Tag Archives: boquete panama

An Adventure…

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Adventure!

Today (Monday) I shared on my Facebook page, a little adventure I had with one of our workers Martin. He came to talk to Scott this morning (Monday morning) as our crew was just getting started. Apparently he needed help getting his young wife to the hospital because she was in labor. Yikes! This conversation with Scott took place on my terrace right in front of the open kitchen window where I was washing dishes. I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my keys. I could understand enough of the conversation to get that Scott told Martin I would drive them to the hospital. So I happily grabbed my purse and my keys, Martin and I got into my car and he directed me to where they live. Martin is only about 21 years old, he’s been working with us on our construction project for about 6 months now. He and his wife are a very young indigenous couple and he speaks very broken Spanish she speaks no spanish or english. Their native language is the Ngobe language and he seems to have about as much Spanish as me, maybe even less! So his ability to direct me to where he lives was a comedy of errors, but I got there eventually. Read the rest of this entry

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Yes, I’m Still here…

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I realize I haven’t published a post in some time! Sheesh! My life is really beginning to feel as though it’s taking on a sort of Rhythm. And it’s hard for me to discern when I should share what’s going on. I don’t want to bore you to death with the same ol’ same ol’! To be honest, what started out as a big adventure has somehow begun to just feel like a normal, everyday life! Nothing so special so share. Shrug! But I know my friends and family get a kick out of knowing what’s going on , so….

Here’s what’s going on in our life, not especially exciting or even very interesting, but here goes…Let’s see, well, I’ll begin with our construction project, since that’s what seems to dominate our lives these days. Our workers have been making good progress on the roof of the workshop. They’ve got the majority of it nearly framed with the cariolas. Which means the walls are all done as well. So, In about a week or so they will begin to put up the zinc part, which is the big metal sheets that go on top of the metal beams, (for those of you not so familiar with this type of roofing procedure!). Earlier in the week we went down to David to a place our friend Keith told us about, a place called Kame. This is THE place to find the commercial-type, roll up garage doors that we wanted to install in the workshop. We need three of them. We got a quotation which seemed fair and so Scott drove back today (Saturday) to order them. Check that big thing off our list! Just when I begin to wonder,”How are we gonna find that?”, someone here who’s in the ‘know’ shows up and saves the day! Now, the next big thing we need to find is an electrician who will actually follow through and get our power run up to our property! Ugh! This is proving to be a hard one. Read the rest of this entry

The Canal De Panama…(and our Fingerprint adventure!)

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As you know, we spent the weekend in Panama City attempting to get our fingerprints done in order to begin the process of applying for our Permeant residency visa. We have heard various stories, (most bad) of other expats attempting to do this very same thing to differing successes. Without exception each telling has required multiple attempts to attain fingerprints that the FBI will accept (apparently the panamanians don’t know how to do them the way our FBI likes !) . Many such stories tell of as many as 7 or 8 different tries! Yikes!! We had read on one of the expat forums here in Panama that it’s also a very good idea to go directly to the FBI web-site and actually print out the fingerprint form that they use because many people got to the DIJ (the official place for this process) only to find that they are all out of the form!! We printed out multiple copies of this form ,”just in Case”! Good thing we did that because the lovely young lady at this office asked if she could make copies herself because she indeed had none!! Ha! So armed with every single piece of paper and copies of everything we could think of , including copies of our passports, we felt prepared,(NOT!). Of course we requested that she do both our prints two times, “just in case”. It was a very time consuming ordeal but we remained “Tranquilo” throughout! I was sadly disappointed when she told us we would need to return the following week to pick them up!!!NOOOOO!! We really did not want to go back to Panama City AGAIN next week!! UGGG!! But we asked if our attorney could come get them and she said yes. Whew!! But she needed us to provide her with a passport picture when the prints were picked up. “Ok, we can figure out how to do that”. I’m thinking to myself,”@!#$! What!! Where are we suppose to get passport pictures?” We said our good-byes to the very helpful,(albeit, quite frustrated with my inexperience in the proper fingerprinting procedure?) and off we went to try to figure out if our attorney would be able to arrange to pick up the prints next week. Mind you, we have never actually met our attorney, we have only corresponded with her via email so far. We immediately sent her an email explaining what we needed and hoped to hear back from her asap. I did also try to phone her at both her office and her cell phone with no luck. We figured this was a good time to start DRINKING! We remembered seeing a Brew Pub just across from our hotel!! WHoot! WHoot!! We hailed a taxi and made a Beeline to said Brew Pub and wait to hear back from our attorney. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about how we succeeded in acquiring the additional passport photos… after exiting the very crowded DIJ, there were the usual venders outside selling food and who knows what else and Scott saw one little kiosk that said “photos”!! Yep! Right there we stepped inside and the guy took our pictures with his little camera and Voila! We had our additional passport photos. It’s impossible to ever predict what will be difficult to do here and what will be strangely simple!

