Well, Lot’s of stuff has been going on lately. I’ll try to catch you up on some of our latest news and happenings. I was just mentioning to Kat that my brain feels as if it’s on overload this week because there’s just so much rumbling through my head. besides settling into living in a different house and figuring out where to put all our stuff, we’ve still been trying to figure out all the repercussions of our truck accident. Trying to take care of all the legal issues with discontinuing employment with the young man who was involved. And learning all the ins and outs of how car insurance works here in Panama.
So, I’ll start with car insurance. Well, in this particular case we’ve learned many things. One, is it can take weeks to get ahold of the police report. The police officer may not get around to actually filing the report for three or four weeks. The insurance company wants to have that report in order to review what happened and come up with a decision of whether or not we are covered. But, after making a visit to the insurance claim office, it looks like we aren’t getting any help from them…Surprise, Surprise!. The fact that our worker had access to our keys, by definition (according to them) gave him permission to drive the vehicle. Now, they will cover any person who you give permission to drive your car but if the person is drunk they automatically drop any coverage and do not cover the accident. Also, no matter what, both the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle are responsible for any damage from any accident. As I already said, in this case, he was drunk so we get no help from our insurance. And on top of having to repair our car, now we are also responsible for the other car that was involved, and as luck would have it, that car was owned by an attorney! Humph!
The attorney actually showed up at our property on Friday with an interpreter to talk to us about what we planned to do about compensating her for damages. She indicated that she would prefer we settle the whole thing before the court date which is at the end of this month. We don’t really know what to do quite yet. The young man who was driving our car has expressed a desire to pay for all the damages but I just don’t know how he would ever be able to do such a thing. The whole situation is terrible, but could have been so much worse had anyone gotten hurt or killed. Thank god it’s only property damage and everyone is okay. The other car was actually parked on the side of the road, good thing. So far, this has been a lesson for us…never, ever give your car keys to anyone, no matter how trustworthy you think they are.
On a positive note… we got our Panama Driver’s licenses last week! Yippee! Do you know what that means? No more border crossing!!!Yea!!! And we actually managed to do this in a relatively timely manner, not spending days and days running back and forth. We had gotten all the necessary documents prepared ahead of time and went to David ready to go. When we came back from our trip to the U.S. we had made an appointment at the U.S. Embassy at 8:00 am the very next morning, in Panama City. We needed to get our California Driver’s licenses notarized and then we took the notarized copy to the office of authentication and dropped them off there. The official told us they would need two hours so we ran an errand and went back about an hour and a half later and picked up the Authentication.
Then after returning to Boquete, the next morning we walked into one of the clinics in town and got our blood test done…yes, blood test for a drivers license! This only took about 20 minutes and cost us $6.00 for the two of us. Then drove down to David to the office where they issue Drive’s licenses.
We got there first thing in the morning and there was no line! Yea! Lucky us! The helpful security guard directed us to the right spot at the counter and we happily followed his instructions. A nice young lady took our papers and then she handed them to a kinda grumpy looking guy who asked us if we had copies of our ID’s! RATS!! I could have kicked myself for forgetting to ALWAYS BRING COPIES OF EVERYTHING WHEN VISITING A GOVERNMENT OFFICE!!! UGGGGG! Hanging my head in shame…But “Wait”! As “Mr. Grumpy” was pointing us to the tienda down the way where we would need to walk to get copies, the “Sweet” young lady walked up and gave him a funny look, took our ID’s and walked right over to the copy machine behind “Mr. Grumpy” and kindly made copies for us!! Pffffffft! Muchas Gracias!
