What’s up with us? Well, a lot and not much all at the same time. How can that be? Well, see it seems like most of what I have to write about has to do with the continuation of our construction project. Not much exciting to write about so its hard to write a blog post. Hence the lack of any new posts lately. I find myself sitting down to write something and I figure if I get bored just writing it, who would want to read it, right? But, I do so love writing so I’m going to attempt to keep this post brief…good luck right! I do have a tendency to go on an on an on….I know this about myself…
So, first things first, an update on the construction project. Well, the main house is really coming along good. We’re on track for moving into it by this next March and I am getting really excited about this! We already have all the windows an Scott has had our welder first fabricating and then installing the security bars and the windows will get installed any day now. I have a feeling that last bit of news about ’security bars’ has my friends in Los Altos perking up their ears. I can hear you thinking…”Security Bars!” Yikes! It must be dangerous there if they need bars on their windows! Nah, not really. Having security bars on your windows here is more common than not and after some debate between us about it we decided we’d felt it would be smart to just go ahead and have them, better to not be the only ones without them, right? And the bonus is that with our home being up in the mountains in a fairly isolated area we’ll feel good knowing the house is safe when we’re away. Additionally, one thing we’ve learned about living here in Central America is that one does not depend on anyone else but yourself to provide personal security. It’s just not quite the same here as it is in the states, we don’t have the luxury of a reliable 911 emergency number efficiently sending help in minutes. Its just best to do what you can do to avoid any emergencies all on your own. Thats my brief little explanation on our perspective about providing yourself with personal security here in Panama. And to be honest we almost prefer knowing that its up to us, no need to have blind faith that someone else will take care of us. We got this!
So, where was I? Oh, yes, the house is coming along great! Your maybe wondering if we have electricity yet? Well….ahem…sigh…not quite yet! (Big eye roll!) We’re getting closer and closer but the latest setback has been getting one last piece which was the main cable we need to run up the hill to our house, well we thought it was the last little piece. We got the cable and then the electrician came up to see it and told us we need one MORE little thing, some sort of connector to connect two parts of the cable together…..Ugh! Long story short, after three trips to the electrical material supply place in David (and getting “mañana-ed twice), Scott just ordered this ‘connector thingy” (my word, not his!) online, we paid extra for 2nd day delivery…which means it will get to our Miami address then have to get to us here. So, the electrician had planned to begin installation on Monday but it looks like we may have just a little more waiting….so freakin’ close! But, luckily we are still highjacking power from our neighbors house and they are so incredibly kind and generous about that, which we feel so grateful for. The biggest thing that is really holding us up with not having power is that Scott can not run his tools in his workshop with the amount of power he ran for this temporary set up. He only ran a 30 amp circuit which is fine for the smaller woodworking tools but not the big ones. So, he can’t start doing any cabinet work yet, which is killing him! The wood working part of this project is the part that he’s really dying to dig into.
(Update!) I was just about to publish this post and I see that our electrician is here with his crew to start running the cable! Whoooohooo! But I went out to see what was going on and I found our ten guys with Scott and the electricians four guys all standing around this enormous spool of cable trying to figure out how to lift it over the hole where it needs to start being run down the hill….hah…this should be interesting! They all look a little like deer in headlights! Oh boy…will this saga ever end???
I could go on and on about building, but …yawn…thats boring…so the next update is that we took a little ten day vacation over Thanksgiving. This was not an exciting adventure trip but a total do-nothing-relaxing trip. We went to The Dominican Republic to an all-inclusive resort which was just the ticket for the type of trip we needed. Plus it turns out that its only a two hour flight from Panama City so the travel day was relatively short and easy. And the other nice part for me was that I have a good friend who lives there and I got to connect with her while we were there! Catching up with friends is one of my favorite things. Margarita used to live in the Bay Area and moved back to her home country about 5 or 6 years ago. She’s the type of friend who it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by, we picked up where we left off and it felt as though it had only been a month or so since we saw one another! She has not changed at all! I sure do wish I had had the time to see her country more, but I think we’ll just have to go another time and explore with her. All in all this little trip gave us some much needed time to re-charge and we got home ready to go again!
One other thing I have to tell you about this little vacation is that we discovered an incredible solution to finding someone to care for our animals while we are away. We discovered a web site called Trusted House sitters .com…Through this web site we met ,( via Skype initially), Duncan & Jane. They are an Australian couple who travel all over the world house sitting for people as an economical way to see different places while living like a local and helping people with the care of their homes and animals. I was so amazed at this concept for retirement and also very impressed with their professionalism and I really enjoyed spending a little time with them and hearing all about their adventures. While we were away they sent me daily email updates , written by Scruffy & Copper, which was so sweet. When we got home both our pets were so attached to Duncan & Jane and my house was cleaner than it was when we left for our trip! I think this is such a fantastic thing, its a win-win for everyone! Free house sitting for us and a free place to stay for them! And, bonus we got to meet an amazing couple who we feel are friends and I’m certain we’ll see them again and follow their adventures through their blog, ( http://www.totraveltoo.com ).