Of course Friday came to a close with no word from our attorney so we decided we would go ahead and make arrangements to go see the Canal the next morning (Saturday). We figured we would be able to contact the attorney after we got back home to Boquete. Worse case scenario we schlep back to the city again and just get done what we need to get done, (Big Eye Roll here!). We made a reservation and paid for tickets to go on a small boat tour through all the locks in the canal (an all day event). Then , Of course , who do we finally hear from? Yep, you guessed it, our attorney! Telling us to meet her at 10:00a.m. on Saturday! UGGG!! We told her that because we had not heard from her we made arrangements to go on a tour and we could not cancel it. She said she could indeed arrange to go pick up our prints and deliver the passport photos but we would need to provide her with a deposit to retain her services as well as a signed document to authorize her to pick it up for us. No problem. Whew, disaster diverted! Now it is monday and we are trying to get ahold of her to learn how we make arrangements to both send her the photos and our authorization and how we will get her the money for her retainer? All will work out, not without a bit of hair pulling and nail biting at times but as I am constantly reminding myself about many things, “Poco a Poco”. And Breeeeeathe! Ahhhh….There we go, Tranquilo!!

When I began to write this post I was intending to tell about the canal tour. Needless to say, it was spectacular! It wasn’t the most “Exciting” thing we have ever done but we really enjoyed it. We were especially glad we chose to do the whole canal. They had an option to do a partial crossing and I’m sure that would have been fine as well but we really wanted to experience the entire crossing at least once and we figured, what the heck! Most people I know who have been through the Panama Canal have been on huge cruise ships. Being in a (relatively) tiny little vessel going through the canal really made us feel as though we were actually “in” the action! We could see every aspect of the process and the narrated tour really added a lot of information that made it even more enjoyable. I am dumbfounded by all the work and engineering that went into the building and designing of the Canal! Especially given the period that it was done! Wow! What a marvel of human endurance and ingenuity! I just cant say enough about how impressed I was to see such a magnificent thing up close and personal. I will include some of my pictures to share with those who have not had the pleasure of seeing it in real life yet. One other thing that was pretty cool , they have a live web-cam and so I quickly texted my mom and Scotts mom so they could go on line and actually see us going through the canal! I don’t think either one was able to figure it out but had I known beforehand It would have been fun for them to be able to see it.

All in all, our impromptu weekend away was pretty successful. We feel good about accomplishing our first attempt at acquiring our fingerprints , I will keep my fingers crossed that I will be able to tell people, someday , that it wasn’t that bad . (I know, I know, wishful thinking! ) . And seeing the canal is one more thing I can cross of my list of things I wanted to see in the world. We also had never really had the time to do a little exploring of Panama City so we are glad to have that done as well. The Journey on the bus from the city was a bit harrowing because there was quite a good size storm the entire drive. On the Pan American Highway there were many fallen trees partially blocking the road which added about an hour to our already 7 hour ride! I was glad to have my trusty kindle so I could lose myself in a good story during the whole bus ride! (By The Way, for those of you who miss my book recommendations, I was reading The Physician by Noah Gordon, I really enjoyed it) We both agreed that we were overjoyed to return to our new home here in the highlands of Boquete!! It’s much more our style, not so hot, crowded and busy. This morning it was good to be awakened once again by the sound of the roosters crowing in the distance and the birdsong outside my window. Ahhhh, good to be “HOME”!

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I just love making new friends!

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I just had a wonderful lunch with two really sweet young women, Molly and Allison. They both come from California and I just wanna keep them both!! I met Molly last week , she was in my Spanish class. More than once, Yubal, our teacher asked Molly,”Molly, please can you explain to Holly in English?” . She is so smart and really has a pretty good grasp of the language. Although she will humbly deny it, she is very smart! I’m pretty sure she has already had some experience learning Spanish so she is way ahead of me. I knew right away that Molly and I would strike up a friendship, she is so sweet,(kinda like me! hee!hee!) and I really admire a young women traveling on her own. She is planning to volunteer with the Peace Corp and is waiting to hear where she will be going. Molly’s sister Allison just arrived in Boquete last night to join her little sis on a Panamanian adventure! I have no doubt they are on the cusp of creating memories they will cherish for their whole life. It makes me wish that my little sister and I had had the opportunity to share such an experience together. These two have a very special bond, this is very evident in the way they behave with each other. There is a mutual admiration that just shows. We had a great lunch at Big Daddys, Margarita’s , of course and some yummy shrimp tacos, I think Molly had the Veggie taco and a cerveza . We talked about what they have planned for the time they are in Boquete and they really have a lot of fun things on their agenda. Today they are planning to visit a coffee finca and the rest of the week is filled with a massage for Allison (Thanks to Jordan she knows just the place for that!),thermal pools,water falls possibly rock climbing,a stroll through the fruit market and a hunt for some local authentic tamales . I´m sure they will find plenty of adventure to get into together. They dont seem like the type of girls to sit around and miss out on any fun. There’s plenty of fun to be found in this mountain top haven and they will not be disappointed. I only wish Mariah and Elisabeth were here to hang out with them because they would totally hit it off!! I’ll miss Molly , she and her sis are taking off on saturday to Bocas De Toro for some island adventure, How fun!! I’m sure there will be lots of beach time , snorkeling, zip lining, and maybe they’ll find Jordan somewhere and share a Margarita! I have a feeling wherever Molly and Allison end up , fun will follow, and I’m certain no shortage of happiness created by just being together. Cheers!!

