Tag Archives: Expatriating

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion…

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Tell us about a time when you felt out of place….

Okay.. I got this one! It seems many of the daily prompts just don’t resonate with me, but obviously this one does! Although I’ve mostly recovered from my earlier bouts of feeling serious culture shock (Serious? well, maybe not too Serious!), that doesn’t mean that I feel ‘at home’ all the time. I’m gradually adapting to my new life in Panama but there are countless situations when I feel terribly out of place. Situations, that mostly come about as a result of not having a firm grasp on the language yet. “YET!” But mark my words….” There will be a day when I’ll speak like an adult and not like a pre schooler!” And I’m certain this alone will provide a sense of belonging that is, at the moment often alluding me. Read the rest of this entry

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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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Our first kinda big snag in our Diabolical plan…

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Those darn cats have caused yet another snag in our plans. To be fare it isn’t really their fault that their owners are dummies! We somehow dropped the ball on the correct procedure for the documentation requirements to import animals to Panama. The Certificate of Health document needs to go to the USDA then to the Panamanian Consulate , somehow, on the day we began the process of fulfilling all these requirements we thought(correction, someone told us!) instead of the Panamanian consulate , we could take it to the Secretary of State to be Apostiled. Nope, Wrong information somewhere down the line. OOPS! So remember this document is time sensitive so we had to do it at the last minute so it would be no older than 10 days old, otherwise we would have done it ahead of time just in case we had any crazy mix ups.

So Scott had a very successful trip to the Usda got it embossed and whatever else they had to do to this precious document but the remaining requirement being the Panamanian consulate is the part that is holding us up. There apparently is no Panamanian consulate in Sacramento or San Francisco! UGGG! We got online and the only Consulate that said they dealt with Pet importation was the Washington DC consulate, the LA one did not say anything on their web sight about their ability to deal with it (we should have called and spoken to a human being, hindsight!) so we quickly Fed Exed the Certificate to DC with their assurance that they would turn it around right away, we should have received it by Wed, Thursday at the latest, emphasis on “SHOULD”! You guessed it, No delivery!

The Washington DC Panamanian Consulates office hours (West coast time) is 6:00am to 11:00am! Welcome to Panama! LOL! so I phoned them at 6:00am Friday morning to inquire. I was placed on speaker phone as the gal on the other end shuffled through paper, asking,”how many cat’s?, What’s your Name?, When did you send it?” Blah! Blah! Blah! “OH! Here It is!!” Ahhh Ha! “you will get it saturday!” We did not trust this promise of delivery, justifiably so. So Yesterday, Friday, Scott decided he would simply redo the whole thing and drive back to Sacramento again to the USDA with a new copy of the document so that we could then leave early on Tuesday and take it to the LA consulate who we spoke with and they said they could take care of it. We are flying out of LA on a red-eye Tuesday night, so we figure we should have time to do this before our flight. Sadly, we should have called the office to see if the hours would be different given the fact that it is Memorial Day weekend, (do you see where this is going?) yep, they closed early and Scotts 3 hour drive was a bust, sooo 3 hours back home again! Poor Scott! Ok, soooo fast forward to today, Saturday, its early yet, but we shall see if the original document actually materializes. I had to let the new owners of our house know that we are expecting a Fed Ex delivery on their front porch today, but they will not be there so I will need to go check later to see if it miraculously appears today. Fingers are crossed! If it makes it we will be sooooo lucky but if not, well, plan B is to be at the USDA first thing Tuesday morning, have the new document of Health Certificate stamped then drive to the LA Panamanian consulate to complete this silly requirement. There is only one flaw in this plan, that is, we had arranged to hand in our economy rental car on tuesday morning and pick up a bigger SUV to accommodate all our baggage and the two cat carriers. The car rental place opens at 9:00 so we cant get to Sacramento until probably around noon! Grrr! It’s a 3 hour drive to Sacrament then a 5 hour drive to LA and the consulate is 50 miles from the airport. Good Grief!! Thankfully, this has been our worst snafoo yet! There had to be some kind of wrinkle in our diabolical plan, otherwise, how could we call this an Adventure, we would have had to call it A CAKEWALK!!! WaaaHaaaa!! Here We Go!!!

6 More Day’s…

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Last night was our first night in the hotel where we will be staying until we leave next Tuesday. I worked yesterday from 8-7 and Scott finished up some details he needed to address at the house as well as doing a bit of running around to accomplish a few details. We weren’t able to establish our mail forwarding yet so we decided to just set up a P.O. box at the Mountain View post office and Mariah agreed to check it for us and then FaceTime us so we can go through it. We have gotten all the important stuff set up for electronic mail already so it will mostly be junk , but you have to have a mailing address anyhow. We will address the Mail forwarding in Boquete at the MBE office in town.

While I was in between clients yesterday I began the big cancellation process. I cancelled a couple of credit cards and notified PG&E to discontinue service in my name (at the salon) effective 6-1 as well as garbage service at the salon too . Then I called both my business liability insurance and our homeowners and car insurance brokers and cancelled those ( Big Huge Smile 🙂 . Scott also had to quickly FEDEX the documents and money orders for the cats to the Panamanian consulate in L.A. , our fingers are crossed that we get it back by Friday! Darn Cats!

As you can see, there’s still quite a bit of little details to address . Tonight, Tuesday, we have the final walk thru at the house with the buyers. I’m not really looking forward to that. sigh! Maybe I’ll be too late to make it??? Scott is finishing up moving out all the rest of our belongings from the house to our storage unit. This morning he went to pick up the moving truck that he rented to transport it all . I think he had to get a truck with a lift-gate so he could load the three huge woodworking tools. We had a bit too much left at the house to fit it all the the storage unit we currently have already packed so we had to switch everything to a different one that has a bit more space. We are counting on the professional packers who work for the shipping company to be able to pack that container TIGHT! so that all our stuff will fit. If not, then when we are here watching them pack we will have to start saying,”ok. we don’t need that, or that, or that!” But for now, we will just store it with the hopes that it will all be able to make it.

I have to admit, with each passing day I am feeling a bit more nervous. There just seems to be so many little pieces to this move that still need to be addressed and I’m anxious about messing something up or forgetting something important. Scott keeps telling me to “Breath”. He is my rock! Mariah has been on a little vacation this week in Utah. She is with Elisabeth , they are hiking around the national parks there, Zion and Bryce Canyon . It’s been great to have her car while she’s gone. I’ve gotten a lot of running around done , like just now, I ran to my optometrist and friend’s office to get my lenses in my glasses replaced. They had a bit of a smudge (from all the hair spray , I think!) that was really driving me crazy and luckily they were under warranty so I got brand new lenses!! Yea! But had I not had Mariah’s car I wouldn’t have had any way to run over there.

