As I sit at the dining room table and gaze outside at the gray, breezy morning. I’m trying to decide what to write about today. So many different things come to mind. I just returned from running a few errands and can’t help but think about how much easier it’s become to get things done. Not that anything in Boquete has changed, but I can feel myself changing. My perspective is changing and I notice some things that, in the early days of living here, seemed a little complicated or frustrating, are just my new ‘normal’. Does that make sense?
This time last year when I had errands to run I would often leave the house with a feeling of dread in my stomach. “Where will I park my car?” “How will I explain what I’m looking for?” “Where should I go for this or that?” “Where is that place again?” It often felt as though most every little errand or chore was made more complicated by my lack of understanding or experience. Not knowing how things are done or where to go to find what you need can somehow make the most trivial of day to day things seem to take so much more energy than it should. Of course, after completing my errands I always felt such a feeling of accomplishment. Even the simplest of tasks that I successfully completed gave me an amazing sense of accomplishment. With each new hurtle that I managed to jump, I gained a bit more of a sense of knowing and confidence. I can remember when just getting our cell phone bills paid felt like a major accomplishment. Now I just buzz into the Cable & Wireless office and wave at Giovanni with a confident, “Hola, como esta” and walk up to the lady behind the window and say, ” Tengo que pagar mi factura.” They know me and greet me by my name which gives me so much pleasure. Who knew going to pay for my cell phone could give me such pleasure? Hah!
I’m noticing more and more these days that my confidence level is growing and now and then I marvel at the ease with which my errands get done. Today, for example, I needed just a few things from the market and something from the pharmacy. While driving down to town I’m usually strategizing in my head, how I’ll get things done. Where I’ll go first, where I”ll park and alternative places to go if one place doesn’t have what I need. Parking is always on my mind as I enter the little downtown area, I really hate parking on the main road, I much prefer to park on a side street. And I don’t mind walking, I love the exercise. So I went into one of the smaller little markets on the Main Street, Deli Baru, I didn’t need a lot of things and this store is not far from my favorite Pharmacy on the corner which I also needed to go to (they carry my favorite mousse that my hair really likes and I needed to stock up! ) . One thing I needed was avocados and I wasn’t sure Deli Baru would have them and there is a small produce market right across the street I can dash into if I needed to. Also, I’ve discovered a really good bread that this little market has that makes great french toast called Pan Gallego.
With all this strategizing worked out in my head I found my favorite parking spot, right next to the bank on a side street. First I hit the pharmacy and picked up a few bottles of my mousse, put that in the car and walked over to Deli Baru. They had just about all I needed except for the avocados, as I suspected. So after paying for my purchases I dashed across the street and said, “Tiene Usted aguacates?” “No Hay.” Okay….I guess I’ll drive down the street, try to park near the town square and dash over to the main produce mercado. No worries. It’s not uncommon for my strategic plan to be foiled by one thing or another. Early in my expat days I would have been distraught about where I would find what I needed, be it avocados, or mousse, or most any other little thing I was out to find. But not anymore. Now, I know where the alternatives are and the most likely place to find most all my needs. And I’m much more accustomed to not placing so much importance on every little thing being accomplished when I expect to have it accomplished. Now I say in my head, “oh well, I’ll find that another day” or “It’s not that important”.
I’ve become accustomed to figuring out alternatives to things I may not be able to find. Like the other day when I was desperately searching for Instant Tapioca for that delicious pie. For a little while, as I was unsuccessfully driving from store to store searching high and low for this one specific thing I felt a twinge of that old frustration I used to feel when I couldn’t find what I needed. But somewhere between my 5th and 7th store I began to relax and accept that I would find a different Pie recipe that did not call for Tapioca. Hah! And that was exactly what I did. All was well in the end. Just like today, I found my avocados in the main mercado and the added bonus was, I got to walk through the town square on a Saturday. I just love the vibe on Saturdays in the town square. Families are milling about and old guys are sitting around chatting and children are playing. I don’t know why, but theres just such a warm feeling about the place on weekends. And had I not needed those darn avocados I would have missed it.
May I add….the Avocados here are soooooo yummy! I gotta stop here to tell you that I’ve always been a huge fan of guacamole. My mother in law knew this and always made sure I had plenty of those spice packets to make my guacamole with! Well, after moving here I discovered that those little handy spice packets aren’t especially common in the markets! YIKES! At first my little heart sank, “How will I make my Guacamole!” But fear not….I’ve been slowly experimenting and I think I just may have become quite the guacamole makin’ goddess! What “Spice Packets?” HUMPH! Who needs it! Again, adapting to my new home and learning to figure out how to do things differently never gets old.
Changing the way we live our lives. That’s one of the things that drew us to this massive life change. We didn’t move here to find that it was no different than Living in Los Altos. One big reason we picked up our life and moved it to Central America was to change the way we lived our life and a whole lotta’ change is what we’ve embraced. That being said, It’s been and adjustment. And at times it’s not been easy. I would have stayed in Los Altos had I wanted ‘easy’. Adapting to a new place and learning so many new ways of doing things is , to me, exhilarating. And when I look back at how much I’ve learned and how I’m adapting everyday to this new life I feel so pleased and happy to be here. A day does not go by that we don’t learn something new and for me and Scott it’s just what we were looking for. Our Adventure continues with each passing day and we’re thrilled with the learning and the growing that we both experience as we navigate this new life here in Boquete, Panama.