It’s hard to believe that it’s New Years Eve! After going to the gym, starting laundry, making Scott lunch to take up to him while he’s working on our property, boiling some more drinking water, making more hummer food ,watering the Basil plants, and cleaning the kitchen, I had a minute to stop and think about the year that’s passed as well as my hopes for the new year ahead , before I take a quick drive over to the coffee finca where we purchase our coffee beans. 2013 was a monumental year for us. For the majority of the early part of the year our focus was on this move and then starting in late May, getting ourselves settled here in our new home was our focus. This time last year we were spending a few nights in San Francisco and dreaming about what our new life in a new country would be like. It was a rather emotional time for us as well as for all our friends and family. Goodbyes, were looming in the nearby future as we were closing down our life in California to begin anew in Panama in just a few short months. We were exhausted. But we were also both full of the anticipation that comes with an adventure that’s looming nearby waiting to be embraced. Up until we actually drove off, on our way to the airport with our very unhappy cats in tow, we had a very defined plan, it was clear and fairly predictable. But after landing here, we knew everything wouldn’t be quite so straightforward. There were many unknowns, and things we just couldn’t plan for before we arrived, we would just have to get here and figure it out…. Things like.. Where would we live (minor details! ha!)? What cars would we find to buy? Would we be able to find property to buy? How will the cat’s adapt? Would we meet nice people and make new friends?(well me, not Scott, had that thought!) What will it feel like to live so far away from our families? But when I think back now on all those unknowns, I realize that’s just the way life is all the time. We may think we have a plan and that we’re in charge, but really, much of life just kinda works out the way it should, no matter how hard you may try to force it to fit into a box of your making.
Monthly Archives: December 2013
We had a Wild Night Tonight!
Wild? Did I say Wild? Well, Ahem…wild for us! It all started with a few (yes, just a few!) grey hairs, and a haircut….then before we knew it we had made quite the rounds!This is how it all started… My friend Andrea mentioned awhile back that the guy who last cut her hair had left and she would have to find another person to cut her hair, my ears perked up…since my friend Valerie has deserted me for visiting her family for the holidays (I know, how rude!) I had no other choice…”Really?” I said to Andrea….”Well….if ya wanna….maybe you could put my color on for me and I’ll cut your hair!” She liked my Brilliant idea and today was the day!! Andrea and Don showed up and Scott and Don quickly skidaddled , soon thereafter, in search of escape from the beautifying afternoon that us girls were so gleefully looking forward to! I don’t know why they ran soooo fast, it’s not like we would’ve been able to beautify them!!! But anywhoooo, Scott took Don up to show him our property with the instructions to meet us back here at the house to go have dinner when we were done getting gorgeous!
Just as we were getting close to finishing up our beauty party Scott called and said that he and Don were at George’s Grill having a beer, “call us when your done and we’ll meet you at the BCP”. Okay…We had a little more time so I told Scott I’d call him in a bit. Andrea and Don had told us about a little event that they thought sounded fun at the BCP ,( for my friends in the States thats the Boquete Community Players, this is kind of a community center where they have plays and they hold the Tuesday Market) . They are hosting a Football night on Sundays and they have two different rooms with different games going on two big screen TV’s and then they have yummy food and drinks, today it was pulled pork which is always a great big YES for us!
Andrea and I were about as purty as we were gonna get so we called they guys to tell them we’d meet them at the BCP. Scott said, “we just ordered another beer and an appetizer,(Surprise, Surprise!) why don’t you guys come on over here then we’ll go to the BCP” That sounded just fine to us so we scooted on over to Georges, I ordered a Sangria and we just chatted a bit while we shared a nice appetizer and the guys finished their beer. Then we all hopped in our cars and headed over to have a little pulled pork…..Well…..Screeeeech! Low and behold they only had enough pulled pork for two little sandwiches sooooo the hungriest of us (I wont mention any names here) ate the two little pulled pork sandwiches and we all had a drink and decided this would be yet another little appetizer. No problem! Next up on our wild night out on the town…..Big Daddy’s for some fish tacos and Margarita’s!!!