It’s hard to believe that I have only two more days after today to work! Yikes! and Yippee! There is most definitely an Adventure brewing !! What will I do??? Who will I be?? Where will we settle? Will anybody like us there?? What new and exciting hobbies will we discover?? Sooooo many new things to look forward to discovering but the first discovery I want to make is, “Where is the closes bar??” I’m thinkin’ Maybe a Big, cold Margarita ! That’s an adventure I’m ready for! Tuesday, May 29 we are expecting to hit Boquete if all goes according to plan! Villa Marita here we come!! And whatever bar or restaurant that is around, that’s were we will head first. Although, there is a possibility that a bit of a nap will be in order after the travel day we will have had! UGGG!

Let’s Get This Adventure Goin”! Oh, wait a minute, I do believe It’s already begun in ernest!! It began wayyyy back when we started dreaming about moving to another country! Sometimes I have to pinch myself! I just cant believe we’ve made it this far and we are just day’s away from making this dream a reality! Boy, oh, boy, as I read back what I’ve written I see that I’m a very ‘excessive exclamation point user’ !!!! That particular key on my keyboard may wear out any moment now!!! But that’s exactly how I’m feeling at the moment!! I just cant help Exclaiming about my anxieties, joys , fears, excitements and especially the extreme anticipation about the next few days, weeks, months and years! (Big Smile!) Cheers!!!!!

Working through all the last little details!

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This is what our house looks like at the moment. Note all the suitcases lined up on the floor in the background? Not empty for long!

Today (5/15/13) has been a day filled with signing our names over and over and over again! Whew! We went to the title company and went through a huge stack of papers there. Then off to the attorney to sign the final drafts of our wills and our trust. Then the documents for Schwaab so they can do all their financial transactions through our new trust. Geesh , a lot of rigamarole today , that’s for sure. But all these things are important pieces of the final push to get on down the road.

There’s not much more to accomplish but what we do need to finalize we have just about 6 more days to do. We hope to be officially moved completely out of the house by the 21st. That means at the moment we need to finish boxing up the last few things that are still sitting around the house. A bit more clothes, I think Scott might be completely convinced that he’s married to a CRAZY person! I have wayyy too many shoes, I’ve already gotten rid of a ton of them but I just cant seem to rid myself of enough! Damn! I’m sure that I will never wear the mass majority of what I’m boxing up! By the time that container arrives in Boquete I will very likely open some of those boxes and be in agreement with Scott! Yes, I know I’m CRAZY! It just kills me to get rid of those adorable shoes! Shoot , man! It’s sooooo silly because most of the shoes that I have wouldn’t even be worn by locals if I even decided to donate them! GRRRRRR, The fact remains, they are boxed up and getting shipped to Panama! What’s a girl to do? I hope Scott’s head is attached really well to his neck cuz’ he’s shakin’ it so much lately , I’m expecting it to just tumble into one of those boxes andy moment now.!LOL!!

We will be checking into a hotel, cat’s in tow, on the 21 for the remainder of our time here. That is ‘after’ Scott gets done jumping through the hoops that are required to import cat’s into Panama. The hoop-jumping begins on Monday, (5/20) when we take the cats to the vet at 8:30 am for the “certificate of health” document which the vet needs to sign ( In the upper right hand corner!) . After that he will drop me and the cats off at our house and he will drive to Sacramento to the USDA (They do whatever they do to it there? ) and then he will hopefully have time to march over to the Secretary of State to then have it Apostiled (I think this is the proper hoop-jumping but I seem to get totally confused and it’s a good thing Scott is doing it and not me) !! He may have to stay the night in Sacramento if he doesn’t have time to hit both offices on the same day, which is why I cant go along, because I have to work on Tuesday morning. If your wondering why we are waiting until the very last minute to get all this done, it’s because this “oh so very precious” document must not be any more than 10 days old when we submit it to the authorities at the Panama City airport.

The other detail that we really need to deal with asap, is arranging our mail forwarding in Miami Florida. We seem to be having a difficulty creating an account on the web sight for some reason. I think we are going to have to find a phone number and try to see if we can talk to an actual person. This is a detail that we need to address asap, for sure! Aside from that little detail the salon is my last big thing to finish up with,sigh! I need to finalize all the contracts with Stephanie and with my landlord. My lease doesnt actually end until Dec, so I need to sign a termination of my lease contract. Then I have to bring some boxes over and start to pack up my personal things. Yikes! When do the ‘bittersweet’ moments end?

We’re almost there! These last few detail are daunting for us because we are exhausted, not only physically but mentally as well. This adventure is truly an Amazing Adventure but one that comes with sacrifices. Leaving all the people is not an easy thing. As I consider the sacrifices of leaving our home to begin a new life abroad I am reminded of the sacrifices of staying. If we stayed we would continue down the same path of working excessively in order to make enough money to be able to afford to survive here. For us this means not having much free time to enjoy each other and all those people who I’m saying farewell to right now. How many of those people do I wish I had had more time to socialize with? All of them! It’s such a vicious cycle of work, eat,sleep,pay bills, work, eat , sleep, pay bills. Yuck! I want off the merry-go-round we call life in the silicone valley! It’s time for us to figure out a way to live our life the way we really want to live it not the way our lifestyle dictates we live it in order to support all the “things” that make up that life. To me , I often feel ripped off. All these dinners, lunches, and bittersweet gatherings serve as a constant reminder of time lost, time I should have taken , but had no time or energy to do it. All in the name of a Mortgage, and property tax and income tax and blah , blah, blah! Was it all worth it, yes, would I have done some things differently , maybe. The fact is, I get to move forward with lessons of how I will live my life differently in this next phase. I don’t mean to sound as though I regret my life here, noooo, not at all. I just mean to say, as I spend much needed and much appreciated time with so many people I care so much for, I am constantly wishing I had made more time or had had more time to spend with them before now. We all know what they say about ‘Hindsight”, it’s 20/20! Oh Sooo very true.

It wont be long now and this blog will be coming to you from Panama! I’m sooooo looking forward to this next phase that we have planned for and strategized for and worked so hard to get to. Whew! 12 more days till liftoff!!! WHOOT!WHOOT!! BIG SMILE!!!

A Great Evening at Teske’s!

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Last night we had a great evening with some really good friends at Scott’s favorite bar/restaurant, Teske’s of Germania In downtown San Jose. It’s a place he and his friend Jason have a long history and many good memories of drinking excessive Liters of good German beer and B.S.ing with the owner and the bartenders who happened to also be the grown kids of the owner. Jason and Scott & the rest of the gang are definitely longtime regulars who get a big friendly greeting when they sit down at the bar and order their liters. They serve the best Goulash and (i cant spell, sorry Chris!) Spetzle. But , I think the big draw for Scott and Jason and Theo,(yes, you too Holly!) is the BEER!! They apparently serve a large variety of good German beer on Tap that you don’t find at just, ‘any’ bar. Given the fact that Jason is a professional brewer and lives, breathes, eats, sleeps BEER, its a requirement for this group to patronize establishments where quality beer is served and it’s a huge bonus when said ‘quality’ beer is served by the ‘Liter’! Yep, they are serious about their beer consumption, for sure! Although Scott and Jason can’t quite consume the same ‘large quantities’ of beer like they did when they were younger! These day’s there seems to be a bit more self control and dare I say moderation? Yep, the days of sittin’ at that bar for hours on end and consuming innumerable quantities of alcohol without a care in the world, are gone. We’ve heard stories of the two of them just wasting away the day or night (they would never call it wasted time, NOOO) drinking to their hearts content. Darn it! Now they have grown into responsible guys who have wives that are in charge! 🙂 HA!HA!HA! ( But, really, we are the bosses, right Caroline?) Scott will surely miss his buddy Jason and I know the feeling is mutual. Those two guys ( Scott & Jason) go back a long , long time and I know for a fact that they both have an incredible amount of admiration, respect, and love for one another. They would never say those words out loud but some things don’t need words, that’s the type of friendship they share. I’m absolutely positive that last night will not be the LAST visit to Teske’s! It may be awhile, but surely those two guys have more evenings in the future of sitting at that bar and sharing a liter together! Cheers!

