Thursday, 7 years ago, I arrived in Panama with my suitcase and my laptop. Friday, I arrived in David to start my new life here. So, I thought I should at least write a few words.
By now, it’s normal daily life that is familiar and routine. But also, still, there’s always something I don’t know how to do, something I don’t know where to find, and words I don’t know. Some days I wake up and wonder, what am I doing HERE?? This is a *gasp* foreign country with different people, climate, culture, language, wildlife, appearance, vegetation, many many different things. But, it’s also the same. People love their families, care for their kids, go to work, hang out with friends, and deal with the usual chores and hassles of living. They just want to be happy the same as everyone the world over. We all look at the same moon and stars.
There are chores and hassles of living here but there seems to be so much less. For example, our roof in Florida – wood (prone to rot) covered with tar paper and shingles (prone to wearing out in a couple decades, or flying off in a bad storm). Here we have a metal roof, won’t rot, good for many decades, and there aren’t storms that would tear it apart. That’s only one thing. It never crosses our mind that we will get written up for a lawn not mowed, or we could get shot when we are out and about. I never feel alone either. Anyone, any stranger on the street will smile, stop to chat, or help if they see a need. I feel good here, almost like the air we breathe has peace and happiness.
All the hassles of moving are pretty much a memory now. The worst was wrapping up the old life, the house, and all the stuff! We accumulated a lot in 17 years in the Florida house. I came here with next to nothing and against instructions, rented an unfurnished house. This means no stove, fridge, nothing. I am still friends with Myrla in the appliance department at the DoIt Center who helped me get everything from a washing machine to pots and pans, all in one evening.! What do you need? Everything! I was here alone (husband was still wrapping things up in the US) and my Spanish wasn’t great, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. People were so kind and helpful at every step and I managed to put a home together.
People move with nothing, with entire containers of everything they own, and everything in between. I’m glad we came with minimal stuff. It’s hard to know what you will need and what you will use since life here can be quite a bit different. The shoes I brought in my suitcase are molding in the closet because other shoes are much more appropriate (love my Keens sandals that don’t mind getting wet). The humidity is bad for a lot of furniture, and the climate calls for different clothes. It’s just hard to know until you’ve lived here for a bit. And, if it turns out life here isn’t working out, if you have minimal stuff it’s easy to just go somewhere else. I’ve heard a recommendation that you put your stuff in storage for a year if you are having a hard time deciding what to do. This seems sensible to me.
Anyway, I could go on about my life here, thoughts about the moving process, and many other things, but I think this is plenty for the moment. Pretty good huh, when I started out with nothing to say. ha!