Adjusting to a New Country, Culture, and Life

People move to Panama (and other countries all over the world). Sometimes the transition is easy. Sometimes it is so difficult that people give up and return to their home country. Most people, however, fall between these two extremes and manage to adapt to their new lives and become happy in their new homes.[/caption]

I happened across this post written 2 1/2 months after these people moved to Boquete. It will give you a good idea of their adjustment and how they feel as they adapt to their new lives.

Thoughts On Life In Panamá (so far)

Of course everyone is different and adjustment processes and times vary. Locations also vary. We rarely have problems with electricity and internet in David, and we have a water tank to see us through water outages which seems much less frequent than in Boquete. We have two gas tanks so when one runs out, we just switch it for the other and get a refill when it’s convenient.

Eggs are not refrigerated, but milk is available in the usual refrigerated quarts, half gallons and gallons as well as boxes that keep indefinitely without refrigeration. Maybe you can’t find everything you are used to in the store, but you’ll find new things to try and the veggie markets have wonderful, inexpensive, locally grown produce that for me, is a great bonus.

It is true that many things, like getting something done in a government office, are different. It may take more time and multiple visits to wherever they make copies, but when you are finished you are done. You don’t have to wait for car titles or other documents to arrive in the mail (because there is no mail). That can be frustrating at first when your Spanish isn’t good and you don’t understand the process but it always gets worked out. When you are retired and don’t have to get back to the office, the time doesn’t matter as much.

On other notes, I have been in the US with family for the last couple weeks so I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been taking pictures either. In the past I’ve spent too much time behind my camera rather than experiencing what was happening, so I purposely took no pictures at all on this trip. I’ve also listened to some interesting books and podcasts, and done some thinking about where I’m at in general. I believe if you aren’t growing, you are dying, and I’m no where near ready to stop growing regardless of where I happen to live.

Sesame Street will be over soon and it will be playtime again. Having time with these beautiful grandkids is really special. Blogging will resume at some later date.

Sent by my friend Richard, people photographing the moment rather than enjoying it.

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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6 Responses to Adjusting to a New Country, Culture, and Life

  1. simplywendi says:

    enjoy the grandkids!


  2. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.


  3. Felipe says:

    I’d adjust to Panama fine I think. In Mississippi we had the gas cylinders and the hot water heater was outside. Yard eggs weren’t refrigerated (but we had fresh goat milk!). The water, after we got off the failing stinky artesian well, was plastic PVC run in the ditch, mostly exposed. I kept hitting it with the mower. Then I moved to Boston where I had to learn to drive crazy. It’s adapt or die up there, but I was younger. Those changes would be fine.
    But missing familiar people would be the biggest adjustment. They don’t have to be “friends” per se, but people you say “hey” to as you walk or work in the yard, the super market checker, they all mean more to us than we realize. Small things matter. A favorite pie at a run down diner, a familiar smell of the train going by the house (creosote and diesel fumes). I’d miss those things.
    A good thought provoking post for anyone considering a big move. I think the first year of a big change is easiest. Everything is new and exciting. Then I start longing for “home”. If I make it two or three years it gets easier. Before then my chances of returning, if I can, are great.
    It makes me feel for people who can’t go back – if they’re from a country torn by war or violence, or in economic exile and can’t make a living at home. At least most people in Boquete probably chose to make a change. When you’re forced into it, for whatever reason, it’s harder to adapt to your new place.


  4. They say when you move there is a honeymoon phase, and after that comes a more realistic idea of daily life in your new environment. I think it’s an individual thing how much the differences bother you, and being farther from friends and family.
    I also think about people forced to move, or people in the past who had slow and minimal communication with those left behind. That must be so much harder.


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