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13 more days of work!

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It’s count down time folks! (like you didn’t notice!) Now we’re down to the very last bits of the planning and Strategizing for this big move to Panama. When I think time is moving sooo slow I just go back and re-read some of my early blog posts. It gives me a fresh perspective on just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished in this last year. Whew! Boy, oh Boy, have we gotten a ton accomplished ! Of course, when I look back I feel like time has flown by fast.

Let’s see, this is what this last few weeks look like for us:

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Our Calendar is getting more and more busy as each day goes by. This period of time was not possible to have planned until we got to where we are right now. The last few bits of the details, selling the truck, getting the rest of our possessions cleared out of the house, renting a car for the last few days,organizing all the cat paraphernalia for travel(travel crates,harnesses and leashes, food,water,flea medicine, toys,scratch pads,Blah,Blah,Blah!) ,staying in a local hotel for the last week,planning our financial situation,setting up a Trust,organizing the storage and packing it appropriately for the shipping container,getting all the documentations gathered properly for importing the cats,finishing up all the details of the transfer of my business to Stephanie,canceling utilities and all the other bills required for living here but unnecessary for Panama (like car insurance, health insurance,PG&E,you know the list, it goes on and on). When I begin to feel overwhelmed I just look back at all we had to accomplish to get to this point . Then I realize, that these last few remaining details are really very minimal in comparison. It wont be long now and we will be looking back at this time with a sigh of relief.

Once we arrive in Boquete We have a studio apartment rented for the first month. That will give us plenty of time to shop around for a more permanent situation. From all we’ve read about Boquete, it’s quite a Mecca for snowbirds during the winter months and about the time we are arriving many of those folks should be heading back home. Which means there should be plenty of longer term rentals available for us! The trick will be finding a ‘pet friendly’ rental! The right situation will turn up , of this I am certain. In the meantime, we are focused on the tasks at hand, and at the moment, that’s my glass of wine…tomorrow it will be a haircut, or maybe a bit of haircolor, maybe a highlight! One thing for sure, time is going by as it should and when we get to Boquete and get settled we’ll look back at this time and wonder how the time flew by so darn fast!!!

Time may fly fast, but at the moment it feels like slow motion…

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Yes, It’s almost always true that time really flies by fast. But at the moment, for us anyways, it’s moving at a snails pace, ssssslllloooowww! When you’ve made a decision ,such as the one we’ve made, to begin anew in a different location, and then subsequently worked your but off to prepare for said move, you reach a point when all you can think is,” let’s go already!”. Last night we walked into town to a local restaurant where we can sit at the bar and drink sangria and watch Hockey. As we enjoyed our sangria and nachos we both lamented our mutual feeling that this waiting period is very reminiscent of pulling off a band aide reeeeeal slow! I even went so far as to compare it to that last few weeks of pregnancy , when you get to the point where that tiny bit of fear you may have had at the beginning of the pregnancy, the fear of being torn apart to get that baby out of that tiny area, is completely gone because you just want that darn baby OUT!
Early on in our planning I remember worrying about all the “lasts” that I would experience and how emotional It would be. Well, I’m here now, experiencing lasts everyday and boy oh boy am I done! While my heart strings are most certainly being pulled by the emotion of ending the life we have built here, I feel as though I’m done with the ‘endings’ and really ready for the ‘new beginnings’. I’ve been very focused on all that I’m leaving behind. While there’s no way around the sadness of goodbyes, I realize I still have quite a few more to endure. But I can’t help hoping that while It’s goodbye ‘for now’ to all the people it’s really a very final goodbye to some ‘places’, to our house, to my salon, to Los Altos, and to California even to the U.S. Well, Okay, maybe not goodbye “forever” to California or to the U.S., I admit, that may have been a bit on the dramatic side! But the big “Final” goodbyes to my house and to my salon that I have been preparing myself for … those goodbyes, I’m just ready to GO ALREADY! I’m so tired of being sad and of thinking about what it will be like to have left these two parts of me behind. Intellectually I know that time will pass and our new life will begin to take on a shape of it’s own. This part of my life will always be a fantastic memory that will always be a part of who I am .
Aren’t we all, in part, a sum of our past, in a way. Our life experiences make us who we are . I’ve been so lucky to have had some pretty amazing experiences so far in my life. I see this next step as yet the beginning of even more amazing experiences to come. This period of time, may be hard for us , the waiting is a killer. But it’s all a part of the Big Adventure and I think it’s a pivotal time for us. We get to decide what our focus will be, will we mourn and wail about what we leave or will we focus our attention on the road ahead and be grateful for what lies behind us? The same goes to those who love us and are feeling sad to see us relocate so far from them. Our hope, of course, is that in time the focus for them too will change and they will enjoy knowing that we are following our dream. That our life is of our making and that we are overjoyed to be making it an Adventure ! But for now….We hurry up and WAIT! GRRRRR!

Strategizing about our last few weeks…

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Soooo, let’s see, we know we have to be out of the house completely by May24. We fly out on May 28. We still have to finish emptying the house of our last few belongings and get it all packed up into the storage unit. We also have to sell Scott’s truck. This all means figuring out timing of when to sell the truck and when to begin moving our things out of the house and when to go to a hotel and then how long we will need to have a rental car before we go. Of course we need to do all these things while making sure our cats are also safe and cared for. One other kinda big thing I have yet to mention is me packing up what I plan to take from my salon. Gulp! I haven’t really been ready to sort through the nooks and cranny’s and pack up things that are personal to me. I will also bring all my hairdressing tools, just in case. I plan to retire from my career but, you never know! I just might miss it soooooo much and eventually beg my new friends to let me at em’! This may be when all my new friends run screaming!!! Hey, that sounds like a pretty good exercise that could replace Zumba! ” Run from the crazy hairdresser!” LOL!

Our first best guess is, to plan on staying in the hotel for about a week, beginning on Tuesday, May 21 until our departure on Tuesday , May 28. We think listing the truck for sale on Craigslist on around May 7 or 15? Not completely sure about the timing of that quite yet. If we sell the truck we will then need to use the moving truck that our storage place provides for free for their tenants (a very nice service) . Scott is thinking he may need to rent a moving truck with a lift-gate to move his bigger tools, at least for one day. The big part for Scott is going to be repacking the storage unit to fit all the remaining things from the house. I think there are probably a few things that are already in the storage that we can do away with if we need to.

