We’ve been living in our new casita since January 8th. We actually began working up here February of 2014. The first project that Scott tackled was to build retaining walls and drains. With the crazy rains that we get here we realized that the first thing we needed to address was drainage and so that was the very first step in our project. So here we are, a year into our project and boy, when I look around at all the work that’s been done up here It is really quite remarkable. In only a year we’ve already put in most of the infrastructure, water, gas, electricity is nearly done, built two structures and are starting the final one, the main house.
We’ve really managed to get an incredible amount done in the nearly two years we’ve been here (May 27 will be our two year anniversary of our move to Panama). Not only the construction but we also managed to get so much done to make this place our official home. We finally finished all that was required to get our permanent residency here in Panama. We bought cars, got car insurance as well as medical insurance, Scott even had hernia surgery! We’ve made so many wonderful friends and have begun to develop really pleasant relationships with people here. Scott is very well known at the local Construction supply store, Ivan. Unlike walking into Home Depot, when he walks into Ivan all the employees greet him by name and are happy to see him. If they served beer there He’d probably never leave! Hah!
Our plan, before we moved to Panama was to rent something for awhile and to take our time looking around at things to buy. To be honest we were not in any hurry. We both knew that eventually the right opportunity would show itself to us. We were pretty sure we would buy land and then build but we were also open to maybe finding something that was already livable but just needed a little work. Although, truth be told, I don’t think Scott was really as open to that plan as I was. Just like he let me believe that we would hire a Panamanian builder to build the majority of the buildings and we would simply do all the interior finish work ourselves….Pfffffffffft! What was I thinking believing that? hah!
As we’ve reached the anniversary of the beginning of our construction project, I begin to think about all we’ve done and achieved so far since moving to Boquete. When I think back to all those years ago when we first started coming up with this crazy plan to completely change our lives, I find myself pondering that it’s pretty amazing how we actually made our dream into a reality. We wanted to change the way we were living and to live our lives with days full of a different purpose and a different focus. We put a lot of thought into this change. Not only thought but a ton of planning, research and work.
Way back when we thought up this idea of a new life we found ourselves spending nearly all our free time talking about what and how we wanted to do a ‘re-set’ and how we would go about a total re-focus in our life. It took a huge amount of planning to figure out how we would untangle ourselves from the life we had built in California. We spent a lot of time thinking about what we hoped our new life in a new place would look like and how we could realistically achieve this change. We were methodical with the steps we would take to make this change happen. I think back to all the things we had to consider and all the planning that was necessary to basically shut down one life and begin anew someplace completely different. It was seven years of dreaming and researching until we could realistically make our move a reality. And this next May 27th will be our two year anniversary of living our dream.
We like to say that we retired, but we’re still working. Hah! Just working towards something altogether different than we were before. We aren’t living a life of leisure and relaxing on the beach everyday. We have a very busy schedule that may be even more busy than we were in California. We set the alarm 6 days a week for 6am! Ugh! I’m in the car each morning by 7:05 driving down the hill to pick up five of our eight workers. We really only have Sundays off to relax but more often than not we find ourselves doing something to prepare for Monday. The crew is up here working from 7:30-4:30. No, I don’t really think we’re actually ‘retired’ quite yet! Hah! So for those of you who were wondering what we would do with our time….we’ve managed to figure out how to keep busy. I’m gonna say we are not really retired, we’re just working for ourselves. I think It will be a couple more years of work up here until we can really take it easy and do a bit more relaxing.
As a matter of fact, today, February 17th, is a holiday here in Panama. Its Carnival and we didn’t realize today was a holiday until I took the guys down into town and they said,”Hasta Miércoles”,(See you Wednesday!) Huh? “Oh”, I said,” I didn’t know tomorrow is a holiday! Great!” So, today we’re enjoying our first ever day of total relaxing and doing nothing in our home. What a welcomed surprise! We have tons of leftovers from the other night. Scott decided it was time to break out the smoker the other day,and he did all sorts of smoked pork. It’s been an incredibly peaceful day. We started the day with a wonderful breakfast outside on our terrace. The weather is spectacular, a nice gentle breeze, sunny and clear. We’ve been sitting on the terrace reading and relaxing. Scott has split up his time on the terrace with a bit of time on the couch playing video games! I spent a couple hours gazing into the trees with my binoculars this morning. The birds are plentiful up here. So many different types. And I recently got my hummingbird feeders hung up and they are beginning to discover them. They’re still a little timid and I’ve only had about 3 or 4 so far, but I’m confident they’ll soon be telling all their friends and then It’ll be a hummingbird party!
So, this is what life will be like after we’ve finished building and creating our new home in the mountains? We can’t wait! This has been our first day to actually relax and soak up the tranquil atmosphere here in our casita. We also got to spend some quality time strategizing about the perfect spots out here on the terrace where we can hang a couple of hammocks! Cuz’ what the heck is retired life without a hammock overlooking the jungle! Hah! Yep…this is a must! And if we think its peaceful up here right now, I cant wait until we don’t hear the hum of our generator in the
background. It does take away just a bit of the natural atmosphere, but only just a ‘bit’!
One day we’ll look back at our first few months living in our new casita and we’ll remember just how much we appreciated our new place and how much joy we found in each new moment spent living here. And it wont be long now, maybe a year or so, and we’ll be living in our main house, looking down on this little casita in the trees. I wonder who will be living here and if they will find as much pleasure in this place as we do. I sure hope that before we rent it out we’ll get to have friends visit us from the states. I would really love to share it with people from the states so that they can see for themselves just what a glorious place this is. I write about it and I post pictures all the time, but none of that can ever do it justice. Some things you just have to see for yourself and Boquete is one such place. To experience it is to love it. Well, I might be a little bit biased, but, I cant help it. Of course if your not blown away by the beauty of nature and you don’t enjoy the tranquility of the simple things in life then I could be wrong, you might not feel the same as I do. Hah!
It’s been such a wonderful day of lounging about and just having a break from the constant work schedule we’ve been on. I think it was especially great because it was a surprise! We didn’t know we would have a day off so we didn’t make any plans! That’s why it’s been so special. Normally when we know we will have a day without the guys up here we plan to get something accomplished . But given the fact that it’s Carnival, we don’t want to go anywhere near all the crowds and we just wanted to sit and soak up all that we take for granted as we scurry about everyday trying to be productive. We really need to try to do this more often! An actual vacation is in our near future though! We’ve booked a two and a half week trip to Peru with our friends in April! Machu Pichu here we come! We’ve already let our crew know that they’ll have most of the month of April off so we wont have to worry about what may be going on here while we’re away. Looking forward to having some time to enjoy an adventure with our friends and experiencing a new place. We’re back to work tomorrow though…One more house to build and it wont be long now and I’ll be telling you all about the next new home up even higher on this mountain! Never a dull moment in the Life & Times of Scott & Holly…..