’t make any final decisions about which route to take because as I mentioned we are in limbo until the house is behind us. It will be really comforting when we finally know where we will be living when we arrive in Boquete. At the moment we just have to patiently wait until this limbo phase has passed, which I’m sure will not be too much longer.

Although our living situation hasn’t been quite dialed in, I’m grateful that there are many aspects of this next phase that we have already spent a great deal of time organizing . Just getting to where we are now has required quite a tremendous amount of planning, coordinating, strategizing and research. When I feel myself beginning to feel anxious about not being as far along on a particular aspect of our goal as I wish we were, I have to stop and remember how much we have already accomplished this far. And as I like to remind others, I really need to just ‘be in the moment’! There’s so much to be grateful for and so much to soak up right now that I will miss someday. It’s very easy to get so caught up in ‘where’ I’m going and then I realize I am missing out on what is right in front of me. Everything always ends up working out just as it should in the end so why waste so much energy fretting over what will eventually become very clear. As I’m writing this post I am realizing just how therapeutic writing this blog is for me. When I began writing this post I was feeling so caught up in worrying about finding a place to live in Boquete. Now that I’ve reminded myself to chill out, I can take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment and all the people in it. Everything will fall into place as it is meant to. Of this I am certain. I’m gonna attempt to sit back and… ‘Let This Adventure Begin!’