The whole, ‘ storage and shipping container’ part of our plan is proving to be quite a big P.I.A! I wish we could be as low maintenance as many other people I have spoken to who make this move, but alas! As much as we have purged and minimized our worldly possessions, there are still just too many toys we are planning to have much more time to enjoy in our early retirement. Between kayaking and camping and sculpture and woodworking and entertaining our new expat friends with fun-filled pool games and Scott cooking his little heart for anyone who will let him, we are just not scaling back enough to be able to be as footloose and fancy-free as we would like. Wellll, maybe fancy-free, but not so footloose! While some folks who choose this path for their life are able to just minimize their worldly possessions to a few suitcases and simply begin all over again, it’s not the case for us. So we shall endure the pain of this last scurry of prep work as we near the end of this portion of our adventure preparations. In 16 more days I will be done working, ( May 24) then I’ll have a few more days to help Scott with any of the remaining organizing and , oh,my daughters birthday is May 25 so that will require a bit of celebrating! But, of course! After all that, it’s TTFA! We’re almost there folks! Can’t wait! Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

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We are soooo ready to get on that plane…

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We are more than ready to walk out the door and get in the car and drive to L.A. to board the plane to Panama City! But, NOOOOO! Screeeeech! NOT YET!! Scott , who is at his best when he has very little time to accomplish a task, is roaring to go. He doesn’t have too much to do at the moment and I think it would be an accurate assessment to say that he’s a bit stir crazy. I still have work to go to but, he is kinda hanging out with the cats and procrastinating on his short to-do list. I must say, although to the common bystander he may look as though he is very unproductive, he has actually been getting quite a bit of research done on the computer while he’s waiting to the last minute to get to his actual tasks. He has been busy checking out the real estate listings in Boquete and reading up on financial topics that will greatly benefit our future. I gotta give Scott a lot of credit for all the research and planning he does while I’m at the salon blissfully(blissfully ?) cutting and coloring hair. It’s a good thing too cuz’ anything that has to do with numbers is not in my arena. Noooooo! I have my strengths but they’re not in finance. (Aside from measuring 1 or 2 oz of hair-color, numbers allude me .) So I know Scott feels a bit bored and he’s soooooo ready to get goin’ but I know he’s actually getting some very important things done that would have needed to get done sometime. Besides, I know that the kitty’s are quite happy that he’s around. They have been segregated to the master bedroom and are not quite sure why the rest of the house is now off limits to them. We really want to keep all the cat hair isolated to one room so the new owners don’t have to move into a house full of cat hair. I’m certain they will appreciate that. Not that I would ever leave the house filled with cat hair! I’ll be sure to give the whole house a good vacuum before I hand over the keys, it will be pristine, for sure. Hence, for now we are holed up in the master bedroom area of our house with the cats. Don’t worry we have our sofa and there is a TV in the room, we have plenty of space , for sure.

All the things we’ve had to coordinate in order to make this whole life changing move are mostly done now. Yes, we do have a few more items to check off our list but given the amount of work we’ve already put into this endeavor, we are feelin’ pretty good about taking it easy this last few weeks. We have many friends we would like to have time to get together with and our family members are on the very top of that list of get togethers. I’ve always felt that time with those I care about and love is by far the most valuable thing to me so given the fact that I’m about to have very little time with my favorites , I’m really stocking up on my face time with everyone who will make time for me. Even though we will still be in touch via phone ( Magic jack) or Facetime ,Facebook or my blog, it , of course, won’t really be the same as being together like we can right now. Soooooo as our calendar fills up with lots of visitin’ we relish in each moment with all the people in our life.

We found out today that the original date on the paperwork for the close of escrow still stands so it looks like it will be May 24. Now that we have a firm date of that final piece, we can prioritize the remaining tasks . We know for sure that we must be out of the house by that date (May 24) so we now can plan to arrange a pet friendly hotel for the last four nights here ( Our airline tickets are for May 28) . Scott will begin to empty the house of the last few belongings that we have here and move them to our storage unit most likely the week before,( leaving the bed for the very last minute so we have a place to sleep). Our bed, our washer/dryer , sofa,coffee table , tv’s, patio furniture and a few more boxes, and his big tools, also a bit of my clothes that I will pack up and live without until they arrive at the end of the year. This is Scott’s last big thing on his list, he’s planning to hire the workers who had helped him with the house. Given the fact that he will unload the storage space and reload it in a more organized manor so that we can hopefully fit more stuff, he will need more hands than only his own. Remember, I will be at the salon, “blissfully” cutting and coloring hair. We’re so close to being ready to go, we can taste it! I gotta tell ya, having made this very difficult albeit exciting decision and spending so much time preparing to do this, It’s really hard to wait for the actual day of our departure. I think we are both mentally gone already! I know it’s not easy for all of our friends and family to hear that , but it’s true, we are soooo very excited and just ready to make it happen already.

Did I Tell You???

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I Already Got Invited to join a book club in Boquete!!! Yipee! whoo hooo! I’m very happy about this development, as you can likely guess. Being a very big fan of reading but especially a big fan of making new friends and meeting new people, I’m overjoyed to have been invited. I was invited by my friend Sela. She is a wonderful lady who we met two years ago when we rented her casita in Boquete for our second visit there. She and her husband moved to Boquete many years ago from Bend Oregon and have a wonderful life there. As a matter of fact they are kinda our role models. They may or may not like to read that , I hope they don’t mind the title cuz’ I mean it in the most kind way! When we stayed at their casita they were so kind and generous with advise and information about their experiences living in Panama. We took notes and asked unending questions and they never batted an eye while we soaked up any information they would offer.

Fast forward to today and Al and Sela have been communicating with us frequently and giving us little bits of info when they think of it. We have emailed them a few times , well, I think I’m the one with the most questions, you know Scott, he likes to research online and try to find as many answers on his own as he can. I, on the other hand, like to ask questions. And they very generously an patiently answer and tell us how happy they are that we are on our way. It warms my heart to know that someone is looking forward to our arrival there. And to have been invited to Sela’s book club , well, those who know me know, I’m over the moon! I just hope I fit in with the ladies and that they like me. I already have the list of the books they have selected for the whole year and there are some books I’ve already read but would love to re-read and others I have wanted to read but haven’t gotten to yet, then there are some books I’ve never heard of. I’m looking forward to getting to know new people and I am still trying to imagine what it will be like to go to a ‘breakfast’ book club! Breakfast! Imagine,Not having to go to work, and going to book club in the morning! Well, it may seem silly to you but to me, it sounds sooooo decedent to have the time to enjoy a morning of chatting with a group of like-minded women while possibly enjoying a mimosa or a big cup of (locally grown) coffee! Ahhhhh! With my eyes closed, and a grin on my face, I am imagining it right now! It’s great!!

