What’s For Lunch?

Some friends suggested it might be interesting to share some of our favorite meals. We are lucky to live in Chiriqui where so much fresh produce is grown. There are markets and vendors all over town, and our veggie guy knows what we like, picks out the freshest and best he can find, and brings it to our door every week. I have fought a life long battle with my weight so it’s important that I eat right, and fresh veggies are a big part of that.

Todays lunch is tuna salad. You can add or change anything you like but this is my usual mixture – celery, cucumber, tomato, mayonnaise, tuna, and limón.

Limón (lemon) can mean many things here. There are little green ones that look like key limes, bigger green ones that seem to be regular limes, green ones like this that are orange inside, sometimes with gray/brown odd looking patches on the skin, and yellow ones bigger than grapefruits to name a few types. The only ones I haven’t seen outside of Pricesmart are the yellow ones we are familiar with in the US. But, whatever type happens to be in my kitchen I want limón on my tuna salad because I think it tastes wonderful. My favorite are these green ones with orange interiors.

Here we are ready to mix it up. The cucumber was huge so I only used half. I also have avocado in the freezer I should get out. When they thaw they are soft and can be used with or instead of mayonnaise.

Lets eat!

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Band Video

My friend Joyce took some videos Saturday night and they came out great. Thank you amiga! I stitched them together and put them on YouTube. Listen with some good headphones or good sound system so you can hear the music well.

First is Personal Manager (Albert King), then Runaway Train (Soul Asylum) with Chris on vocals, Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon), Hang On Sloopy (the McCoys), and last is Lets Go Crazy (Prince).

What you can’t see is that the dance floor which was absolutely packed on most songs. It was the coolest thing ever to see everyone having a good time!
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Band Report

Whew! We did it! I mentioned in the past that I was learning bass, and this weekend we went out for my first gigs. It went as well and better than I hoped and our audience was super enthusiastic. So many friends came out to support me which meant so much to me!

We were busy with the gig and didn’t think about taking pictures, but we have this one we took on our last practice. I think a friend took some videos on Saturday night so when I get with her maybe there will be more to share.

I’m so happy! I worked really hard and wanted to do a good job.  I did what I set out to do, and it was really well received and appreciated.

Now though, I’m dead tired. It’s time to rest up and prepare for this weekend. And, Mike’s where we played on Saturday night, has asked us back for two more evenings! The Brewery is a standing gig every Sunday, so we are going to be playing quite a bit.

A big thank you to all my friends who came out to support me, and who have been encouraging and supporting me all along the way. And, a huge thank you to my husband Joel. It is his bass I am playing, his equipment I am using, his extensive experience and knowledge I am relying on, and his countless hours practicing with me that brought it all together. Also thank you to Chris the super drummer who has also practiced a lot with me and encouraged me always, and Gary for presenting this opportunity and for leaving his powerful bass speaker with me while he is away so I can blow the walls down if I want to 😁

I never imagined in my life that I’d be playing bass in a rock band and loving it. You just never know where the twists and turns of life will take you if you are open to new experiences.

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Mango Pancakes!

It’s one of my favorite breakfasts.

  • 1/4 cup oats, mixed with enough water to moisten well
  • pinch salt and a pinch baking soda
  • one egg
  • chopped mangoes

Mix it all up, melt some butter in the pan, and cook until firm. You don’t even need any syrup because the fruit is sweet.

You  can use any fruit and some, like bananas, are nice with a bit of cinnamon also added. I have bananas and plantains from our yard in the freezer, and also bags of mangoes that I picked up when they were in season.

One good reason to ride a bike is to learn where to find all the good fruit trees. If fruit is falling on the ground or street and nobody is using it, I’ll pick it up. I’ve also had people tell me that I am welcome to pick up fruit in their yard anytime.

I especially love the mangoes! I know some excellent trees that drop lots of fruit when it’s season. Anything I can’t eat gets skinned and sliced up, and put in the freezer so I can have mangoes all year long.

I never saw mango trees like these either. Many are huge and said to be over 100 years old! They do very well in this climate where it never freezes and I really appreciate them for their beauty as well as the delicious fruit.

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Wow, Florida, Whew!

We may be living in Panama, but after living in Florida for 17 years before moving here, events in Florida have been very much on my mind. I still have many friends there and I’ve been following their Facebook posts. There was a crazy amount of fear and stress before the hurricane hit. I don’t know if it was whipped up by the media, or people between each other, or panicked friends and family from afar, but it sure made things harder for people in Florida.

Today though I have been very happy to hear the news that is now coming from Florida. Everyone I know is safe. Most are without electricity and have debris everywhere, some have damage to their homes, but I can sense the relief that it is over and the aftermath is only cleanup and repair.

Panama does not have hurricanes. There was a very rare event last year when one came close but all it did was stall north of us and dump tons of rain. Panama really doesn’t have much of anything in the way of weather related problems. It’s hot, the sun is strong, it rained, it’s going to rain…. that is the extent of the weather related conversation around here. If you really want to spice things up – earthquake! That gives everyone something to talk about for a few days but it’s rare they do any damage. They just shake the ground a bit.

I love Panama for many reasons, and freedom from worry about weather related disasters is definitely one of them! I really feel for the people in Florida and Texas, in the Pacific Northwest who are battling fires, the Mexican people trying to recover from the earthquake, not to mention Cuba and the islands in the Caribbean who were so hard hit by Irma. It’s been a really tough time for so many people. Many people are helping though. Even Panama is sending tons of relief supplies to Cuba and Caribbean islands. There are so many good people in this world.

