Oooooop! Sorry, I´ve really been slacking in my writing. First I went on vacation for three weeks then I just seem to get so caught up in my days that I dont stop to take the time to write. So, let me get you caught up on what´s happening here. Well, I´ll begin with our project, the never ending house project! So, we have two new workers that we hired, bringing our total crew to 9 guys now. The main house has all the walls finished and now the roof is just getting started. It should take maybe a month or a little more to complete. Its really fun to see it all come together and to wander around imagining what it will be like to live in it. I´m really excited about how much I like the design and floorplan that we worked so hard to design together. We really put a lot of focus on outdoor living space because living here makes it so easy to spend a lot of time outdoors. Our terrace alone which wraps around the entire back side of the house facing the amazing view is about 900 square feet in size. It will be completly roofed and protected from the elements. It will be like a room without walls! We plan to have our dining room out on the terrace on one side and a living room area on the other end, with an outdoor sofa and some chairs. In the outdoor living room we are planning to have a gas fire pit. There will also be a big wood burning fireplace out on the corner of the terrace. Scott has an outdoor kitchen as well which will be about 200 square feet. The total size of the house, not including the terrace and outdoor kitchen is about 2400 square feet. We will have two bedrooms, a living room a laundry room, the kitchen and a recreation room for our pool table. One aspect that I´m sure I´ve writen about which I´m really excited about is the outdoor shower off the master bedroom. This will be a treat since we can use it pretty much all year around living here. The guest bedroom will have an indoor shower so if its especially rainy or chilly we can use that.
So, the main house construction is coming along and we have three guys up there prepping to begin the roof structure while the rest of the crew has begun a project that I´ve been so excited to start……the Road! Yeah! Our drive through our property, past the casita and up to the top of the property where the workshop and the main house are located is a very primative, muddy path….I would not really call it much of a ´road´. During the wet, rainy season, which happens to be right now, it’s a muddy mess, not to mention pretty dangerous. The only four wheel drive delivery truck that will even come up here has gotten pretty seriously stuck on two occasions in the last couple weeks. So, If Scott wanted to get any more material delivered to the upper most part of our property he really needed to get the darn road in. And, I havent even mentioned my experiences of getting out of my car only to step in muddy water that goes over my ankles! Ugh! Good thing I have three pairs of rubber rain boots! I´m going to be so happy when this part of our project is completed. I could never in a million years have imagined being so friggin´excited to see a bunch of guys mixing cement and pouring a road! They have already gotten the road installed to the casita. They have a long ways to go to get all the way up to the main house area but little by little they´re getting there. I have a new found appreciation and love of cement and of roads specifically.
Aside from all the construction junk that is pretty all consuming I’ve been continuing my Spanish study. Luana is just such an incredible teacher and I’m committed to working on learning. Learning a second language is probaly one of the most challenging things I’ve ever set my sights on doing and even though its slow going I dont care! I feel so good about just working and working slowly and Im confident that one day I’ll actually be able to spit out a complete sentence! The great thing is that Ive gotten fairly good at making myself understood in the most primitive way, but being understood feels so incredible that I just dont care much about the fact that I sound like a child just learning to speak. My ability to understand what’s being said to me is also improving as time is going by. The biggest help is my time in the car with my workers twice a day. Even though I dont get everything they are saying , I at least get the exposure to the Spanish language and everyday I just listen as hard as I can and try to pick out one more word. I have class three days a week and that comes with pletny of homework and It really makes me feel great to feel myself learning and actually ‘getting’ most of what Luana is teaching. Every time I talk to a Panamanian and they know what I’ve said, my heart leaps with joy!
Remember my little indigenous neighbor kids who live down the hill from me? Well, you may remember that I just adore them. I often buy apples for them or other little treats and they always come running to my car when I drive by. When they see my car the little ones always wave and yell my name. Theyre sweet but……recently they’ve discovered how to cut through the quebrata to my house. Now, nearly everyday they show up, at all hours of the day! The other morning before we even woke up we were awoken to the sound of…”Holly!” “Holly!” “Holly!” OMG! (serious eye roll!) What Have I done! They just keep coming over all the time and I’m getting pretty annoyed. Its time for a talk…great spanish practice! Time to explain that they do not have permission to come to my house any time they please. I need to figure out how to say this in Spanish, nicely. Ugh! Just one more little lesson for me.
The other new development since last I wrote is the dogs….I’ve been feeding at least three dogs. Chumbo, Sultan and Princessa. They all belong to my indigenous neighbors. The big problem with this twice daily occurance is that the male dogs have decided to mark their territory on Scotts BBQ and any other spot they find appealing on the terrace. Ugh! So we had to put up some chicken wire all around the terrace to keep them out. Eventually we will have a railing all around, but at the moment its just not the priority. One of these days I’ll have my very own dogs but for now because we have our very un-dog-friendly kitty who is pretty scary and mean to dogs we will hold off . In the meantime I feed the neighbor dogs since they look so skinny and hungry and they give me lots of love ….it seems like a win win as long as they dont pee on Scotts BBQ! hah!
We’ve had lots of social time with our friends and this keeps us busy. I always wished our friends in California had more time to hang out and have fun but life is just too busy when everyone is working so hard. Here, we never seem to run out of reasons to get together and enjoy the company of so many great friends. This is something that really brings me so much happiness. We go on hikes, out to dinner, gather at different houses for happy hours and home cooked meals. We even have a new brewery in town where we can meet up for a beer and order a pizza from the food truck across the street. We watch parades together, and go on garden club outings to see local gardens and even recently went on a tour of a local Honey farm. It seems there is no end to excuses to do something fun and interesting with friends here.
Building our house, installing a road, dealing with 9 employees, learning to have a relationship with boundaries with my indigenous neighbor kids, studying Spanish, socializing with all our new friends, and trying to set aside time to take advantage of all the incredible hiking and exploring there is to do around here….these are just a few of the things keeping me busy these days. Not to mention just all the boring everyday things like banking, grocery shopping, checking the mail, driving to David for construction crap, registering our cars, getting the cars tuned up, blah, blah, blah…. I really want to keep blogging and to continue keeping you caught up on all the happenings around here. I’m working on that. When I dont make the time to write I feel like somethings missing. Often I just have a hard time trying to decide what’s worth writing about. Now that its not all new, this expat life just feels like “LIFE”, ya know? And most of my days dont feel especially interesting or “share” worthy, hah!
But, even though life is busy and full of great happenings, Its an adventure. I’m learning so much and yet I have so much still to learn. The day I start thinking that I know it all is the day I need a firm kick in the butt! Pffffft! I’m determined to publish this post tonight so I’m not including any picuteres. Our internet is still connected to the generator that is up at the workshop….Oh, yea, I didnt mention that we still dont have that electricity junk sorted out quite yet did I? hah! Well….that may have to be another post! Ugh! (Said with a smile, and a deep sigh!) 🙂