Is the expat life for you? It works for many. It doesn’t work for many others. You can and should do as much research as possible but nothing can totally prepare you for what will happen in your own specific, individual experience.
Our friends By and Mariah lived in Boquete, and are now living in Medellin, Colombia. By has written an article on their feelings about expat life and the challenges they have gone through in the process.
I’m not sure what is going on with the link above, so just in case here’s another….
“Be extremely honest with yourself” might be the most important line of the article. If you know you don’t like some of the things he mentioned, or humidity, or barking dogs, or an unreliable supply of your favorite cookies, or water…. when the honeymoon phase is over and the rose colored glasses come off, you might find these things intolerable.
Everyone has their own unique experience. Sometimes I worry that just because I’m happy, others think it will be the same for them. As the article says, it is not the same, or necessarily happy for everyone.
I for one look forward to your blog. Btw, thanks for the extra link about By in Colombia.
Thank you, and you’re welcome 😊
Thanks for the note Kris. Colombia sure has been a different experience than Panamá for us. Part of it came about because we were determined to integrate into the Colombian community and become bilingual, which we have achieved (but are light years away from being fluent). Another challenge, for me especially, is our first year I really missed working. As you may recall we expatted to the warm climate after my orthopedic surgeon told me not only could I not work anymore, I couldn’t live in cold climates. So in reality I was absolutely not ready to leave employment.
Anyway, I can’t even imagine living back in the USA now — we’ve simply worked to hard to figure it out, and now that we have (mostly) it’s much easier. Of course, as I’m sure you know, everything is subject to change and perhaps next week there will be a new way of doing something I’ve mastered at last — jajajajajajaja …. that’s Latin America ;-]
How are you & Joel doing? It seems that you’re getting back to see your girls more frequently, how often do you go visit? Abrazos, Mariah
Hi Mariah! That has to make a difference that you missed working and were more or less pushed into making a big change. I wish the whole thing hadn’t been so difficult though. I agree, learning the language and assimilating into the community make a big difference. Good for you!
The US? Nah, me neither. I wouldn’t go at all except for family. I have four grandchildren now so I think it’s important to see them every 3-4 months, and FaceTime frequently. They are so adorable and growing fast. Joel and I are well and happy, thanks.
Kris, many thanks for the repost, much appreciated. Many of the things I mentioned are, of course, familiar to you and Joel, and they’re things we can’t know until we’re living in the reality of them. We can’t imagine leaving Medellin now, especially with the political mess up north, but had we known beforehand, we’d likely not left the U.S. The experience has been wonderful, and not something we’d want to miss, but boy howdy the hard work, it’s amazing. Thanks for reading, and responding. Hola a Joel.
I’m sorry you found it so difficult but glad it seems to be working well in the end! One of these days you’ll have to write about the specific challenges you faced. The language, of course, and I think you have done the right thing by locating where you are forced to use your Spanish. Otherwise, I think we got off easy compared to you, just the normal hassles of moving and learning some new customs and methods. Glad all is well with you, and I’ll look forward to keeping up with your future experiences and adventures.