Back To The House…

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This week we went back to stay at the house until the close of escrow. Sigh. It’s just not home anymore. I can’t really pinpoint why I feel that way but I do. Although it could have something to do with the fact that I have nothing personal in the house anymore. (Shrug) Also, the reality is, it isn’t our home anymore. I think I may have said at one point in a post awhile back that I couldn’t wait to be ‘homeless’! Wellllllll, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for?? Yep! It’s true, we are on a path of our choosing and heading down that path there are going to be a few bumps and even a tear or two (or three or four). But as Scott says, ‘It’s a means to an end!’ I’ve said it many times and I continue to say, leaving our house is indeed very bittersweet. At the core of it though, It’s exciting and it’s something we will look back at and feel proud of having accomplished as a team. To have designed, and then actually built such a beautiful house all on our own, never even having had any experience doing such a thing before , is something to be proud of, for sure. I don’t know many people who would take on such a project and actually survive it! Or should I say, the relationship survived it! In the 13 years we have been together we have found immeasurable reward in participating together in activities that are new to us both. I swear, every couple should put themselves in situations and commit to activities where they are both learning something new as a team. I suppose most people who choose to have a family together are doing just that! Scott and I didn’t have children together and we have often joked that our house has been our baby. Hence, the attachment we feel for it. Just like a kid that grows up and eventually goes away, it’s time to let go. For goodness sakes! What a total and utter SAP I’m being! Geesh! I’ll be glad to be gone from the house again. Going back hasn’t been a good thing for me. I know Scott is not at all emotional about it like I am. To him it’s a means to an end. I promise I’ll stop these silly emotional posts as soon as we walk out that door. Oh, I also have to walk out the door to my salon as well for all the sappy stuff to be completely over! Again, Geesh! It’s been quite a ride this whole year. When we finally made our final decision on where we would move, the ball really started rolling fast. It’s been a forward motion and a march through list after list of ‘to do’s’. I think we’re both at the point in this process that we are just ready to go. The lists are shrinking and there are just a few more tasks to complete. With each step we make we get closer to our goal and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

We aren’t sure when the close of escrow will be, it looks like sometime between May 11-24. Now It’s time to begin sorting through the rest of the small amount of belongings we have not yet put into storage. We will be able to bring four suitcases on the flight with us. One bag will likely be for cat stuff, litter box,food and water bowls etc. So Scott will have 1/2 a bag (shorts and a few t-shirts!) and I need to attempt to make do with whatever I can manage to fit into 2 1/2 bags! This is where Scott gets to role his eyes! Of course, it’s possible I could manage to squeeze Scott and The Cat’s stuff into one bag then I could have three whole bags! HMMMM! That may be a good plan. We are gettin’ down to the nitty-gritty now and if I thought I had paired down my belongings before, I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Until our container arrives and we are able to get to some of the things from there, we will be just making due with the bare necessities. I honestly , in all seriousness, am looking forward to a much more simple existence in our next phase of life. As long as I have my iPad and some good hair products, oh! And my sweet man! LIfe is good! Wellllll, a couple bottles of wine too! ha! ha!ha! I better stop now , before that more “simple” existence I just claimed to be looking forward to begins to look awful similar to life as I know it now! ( But seriously, a girl’s gotta have her hair products, right?) Cheers!

Next On Our List Of ‘To Do’s’.

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Now that the biggest things on our list have been accomplished its time to slowly , one , by one , work our way through the remaining list of ‘To Do’s’. We need to set up our mail forwarding service in Miami. This will be our new U.S. address where we will receive any correspondence . First thing we need to do is get rid of as much paper bills and such as we can. Setting up electronic bill pay for whatever isn’t already set up that way. This shouldn’t be too many things because Scott already has most of our bills set up that way. Also, we shouldn’t have too many bills after we cancel out everything here.(Did anyone say whoohooo?) So the mail forwarding service will collect our mail and we will be allotted a weight amount that we pay monthly for. Anything over the allotted weight will be an extra charge. Then they send it to Boquete, possibly to Mailboxes Etc. We will gather our mail once a month.

I found an interesting solution to all the tons and tons of junk mail that we really want to stop receiving. If we keep getting junk mail we will end up actually paying for it! No thanks! There are services to rid you of all the tons of catalogs and credit card marketing junk. The one I have found is $35.00 for five years! So for five years they will continue to make sure you are off all the lists of mass mailing organizations. This sounds good to me. It will take about six weeks for it to actually kick in so it’s a good idea for us to get this started asap. Of course I just realized that means I have to actually try to stop throwing it all in the trash as I remove it from the mailbox. I need to give the name of the catalogs that I wish to have my name and address removed from.

This is yet another part of our preparations to begin our new life. Next up, making sure we have enough original copies of personal documents like marriage licenses and Birth certificates. These things can be very important especially while applying for certain documentation at government offices. They just love documentation in Panama, so we have read. We have also read that poor Scott will be required to actually wear long pants when going into government offices! Gasp! He’s not happy about having to bring pants with him , just when he thought he was finally going to be “Mr. Shorts”! Well, I suspect, he will mostly achieve that goal of nearly never having to actually be forced to wear those dreaded Dockers! It will hopefully be only very infrequently that we will be visiting government offices. After we retain our Pensionado Visa it should be a “shorts” only life for him.

There are still a few more ‘to do’s’ on our list but that list is slowly getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. We’re almost there, for sure! It wont be long now and these posts with start being about our new life in Boquete.

You Can Call Me! Go Ahead! It’s Like I’m Right Next Door!

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We picked up our Magic Jack yesterday. This is a device that we had heard about from other expats who raved about the efficiency of using it to keep in touch with their family and friends back home. It basically assigns you a local, California phone number when you activate it, (of course not ONLY California, you choose the location of the local phone number). Then, when we are in Panama we will have a local number for people to call us on. It costs us about $20.00 a year and that’s it. So it is equivalent to making a local call for anyone who calls us. It’s using wifi to place phone calls not unlike Skype or Vonage which are similar to Magic Jack. There are many different ways to go in terms of internet phone services but we are hoping this is going to be a good solution for us. We shall see. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it goes! For now, I”m very excited that we can give all our friends and family an actual local telephone number where they can reach us. Technology really has made the world a much smaller place. Of course, we have to be at home for our phone to actually work! Good luck catching us between hiking, exploring,roaming around the countryside and generally enjoying our new home.

Tying Up Loose Ends…

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First things first. Airline reservations, did I mention ‘One Way!’ ( Whoo hoo!) Before we can book our tickets we first have to confirm that we can get the cats booked into Cargo on the same flight which is a Copa flight from LAX into Panama City. Of course they don’t make this an easy thing to do. There is no local office where we can just go talk to a real live person, nooooo. We have to call and arrange that with someone over the phone. So we leave messages and wait, and wait, and wait some more. GRRRR. It’s kinda frustrating because we are not able to purchase our tickets until we are certain they will be able to be in cargo. We have found flights into Panama City on Tuesday, May 28th. Ok, here’s where a whole weeks worth of clients begin to panic! Yikes! I have a booked schedule that last week through June 1 and now my email, Facebook page and voicemail is beginning to fill up! I’m sooooooo sorry everybody, please forgive me? It’s not a done deal quite yet, still working on the scheduling and booking but that is a date that looks like it would be workable, ( not for you, I know.) . I’ll do my best to get everyone in early so we can say our farewells. try not to panic quite yet, like I said, it’s not a done deal yet.

