What an interesting assignment! It’s been quite a year here, with wrapping up our lives in Florida and moving to Panama. Going through old pictures really showed me the road we have traveled. So, month by month… January 2012 – We visit Panama for the third time. The previous January, our first visit to Panama, we visited Panama City. Then, the previous June, we visited David and decided it was just right for us. This time we brought my husband’s 92 year old mother so she could see if she wanted to live in Panama also.
We drove around the beautiful countryside
We visited one of the gorgeous beaches
We stayed at a hostel, and couldn’t figure out why bananas left in our kitchen cubby tended to get holes in them.
February 2012 – We return to Florida and decide to move now, this year, instead of waiting until 2014 when I’ll be eligible for social security. Meanwhile though, life goes on in Florida. I am in a photography meetup group, so when I’m not working and doing other things, I look for interesting things to photograph.
I think this assignment was to take candid photos of people
My husband was working on some dirty and sweaty house project, and I saw the dappled sunlight, and thought it was a perfect photo op.
Birds and water also make me reach for my camera.
March 2012 – Bees make spring interesting with their swarming behavior. It was a good winter with no freeze so we will have mangoes this year.
I caught the bees in the act of swarming, which was a good photo op for the photography club’s topic of “fear”.
The swarm, after it settled in the front yard mango tree.
Earl, my friend who collects swarms. “Look, I’m so comfortable around bees that i can put my bare hand right on the front of the hive…. OWW!”
April 2012 – This month the photography club’s topic is “Outside my Back Door”. As you can see, work on the house is in progress, but there is a ton of stuff to do to get it in good condition so we can sell it. We also need to get to work on Ma’s place so it can be sold. Trips to her place take us over the Sunshine Skyway bridge which often provides good photo ops.
You do NOT want to look out our back door right now!
I bought this plant on ebay. It was supposed to be a dragon fruit. It never had fruit, but it made this amazing flower!
We were going across the Sunshine Skyway bridge at sunset and saw this amazing sky.
May 2012 -Preparations continue. I continue to work (at my job, though I’d rather be working on the house) so progress is slow. Spring is a beautiful time in Florida so my camera is busy.
Bald Eagles nesting. The adults are in the tree on either side of the nest.
The ponds are overrun with tadpoles!
Water lilies are blooming, and this one has attracted a pretty green bee.
This mango tree in the side yard almost froze two years ago, but this year it is doing very well and will give us more mangoes than we’ve ever had from it.
Plumeria in bloom – I wish I could capture the wonderful smell in the photo
One of my favorite water lilies, a beautiful coral pink color
This sky was so amazing my husband went up on the roof to snap this photo.
Water hyacinth, illegal in Fl because they are so invasive, but they sure have pretty flowers. My extras go only in the compost pile though.
June 2012 – a significant month. I turned 60. My birthday bash was a trip to Austin to visit my younger daughter. My older daughter, and my sister and her husband also joined us there. I wrapped up my last cases so I could stop work and concentrate on the house and moving preparations full time. It is starting to feel like we are really doing this, though our plans to wrap everything up by the end of June aren’t going to happen.
The birthday bash, and dinner out with everyone! The gal in red is my younger daughter, next to her is her husband, his mother, and his brother, At the end of the table is my older daughter. The silver head at the end of the table is my sister’s husband, and my sister is next to him with the phone in her hand, and next to her is her son, and hidden behind him is my husband. Quite the party, eh?!
A Neil Diamond concert. I have liked his music for ages, and I like the man too.
We get serious about yard cleanup. How much mulch can you fit in the back of a Prius? (19 bags!)
July 2012 – I feel like things are moving forward at a much faster pace now. We have finished with the new roof. The yard looks good. Interior painting is under way. Things are leaving the house. But, the end is not yet in sight. There is still so much more to do.
How much furniture can you get on one truck?
Our poor trash men!
Trips across the Sunshine Skyway continue since we are also getting Ma’s place ready to sell. This make for some wonderful sky viewing!
August 2012 – We are still at it. *sigh*. We are consoled by watching home prices steadily go up in our neighborhood, while inventory remains very low and well priced houses sell quickly.
We get a new front door. It looks amazing!
