What? How the heck did two years buzz by so fast?? Sheesh! Tomorrow , May 29th it’ll be two years ago that we got on that plane with four bags and two unhappy cats headed to a new life in Panama. I just cant believe we’ve been living here in Boquete for two years already. Its funny, in some ways it feels as though we’ve always been here and then in other ways it seems like we just got here!
In preparation for this move to Panama we had spent the better part of 7 years strategizing about how to make it happen. Nonstop talking together about our dream of leaving all that was familiar to us and setting off for a life of new and exciting possibilities. We had a plan and a dream that most of our friends and family thought was crazy. But we worked hard together to make it a reality and now, two years later, here we are! Living in the beautiful mountains of Western Panama.
We’ve been so busy just living each day as it comes and time is passing by swiftly, as it has a tendancy to do. Last year as we were assimilating to this new life, I can remember thinking about what I was doing in the States ‘this time last year’. And boy, we were busy…. two years later, we’re still busy! hah! I have to laugh at the memory of so many people asking me, “what will you do?”, and “Are you afraid you might be bored?”….eye roll! I had no idea at the time just how Un-bored we would actually be!
I don’t think I really ever could have known how much time we would spend building our home. And just how involved I would be in that process. The fact that it would consume so much of our time and energy just some how didn’t enter into my head. Crazy, I know! hah! But, to be honest, I had a totally different scenario in my head about just how we would go about this ‘house building’ thing! And, the last time we did this I was at work all day and wasn’t nearly as involved as I have been this time around.
In hindsight, which we all know is 20/20, I should have known that Scott would never (ever, in a million years!) be able to just hand over the reigns and let someone build his house for him as he just stood by and watched. Hah! Foolish, foolish me! 🙂 I have to chuckle at my silly naive self of two years ago. hah! Thinking that we would simply hire a contractor to build our house…what was I thinking? (eye roll!) Well, it turns out that , of course, this first two years has been pretty much non-stop building for us. Which has been an adventure and a half, for sure. And adventure, I may add, that has been mostly fun, sometimes frustrating, always exhausting and decidedly rewarding in endless ways.
But before all this fun construction was to begin we had an adventure hunting for this piece of property. We enjoyed the hunt and as you know, ended up finding just the right piece of land that suits us just fine. As a matter of fact we love it more and more with each passing day! One thing we really really wanted to find was land with lots of trees. We both really love nature and we wanted to feel as though we were living along side all the plants and trees and of course, all the natural beauty that really drew us to this area up in the mountains. Well…tree’s is exactly what we found here! Living in our casita we are literally surrounded by such a gorgeous landscape! Our hearts are delighted each morning awakening to the view outside our bedroom window…
As I often find myself relaxing in my hammock, I have to say that I’m constantly mesmerized by the delicious view from my terrace. The forest of trees, the hummers swarming the feeders, the clouds mixed into the blue sky, the volcano across the valley, and the sounds of all the many birds top it all off. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would find such a lovely place to call home. We’ve really been living here for two whole years already? wow! Have I mentioned…..Its hard to believe ! And ever so heartwarming when I think of what a great thing we did for our lives by making this move.
If I had to name one thing from this second year that was the best, most wonderful milestone for us, we both agree it would be when we finally moved into our nearly finished casita. To finally live here amongst this beautiful, peaceful wonderland was such a huge thing this second year here. After spending so much time dreaming about exactly this! Realizing the dream of finding a place in this big world where we could redefine how we live and re-create our life anew, making that dream an actual reality, I cant find a word for it….But to be living in this casita that we both put so much of our selves into creating is just so rewarding and so great!
Aside from finally moving to our little piece of paradise here in Jaramillo Centro, there’ve also been other things that stand out for me about our second year living here. Finalizing all the Visa and permanent residency crap stands out for me! Whew! Boy, oh boy, did it feel great to finally have those Cedulas in our hands. Not having to make those dreadful border runs every three months and finally being able to get our Panamanian drivers licenses was a huge relief! We’ve been thrilled to have that piece of our move done and in the past. We jumped through all the hoops and paid all the fee’s, and now we’re actually legit and loving it! We’re here to stay Panama! 🙂
And, as I reminisce about the anniversary of our second year of our new Adventure, one other thing that I find myself feeling joyous about is the new community of people who we have in our life here. We’ve made so many new friends and have really learned firsthand how welcoming people are in this small town. Making new friends was one thing that I knew would be essential for me when we moved here. I’m such a people person and making strong, lasting connections was something that I knew would really make my new life complete.
Beginning a new life in a different country has been, and continues to be, a huge challenge in so many ways. One thing that I’ve been incredibly grateful for in this two years we’ve been living in Panama is having gone each step of the way with my best friend and partner in life, Scott. We’ve learned so much about each other as we’ve discovered new facets of ourselves through this journey. We’ve had a few frustrating, and even disappointing experiences as we’ve together navigated this new experience of living as Expats. We’ve had moments of feeling very in sync with one another and then there’s the inevitable moments of disconnect when we need to dig deep to find our tranquilo.
I think we’re still both discovering so many new aspects of ourselves as individuals as well as learning new things about our relationship as a couple during this transition living as expats and establishing a totally different lifestyle here together. I cant think of anything that could make or break a marriage, (aside from raising kids), like uprooting your entire life and starting over again in a new country together. For us, it’s been an experience that’s drawn us even closer together and has given us many more reasons to admire each other as we’ve spent this last two years growing and learning so much together.
As we work together to build our new home we’re both so excited about all we still have to look forward to in life. I’m sure that even after all this construction is done there’ll still be yet other project that we’ll decide dive into. I seriously hope that we never stop exploring, learning, and strategizing about how to have other adventures in our lifetime. And I especially hope all our friends and family back in California never stop thinking that we’re crazy! Cuz’ when they do, well we will have done something terribly wrong! 🙂