Where to begin? Lets see, yesterday , Monday , went by so fast. We finally got a phone call from good ol’ Oscar at the Toyota dealership , apparently he never received the email we had sent him on Friday letting him know we would like to purchase a truck. He called to let us know that there was an additional “special” on the truck so he suggested we might want to come see him, finally , he begins to act like a proper “salesmen” ! Ha! We informed him that we had already planned to set out for David and he said he was looking forward to seeing us at about 11:00. We decided to skip our walk into town and called Carlos, our friendly taxi driver, for a ride. After a satisfying breakfast and a good cup of Boquete coffee, at Central Park Cafe we got on the bus to David.
The car buying process, although I may say it was quite a smooth process, it was a very LONG one. Now I need to preface this description of our experience by telling you that from all the well received advice we have previously gotten from many very experienced and helpful expats living here in Panama, we had already adopted the “Tranquillo” mindset! And in addition to the mindset, we have taken advice from many who remind us to….”BREATHE’. Things here are done ‘very’ differently and if you go into a transaction with a Panamanian with a relaxed attitude and don’t expect it to be anything even remotely like an experience you are accustomed to in North America, you will fit right in here and you will find happiness ( well at least much less frustration) . So , our mantra as we entered the Toyota Dealership in David yesterday was…”Tranquillo, Tranquillo, Tranquillo, and BRRRRREATHE” AHHHHHH! We entered the dealership at 11:00 and left at 4:00 with a brand new car to be delivered from PC on Saturday….we will not count on Saturday, we will continue to breathe and feel lucky to get it in the next couple of weeks, we shall see. Although, to give Oscar credit, he was very kind and has obviously worked with many expats so he said , with much honesty, “I will call you when I know for SURE when the car will arrive, I know how you North Americans are about that kind of thing!” LOL! He is such a great guy and many people we have talked to had recommended we work with him, like I said before, he was a wealth of information. The first time we met with him he told us as we were leaving his office to please call him if we needed any advice or help with anything at all, Doctor,Dentist, Lawyer, anything at all. I swear, people have been so nice to us, it’s very heartwarming.
This whole, Tranquillo experience took about 5 hours but not all that time was spent in the dealership. There was a 1 1/2 hour lunch break which we made very good use of. We called our knew friends Kris and Joel who live in David. This is another set of Virtual friends who are Actual friends now! Again, I gotta say, it’s been such a pleasure to finally meet all these wonderful bloggers/expats who I have been joyously corresponding with for this past year during our preparations for this move. When I called Kris and told her we were in town she and Joel said “We live really close to where you are, we’ll be right there!” We arranged to meet them at this restaurant right next door to the dealership and we had a delightful lunch with them. Such a great couple! Of course, I already knew that from following both of their blogs. But you never “really” know until you meet someone in person and as I suspected, they were the “real deal”! I’m certain we have some more get togethers in our future. Kris and Joel moved here from Florida a little less than a year ago and are absolutely loving their new home. They recently took a trip to visit their two daughters ,one in Santa Rosa, CA, and they told us about the culture shock of being back in the States. One of the things that really stood out for them was the prices of groceries in the markets. They couldn’t believe how expensive it was for food for a week. Yes, they know they have made the right choice moving to Panama, to say they are in love with their new home would be an understatement! They are beyond happy to be living in such a welcoming, affordable , beautiful place such a Panama.
So we have our first car purchase here in Panama done . Da! Da! Da! (that was suspenseful music!) We have been watching the real estate market here in Boquete for sometime now online. As usual, we have already done a lot of research and we think we understand how the whole real estate thing works here. Of course, it’s nothing like we are accustomed to in the States and our new Tranquillo mindset will again come in very handy during this process. We are in no hurry but have already gone out with Lynn (the eco/jungle lodge owner/handmade soap maker/hairdresser/amazing realtor) to see some lots. She seems to have many good contacts and is in the “know” about what’s what here in the real estate scene. We are in good hands and have very high hopes about finding something just right for our next big Adventure, building a house in Panama! Stay tuned , this next part should get pretty exciting! Cheers! (QUE the suspenseful music agin) DA!DA!DA!
I took this whole week off work to help pull this house and yard together by Friday. Every day we are up by 6:00 and working non stop until the wee hours of the day, it’s 7:30 pm right now and we just finally sat down. I’ve been in charge of the landscaping and it’s really coming together pretty good. Sunday and Monday I had help, thankfully, from Cindy, Janet ,(the best next door neighbor EVER!), and Mariah. Cindy came with me to the nursery and we bought tons of flowers and shrubs. I think she may have been slightly overwhelmed by the amount of plants we had to decide on and buy. We bought so many Pansies and Marigolds If I see another Pansy I think I’ll scream! Then on Monday Natalie and Patti came over for a few hours and we got the rest of the front and most of the side yard planted. Patti and I had to run to the nursery for more shrubs for the side yard. We had plenty, more than plenty flowers but needed shrubs to fill in around the side yard and courtyard areas. I love shopping with Patti because we are both really good decision makers and we pick things out really fast without even questioning our decision,”Yep!, That’s Perfect!” and off we go! We picked out the plants and bought and loaded them and got back to the house pretty quickly. Natalie was planting away in the front yard when we got back. I bet Natalie will also scream if she see’s another Pansy! I think all my friends think I’m going a bit overboard with all the flowers and plants but I think it’s really important to make everything look perfectly beautiful. I want someone to come into this house and just absolutely fall in love with it. Then I want them to write me a nice big check so I can catch the next plane to Panama, Well, ok, maybe not the NEXT plane .
Wow! Today,(Wednesday) I work at 12:00. So I got up at 6:00 and started boxing up the last remaining miscellaneous stuff that needed to be gotten out of the house so that the painters can do their job with as little in the way as possible. We also scheduled a Salvation Army pick up . The last remaining furniture that we couldn’t give to friends or family is sitting out on the curb waiting for a ride. The house is empty except for the few pieces of our furniture the stagers want to use. And the painters should be able to do their job without much in the way. At 10:00 we have yet another meeting with potential realtors, deep sigh. This is the first time I’ve been through the selling of a house and I must admit, it is not for the faint of heart. Especially given the fact that we have so much invested in this house, not only financially but emotionally as well.
45 minutes later…
We just finished our meeting with the realtors and I imagine I looked like a deer in headlights to them! At one point, I must admit I was holding back tears. I can’t really explain why I had this sudden burst of emotion talking about the best strategy to sell this house with two practical strangers who really only care about making money. ( well, I’m probably being a bit harsh, they are very nice people.) Don’t worry, I’m certain no one sitting at the table could even tell I was experiencing an internal burst of emotional upheaval! Well, It’s all part of the process and I am marching along , maybe a tiny bit weepy but it will pass. I have been expecting the unexpected and I must admit I feel a bit surprised by this sudden burst of emotion about the house, Darn it! Yet another part of the Adventure!