Whew! Time is flying by and there’s much too much to tell, Here it goes…

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I haven’t had a second since Thursday to sit down and write . All the fun began on Friday at Spanish school. As usual, the first half of the day consisted of me struggling through class and trying my best to make my head comprehend something. We always have about a twenty minute break at about 2:45ish then we resume our lessons until 5:00. Here is where you begin to get more of an understanding of just why I have fallen in love with my teacher…Yubal, he had the brilliant idea to commence our studies at the bar down the street! He arranged for another class to join us so we could practice our Spanish. And practice we did, with the aide of Margarita’s suddenly Spanish lessons were beginning to become a bit more fun. We sat together and began to converse in español. Mi nombre es, Holly, yo de los estados unidos. Vivo en Boquete. Estoy jubilado. Yo vivido en Boquete por un mes. Blah! Blah! Blah! The last two hours of school flew by incredibly fast and when Scott found me at the bar having a margarita aided lesson, boy was he envious! (Big smile here!) But far be it for my man Scott to hold a grudge, especially when cerveza is close at hand! LOL!! He quickly joined in on the fun and began to take advantage of the opportunity to chat as much as possible with his burned out brain ! We ended up staying at the bar until about 8:00 then everyone decided it was time to go Dancing!!

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We Got This!

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We got up early today(yesterday) , 5:45! Yuck! We needed to walk into town early in order to catch the early bus into David to pick up our new truck . This may seem kinda crazy but we needed to get back here to Boquete so we would get to our Spanish class which starts at 1:00. It really hasn’t been too bad not having a car so far but, I gotta say, it’s nice to have the freedom to go wherever we like, whenever we like. Taxi’s are abundant and very inexpensive here but there’s just nothing like having your own transportation. After spending about an hour and a half sorting through all the final paperwork at the dealership with Oscar and his assistant Cinthia, we gleefully drove off the lot in our new truck (well,I may have been the gleeful party!) Next stop. The Do It Center!

We’ve been here for 22 days, (but who’s counting) and are slowly discovering a few little things we need. This apartment is furnished but there are just a few little household items we have discovered that have not been provided by the inn. Of course when we first got here we discovered there was no coffee pot in our room so we thought a french press would suffice and a blender was also something we really “wanted” in order to enjoy making smoothies with all these fresh fruits we were seeing in the market. A couple of days ago a glass jar of salsa fell out of our refrigerator and crashed onto the tile floor, breaking into a million little pieces, YIKES! After quickly getting Scott some shoes and picking up the cats and putting them in the bedroom I had to run downstairs and try to locate a broom to sweep up all the glass. AHA! I need a broom and a dustpan! Then , later as Scott was trying to whip up some breakfast we discovered that this new apartment has no mixing bowl, this will not do, how will he make pancakes? Another thing this apartment doesn’t have is a kitchen towel, may seem unimportant but remember there’s no dishwasher so yours truly needs something to dry dishes with .

Starting anew is a big adventure. When our container arrives we will then have all our creature comforts but in the meantime, we are making do with the bare minimum which for the most part is actually still more than some people have. Part of this lifestyle change for me has been to minimize my material possessions and to “want” less. As we packed up our possessions to be shipped here to our new home we sifted and sorted and got rid of a vast majority of “stuff” in order to minimize our possessions. It was a very liberating experience and I haven’t felt one ounce of regret for having chosen to clear out all the excess. As I write this post about a few little necessities, a way to make coffee, a blender for smoothies, a broom and dustpan to keep our living area clean, mixing bowls so Scott can cook, and dishtowels, I feel so pleased to be here. I still have sooooo much and my heart feels full of happiness ! The word that comes to my mind this morning as I write about the silly little things is Abundance. I feel as though I have an Abundance of happiness and joy each day I wake up and begin a new day here in my new home. Any and all material possessions are simply icing on the cake and I’m grateful for my new broom and my blender but what I feel the most grateful for is what I see when I look out these beautiful windows!

This place we have chosen to live is providing us with so much! Aside from the obvious, fresh mountain air, birdsong to wake up to each new day, flowers and trees in abundance , I could go on and on about the natural beauty all around us, the people we are meeting and getting to know, from the waitress at Pianista who was so pleased to see us last night for the second time and greeted us as though we were old friends, to the Spanish teacher who is making my class fun by laughing a lot! And the car salesman who reiterated that we must know that he is our friend and we should be sure to call him with “ANYTHING my Friend”, Doctor, lawyer, dentist, or if you are not sure about a person, we should call him because he knows everyone and he will tell us if they are good people or not! The Taxi driver who made us feel as though we were getting a ride from a friend. And the gardener who speaks no English but gives us a smile and a wave every time we walk past him. Oh and there is the friendliest construction crew who we walk past everyday , they wave and say “Bueno!” to us with big smiles ! Did I mention the school children? Yesterday, walking to town a little girl walking with her little brother very shyly, urged him over to us with big smiles on their faces and the little boy said to us, “Gooood Morning!” Ohhhh! They were so adorable, I just wanted to squeeze them! ( dont worry, I didnt !)

I guess all this to say, I feel as though my life is filled to the rim with abundance. An abundance of new friends and time to enjoy all that this amazing new place has to offer. As I said in the title of this post “We Got This!” I am putting the finishing touches on this post on the following morning . We just finished with breakfast and have spent all morning studying Spanish and doing our homework. Scott’s new hard drive for his poor lap top arrived yesterday but sadly , it doesn’t seem to be working, darn! So it’s possible a new lap top may be in order but not to worry, we have my trusty iPad!! Ahhhh the material possessions again, Oh well! Life is good and our Adventure continues! Off To school now! Ciao!

Another Move… Across the Hall.