Andrea & Don run a small B&B http://www.boqueteguesthouse.com and coincidentally their guests where also having dinner at Big Daddy’s! Such a nice young couple. They let Don & Andrea know that in the morning they were being picked up at 3:00am to go on a big 4 wheel adventure up the volcano, Voncan Baru. This is the highest point in all of Panama and we haven’t done it yet, but have heard it’s quite an amazing trip. Don & Andrea really get to meet so many great people who come to stay at their place. So, dinner was lot’s of fun. We laughed and chatted and laughed some more then decided it was time for one more place…..Yes, you guessed it….Gelato!!! Betcha didn’t know Boquete has Gelato! Yep! And its really yummy! We walked through town on a beautiful evening to top it all off with a bit of gelato! And the evening was complete! I know what your thinking…”wow! They are really wild and crazy!” We hit four different establishments in one night! And lived to tell about it! Ha!Ha! Two gorgeous women and four full tummy’s, I must say , A good time was had by all!
Here we go!
Our first day of working on our property. Scott began early while I was a the gym (Im working hard to strengthen my ankle). In order to begin the staging part of this project Scott’s building two pen-type things to keep the gravel and sand contained for mixing with the concrete. He began his day early by driving up there with a truckload of concrete blocks that he picked up yesterday evening, unloaded them at the top of the lot then drove back down the Ivan to pick up the next load. While he was there he decided to go ahead and let them deliver a load of blocks, (500) two loads. He picked up four loads of gravel which he unloaded himself. The delivery guys don’t have a truck that would make it to the top of our property so they dumped the blocks at the bottom, Scott loaded them into his truck then drove them to the top and unloaded them himself…he’s really gotta get ahold of some workers!
Drum Roll Please……..
And the construction project begins with Scott’s shopping spree and a beautiful new Concrete mixer! Although there are many things yet to finalize before we actually ‘break ground’, setting the stage (so to speak) is a big job. We are currently working with our architect to finalize our design for the casita. Today we spent some time in his office going over a few changes and modifications to the plans and walking through the electrical plan the the roof line plan. I had to decide exactly where we want to have all the wall plugs and light switches as well as the actually lights we will have in each room. So we went room by room and laid out where each light fixture would be located, like canned lights, sconces, ceiling fixtures, etc. We also discussed the windows and what size and where each window would go in the house. It seems like we may be fairly well done with the plans and so when he’s finished drawing them up we will review them once more before he begins the permit phase of the project. As soon as we have a blueprint in our hands then we can begin the process of interviewing contractors.
Originally posted on The Panama Adventure:
This is my 400th post, which seems fitting because I’m writing about a wonderful and significant Christmas for us, one that has me thinking about how our lives have changed since moving to Panama. Christmas is celebrated a bit differently in Panama. Some people go to church on Christmas…
Feliz Navidad At Rambalita…..
Today( Monday,12/22) I had the best Christmas EVER! My friend Lynn invited me to help her with something really special. Last year she and her friend Brian began a new tradition of giving Christmas gifts to all the Children in the Village near her jungle lodge, Rambalita. This project began last year with a generous donation by Brian, who is a good friend of hers, and this year she was able to collect more donations from other friends and with the help of many of her good friends she successfully pulled it off again this year. A lot of work goes into this and I feel so honored to have been invited to help. Lynn put a huge amount of much love and energy into making it all happen.
Her cuidador or property manager, Javiar has a home in this village and he helps by collecting the headcount of all the children, how many niños , niñas and infants. There are 34 houses with 71 children in total, 28 girls and 43 boys. Lynn and a friend went into David and had a great time shopping for all the gifts and they also purchased a bit of food items for each house as well.
After the shopping spree she put out the word that it was time to wrap! And her good friends came with scissors in hand ready to wrap their little hearts out! According to Javier, the children here just love to receive a gift that’s wrapped. Each child got an age appropriate gift as well as a backpack type of bag filled with little goodies. Then each household got a grocery bag of food. And the moms got some pretty plastic flowers and a little gifty item and the dads got a little trinket as well. It was indeed a Feliz Navidad for all!