Plumerias continue to bloom and fill the yard with heavenly sweet smells.
Water lilies continue blooming Everything blooms in the summer in Florida!
I go out to photograph something in the pond and find a big surprise!
Aligator snapping turtle. Yikes! I have no idea how it got in our yard. It got a ride in the trash can to the creek a few blocks away.
I never get tired of beautiful skies.
September 2012 – We are still here. I am feeling like it’s never going to end. I cannot do another yard sale. How are we going to get all this stuff out of here, and the rest of the work done? The realtor comes over and we firm up plans to have the house on the market by the end of the month. “Season” in Florida is coming again, and the summer doldrums are over when people go north to cooler places. This is good for home sales. Prices continue to rise and inventory remains very low. We also have gotten Ma’s place about as ready as we can for now. She is sorting and packing too. A realtor is lined up for her place. I refuse to spend another winter in Florida! It is time to move on. I keep working, keep moving forward. I play more tennis for my mental health. I amuse myself with my camera and look forward to reading my photography books and learning about everything this camera can do.
Waterlilies continue to bloom
I continue to be endlessly fascinated by water lilies and water
The plumeria continue to bloom and perfume the yard with their heavenly sweet smell
The bromiliads bloom again
My macro lens arrives, and of course I head directly to the ponds to try it out on the flowers
The colorful “pea vine” named because it makes edible pods that look like pea pods
Lets try the macro lens on the plumeria
Sometimes we get gorgeous rainbows
these little lizards are everywhere in FL
we can’t forget the interesting bugs
What is happening?? Why are they painting our house? Where are our shutters??! Don’t they realize we LIVE here, behind the shutters?!
The mango harvest continues
We found this beautiful sphinx moth in the garage and put it outside on a tree
We met some friends for a picnic by the water one evening so we could talk about Panama
The talk about Panama group. The gal on my left was my traveling companion when I came down in October.
October 2012 – This is IT. I have done everything I can do in Florida. I can’t stay any more. I have been packed for months. My stuff is cleared out. I am leaving. I find a $50 ticket from Ft Lauderdale to Panama City on the 10th, and click the “BUY” button. I pack one suitcase, one computer bag, and one carry on, and head off to a new life. I also start a blog.
The house is on the market
My luggage is by the front door.
The plane takes us to Panama City
Another bus takes us across the canal heading to David. It is rainy season in Panama.
I arrive at my friends house. Roxy (in front) is assigned me. If I worry about anything, I am to give it to her. She specializes in worrying and is happy to take on any and all worries. She took her job seriously and was always nearby.
The real estate manager I had been emailing with has the perfect house for me.
My friends mechanic has a good car for me
November 2012 – I return to the USA. The house sells fast, cash offer, and they want to close in a week! Fed Ex in Panama… well lets just say the “Express” part isn’t entirely accurate. If we wait for papers to get back and forth we would continue to pay expenses on the house so it’s cheaper for me to fly back to the US and get the closing done quickly. I’ll also be on hand to assist my husband and his mother on their trip down here.
I return to the old house that I never expected to see again. My former dog and his new mom come to see me. (he’s a wonderful dog and I am forever thankful to her for taking him, old and blind and diabetic as he is)
back to Panama City again
Over the canal again but this time in a plane
Flying over the beautiful green mountains of Panama towards David
I am no longer alone in the house!! ~happy dance~
December 2012 – We live in Panama. Really? Is it true? Did we actually make it? After all the years and months and weeks and days of planning and working towards this and trying to make it happen, is this really our home now?! Where do you live? Vivimos en Panamá! My husband starts a blog. I don’t need to add a lot more now because this blog is full of stories of our new life here. The picture at the top, this is our backyard in the morning light.
This is down the road from our house. I never get tired of looking at the mountains in the clouds.
We live in David, a city that has everything we need and more. We live among the nicest, warmest, most loving people you could know. Third world country? It certainly doesn’t feel like it. Many things are much better than they were in the US. It will be very interesting to write “My 2013 in Pictures” a year from now!
About Kris Cunningham
We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
Wonderful Pix, quite a year. Glad to see you happy & settled in. Happy New Year!
Thank you 🙂 Happy New Year to you too, (though I can’t see who you are from here)