Writing 101, Day 4…
Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.
Traffic, working 12 hour days, PG &E, AT&T, Los Altos Garbage co, State Farm, Blue Cross, A Huge Mortgage, Property Taxes, State Taxes, These are just a few things that used to be in my life but aren’t in my life anymore. This small list just off the top of my head are just a few of the things that made my life stressful, and for the majority of my days , not fun , and I’ve said, “Audios” to them forever. Oh what a glorious day it was when I had the pleasure of spending an entire afternoon with all my bills in front of me calling each one to request that they cancel my account.
Let me tell ya, it was indeed wonderful to say to PG&E, “I’d like you to cancel my account Please” “No, no new address”! Health insurance….Oh hell Yeah! “Hello, Blue Cross, I’d like you to cancel my account please”….State Farm “Hello, please discontinue my policy”. I used to hate all the mail that came to my house every single day. So many envelopes and junk that I never wanted. Thats another thing , come to think of it, another thing that I don’t have in my life anymore…A Mailbox! Hah! No, I have no mailbox living here in Panama! Cuz’ guess what…they have no mail delivery service! Can you believe that! So I never have to face that pile of junk and waste of paper! I may be wearing out my exclamation point here as I write about this! But, what a wonderful freedom it is to shed all that crap that I was required to have in order to live the life I had. And not to have to sit down every few weeks and write out checks or pay online for what felt like endless things in order to be a responsible citizen of the rat race.
Don’t get me wrong, the race had it’s moments of glory. I have zero regrets about the life I lived in the States. I loved having all the wonderful luxuries that came with living in the United States. I enjoyed having electricity…which, Ahem, I kinda sorta have now. But in my life before, I had only to write that check each month to good Ol’ PG&E and miraculously I had lights in my house! Who ever thought about where the electricity came from? Not me, I simply flipped that little light switch on and went on my merry way. Now that I’ve said ‘goodbye’ to PG&E I have to make sure I have enough gas to keep my generator going so that I’ll have electricity in my house. Well, one day, in the not to far future we’ll have electricity connected to our house, but at the moment its the good ol’ generator, and I’m grateful for it! In my life before I never felt as grateful as I do now for the modern conveniences like electricity that magically appeared in my house in Los Altos. Well, and I should also say I’m grateful for Mr. Generator! Never had any need for that in my house in Los Altos, thats for sure!
Something else I had in my life before that I don’t have now is endless conveniences. It would seem that nowadays if something happens with little to no hassle I’m ecstatic! In my life before I could get things done that I needed to get done, without ever even batting an eye. If I had a list of errands to do I never thought for a minute that I may only be able to accomplish one or two of them, I knew without doubt that when I got home later in the day, everything on my list of to-do’s would be done. Nope, things just don’t happen like that here. One must begin a day of errands with the clear and simple knowledge that getting at least one thing done will be okay. And I’ve become accustomed to relaxing much more about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Which leads me to the part of this lifestyle change that makes this little inefficiency not a big deal….its this little thing called “Tranquilo”…I never had that before. If my list of things that needed to get done did not get done, my day was ruined! I got home feeling frustrated and often angry. This internal need to be ultra productive at all cost is one other thing I no longer have in my life. Its slowly slipped away with the tons of junk mail! hah!
One other little thing that I no longer have in my life is the knowledge that I would never ever have a scorpion in my house! ugh! Who ever thought of watching where you walk at night when you get up to pee! Or shaking out your shoes each time you go to put them on? Not ME! Scorpions are new to me and I gotta be honest…no amount of Tranquilo is gonna make that any better! Of course a bit of poison strategically and regularly sprayed all over , inside and out..yea, that does the trick! Rudolpho promises me that its ‘non toxic’ and I’m buying it! The cat’s still alive and kickin’ and so all is well in my mind. Scott’s skeptical about the “non-toxic’ claim, but not me, I’m just thanking God for Poison!
While we’re on the subject of things I no longer have in my life, I used to have this little thing called Language in common with everyone, everywhere I went. Now, I’m a foreigner and I have to work really really hard to understand what’s being said to me and to make myself understood. But, I never had such a feeling of accomplishment in my life before when the person I was talking to understood me…I just took for granted that the words that came out of my mouth would be heard and understood. Now, when I have a simple interaction with anyone here in my new home in Panama and I’m understood I feel so accomplished! I never felt the glee that I feel now after having had a little chat with a nice old man at the gas station. I mean, shoot I never in my life spent any time at all thinking about how I would feel to be totally without clear, concise communication with the people all around me. Words just naturally came out of my mouth and no question in my mind if I was saying it right or if I sounded like a total dummy. I have a new found appreciation for language and for the dedication it takes to learn one other than the one you’ve spoken all your life. This is something I’m so glad I now have in my life.
This subject of things I no longer have in my life is a subject that I could ramble on and on about. Having set out two years ago on the biggest adventure of my life becoming an expat in Panama, its opened up an endless list of things that are no longer a part of my life. And the list is full of both good and bad things that are both missing from my life as well as things that have been added to my life. It doesn’t matter where you live, if your really honest and you think about it, there’s always plenty that we love about our life and things we wish were different. Because my life here in Panama is so very new I cant help but compare a little bit, how my life was and how it is now. I don’t mean to say that I compare in terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ no, I loved so much about my life in California. I still think its one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. And at the same time I’m soaking up my new found love of this place I now call home. I may miss some things about living in the States, like no scorpions (wink, wink) and the ease of much of what is efficient and organized when you live in your country of origin and just know and understand how things are done. My new adventure living in the lush, green, friendly, wild mountains of Boquete, Panama is providing me with an endless list of new and wondrous things and I barely notice the lack of some of the things I no longer have in my life.
Hi Holly, I’m enjoying your writing. Keep up the good work! It’s fun reading your comments about changes in your life since you’ve come to Panama! I feel the exact same way. Five years in Panama and I’m still amazed at how blessed we are to be here.
Jim and I are going to be in Boquete next Thursday. Can we stop by and see your progress? Jim wants to talk with Scott about cabinets too. You can email me to confirm. Thanks- Sue (from Seagull Cove Lodge)
“Puravida”…our DESTINY! 🙏
WOW!!, I love this post. I will bookmark it and re-read it when I am missing you and Panamá.
I think the language thing is one of the most interesting aspects of living here. Nobody in my neighborhood here in Boqueron speaks English. They all know some English words, but they can’t string them together to make a sentence. So, I’ve had to learn Spanish. Sort of. For me, my biggest accomplishment isn’t getting something done at a store or business office. It’s joking around with people in their language and making them laugh. Not laughing because I’m mangling their language, but laughing because I was able to hit their funny bone.