This was a completely new experience for me and I was overwhelmed. All the Children in the village were so precious I just wanted to hug them all. They were pretty polite, patient and grateful. Although I suspect there were those who were attempting to get more than just one gift. I tried to help handing out gifts for a little while but then it became apparent to me that there was no way for me to know if I was getting repeat customers!! So I began to repeat..”Habla con Javier” “Habla con Javier” Habla con Javier”!!! Yikes!! Javier was much more in the “know” about who had how many hermanos and hermanas ! It seemed as though there were millions of little hands tapping me on the back and on my arms and as I turned to see what they wanted those little faces just melted my heart! I had to let someone else do the handing out before I just blinding gave the same adorable face anything at all!! Did I mention…Overwhelmed!!
In the end I think everyone was happy and a Feliz Navidad was successfully had at Rambalita! As we packed up to leave many of the mothers very sweetly came up to us and took our hands and thanked us and wished us a Feliz Navidad, with smiles on their faces. All I can say is, this Holiday is officially the best one I’ve ever had! I hope I get to do this again next year and many years to come. Christmas is a time for giving and for generosity and even though they don’t know it, those families at Rambalita gave me the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. The joy in their faces warmed my heart and made me happy as well. You just can’t wrap that and put it under a tree and I’m sure they don’t sell that at a mall. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family.
Lot’s of Holiday Happenings for our first Christmas in Boquete…
I never could have imagined this time last year that we would be so busy during our first Christmas Season here in Boquete. For the last thirty years my holidays have been so cram-packed with getting all my clients hair ready for all their holiday travels and parties and special events that I never had a ton of time or energy to think of too much else. I always managed to get our big Christmas tree up and decorated on the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I always enjoyed that all through the month. This year we don’t have any of our own belongings here yet so we opted to forego any Christmas decorating at our house. We’ve never been big on buying each other a lot of gifts and sending things to the States is not especially cost effective so the money we would normally spend on gifts we’ve decided to contribute to local causes. There are so many great organizations here and it’s deeply rewarding to feel as though we’re doing something worthwhile to help people who really have ‘need’ of so much. I must admit that this form of giving makes me feel so happy. I always wished I had more time and resources to help those who really need it ,and this year I get to do that.
A Couple Day’s At The Beach…
Since moving to Boquete we’ve had the opportunity to take several little trips to different areas in Panama and Costa Rica. We always love seeing new places and experiencing different areas. But, I have to tell you, every single time we’re away from our new home , we’re delighted when it’s time to go home again. It’s funny how happy we are to go ‘home’! So this past two days we spent hanging out on the beach with some great new friends that we met through my blog. Dan & Janet were out visiting back in August and we all got together and went on a coffee tour and had a great time. We’ve kept in touch with them as they’ve been preparing to make their move out here to Panama. They decided to plan one more vacation out here before they make their actual move which will be early next year. But this time they invited their good friends along, Sheldon & Laurie and their two kids Amanda & Branden. They rented a house on the beach in Boca Chica and we rented a small casita nearby. For my readers who don’t live here, Boca Chica is a small beach community about 2 hours drive from Boquete. We had done a bit of driving around that area in the past but had never really spent much time there so we were happy to have the opportunity to spend more time there.
Another Dog in Doggy heaven..