We signed papers and sat and waited to be called to the next spot, answered more questions, height (In meters! that was fun to figure out!) weight, address (Jaramillo Centro is all we have as an address!)and then did the vision test, and then went to sit again and were called into a room where we did a hearing test. That was pretty, funny because I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the directions. She put these big headphones on me and I thought she told me to put my hands on each ear of the headphones, over my ears, and to push on the side that I could hear the sound. So She was standing right behind me and as I was pushing on the headphones, she was actually using the mouse and clicking on the answer on the computer screen in front of me…Hah! I don’t think I was doing anything pushing on my headphones! She just didn’t want to try to explain to the dumb gringa that I was doing it all wrong! Oh well! I passed anyways! And back out to the waiting room to be called to go to the window to pay $40.00 each. Back to the waiting room again to be called up to the final window to be handed our sparkly new Panama Driver’s license! Whooohoooo! And another thing to check off our list! Sigh….As we walked back to the car I had to laugh! I said to Scott, “All these government offices are like being in a pin ball machine!” Ping! Ping! Ping! Wait there….Go there….wait here….upstairs….downstairs….across the street….now go over there… there again…over there…Blah!Blah!Blah! It’s just the funniest thing EVER!!”But we must just do what we have to do with a smile on our face and all is well. We are now the proud holders of Panama driver’s licenses. yea!
The last bit of legal mumbo-jumbo we are dealing with now is to set up a will for our property here in Boquete. You see, before we moved we had a meeting with an attorney and set up a trust for all our investments in the states but anything we own here is not going to be covered in that trust. It’s necessary to have an attorney draw up a separate document for Panama. So if anything happens to one or both of us we will have our property protected. The first step in this process is to have our marriage legalized here in Panama. So we got an Authenticated copy of our Marriage Certificate and took it to our attorney, signed a Power of Attorney for her to get it filed and notarized here. After we are ‘legally’ married here, then we can set up our will. This is a fairly straightforward procedure that should not take too much time.
The other thing we’ve had on our minds is that container we shipped out here with all our possessions from the states. We just got word last night that it’s in Panama, has already gone through the mandatory quarantine time at the port in Panama City, and is being driven to David. It should be through customs in David and arrive at our storage in Dolega (just about 20 minutes from Boquete) on Monday! Wow! So far, so good! We’re still kinda crossing our figures that all goes well with customs and that when it arrives all is in order. We will meet the truck at our storage and watch it all get unloaded from the container into our two storage units and Chiriqui Storage. Of course there are some tools Scott wants to grab and a few things we brought in for a friend that we need to grab as well. I just can’t believe this part of our move is nearly over! And I’m wondering how much of that stuff I packed over a year ago I will even need, now that I’ve lived without so much of it for so long. Well, there are lots of great charitable organizations here that I can donate to and I have a feeling I’ll have some clothes and shoes that are just totally unnecessary.
So, we’ve been dealing with the truck issue (we actually had to go to David to buy a part for the truck to have the front tire repaired because the mechanic didn’t have the part.), working on our project, getting legal stuff taken care of, managing the final details of our shipment of household goods from the states, moving and getting settled in from moving to a new place, getting our drives licenses….and of course, don’t worry, we have also managed to have some fun along the way!
We’ve gone to a couple of fun gatherings we had been invited to. I went to a really fun gathering at our friends Terry & Manzur’s house. Manzur prepared a delicious Pakistani meal and we learned to Bollywood dance then watched a Bollywood movie, of course Scott very happily stayed home for this one! Hah! Preferring to have a little down time, which I happily agreed he really needed to do. And today we have another party at my good friend Kris’s house! She lives in David and has been excited about hosting a celebration at her house, celebrating her birthday and her official,”retirement”! She is preparing lots of food, and plans to have music and fireworks and lots of fun! Should be a great time.
So this is just a few details of what our Adventure is looking like lately. Just in case you were wondering, because I know I’ve been kinda negligent about writing as regularly as I normally do. I’m so very excited and relieved to be nearly done with all the paperwork and legal stuff that we’ve needed to complete in order to live here and to really call Boquete “HOME”! We’ve been told by so many of the Expats who have lived here for many, many years, that they see sooooo many newby’s like us move here and then decide not too long after they move, that it’s not their thing, only to leave again. We’re really settling in and putting down roots! We love, love, love our new home! This place never stops making us smile! And We don’t plan to change our minds. We feel so welcomed and so at home here, I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave! Life it GOOD!!