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Today is our Day!

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We are planning to rest, relax,recover and rejoice! Yep, No work or worry on our agenda today. We have begun our day with coffee while we give the cats some love. So far we are undecided what direction our relaxing day will take. We have toyed around with the idea of a hike and a picnic, or possibly a bike ride, since Scott spent the better part of yesterday revamping our very neglected bicycles . Then we thought about the possibility of a train ride into the city to wonder and explore, which we always love to do. Culminating in dinner near the water so that after it gets dark we can go see the new light display on the Bay Bridge. Then again… we do need to do a bit of shopping for a few things we know we will need to bring with us to Panama. Given the fact that we just have about six more weekends left before our departure we really might need to try to gather the last few items we are planning to pack into our container to ship over to Panama. We have a list of a few essentials that we know will not be easy to find or at least easy to find for economical cost and of decent quality. Read the rest of this entry

The Next Step…

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Well, it’s time to begin the next step or the next few steps! The house is sold, the cats are ready,our belongings are packed and ready for shipping,my salon is sold,my clients are extremely sad,gulp. What? you may ask is the next step? Well as soon as we put our signature on that contract for the house Scott was online looking for flights to Panama! Yep, first things first. Then we will contact the airlines to confirm that they have availability in cargo for our two guys. Retain the services of the pet relocation people, Golden Frog, Jose is the name of the person we have gotten very good reviews about. I’ve shot off a few emails to contacts in Boquete to see if anyone may have any recommendations of short term cat friendly lodging for us when we first arrive. We may not be able to secure our long term rental until we are actually on the ground in Boquete so it would be great to, at the very least, know we have a place to stay while we scour the area for something that will work for us for the first six months to a year. The right thing will pop up, of this I am certain. Otherwise you may read about the two globetrotting homeless people who are wandering around Boquete with two very angry kitties in tow. Ha!Ha!Ha! I jest, of course! I have no doubt that the right situation will reveal itself to us just when we are ready! Life is like that, isn’t it? So far, this whole Adventure has fallen together just as it should without too much pain and agony. Well, maybe a bit of pain but certainly no agony! : ) Here It Goes! An Adventure is Beginning in Earnest !

Gettin’ The Kitties Ready To Go…

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Yesterday, Wednesday, Scott took Midnight and Copper to the vet to have their check up and to update all their immunizations. I thought he was pretty brave to take such a chore on all by himself. Even attempting to collect them one by one from their hiding spots under the bed in the apartment would likely be quite a challenge. Not to mention trying to corral them into those travel crates without losing too much skin would be a very tricky maneuver with one person. Those pesky kittys are very determined to do everything in their power to stay out of those crates.

Lo and Behold, when that man sets his mind to accomplish something there’s just no stopping him! He, of course, successfully got those two furry guys to the vet with a minimum of blood loss, (his blood mind you!) . Midnight apparently was very unhappy with the temperature taking procedure! Scott was in charge of the front part of the cat while the vet probed the back end, culminating in a loud ‘HISS” and a sudden appearance of Scotts blood ! As he said with a shrug of the shoulders in classic Scott style, “It Happens”. That’s my guy! And apparently both cats had a change of heart regarding those crates when the choice became ,1.let the vet handle them or 2. take refuge in those familiar,( yet unpleasant), boxes. Funny how they changed their minds .

The good news is we can check one more thing off our list. We have yet to officially retain the services of the Golden Frog, pet relocation company. The final step is to make one more trip to the vet for the official certificate of health which must be no more than ten days before travel. This document is then taken to Sacramento to two more government offices to be stamped and authenticated. This will be the completion of the documentation required to import the cats with us to Panama, at least until we arrive in Panama City . There is a period of time when they must be quarantined to our home for a bit. I’m pretty sure Midnight is hoping there will be no more of that rear end temperature taking! Geesh! According to him, that was just rude, HISS! As soon as we are able to purchase our airline tickets and have a firm date of departure we will then feel like it’s the right time to arrange the services of the Golden Frog, to aide us in getting our little fur-balls to Panama. In the meantime I suspect they are planning to spend as much time as possible hiding under the bed and avoiding any more trips to that rude vet. Of course Scott will shake his head and say,With a shrug of his shoulders, “We gotta do what we gotta do”.

A Walk To Remember

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Ive written about my walk to work in earlier posts. Today,( Wednesday) I had a late start, 12:00. We had a couple of things to do at the house so we went over there from the apartment and I decided to walk to work instead of having Scott drive me. I really took the time to enjoy my walk to work since , very soon, I may not have many more opportunities to do that walk . My time alone as I stroll through my beautiful neighborhood is a time of reflection, a time to decompress, it truly feeds my soul. One of the many things I love to soak up as I walk are all the flowers in the gardens I pass by. There are so many different varieties of flowers blooming during different seasons of the year. This time of year the tulips are just about done doing their thing but they are still beautiful as they begin that iconic tulip drip . One yard always has a gorgeous display of springtime tulips and I never walk on by without gazing upon them with much appreciation. During the summer I love the roses! There are endless varieties of roses as I walk down the sidewalk. I especially like the house with the white picket fence that has a very happy climber that covers the little fence, bursting with miniature pink roses. I often think that little picket fence looks as though it couldn’t survive the weight of even one more little bud. I witnessed the evolution of that particular rose through many seasons. I see it burst forth with growth in the summer, growing and growing as the hundreds of tiny buds appear and then it just bursts, almost overnight, with beautiful tiny pink roses that smell delicious as I walk by with a smile . Then the display slowly fades as the tiny roses finish their show for the season. I never tire of pausing to take a whiff of the roses that I pass on my walk to work. Mother Nature is so amazing to me. And I believe I am a very fortunate girl for having had such a delightful walk to work day after day for so many years. Read the rest of this entry

“Poco a Poco!” (Little by Little!)