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Well, a successful move across the hall has been accomplished. To the horror of the cat’s , who were getting pretty comfy in the studio apartment, we now have an actual bedroom and , yes folks, a full fledged DRESSER! AHHH! We are officially unpacked and sittin’ pretty here in our nice little one bedroom apartment. The thing I just love about this apartment is the windows. There’s a whole wall of windows in the living room and two big ones in the bedroom. The view is so beautiful, I just cant wait till there’s a nice thunder and lightening storm. I can sit on the sofa and just gaze at the sky and enjoy the view . We even have a much bigger refrigerator , not an actual full sized refrigerator, but not a counter height one which is much better.

Today is a very relaxing day, aside from moving, we aren’t getting much else accomplished. Although, I happened to think that relaxing is very important. Tomorrow is the first day of our Spanish school so It’s good to take advantage of a bit of down time.

About an hour or so later…
I just had a little FaceTime with my friend Cindy and Skype with Natalie. I am a big fan of keeping in touch with my friends this way. It’s so nice to be able to catch up and chat with people back home. I’ve also discovered the chat feature on Facebook, and it’s a good thing as well. I got to have some great chat time with a couple of really good friends who I miss terribly, Rhonda and Sandy! There are so many different ways to correspond with everyone back home. Natalie was sitting on the beach in Carmel …. It was a beautiful sunny, blue sky day. Cindy took me for a walk around her beautiful backyard and showed me her huge hydrangea. Yes, technology makes it easy to stay connected from here.

The next morning…
Ahhhh. It’s a beautiful morning, again, here in the highlands of Boquete! Can you see the smile on my face as I’m writing this? We had a good nights sleep in our new apartment, in spite of the “king” sized bed that is actually two twin beds pushed together! UGG! The proprietors here at the inn keep pigeons and they are kept in these big cages outside our bedroom window. The cat’s are mesmerized by this set-up. They also have a pet parrot who apparently hates the rain! He screamed during the entire time that it rained yesterday, not a happy parrot. The funny thing is , he has a covered section in his little caged in home but was choosing to stand in the pouring rain, yelling his little head off! Could he be singing in the rain and it just sounds like screaming? It’s possible. Anyways , the cat’s are quite entertained by the pigeons and I think it will be prudent to close the windows when we leave the apartment or we may come home to two “cat shaped” holes in the screens.

As I wrote up above, yesterday, Today is our first day of Spanish class! Oh Boy! I’m both scared and excited. I’m scared because It’ss been a really long time since I’ve been in a classroom setting and I’m hoping this brain of mine is still capable of learning!! And I’m super excited because I love to talk to people and get to know them and this language barrier is really cramping my style!! I just can’t wait to have the ability to talk with whom ever I like! So I think the excitement and anticipation of being able to speak another language is the overriding emotion so I’m ready to tackle this! Like most of the new things I’ve found myself diving into, I’ll just dive on in with a positive attitude and enjoy the process of learning something new. It’s all part of the Adventure, right? Yep! I’ll keep you posted on our progress, one thing I’m certain about…Me and Scott won’t be in the same class, at the same level for long! That darn guy learns sooooo fast, I’m sure he’ll be in the next level before I know it! That’s ok though, we all just learn at a different pace and my pace just happens to need to be repeated , and repeated and repeated! I’m prepared to be in the moment and continue to remember to embrace that “Tranquillo” mindset in this situation and to “Breathe”. Oh and most importantly, I’m planning to enjoy the process! I’ll be meeting many new people and making new friends along the way, this is something to really look forward to. Sooooo Let’s get this part of the Adventure started!!

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Scott’s Birthday…Shhhhh (I didn’t say that!)