Yesterday, (friday the 13th), My neighbor Margot and I had to put “Boy” dog to sleep. 😦 Do you remember me telling you about the two dogs who had adopted me? Well, when we first moved into this house in Alto Lino I went out to enjoy my new patio and there, to my utter joy, were two dogs waiting for me with tails a waggin’! Well, I love dogs, I love all animals but dog’s are just irresistible to me. These two were just so happy to see me, so I promptly bought some flea medicine and some dog food, (okay maybe a toy or two as well) , and made them feel right at home on my porch. As you know I love spending time sitting on my porch writing and reading and just gazing upon the most spectacular view. But the other thing I love about being outside on my porch is the company of these two dogs. I began calling them ‘boy dog’ and ‘girl dog’, for obvious reasons. Now Boy dog was much more needy and loved attention, always by my side wanting to be pet and scratched. He would often sleep by my feet and then occasionally wake up and make it very clear that it was time to play. Often his ‘playtime’ would get a bit too annoying and I would have to go inside until he calmed down, he loved to ‘play-bite’ and having my hands and wrists and ankles constantly gnawed on became a bit annoying. But he was such a happy guy and I would give him lots of attention. Mind you, both of these dogs do not lack for food! Boy dog especially, was rather chubby, really FAT! I was told that Boy dogs owners died ( I’ve heard him also called ‘Floppy’ and ‘Big Blue’) and he has no owners so he would go from house to house in our little neighborhood and get fed everywhere he went. So this last few weeks I noticed that he stopped eating and seemed very lethargic, no more playtime. Then he seemed to stop coming around at all. My friend and neighbor Margot, who lives just at the bottom of my driveway told me that he was laying on her back porch and that she was very worried about him because he seemed to be in pain, moaning and crying and having a hard time getting up. She called her landlord who kindly came over and took Boy to see a vet. The vet said he though maybe he had been hit by a car and gave him a shot and sent him back home. Margo and I both felt that diagnosis seemed rather strange. Then yesterday the poor old guy got up and slowly walked over to a muddy field where he collapsed and just couldn’t get back up. Margot is a very loving and caring soul and she quickly called a mobile vet who came right away. I went down to comfort the old dog and we both stayed by his side until the vet arrived. It was quickly determined that the most humane thing to do for him was to euthanize him right away. The mobile vet said he felt that Boy had advanced heart-worm. One of the other Panamanian neighbors came out to the field to join us and she and her mother and daughter cried with us as we stood waiting for him to pass. It was a very sad thing, but there was no doubt that it was the right thing to do. After it was over I was planning on splitting the cost of the mobile vet with Margot but the vet said it was taken care of. There is a fantastic organization here in Boquete called Amigo’s De Animales and they have a fund for just this type of thing, so it was all paid for by them. I will have to start donating to that very kind organization. Boy dog was an old guy and he seemed very happy to be cared for by so many people and I have to believe that he had a pretty good life.
Gotta Get Moving..
Today marks Three weeks since I took my glorious tumble and injured my poor ankle. So, aside from briefly and very gingerly hobbling through the jungle, I’ve been taking it reallllll easy. I’ve been icing and keeping my ankle elevated. I’ve been using my crutches, well, I’m down to using one crutch at the moment, but my point is, I’m getting around very carefully. Although I have a fairly good range of motion, I can’t put much weight on the ankle at the moment. So For the better part of this last three weeks I’ve been SITTING! Watching TV, reading, writing, reading some more and getting extremely bored! HUMPH! So today I joined a gym! In town there are a few gyms to choose from but I really wanted access to a swimming pool so I joined The Haven Spa. It’s a beautiful gym and the pool is just what I needed. I just have to get some exercise! Enough of this sitting business. The pool is a one person pool with a resistance thing on it (sorry for my lack of technical knowledge ). So you sign up for 45 min time slots and you have it all to yourself. I gave it my first try today and Wow! It felt so good! I’m hooked! It felt good just to move and to feel like I got a bit of exercise. I think tomorrow I may also do a bit of upper body work before I do my swim. Scott joined for one month so that he could get some exercise in before he gets started on all the work on the property. I hope I make good use of this new gym membership because I don’t have a very good track record from my past experiences of joining gyms. I’ve done it so many times in my past and I’ve just never enjoyed the atmosphere of gyms and end up not going. I must say, so far, The Haven is just that, its Heavenly! It’s peaceful, clean, serene and it doesn’t seem to be too crowded or busy. Maybe because it’s not the typical huge 24 hour Fitness filled with obsessive muscle heads who are there to be seen. Yep, I may be on to something. I’ve never been a big swimmer, I enjoy swimming but at the moment I believe it’s the very best way for me to get some exercise without doing more damage to the darn ankle. One thing I know for sure, I cant keep sitting here doing nothing! My fingers are crossed that I can get myself into a healthy routine and make this new place my second home.