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When I think about all we need to accomplish in the next eight weeks I feel a bit weak in the knees! The biggest thing is the house needs to sell, then we have to shut down my business and transfer it to Stephanie, prepare the rest of our belongings for transport, prepare the cats and all the important documentation to transport them. Have you ever considered what needs to be done to shut down your life and start it up again elsewhere? Of course, many of you have done just that , your the ones who have ( in many ways) inspired me! We have a long list of phone numbers and account numbers of everything we need to cancel, credit cards, AT&T, PG&E,Homeowners insurance, health insurance,Water, Garbage,bank accounts, Whew! And that’s not including all the Salon things that I need to cancel or transfer. If for some crazy reason our house isn’t sold and escrow closed by June 1, We are kinda screwed cuz I wont have a job anymore ! Yikes! I don’t even want to think like that ! It has only been two weeks, almost three since the house was listed for sale and there has been a lot of interest, just no official offers yet. The landlord at our temporary apartment told us we will only have the apartment until May 4 so hopefully we will have a much more solid vision of what comes next. This Limbo time is very troubling and Im trying to think positive and remember the “Poco a Poco” mindset ! Little by little Holly, Just one day at a time is all we should focus on. It’s hard when your a planner by nature. Scott is much better at this mindset. He seems so untroubled by the temporary uncertainties that are facing us. I try to adopt his relaxed , seemingly untroubled demeanor but It’s doesn’t always work. I’m pretty good at faking it though, I probably look calm on the outside but boy oh boy, I’m not! I am constantly reminding myself to focus on today, one step at a time, relax, breath, all that good stuff I’m sure to believe it sooner or later. Don’t get me wrong, I have moments of calm and I know everything always works out just as it should. Usually as soon as I just let go, thats when Everything falls into place. So, I think my mantra for the day is, “Poco a Poco!” , “Poco a Poco!”, Ahhhhh! Much better, this is me, relaxing and letting go! Any minute now things will be tumbling into place and before I know it I’ll be writing a post about how crazy we are as we try to prepare to set up all the details of the move. Well, Well, Well, be careful what you wish for, I wished for an Adventure, and an Adventure I am having! Life is good! Crazy, but Good!

Eight More Weeks!

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The time is fast approaching. We’ve worked really hard and concocted a plan that we have been very focused on achieving. It seems as though we have been obsessed with our relocation to Boquete forever! In reality we made our final decision on the location last year in June. I remember how excited I was to have finally made the decision after so much time researching where to go. The decision to move to another country seemed easier to make than the decision of ‘where’ to go. We decided on a path, made our list of tasks that needed to be completed and began to march in that direction. The biggest milestone in our march towards our final goal has been to ready the house to sell. Now that we are anxiously awaiting an offer on the house we find ourselves able to sit back for a minute and take a deep breath. Of course while Ive been at work Scott has been trapped in our little apartment getting all our taxes ready so we can submit it on time. He’s not feeling like he’s necessarily gotten to catch his breath quite yet!

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The Joys of Connecting Via My Blog

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One of the best things about blogging (in my humble opinion) is making connections with so many interesting, supportive and often inspiring people. I have had the pleasure of chatting, (via my blog), with a number of other expats who either already live abroad or are , like me, planning to move and start an adventure. I’m a ‘connecting ‘kinda gal, I find great pleasure in getting to know people. To me, finding a commonality with a new person gives me so much pleasure. I’ve found through the years, especially in my business, that there is almost always something to find that I have in common with someone. It’s like a treasure hunt, finding that one little connection that links us and makes us a little less complete strangers and closer to friends. Rarely have I met a person who I cannot find something in common with.

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Welcome to apartment living…

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We moved into our temporary apartment on Friday(March 15) . It’s a furnished apartment in Santa Clara, about 20 minutes away from Los Altos. As I’ve said before, we looked at staying at a pet friendly long term hotel but this place provided much more room at a much more economical cost. So our very first night was quite a comedy. First , before leaving our house in Los Altos, we could not find one of our cats, Copper. They both have been rather Traumatized with all the commotion going on in their home lately. They have both spent all day everyday this past two weeks , hiding in the basement only coming out at night when we would sit down to relax and it was quiet around the house. Poor guys, I feel so bad for them. They must be very confused by all the recent upheaval . So on Friday, moving day, Scott and I first made a trip to the apartment with a load of our belongings so that when we came back with the cats they wouldn’t have and opportunity to sneak out the door while we moved things in. When we went back to the house to retrieve the cats only Midnight was there. We waited and searched until after 9:00 and just finally had to leave without Copper. We knew we would be able to find him eventually so were not especially worried. Midnight was not happy about the move , of course. I figured it would be a rough first night with him meowing and climbing all over us as we attempted to get a bit of sleep the first night. I was right about him, he was like a magnet to my hair, clawing and clawing my hair and head and wondering around the new place all night long. At one point he finally settled down for a bit and then some kid in the complex began yelling at the top of his lungs, ” Don’t Talk To Me!!, Don’t Talk To Me!” It was really loud and then when he finally stopped his rampage we began to go back to sleep, and outside out window was a very loud ‘QUACK!” ‘”Quack!” ( insert eye roll right about here) Scott said,”What the Hell is that???” My answer… “A Duck?” As it turns out, the swimming pool is just outside our bedroom window and a pair of very chatty ducks were enjoying a very early morning float in said pool! They were involved in a very exuberant conversation and did not care who was eavesdropping!

We’re not in Los Altos anymore! Welcome to apartment living. We have been in our temporary housing for a week now and It’s actually going very well. The next morning after very little sleep, I realized that our bedroom window was not closed and that explained why everything was so loud. It has since been closed and we now have two cats who are very slowly and not very happily adapting to their new surroundings. They are slowly beginning to let up on the nightly ‘walking on our heads’, maybe they feel as though they have tortured us enough for the time being! Now that the mad dash to prepare the house is over we are trying to be with the cats as much as possible. We feel so bad about having to leave them alone so much right after we took them there. After this week Scott should have a bit of down time so hopefully he will be around there a bit more, that will make the cats happy , although getting at those darn ducks would probably make them the most happy! Come to think of it, a nice ‘Duck’ dinner doesn’t sound half bad!!!

La!La!La! It”s Countdown Folks! 10 Weeks!

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For those of you who are not retired yet, Try to imagine if you had 10 more weeks until it was time to begin a new chapter in your life! For those of you who have already begun A shiny new chapter, you know just how excited I must be. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time! For nearly 30 years I have known what each day held for me. Maybe not exactly what each day would bring but I could predict with relative accuracy, what my day would hold. Now as I look forward to 10 weeks from now, it is unwritten, it’s not predictable at all. To some , this fact would be unacceptable. To me and to Scott, the unpredictability is exhilarating! The unpredictability is not just related to my career, but to every single aspect of my life! People I will come into contact with, food, where I will live, language, customs and traditions, even the landscape I will see when I look out the window in the morning will be different. In 10 more weeks I will wake up with the reality of a fresh new start.

What will our “fresh new start” look like? Your guess is as good as mine! We can plan and strategize and make arrangements all we like, but we still won’t know exactly what will happen once we hit the ground in Panama. Things could go as planned or more likely it could be a comedy of errors! Let’s just hope we can have a sense of humor and roll with the punches as we navigate our new, unpredictable life. We are planning to find a furnished place to rent for our first year in Boquete. We are hoping to be able to find a place fairly soon, we’re always keeping our eyes open , watching online on forums what is happening in the rental market there. Our friends, Al and Sela may have a place available close to town but we don’t know much about it yet so we are looking and attempting to keep our eyes peeled for just the right spot. Our cats are most likely going to be a bit of an issue, limiting us on what we can rent. I totally understand landlords wanting to restrict renting to folks with pets. The right place will show up eventually, of this I’m sure.