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He hates it when I tell people that its his birthday. So my gift to him this year was that I would not tell anyone!! (except for the little announcement I made on my Facebook page!) Hmmmmm? Well … I tried really hard ! And for most of the day I did pretty darn good ! We walked into town to check with the guys at MBE about the hard drive we are expecting from Dell. They told us that , yes they got an email notification that the package has arrived in Miami and should show up here in Boquete by next week, wed or thurs…Did I announce to them that is was Scott’s birthday? NO! Then We went to our Spanish school to pay for our ten weeks of classes which start on Monday, did I announce his BD there ? NO! Next we went to Baru restaurant in town for a beer and decided to have lunch, we chatted with the local, regular crazy gringo who keeps telling Scott about all the gringo’s who move here and end up leaving their wives for cute little Panamanian women Ugggg! I swear, we run into this guy every time we are there and he talks about this every single time! Of course today he added to his story the fact that you gotta be careful with these “cute” Panamanian women cuz’ they’ll fill a bag up with ice and bang themselves in the face and go tell the police that you beat her and tried to rape her! LOL! Hmmmmm.. Did I mention, Crazy gringo? Anyways as I was saying, did I announce Scott’s birthday at Baru? NO! Then we were invited to a lovely gathering by Valerie and Mark. They live in a complex in the Palo Alto area , kinda like several duplexes, and they organized a block party type of thing. There were about 15 people , everyone brought something to share, chips, mango salsa, bean dip, guacamole, wine, beer, and piña coladas . We all gathered under this great covered patio area up behind where they live. Such a great group of interesting, nice people all with very interesting stories of how they came to be here and what they do while living here. It was quite rainy and stormy, some thunder and lightening, the works, but not one bit cold, again I love this weather! Anyways, I of course, had a couple glasses of wine then suddenly I was drinking a very delicious Pina colada! Yummm! Then before I knew it I was announcing that we would have to be leaving because it is Scott’s Birthday!!!! OOOPS!!! Suddenly I had told 15 people ! Good Grief! Well, I had already told Valerie and Mark but that was before I promised not to tell people. Oh, I had also already told Al and Sela and Lyn and Eric and probably Andrea and Don! Hmmmm! I’m just soooo happy that he was born, I want everyone to know what a special day it is!! So after a delightful gathering with Valarie an Mark’s wonderful group of Amigo’s , off we went to IL PIANISTA for a special Birthday dinner. This was our first time eating a this restaurant and we were not disappointed. When we first walked in we were pleasantly surprised by the view of the river and a spectacular little waterfall surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers, it looked like something made in Disneyland! It was unreal looking but it was very real! What a great setting for a special Birthday dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine and suddenly, you’ll never guess what happened ! Somehow, I was telling our server that it is Scott’s Birthday!!!!! Yikes! As Scott glared at me with a grin hidden behind his beard, I said “OH NOOOO! OOOPS!” I told the server, “He hates when I tell people!” She laughed with me and thought it was so funny! Poor Scott! To top it all off, as we sipped on our wine, his cell phone rang and it was Lynn who proceeded to sing happy birthday to him! Ha!Ha!Ha! Thank goodness Someone sang to him today! No birthday is complete without at least one Happy Birthday To You Song!! He loved it! but I think I loved it most!! This is a repeated theme each year! Last year we were in Ecuador, in Cuenca , and I told the Chef! Well, I just cant help myself! I happened to consider June 14th a very special day, especially given the fact that it’s the end of the six months out of the year when he is younger than me!! I do believe Scott had a good day. We found out that our new car will be ready to pick up on Monday. It arrived at the dealership from Panama City today but Oscar says it will take all day tomorrow for them to deal with all the paperwork so we should wait till monday to pick it up( Oscar also wished Mr. Scott a happy Birthday when he called!) . All in all, not a bad birthday for Scott even though he’s stuck with such a big mouth wife, 🙂 He survives every year! His Adventure started when he met me and each day it continues and he’s just never sure what I’ll do next. He would hate it if I was predictable, although come to think about it, he probably could have predicted that by the end of the day most of Boquete would know it was his Birthday! LOL!! Cheers!!

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Having Some Down Time, Finally…

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Today is our very first day of total and complete down time! I woke up late and proceeded to just just laze around all day long. The weather today was pretty dreary looking outside so it was conducive to a “do nothing” kind of mindset. And I do believe we have both been luxuriating in the ability to do nothing and feel no guilt for it. Holy crap! It’s a strange feeling to not get anything done and not feel like I’m putting something off. No house to clean, no yard work to get to, no mail to check, not even any bills to pay, no salon banking to do, no retail to price and shelves to stock, no salon supplies to buy at Costco, no oil to change in the car, no messages to return, whew! It’s not easy to adapt to such a low maintenance lifestyle ,but I’m working on it.

As I am sitting in our little studio rental looking out the window at the beautiful view of the trees and the mountains all around me ,I just have to smile. The cacophony of birdsong is amazing and the roosters in the distance (the distance being the key word! ) is blissful to my ears. I hear no sirens no traffic, no loud jets flying above. All the sounds that I hear are sounds that I love. Hey!! Wait a minute! ( tires screeching to a halt!) Am I a poet?? I am feeling rather inspired at the moment but Geesh, Ive never been a poet before! Look what’s happening to me! Soaking up this clean mountain air and taking in the sights of all that nature has to offer is really giving me a calm , grateful perspective . Sorry if I’m sounding sappy but, ya know, I gotta be me.

I know as we get more settled we will, naturally, begin to accumulate more ‘real life’ responsibilities , but right now is a brief gap before all that sets in. We will eventually have a home to maintain and a car and a bank account and bills to pay. So today, as we soak up the much deserved and much needed down time I feel grateful for this moment. Each moment has it’s bliss. Even being blessed enough to have a home to care for and all the other responsibilities are things I will be grateful for when they are again a part of my life. I’m just enjoying the moment, right now. It’s a beautiful thing to embrace each moment when we are in it and not just when we look back at it. Instead of wishing I were in a different time and place, as I was guilty of doing for what felt like an eternity , while preparing for this move, I actually feel great peace in this moment and in this place. When I know I am where I should be I can feel peace in my heart. And right now, in this moment I am where I belong. This Adventurer is enjoying a bit of Smoooooth sailin’ , can you see my big smile? Cheers!

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The Dreaded “FUZZY” Hair…

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I know this post may sound a bit vain but I have a feeling all my natural curly Amiga’s will understand! Holy crap, I’m experiencing some serious fuzzy issues here in my new home. I did realize I was moving to the tropics, so it’s not unexpected, but what the heck’s a girl to do? Seriously folks, I used to have good hair. I used to get compliments about my hair and thats just not gonna happen here. I don’t even care about the compliments, I’d just like to look in the mirror and not be horrified by what I see on my head! I am in the process of experimenting with different solutions to this horror. It’s very interesting to have to re-learn how to deal with my hair. My entire adolescence was spent standing in front of the mirror, often in tears, trying to manage my curly hair. Of course in those days I just wanted to look like Farah Faucet, (that was too much to ask for!) All the other girls had that beautiful “feathered” hair but If I managed to even remotely duplicate that look it only lasted until I stepped outside in the fog or had to participate in PE! Don’t even get me started about going to the beach with my friends! All my friends could swim and then just towel dry their hair and not have a care in the world. Not me, there was just no “wash-n-wear” for me! I spent unimaginable hours straightening my hair, it was truly a living nightmare. I had the worst hair in my school because it was so fried from all the heat from the blow drying and curling iron. Too bad I didn’t have a flat iron back then , my hair would have been even more fried then it was.