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Crazy Times from Mother Nature

Fires in the northwest US, three hurricanes at the same time, and one of the biggest earthquakes hits Mexico. It seems like crazy times on our side of the world.

My west coast daughters are getting used to smoke in the air, and sometimes ash falling on everything and the sun looking like an orange ball in the sky. It has been record breaking hot and no rain has fallen in a long time, conditions that make fires thrive. I’m thankful that they are both in cities and not out in the forest somewhere.

Then of course there was Harvey that hit the Houston area. Those affected are already slipping from the radar in the face of Irma who is poised to hit Florida. Katyia is making landfall in Mexico right about now and though less than Irma, I wouldn’t want those 100+ mph winds coming at me. Jose is out in the Atlantic and if it follows its projected path it shouldn’t hit the US, but those islands already pounded by Irma don’t need Jose coming at them next.

Then, Mexico gets hit by an 8.1 earthquake, southwest close to the Guatemala border. The pictures on line look really bad. Word is that it was felt as far away as Mexico City. We didn’t feel anything here, and neither did my friend in Nicaragua but I have heard that others in the area may have felt some tremors. I was afraid the hurricane was headed to the same area as the earthquake but thankfully it looks like it’s a bit north, but as widespread as the effect of both can be there could be overlapping.

Of course for me, Irma hits closest to home. We lived in Florida for 17 years and are very familiar with hurricanes. We narrowly missed Charlie when it turned into Charlotte Harbor just a short drive south of us. I saw what 150 mph winds could do and it wasn’t pretty. Now many of my friends are facing another at least that strong.

I’ve seen comments from some of my Florida friends on social media who have been asked – why don’t you just get out?! Or friends freaking out thinking of what is headed their way, and none of this is helpful. Now it is time for them to prepare, hunker down, stay calm, and ride it out. Later, people will need resupplies of food, water, building materials, and assistance with recovery. I saw this good article on evacuation- Why So Many People Don’t Just Leave. It’s not that simple or advisable.

Here I sit on my terrace in Panama…. thankful, so thankful. We have an occasional earthquake tremor that rarely causes damage, and it rains. That’s it. High drama here is the cows are in the road, the iguanas ate every flower off my neighbors hibiscus, the sun is hot, it rained a lot, and our veggie guy is recovering from having his appendix out (but his totally charming daughter is covering). Oh, and grasshoppers, we have big ones and they also eat plants, but you can’t kill them in my yard because I still like them.

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The Expat Experience and Mental Health

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Birds and Bees

I’ve noticed a little brown bird coming and going from one of our bushes by the driveway. When I investigated, I found three little bluish eggs in a nest. On Friday when I checked on them, I saw that two had hatched. On Saturday, and again today I saw two birds so apparently the third egg didn’t hatch.

I plan to disturb them as little as possible but I’ll try to look in on them occasionally. We have found many similar nests in the bushes, and the doves like to nest in the bushy palm plant in front of the house. Another bird likes to make a nest on top of a pillar and manages to drop a lot of nesting material and make a mess below. We also have countless visitors from hawks, falcons, and vultures to tiny finches, wrens, and hummingbirds. It is said that there are more varieties of birds in Panama than in the whole of North America, and since we live next to a wooded area we get to enjoy many of them.

We also have more varieties of insects than in the whole of North America. I’ve never seen so many kinds of bees and wasps. I noticed a bunch of little ones on a small branch of our guanabana (soursop) tree last Monday. By Tuesday I could see the definite beginnings of a hive, so I snapped a photo every day to see their progress. I’ve seen many of these hives on houses and in trees and some say they are good luck. They are like the most delicate paper and very lightweight.

Bees here seem to be very easy to live with. I’ve only been stung once when I was pulling vines off the fence, not realizing there was a hive on the fence post. Even then they only sent out one bee, not half the hive. I’ve seen big bumble bees, very tiny brown/golden bees, and everything in between in brown, black and/or gold. Many of them don’t even have stingers.

Life in Panama… In most places you get to live with a lot of wildlife. We also get to live with a lot of rain most of the time. Yesterday it rained hard for hours and I heard about flooding in Panama City and I’m sure there were problems here too. When it rains that hard the water just can’t drain from the streets that quickly. But this is nothing compared to Texas. What I’ve seen in the news is beyond awful. It’s going to take a very long time to recover from that and even with the help of many generous people, many lives will never be the same.

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A Scorpion Encounter!

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You Can Talk To Me

I had an interesting experience the other day. Someone who has followed my blog for a while, and who has seen me out and about said she was nervous about approaching me to say hi, but she finally got her courage up and came over.

It always surprises me to hear that I am seen as some sort of celebrity because of my blog. I don’t feel at all out of the ordinary. I enjoy writing and I just write about what is going on, what interests me, or what catches my eye. I’m always surprised that people know me, or know things about me because I don’t think about the blog when I’m out.

But, I really appreciate knowing that people find the blog interesting and helpful. I forget how I latched on to any information about Panama before moving here, and I never thought about becoming one of those sources of information. I started out because a blog is an easy way to keep family and friends updated but since I’m living in Panama now, it is also a way to see life here through my eyes. I worry sometimes that people will come here because of my happy experience and find it doesn’t work for them, but so far I haven’t heard about that happening. Keep in mind though that everyone’s experience is unique and success is based on many factors, so do your own homework.

I get many emails and comments, and if you take the time to write I appreciate that and will respond. If I don’t please poke me because it’s an oversight. I have also met many people in person through the blog, many of whom have become personal friends. I am not shy and I have no problem talking with people I don’t know so if you see me, please feel free to say hello.

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