Walking in the Jungle
Another post about our weekend at Rambala. Kris & Joel got to experience the beauty and wonder of the jungle for the first time…
Our walk in the jungle was a highlight of our weekend at the Rambala Jungle Lodge. I had never seen anything like this! The photos cannot possibly do the experience justice but hopefully they will give some idea of what it was like there.
Eric took Joel, Brenda, and I into the jungle, on little narrow muddy paths on the steep sides of hills though dense vegetation, past huge trees, over rocks, under vines, and along the river as we went to check out his plans to generate some electric power from the river. Even with my work boots and walking stick, it was tough going and I was very thankful for all the walking and biking that has made my legs stronger.
Even more incredible – they have built everything on the property from lumber cut from fallen trees. They have not cut any live trees, only used…
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A Weekend in the Jungle
Here’s the blog post, (at least the first of a series) from my friend Kris , who joined us up at Rambala. I thought you might enjoy reading her perspective and she takes great photos so you can get a real sense of the amazing place that is Rambala Jungle Lodge…..
What an experience! Our friends Holly and Scott were going to help Linda and Eric, owners of the Rambala Jungle Lodge with some projects and asked if we would like to come along. Not being one to turn down interesting experiences with good friends, we said yes.
I hardly know where to start telling about the weekend so I have grouped my photos, and through the next few posts I hope the story will come together.
Rambala is a town on the way to Almirante in the Bocas del Toro Province, so it’s on the north side of the mountains and the continental divide. The Rambala Lodge is a bit outside of town, back in the jungle. You can get most of the way by 4 wheel drive, but you have to walk in the rest of the way. There is no electricity, and water is either collected rainwater or…
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The Jungle Called and We Couldn’t Resist…
I’ve written about this very special place in the past…Rambala Jungle Lodge( http://www.Rambalajunglelodge.com ) . This weekend, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to join Eric & Lynn at their beautiful lodge in the jungles of Bocas. We went specifically to lend a hand in the raising of a new cabin. Our good friends Joel & Kris were kind enough to join us on this trip and I think I can speak for all of us when I say, a good time was had by all! I have to tell you that I was tremendously relieved when we arrived to find that their grounds keeper Javier, was prepared to whisk me off to the lodge upon one of his trusty horses. As you may recall, I recently injured my ankle pretty good, and this trip had been arranged before I had my little accident. So, I had prepared myself for a very slow, very careful hike on my injured ankle with my crutches. The hike up to the lodge isn’t horrible, I figured I could make it if I just took my time and went very slowly and carefully. One thing was certain… I wasn’t willing to cancel on account of a little ankle injury! We had packed as lightly as possible because Scott was planning to schlep all our gear and the meal he had volunteered to prepare, without any help from me. On two healthy legs, under normal circumstances, the hike into the jungle lodge is not too far, maybe 20-30 minutes. But had I hobbled in on my crutches it could have been closer to an hour or so. So, as you can imagine I was relieved when we arrived at the spot where we leave our car, and there was Javier with a horse saddled up and ready to cart me in. He also had a second horse all ready to carry all our gear up to the lodge as well, wow! Scott had fully expected to carry our cooler and all our gear and was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events. I should explain that under normal circumstances, when they have guests arrive at the lodge Javier is ready to guide them to the lodge and their belongings get put on the horses. This weekend was an exception because we weren’t normal guests, we were there to work and they had given Javier his yearly vacation time off. But because we arrived on Friday at a reasonable hour, before he was to leave, he was there to help us. Lucky me!
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I’ll Be Right Back!!!