So here’s the funny thing, I spent the first 18 years of my life struggling and hating my hair. Then the next 30ish years enjoying a pretty good relationship with my hair. I stopped straightening it and learned how to use the right products and how to enhance the natural curls . These were good years , my awful hair had morphed into my best feature! Now at 47 years old I’m wondering if I’m back to that oh so familiar hair-hating phase. I haven’t begun crying in the bathroom yet but if I don’t figure it out, ya never know. And once again, all the other girls have such nice soft curls! Waaaaa!

I have thought of several different options off the top of my head, to calm this wild mane. The time for experimenting is upon me. My first thought was, I need to grow out the layers so the weight of the hair will pull the fuzz out. This option would create a much different shape to my overall hair, flat on the top and a flatter look overall, I think. Hmmmmm? Then I thought, maybe I will attempt letting it dry naturally, no blow drying. I am still trying to see if I can get my tried and true Alterna Curl products to work it’s magic. Yesterday was my first attempt at going Ah-natural. Well, not completely A-Natural… I did use my usual cocktail of hair products that I’m normally accustomed to taming my hair with. I actually left the house with a wet head! Not my normal M.O. . I had to rely on Scotts “Un-professional” and rather biased opinion as it dried,(not the most reliable opinion as he claims I look pretty “all” the time! I know very sweet). By the time I actually took a peek at my reflection the day was nearly over so the jury is still out on that first attempt. But my fuzz monitor, AKA Scott, claimed it was much less fuzzy,although much flatter than normal. Soooo now I wonder if “shorter Layers” may aide in the Natural , air dried look? Hmmmm. When I look around at my new friends who have natural curly hair here, they all seem to have much shorter layers. I have to say, if I can figure out how to have such nice soft curls like them, I will be a happy girl. I’m workin’ on it. At least I’m not aiming for Farah Faucet!

Now in case your thinking that I’m sounding awfully vain about my appearance, I will inform you that I have not even unpacked my make up! Nope, not even one piece of make up have I even laid my eyes on since getting here. And I haven’t even thought twice about it. I’m happily adapting to this much more casual, maybe a bit less fashion conscience culture. Nobody here judges each other about what they are wearing or how current their shoes are. I seriously love this about my new life. I’m not knocking fashion or being conscience of your appearance in any way, (heck I just spent 30 years of my life helping people stay up with fashion) I’m just really enjoying a different focus, that’s all. A focus on the people, not on their outward appearance. It’s refreshing as are many of the new aspects of this life in the highlands of Boquete Panama. As soon as I get a grip on this Fuzzy issue I’ll be a much happier girl! It may quite possibly be that I need to 1. stay away from mirrors and 2. Invest in some Hats!! Two very viable solutions to my issue with my crazy hair. Humph!

This n That…

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We’ve been keepin’ busy, as you know. We had such a great time at our friends house on Tuesday night. We were invited up to their lovely home for a fish dinner with another couple Eric and Lyn. It was arranged that we would take a taxi to a place called San Francisco Plaza and this other couple would pick us up there and take us with them to our friends house. Our friends live up in the hills so it’s not easy to get a taxi up there, so it was really nice that Eric and Lyn didn’t mind taking us along with them . Scott and I were waiting at the designated spot and wondering how we would know who these people were when they drove up. Not to worry, a couple drove up, parked and got out and we immediately knew this was them! They had big smiles on their faces and introduced themselves and I could tell right away that they were kindred spirits. They were so full of energy and warmth, not unlike our other friends who had organized this whole gathering. Needless to say, the evening was full of lot’s of delicious food, good wine, great conversation, and plenty of laughter to go around. At one point during our evening Eric said something that made me laugh so hard, I don’t know if he actually originally coined this phrase but as far as I’m concerned he coined it , he said, ” We are all HERE because we aren’t all THERE! HA! HA! HA! Spoken like a man who knows a thing or two about the type of folks who choose to live this life here in Boquete. And I gotta say, I’m honored to be here joining this quirky group of “Not All THERE” people! LOL!

This week has been filled with so many exciting and new experiences but for me the people here in this little mountain town are what I think stand out most. I cant even begin to express adequately, how welcoming and generous , genuine and kind, each person I have met here in Boquete has been. Not only all these people I have written about but also taxi drivers, gardeners who we walk past on our walk into town, the guys at the Mail Boxes Etc store, people on the bus, the car salesman at the Toyota dealership,Oscar, who made sure to tell us to let him know if he could help us with anything else here in Panama, like a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer, anything at all!(and we didn’t even buy a car from him, just spent time asking lots of questions) We heard about a guy named Keith who helps people locate and buys nice used cars, he helps with all the documentation, licenses etc etc. What a great guy he seems to be as well. I think I could go on and on about the good experiences we have had with people but I think you get the idea. Now, I do realize that we have only been here a little over a week, and I’m sure we will have our fare share of run ins with Yucky people, they are everywhere! But in this first week I’ve felt very fortunate to have come into contact with good people .