So, construction, vacation, and what else is going on? I’ve hired a house cleaner for the first time while living here. I had someone come clean for me when we rented, but only once and I was not so happy with that. So, Pablo, our neighbor who is living in Kat & Alans house while they’re away, found a gal to clean for him and I decided to give her a try. As I’m seeing our main house come together I’m looking at all that space and realizing that I’m going to need some help keeping it clean. And , although we hope to rent out the casita I’m thinking It would be a good idea to have someone to help keep it clean as well. So I’ve arranged for Daisy to come and clean for me here in the casita one day a week. She is a 19 year old indigenous gal who lives nearby. Finding someone who can get here on her own was something that I really thought was important. I don’t want to have to drive far away to pick up a house keeper. So, the fact that she can walk here is really great.
The only little catch is that ummm, well, she doesn’t really know much about cleaning…hah! Well, the spin I’m putting on that little detail is that this means I can train her, right? She’s very smart and wants to please and I think we may be able to work it out! At least I won’t have to break any bad habits, right? First I had to introduce her to a vacuum cleaner, which she had never seen before, but she thought was a great thing! Then I’ve been sort of showing her how I like her to do things and then kinda hanging around keeping a close eye on her while she cleans. So far she’s only broken one wine glass, no biggy! hah! And, This week I had her clean the inside of the oven for the first time , good thing I was watching her because she grabbed one of Scotts expensive knives and began to use it to scrape off some grime in the oven! Ugh! “No! Nunca usar eso, es muy caro y muy especial!” …Like I said, my Spanish is pathetic but I can make myself understood. In the end the oven was sparkly clean and she was glowing when she stood up and said,”Ohhhhhh! Muy bonita!!!” With a huge smile of achievement on her little face.
I’m pleased to have one more really great way to practice my Spanish with Daisy. She loves to chat with me and I am really enjoying getting to know her. One of her first questions to me was if I love Jesus! hah! Well…..Um…I told her I’m not religious but I believe in God…She was relieved to hear this and gave me a big smile. But, I must say, her usually happy face took on an expression of concern when she began to dust Scotts collection of video games! hah! They’re pretty ugly and violent looking and I think it made her a little nervous! Of course she then asked me if I like to sing…hahahahahaha! I do like to sing, but no one else likes to be around when I decide to bust out a tune! She then proceeded to sing Christmas songs while she cleaned! Some in English, some in Spanish and some in Ngobe, (her native language). Who doesn’t like a singing cleaning lady?
This cleaning job for Daisy is a huge opportunity for her and if it works out will probably provide her with an amazing income. You see Daisy normally works as a coffee worker on a nearby coffee finca (farm). She told me that they pay the coffee laborers per bucket. She can pick two buckets of coffee beans in one day and they pay her $3.00 per bucket. So she is accustomed to making only $6.00 a day doing grueling work in the coffee fields. The going rate for a house keeper here is about $20.00 a day. She starts at 8 and finishes at 3. So, she really really wants this cleaning job to work out. Pablo has her cleaning his house two days a week and when my main house is finished I’ll probably have her clean that house two days a week as well as continuing to clean the casita at least one day a week. If she ends up learning to be a good house keeper she will have an amazing job. I’m rooting for her and really hoping she ‘ll continue to do a good job, I too really want to see her succeed.
I said I’d try to be Brief! (I’m not sure, but I think I may have failed, oops!) so I’ll end this post by telling you one last thing. Lately, I seem to spend a lot of time in quiet reflection about this life I’m living now. And I think about what my life was like before making this move to Panama. I’m still working on adjusting to so many things about what I do with my days. Redefining my definition of what being productive means to me, as well as what it means to be successful. And I find myself seeking out new ways to feed my soul and how to feel as though I’m making some sort of fulfilling contribution to the world around me. When I think back to my former career where I spent 30 wonderful years working and finding unending personal fulfillment, I realize that I don’t remember my young self having spent any time at all putting much consideration into what I really wanted to do. I sorta just ‘fell’ into my career. Boy was I lucky to have fallen into something that was so rewarding to me. Now, as I’m nearing my 50th birthday I feel incredibly blessed to have created a situation for myself where I have the opportunity to put a lot of actual intention into what I will do with this next part of my life. In these ‘post working’ years I’m hoping to enter into things in my day to day life with much more consideration and intention. Now, having said this, I have to tell you, I don’t really have any idea yet, what this means to me! hah! I’m still just putting it out there and letting myself have all the time I need to figure this out. If I know One thing to be true it is that this wonderful place is where I’m supposed to be and Life is Good!