Geesh! You may be wondering where I’ve been, or maybe you’ve been glad to have a break from my ramblings! But for those of you who are wondering why I havent posted anything for awhile….It’s because our internet has been out of commisssion for over a week!!Grrrr! While I can post over my data plan, I can’t seem to download any photos. We spent an amazing weekend at our friends Jungle Lodge in Rambala and I have lot’s of great photos to share with you as well as all my tales of adventure! We had such a great time and as soon as our internet is back, which should be tomorrow, I’ll post my Rambala post. Until then, It’s our first Tropical Christmas and I must tell you it’s quite humorous to us to see Christmas trees on top of taxi’s and in the back of pick up trucks. Decorations in Palm trees and loads of garlands and lights dripping from the outside of the houses everywhere we drive. Why is it humorous? Well, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to us! It’s warm and sunny and we haven’t even broken out our winter clothes, oh, I almost forgot…We don’t have any “winter” clothes!! Whaaahahahaha!!! I’m reading all about the freezing cold temperatures in different places in the states and we just made reservations to go to the beach for a couple days next week!! Yep, two weeks ago we were in the mountains in Costa Rica and this past weekend we were in the jungles on the Caribbean side of the country and next week we head to an area near, Boca Chica, about two hours from where we live, to lounge around with friends on the beach. We have friends visiting from Canada who we met a few months ago and they invited us to join them and their friends for a couple of days of fun on the beach!! As I’m writing this post Scott is contemplating what he wants to BBQ on the beach……Big smile!!! I don’t think I’ll get a tree this year, but Scott did come home the other day with a beautiful Poinsettia for me, so we have a tiny touch of the holiday’s , not to worry. Today we stopped at Romero’s ( our version of Safeway ) to pick up some groceries (me and my injured ankle waited in the car) and when Scott got back in the car he had Christmas music in his head, “They must have been playing Christmas music in there!” he said. So It is definitely Christmas here in Panama, it just doesn’t feel the same to us. Life is good(It would be even better if our internet would come back to us!), and we’re living our life to the fullest and enjoying every moment , even with a hurt ankle!! It’s amazing what one can do with crutches! Don’t worry, I’m being very careful as I limp my way through the jungle and I’ll go gingerly on the sand. Thanks for worrying about me….
Windy Season Is Upon Us…
At least in the Alto Lino area, the wind has really begun to seem much stronger than normal. For those of you who don’t live here in Boquete, we have two seasons, rainy and dry. Remember, this is our first full year living here so it’s all new to us. But I think we may be through with most of the “rainy” season and soon it may officially be the ‘dry’ season. The professors at our Spanish school, who are all Native Panamanians, refer to Invierno & Verano…. ‘summer & winter”. But it’s all backwards, they call November or December through March or April Summer and May through October orNovember (invierno) Winter. So in their minds Christmas is in the (Verano) Summer! Welcome to the Tropics! 🙂 It’s funny to see all the Christmas decorations going up when it’s sooo sunny and warm outside. Not that this “California girl” has ever really experienced a REAL winter, but this is even more sunny and pretty than Ca would be in December.
Holidays in Panama
This is a post from my friend Valerie’s blog. I thoughtt you would like hearing her take on this Holiday weekend In Boquete. She lives right in the downtown area so apparently it was a rather loud weekend for her. Where we live is a bit out of town so it was quite peaceful. With my hurt ankle I had to miss out on all the fun this year, but I hope to get to experience all the festivities next year.
