Back from the USA

It was a wonderful time with family. It means so much to me that I not only have two wonderful daughters, but now three amazing grandchildren. And, even better, The whole family was together for Thanksgiving, including Joel and the California in laws. I started out not related to anyone and now to have all this family, it’s enough to make a grandma totally melt into a happy puddle.

But, it’s always nice to come home again too, back to Panama where happiness seems to come with the warm air. In the past it was interesting to contrast the US and Panama, but now that I have been back and forth many times there isn’t much more to add. People in the US are still tall, you can turn off the Spanish speaking part of your brain, there are lots and lots of things to buy but much of it is more expensive, especially the food. (I did stock up on pain relievers and cold medicine though. There seem to be many more choices in the pharmacy and lower prices on generic brands.) Everything is manicured, yards are neat and orderly, and streets are smooth. Since it was late November though, it was chilly most of the time and the sun sets too early in the afternoon.

I have pictures that I will get around to sharing at some point.  The most dramatic are from the areas burned in the Santa Rosa fires. No picture can convey the reality and scope of the destruction though. It goes on for block after block, for miles. The rest of the pictures are flowers, pretty places we visited, and of course family pictures.

We came back with musical equipment, mainly a new amplifier and four new speakers so Joel has been busy getting it all installed, wired up, and whatever else is needed to make it work. One of the speakers is a 15” Faital for my bass cabinet. I have an amplifier all to myself now so plenty of power, and a new great sounding speaker that can handle it so I’m no longer afraid to turn up the volume. Our drummer is coming down for practice tomorrow, and we play on Saturday night so soon it will be put to the real world test.

It’s funny. Anytime I go to the US there are things to bring back, but it’s always different things – clothes, shoes, spices, food storage containers, colored duct tape and electrical tape, seeds, a small appliance, just random things we find easier to buy there. The last couple trips though have been mostly band equipment, and various things my neighbor bought since she discovered the joy of ebay shopping.

It’s also funny. The US and Panama feel like totally different worlds, but you can get on a plane in one and land in the other in the same day. Thank you for airplanes, especially the Delta ones with electric outlets and free movies. It always takes my head a couple days to catch up with reality though.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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13 Responses to Back from the USA

  1. Laureen MacDonald says:

    How wonderful that you have the opportunity to spend time with your grands, your daughters and their spouses on what seems to be a fairly regular occurrence. I’m still working out scheduling with my family, which can be challenging with everyone’s busy lives.

    Enjoy the gift of winter warmth that Panama brings. I count my blessings daily for not being cold anymore, except during our cooler nights. Then I put one more blanket on the bed, and I’m good. Jan and Yuche both like the climate better here too. Hugs to you Amiga!


    • Family is important to me, especially with the grandkids getting old enough to know who I am and interact a lot, so I’ll go back 3-4 times a year. If they are working I’ll find projects or something useful to do during the day. I always take warm clothes though. Even the planes and airports feel really cold to me.


  2. Fred and Joanne Shaw says:

    Hi Kris, we are glad to hear you and Joel had such a good time with family, especially the Grandkids. It’s always nice to spend time with family.
    It’s cool that you bring so much stuff back to Panama.
    We are curious though, do you pack all of those items in suitcases, or do you ship some Air Cargo?
    We will be heading down to Panama in a few months (June 2018) to live in the Alto Boquete area for a while and are starting to figure out the best way to get some things (Small Appliances, Computer and Monitor, Clothes, Shoes, Essential Oils, Diffusers and other such things) down to Panama. Friends have suggested a combination of Suit Cases and Air Freight.
    By the way, Copa Airlines starts flying direct from Denver to Panama City this Month which is great for us since we will be doing annual trip back to the US to see family, especially the Grandkids!


    • Check your airline for their baggage policies. Delta allows one 50 lb bag for checked luggage. We put one 15” and 12” speaker in each suitcase, padded with clothes and smaller items. We also had large backpacks as carry ons but they usually offer to check those for free at the gate to make space in the overhead bins. So far we have managed to bring everything in regular luggage.
      Copa also has a direct flight to San Francisco which was great at first, but then the price went ridiculously high. I hope that doesn’t happen with your Denver flight.


      • Fred Shaw says:

        Thanks Kris,
        We appreciate the advice.
        We are looking forward to heading down to Panama next Summer after I retire and get the house rented.
        We are slowly but surely going thru the accumulated stuff in the house and sellin what we can and donating the rest. Can’t wait to get down there and live a simpler, slower life.


        • It’s a process for sure, but keep moving forward and it will all get done!


        • Donald Mack says:

          kris looking to find a place while Im there in march look me up was also diagnosed with the start of dementia 4 months ago and before I cant go and find a place there so please e mail a way I can contact you to hear the band when I am there


  3. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris, welcome home!
    We used to visit Panama during Christmas, I had almost a month off during December. Packing for the trip was always weird with summer clothes during the US winter. I carried an empty backpack on the plane to cram winter jackets into once airborne.
    Most of our luggage was linens and clothing for Nena’s family. The customs guy back then always laughed at me when I would explain, “todo es por Mima”. Those were fun times before all the world’s craziness started.
    Your random selection of stuff looks a lot like mine. I included those plastic zip ties and bags of rubber bands, the most useful things I have found for on the road organizing. (They have Marvel Comic duct tape now!!)


    • Yes, same here packing winter clothes when it’s so warm here. I had a smaller backpack that I hardly used because it wasn’t long before I was wearing all the clothes. They love to crank up the AC on the buses.
      You can get plastic zip ties here now! Colored electrical tape is great for labeling things though, and the paint behind the door handle on the fridge got all chipped and ugly. A strip of white duct tape made it look great again. You don’t take things for granted so much after living here a while, even little things like white duct tape. Maybe it’s here somewhere but it’s so easy to walk into Walmart and buy a roll from their big selection of colors and designs.


  4. Donald Mack says:

    kris my name is Donald Mack and tired of the lately crap from a medical doctor I have had to see at the forcing of my 80 year old mother you see I spent some time in Panama in 1989 I was with the team in December of 89 to take the president out of Panama and then shortly in 1990 thru 1992 is was in Africa for the team in Solmolie ?? and I got out of the military in 19992 where I did overseas private security team all over the world but was forced to retire from work due too heart stints so I have made up my mind I am leaving here March 9 and will be in David Panama tell the 22 of March and I really would like to hear your band when I am there I will be staying at the Hotel Madrid in David so please give me a call and maybe we can all go for dinner my treat so look me up please


    • I sent you an email. We play in Boquete, but you’d probably enjoy visiting there too. You will be here long enough we can probably figure something out even if I’m gone part of March to visit family.


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