I believe that more often than not we tend to attract the type of energy we put out in the world and If that’s true, I’m dishin’ out some great energy cuz’ good people are coming my way. We are working on getting ourselves settled here and there is still a lot to do until we truly feel like we are home. We aren’t in any hurry but the one thing that would be nice to find is a more permanent rental where we can actually settle in. We would love to have a kitchen where Scott can cook the way he enjoys and I would just love to have an outdoor area where I can sit and enjoy watching the rain and the lightening and listening to the thunder in the distance. Tomorrow we are meeting with Eduardo who has a couple of condos in town available to rent and we are still waiting to get pictures of another place we heard about that will be available in September. There is quite a bit out there, its just a matter of getting the word out and being patient. The right thing will come along and for the time being we are pretty comfy just where we are.

Today we filled our day with a little car shopping in David. We took the public bus into town for the first time. It cost us $3.50 for the two of us but it was pretty slow . When we have driven into David in Past visits here, it takes about 35-40 minutes but it took nearly an hour on the bus. The busses are perfectly fine, they are actually old school busses from the states. They’ve been fixed up and some are painted funny colors and they all seem to have nice big stereo systems with big speakers installed in the front of the bus for the booming latin music that pound pound pounds the whole ride. The people are polite and even though it was crowded it didn’t bother me at all, I just love to people watch so I was happy. Now car shopping here was hugely different from any experience I have ever had in the States! First of all I’m sure there are other dealerships but the ones near where the Bus lets us off were the only ones we hit today, Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. We were looking at the mid-sized SUV’s. One thing all the dealerships in David seemed to have in common today was inventory, there was none! they had like one of each make. And the biggest difference between car shopping in the States and car shopping here in Panama was the salesmen…they ignore you! Yep! They did not swoop! No body asked us if we needed any help, or followed us around, nada, nothing! And the cars, many of them, had no stickers on them so we had to wait forever just to find out prices. The best place was, as I’ve said already, Toyota. The reason they were the best is because of Oscar! He’s the man! He was efficient, honest, open, told us what he suggested for the best way to get the best price, and wrote it all down for us telling us to let him know what we decide. Definitely not the same sales and marketing education as they get in the states.

Oh, we also went to the electronics store to look for a blender. There’s so much delicious fresh fruit here, we thought it would be good to start making fruit smoothies for breakfast to go along with our two mile hike into town that we are doing everyday! The electronics store reminded me of those stores they had a long time ago, Remember BEST? They only have samples to look at and then you have to get an employee to order it for you then you go to a window to pay then you stand in line at a counter where they bring your items from the back and here they actually did something that totally surprised me but in the end I thought it was such a great thing…. They actually open up your purchase and take it completely out and even plug it in to make sure all the parts are in working order and it works right, then they very carefully re-pack it and put it all back in the packaging for you. There was a lady next to us who was buying a microwave and the guy took it out put it on the counter and proceeded to plug it in and turn it on! I was a little worried cuz there was nothing in the microwave and I was hoping it wouldn’t explode or something. It’s fun to see all the different ways they do things here, many things seem crazy and inefficient to us but then there are many things that seem to be great ideas!

Tomorrow we are meeting our new friend Lyn ,who happens to be a realtor, and is taking us around to look at some properties that are for sale. I am also hoping to be able to meet one of my virtual blogging friends who lives in David, she is going to be up here in Boquete and has emailed us to see if we can connect while she’s here in my neck of the woods. Hopefully that will work out but if not, we have allllll the time in the world, we got nothin’ but time, right? Hee!Hee! One of these days It would be nice to find some free time to just chill and read a book , I haven’t had time to do that yet! It seems every time I try to read I just fall asleep! Adventures are hectic ! Never a dull moment in this Adventure!!

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Getting Acclimated

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Getting acclimated

Boquete is a small town but it’s divided into several different unique areas. I’m trying to get acclimated to where all these areas are located. Scott, of the amazing sense of direction, seems to already know where we are in relation to where everything else is. I, on the other hand am in a constant state of confusion and disorientation. I think I may have mentioned that I have only ever lived in California and in Northern California at that. So I have a bit of work to do to get myself familiar with all the different areas of my new home. We are currently staying in El Santuario which is between Alto Lino and Bajo Lino. The main area of town is called Bajo Boquete and there is Bajo Volcancito , where one of my new friends lives. There is also Volcancito Arriba, which is about 10 or 15 min out of town. Palmira centro is where we were today for The marvelous chicken shit bingo game, not to be confused by Palmira Arriba. Then there is Palmira Abajo which I don’t believe we have explored yet. Alto Boquete is the first area you pass through from David and them there is the Jaramillo areas , Jaramillo Abajo, which is where I think our other friends live, and Jaramillo Arriba, and Alto Jaramillo. Salto and Bajo Mono and Bajo Quiel and Alto Quiel , Palo Alto. I’m sure there may be more little areas but I’m looking at a map and That’s all I see at the moment. I have a lot to learn. No hurry, in time I’m sure I’ll get my bearings and I’ll let you know when that day comes, not soon!

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So Far…

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So far, 5 day’s into our expat adventure, I have to say I have not detected any mistakes yet. I’m sure something will crop up eventually but as of today, June 2,2013,we are feeling as though all our research and planning has really paid off. Also our mindset is a huge help in this regard because we are very relaxed and ready to just chill! To worry and fret about things and have very specific expectations would lead to extreme frustrations and unrealistic outcomes. Things are different here and we are prepared to face whatever comes our way. We expect to begin to experience some difficulty in some way but it’s too soon to know what they may end up being.

