One of our requirements is internet. This is how we keep in touch with everybody. Communication was never as important as yesterday when my grandson was born!
This makes me think about people in the past who set out for unknown new worlds, leaving behind people they would probably never see again. I don’t know if I could have done that. How would it feel to watch your children leave, and not know if they even survived?
But now, things are different. Panama has internet. It even has free internet in many public places. It isn’t always reliable or fast, but if you have to get in touch with the world you can go to the city park, the airport, or the hospital parking lot, hookup to http://internetparatodos.gob.pa/ and get connected.
We have internet at the house through Cable Onda. In the seven months I have been here it has not gone down once. We have a mid range plan (Internet and TV) for about $52/month.
I have a cheap Panamanian cell phone for calls in Panama. For the US I have a Skype plan for about $6/month. I have unlimited calls to anyone in the US, and I have a US phone number so I can also receive calls. If I’m not at my desk it will let you leave a voice message, and an email will alert me to go pick it up. I can also video chat with other Skype users which is wonderful. It’s about as close as you can get to being there.
There are other options like Magic Jack that people have used successfully, and I’ve also used Google chat with video which works fine. Many many people here also have smart phones so you can have all this in your pocket.
For me though, this works. It has been an adjustment to not have a smart phone with me at all times. When I was working I needed it and used it constantly. Now it’s different, and giving up my smart phone was almost symbolic of my changed life. I’m not attached 24/7 to my phone, or my work, or my old life anymore.
I will not give up communication though! Yesterday I was able to talk and text message with my daughter throughout the day, talk with my other daughter when there was news, talk with the other grandmother when we needed to support and congratulate each other, and hear the most wonderful news from my son in law when he told me that the baby was here and all was well with both him and my daughter. Today I was able to video chat with my daughter and see both her and the baby (they both look wonderful!) To me, this is more important than anything, to be able to keep in touch with my family. We are so lucky to be living in this age where this is possible, and I’m glad to be in Panama where the technology is available.
Another thing we can do is share pictures, so I had to share just one more. Thank you all for the congratulations, good wishes, and happy messages. The arrival of this new little person in our family is a wonderful event indeed!