I envision our early days in Boquete being filled with a bit of relaxing and getting acclimated with everything. Stocking up on food and essentials. Getting the cats settled, getting signed up for spanish classes, relaxing some more, maybe getting caught up on my reading. All this and also getting all our essential things lined up like banking and cell provider and wifi and I’m sure we will still have a bunch to do about our residency visa. We will see how long we can live without a car, taxis are pretty cheap and easy to use, we shall see how long we last. Buying a car in a foreign country will be an adventure. I hope we will be able to find an animal sitter so we can get a bit of traveling in. But, wait! I still have 10 more weeks, and I am planning on enjoying these last few weeks. I’m gonna hug everyone I can hug and I’m planning on appreciating each and every moment with all the people in my life here. Not that I will not see everyone again, cuz It’s not goodbye! Noooooo! It’s “farewell”, “see ya soon!” and “Bon Voyage!” Initially there will be tears but then time will pass and we will become accustomed to being connected via, Facetime, email, Facebook, my Blog, Skype, and even the old fashioned telephone! The world is not so big these days and I have a feeling many of you who I only see and catch up with once a month or so will be hearing from me much more frequently. You’ll probably wish you’d stop getting so many emails from ‘Let The Adventure Begin!’ Yes, it will not be “The Same”, but who says “The Same” is the best? “Different” will work!

As I’m counting down 10 more weeks, I plan to savor the joy and anticipation I’m feeling . Beginning anew is not something that happens everyday and I’m really excited, filled with so many different and varied emotions. There are so many things happening at the moment with the beginning of trying to sell our house and moving into our little apartment and selling my business, just to name a few. I could be stressed and grumpy and sad and many other less optimistic emotions but I’m choosing to be focused on all the exciting aspects of this next chapter. Yes, An Adventure is A’ Brewin’, for sure! WhooHooo! 10 More Weeks! La, La, La! ( That’s me doing a Happy Dance!) I hope your dancing with me!

How We Decided to Move To Panama

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This is a post that I published a while back but thought it was worth re-blogging. I notice that the most frequently asked question from those who don’t know us is “How did you choose Panama?” So for those of you who may have missed my answer to that very good question…..

As I’ve been discussing our plans to expatriate with clients, friends and family, there are naturally many questions that everyone has . How did you decide on Panama? How do you fly there? Is it safe? Do they have Internet ? Where is Panama in relation to other countries in Central and South America? Do you have to give up your U.S. citizenship ? Can you collect Social Security down the road? Do you still pay U.S. taxes? What is banking like there? What currency do they use? What s health care like there? Will you ship a vehicle out there?

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Thank Goodness For Craigslist!

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Scott was very productive the other day. His workers didn’t show up yesterday so he decided to be productive in a different way. He decided to post a few things for sale on Craigslist. His motorcycle, an old car stereo, and a handgun. All three items sold the very day he placed the adds! Amazing! The people who bought them came that day and picked them up. With the exception of the handgun which we learned is illegal to sell in the state of California , he was able to find a gun store in another state and mailed it off already. Whew! Im really impressed with how fast he was able to sell his junk. ( I would never call it Junk In front of Scott !) One persons junk is another persons treasure, that’s true. Hurray! For Craigslist!!!

Movin’ Right Along…

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I mean “literally”, we are movin’ along with all the necessary steps needed to take to get this boat sailing ! Today, (Sunday, 2/10/13) was a very productive day. We decided to divide and conquer! After we managed to drag down a truck load of more donation things from the attic and loaded the truck ( load number 5, one or two more to go! ), I took off to our local Goodwill while Scott took off for his workshop in the backyard to Finish off the last coat of poly on the carcasses for the entertainment center. I then returned to the house and continued packing up clothes and odds and ends like artwork, and other various things that are still laying around the pool table area. We really need to clear out the area around the pool table so Scott can disassemble it and we can get it packed up in our storage unit. The stagers have decided that we will transform that area into a formal living room for the sale of the house. Im also getting ready to call my friend Charleen who owns a carpet cleaning business and get her to send her guys over to take away our four area rugs to clean them and pack them for shipping. But first the pool table needs to go in order to get to the rug below the table. So, as I was saying, after I got through packing more boxes, we loaded the truck again and made yet another trip to our storage unit to drop off all the boxes I got packed up today. whew!

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Progress Report …

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Time is marching on and we are getting closer and closer to our goal of starting the next chapter in our life. There is still much to do before we’re able to jump on that plane headed for Panama city to begin our adventure. Our main focus this far has been completing the work on our house so we can get it on the market to sell. This part of our preparation is the biggest and obviously most time consuming part of the diabolical plan. We are still hoping to reach our goal of getting the house ready to sell by February or March at the latest. Scott is making great progress on all the finish work inside the house.

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Sorting, Packing and Clearing!

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This is our storage space,

(Ok, let’s try this again, I inadvertently published this last night before it was completed! I know… A rookie mistake! )
Sort through the attic , check! Sort through the basement, check! Sort through all the stashed stuff in all the closets, check! Now there are piles! Piles in two bedrooms, piles on the pool table,and piles on the dining room table! Yikes! Turns out, sorting is painful, OUCH! In the course of a lifetime we accumulate, and accumulate until every nook and cranny is bursting with stuff!

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Getting Our Ducks In A Row ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤

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We’re continually revisiting all those little ducks and trying to get them in a nice straight line! I think we have a pretty good handle on it but there never seems to be an end to the process of juggling and rearranging duckies !

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Comfort…..What Gives You Comfort?

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Routine, schedule, predictability,stability and familiarity ? These are the first adjectives that come to my mind when I pose this query to myself. Familiar people, places and things make me feel a certain amount of comfort. A routine that I can predict is also vastly comforting . A place to call, my home, to me creates a feeling of comfort beyond description! I do love my Home! So with this very clear , specific list in mind, I wonder, why would I abandon all these very comforting aspects of life as I know it ? Hmmmmm? That’s a very good question?……. Let’s see if I can articulate that as I write this post…….

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The Diabolical Plan!….. Well, Maybe Not Exactly ‘Diabolical’!

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People ask,” What’s your plan once you get to Boquete ?”. Well…… We reserve the right to go with the flow, but to the best of our ability we have loosely concocted a plan. Our plans could change or alter slightly or it could maybe turn out just as we have imagined, or it could be nothing at all that we planned but even better, time will tell. But, so far, here’s what we hope to do.

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Life is Good!🌴

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Life is good! Now it’s time for a change. A BIG one! (change, that is ). We have spent the past five years researching our dream of moving to a different country and now we are getting closer to actually making that dream a reality. As our adventure is fast approaching I have been thinking that I would love to share our process with all our friends and family.

I have recently discovered Blogging! I know, I’m very late to the game! But I have been very busy making people beautiful, and it’s a lot of work! Lol! So, turns out, reading blogs is REALLY fun. I have learned so much from reading blogs written by other people who have already made the leap and moved from the US.

My hope is that my friends and family will appreciate following my blog as an entertaining way to stay connected. I hope you will forgive my spelling errors and grammatical faux paise ! A writer I am not nor do I claim to be😁. But I do love to write and to share my experiences . Hopefully you will find my ramblings entertaining !