Although it’s been two years since Mark and I moved to Central America, this Thanksgiving (also our 4th wedding anniversary!) was the first we’ve spent here. Friends hosted a traditional Thanksgiving spread at their house. We took a cab to their neighborhood, and could smell the food as we rounded the corner to their house. Yum! Our contribution was a key lime pie, not a typical Thanksgiving dessert, but the dessert that I felt most confident about making. It turned out well, even though the limes here aren’t “real” key limes. And, the other couples our friends invited were interesting and friendly, so (from our end of it anyway) the social part of the day was just as delightful as the food. 🙂
Then, on Friday, Holly and Scott invited us up to their house for an impromptu dinner party with them and their house guests, Kris and Joel, who…
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Getting prepared for a big project…
I think its safe to say that building a house is a pretty big project. We’ve done it before but not quite like this! Last time, although it was a very big project for us at the time, it doesn’t even begin to compare to what we are preparing to do here. Not that we’re planning to build a great big, fancy house , but here in Panama there’s just so many things to consider, from actual building materials to labor laws, the installation of actual infrastructure (water & electricity), dealing with a different language and even getting a bank account established, we have so much to investigate and research not to mention tons of questions to ask (often in Spanish!). Our house building project in the States was a totally different experience but it has prepared us for many of the aspects of building and designing a home. I suspect much of the process will be familiar to us but much is already proving to be very new and different.
My Friends are Land Owners
This is a post published by my Friend Kris. She and her husband Joel spent last weekend with us and Scott took them up to see the property. I , of course could not go because of my darn ankle! Grrrrr!
My friends Holly and Scott have been looking at land, found a piece they liked, and have successfully become the owners of it. We just spend a couple wonderful days with them in Boquete, so of course we were curious to see the location of their new home to be. Naturally, I have photos.
The drive to the land was also gorgeous along winding mountain roads. When we got to the land I also saw lots of wildflowers.
The site for the main house is on the higher part of the land.
My friends are living in a nearby spot that is also very beautiful!
The last photo is of a neighborhood dog who hangs out at Scott and Holly’s house most of the time. Every day she goes somewhere and comes back with an avocado which she licks until she has eaten out all the fruit inside. My…
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Wow! December 1st. Already!
November 28 marked our sixth months living here in Boquete, Panama. I don’t know how six months flew by so quickly but I can only say, we were definitely having fun! Which would explain it! Now we’ve entered into our first holiday season living in another country. And I find myself thinking , “what were we doing this time last year?”. Well, this time last year we seemed to be experiencing an emotional whirlwind. We were in the midst of many “lasts”. And this year we’re in the midst of many “firsts”. I must admit, the “firsts” are way more fun.
One thing that Scott and I really have agreed upon since we’ve been here is to let go of big expectations about many things. And the holidays are one of those things we’ve really ‘let go’ of. This has been a period of time for us to reestablish ourselves in a completely new place. We’ve had much to adapt to and have done so with as much care and ease as we can muster. As far as Christmas goes, we don’t yet know what that will look like for us. We may or may not find a tree to decorate, that would mean buying some decorations, given the fact that we haven’t shipped our belongings out here quite yet. I’m not sure I’m up for buying more things that I already have, we’ll see about that. We’re in the very beginning of redefining this new life of ours and that means new traditions too.
There is a possibility that our trip to the states to facilitate the packing of our container may coincide with the Christmas holiday. We wont know for a week or so, but we’re very close to having all our necessary documentation ready to hand over to our attorney and begin the process of getting our permanent visa. Once that’s all in process and we get our mulit-entry visa, we will be able to head back for a week or so and oversee the packing of our container to be shipped out here. This pending trip also has us very limited as far as our plans for the holidays here. We should have a more clear handle on this soon, which will be nice to know. Good thing we don’t have any big expectations for our first Christmas in Panama.
I’ve seen a couple of cars with big Christmas trees tied on top and today I saw a photo of our friends in California cutting down their tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains. These familiar sightings give me small pangs of “ahhhh, that looks fun”, but then I remember that, this year, at least we just aren’t quite ready to go along as normal. I already have two invitations here to attend some holiday gatherings and I look forward to those events. This community here in Boquete is quite welcoming and we already feel so much a “part” of this new place we now call Home. And I’m also looking forward to visiting California and spending time with those that we love. In spite of not quite having our new holiday traditions ready to begin, I know each and every day we find so much to be grateful for . Even without a traditional Christmas tree in our house we can celebrate what the holidays are truly about, which I believe is looking around at the PEOPLE who are so very special and feeling gratitude for each person we love and are loved by.