We are still debating on when we will buy a car, how we will do it, where we will do it and what car we will buy. We know already that we will eventually have two cars , one new or newer SUV for me to drive and a used pick up truck for Scott to use. We have been looking on line and talking to our friends to find out what dealerships are in David . There are Toyota, Hyundai, Mitsubitshi, Honda, Ford, Suzuki, Kia. There are also two men in town who come very highly recommended by every expat we speak to . Apparently they both help expats buy cars and get all the necessary license and registration and insurance and inspections done. One guy is known as Cowboy Dave and Keith is the other guy who we actually saw today at One Eyed Franks. Scott sent Keith an email today asking him a few questions. We are thinking it might be prudent of us to wait to buy the new car until we have our Pensionado visa because it’s our understanding that when we have that we can defer the import taxes on the new car,( it’s one of the perks of this particular visa) . This could amount to several thousand dollars so it’s probably a good idea to consider waiting for that benefit to click in for us. Scott is hoping to get some answers regarding what is available and what is the best way to proceed in regards to buying a vehicle here. We are in no hurry to buy a car because so far,(it’s only been 5 days) we find taking taxi’s and walking to be quite easy to get around.

I began thinking about mistakes about moving overseas because I was reading another blog written by someone who just recently moved to Boquete. One of his posts was listing some of the things he considered mistakes for him and none of them seemed to be things that have even remotely registered for us as mistakes. His was not buying a car before or just when they got here and not speaking the language and bringing too many belongings from his country of origin. Hmmmmm, I wonder how many pairs of shoes he brought? I’m sure we will eventually have a list of things we would do differently but as of right now we seem to be cruising along just fine and enjoying the fruits of many years of research and planning, a very open mind and a sense of humor along with an appreciation for a culture and community that we hope to integrate ourselves into with time. So far we are relaxing, exploring, recuperating from surviving our exit strategy from the States and finding our bearing with each passing day.

This indigenous couple were strolling into town ahead of us on Saturday night, Sooo adorable!!

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Retirement Fun…What???

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We were invited to an event to remember today, our 5Th day in Boquete! Our new friends who shall not be named, as I will protect the names of the innocent in this case. (Hey, it’s a small town and they have a reputation to maintain! ) Anyways, when they met us they new they had met just the right couple to include in this inaugural Boquete Panama event! What an honor and a privilege to have gotten front row seats to ….. drum roll please……. CHICKEN SHIT BINGO!!! Yes, you read correctly! These unsuspecting Gringos were not disappointed ! And I must admit, fun was had by all, but we all agreed, one round of Chicken Shit Bingo would last us a lifetime. This sport is not for the faint of heart, the suspense was nearly unbearable as the crowd around the giant bingo board cheered for “Big Boy” (The chicken) as he was very lovingly placed in the pen that was the Bingo board. The object of this game is to root for said, “Big Boy” to shit on the number that you paid $2.00 for and randomly drew from Nanette’s cowboy hat. I know, it’s a complicated game but nothing 2 or three Margarita’s can’t help turn into a night to remember. If nothing else, this particular Bingo game was good for a lot of laughter and a good lesson in how long it takes a Chicken to shit, take it from us, it’s not instant gratification! One must possess , aside from a strong drink in your hand, a sense of humor and a willingness to cheer for a nice big shit!

This event was held at a local hang out called One Eyed Franks. We sat outside and had a great dinner of ribs and cole slaw and chicken parmesan sliders . There was a band playing inside and they had a pretty good turn out. I would go back for the food but maybe one round of this Bingo game is all we can take. We did get to meet a lot of really friendly people and felt welcome. Scott of course was happy to have a beer in his hand and to watch the proceedings from afar, opting to let me root for his number down by the shitting chicken. That guy, he’s so generous, letting me have all the fun!

We had our friends drop us off at Romero’s (the grocery store) instead of taking us back to our Inn. We needed to get a few things for dinner and breakfast in the morning, I also needed to pick up some cat litter (since I had shit on my mind!) . After we got what we needed we went out and hailed a taxi to take us back up the hill to our Inn. On a side note, we have been walking into town just about every day to get some exercise and last night when our friends drove us home from dinner we clocked it to see how far it was and it’s just a little over two miles, not bad. We will know we are getting in shape when we can walk back up too.

Tomorrow we’re having lunch at the Fish House in town with another Virtual friend from the blogging world. It’s so nice to finally meet these people who I’ve been corresponding with for so long . We also plan to follow up on a lead we got on a possible long term rental . We first have to go load some minutes on Scott’s newly unlocked and fresh Panamanian sim card phone. Then on Tuesday evening we were invited to a friends house for a fish dinner, : ) This Adventure is going just fine so far! Lots of fun and relaxation mixed with good people! (we could probably do without the Chicken shit but whose complaining, not me!!!) Cheers!!

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A little walk around our temporary neighborhood…

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After those amazing Banana and walnut pancakes with crispy bacon we needed a walk! I took a few pictures of some of the beauty that surrounds us here. I’m bound to repeatedly exclaim my wholehearted bliss of my new surroundings! I just cant help myself! Everywhere I look I see beauty! From the trees to the sky and the abundance of flowers and greenery erupting from everywhere beauty abounds here in the highlands of Panama,” where I now live!” WHAT?? Did I just say “WHERE I NOW LIVE!” Holy cow! It’s so surreal to finally be here in Boquete. We look around and just know we are where we belong. Sigh! This is one Happy Girl! Check out these pictures and smile along with me, Just try not to smile…. I know its not possible !

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