Nine Years

It’s a week of anniversaries. Both of my daughters celebrated their wedding anniversaries, and yesterday was 9 years since I landed in Panama to live. In a way it seems to have gone very quickly, and in another way I feel so at home it’s like I have been here a very long time. I think about people I know and things I’ve done, and realize I’m remembering things from quite a few years ago. Some of the little kids I first met are now taller than their parents.

They say there is a honeymoon phase when you move. Everything is new and wonderful and you love everything about your new home. Then reality sets in. It’s been quite the opposite for me. It was hard when I first got here. I didn’t know how to get things done or where to find things. My Spanish wasn’t great and I had a hard time understanding people. Now though, I’ve done most things many times, and I know who to ask if I need help with something new. My Spanish is good enough that I can manage almost any situation, and if I’m missing a word I can usually describe the thing well enough to be understood.

But, the novelty hasn’t worn off either. There’s always something new and interesting. Reloj is the word for watch or clock. I learned it’s also the word for the gas and temperature gages in the car. But, at least I had enough words to describe the situation – the gas and temperature are crazy! He replaced the sensor in one and the line in the other, and now they are no longer crazy. My friend brought me a strange dessert with pieces of jello and bits of fruit in some kind of sweet foam. She explained that you freeze milk, then put it in the blender with jello. Then you get a mold, put in fruit and pieces of jello, and then add the milk/jello part and put in the fridge for a few hours. When you are ready to eat you turn it right side up on a plate, and there you go. Milk and jello? That’s a new one but it makes a very nice dessert.

I still find this country incredibly beautiful, even views I’ve seen hundreds of times. Today I set off on my bike to do an errand, and the sky was gorgeous!

Yesterday we went to Boquete for a gig. When we got part way up the light rain cleared and sun peeked out through the clouds, which caused an intense rainbow in the other horizon. This was taken through the window of a moving car but you can still get the general idea.

I could go on and on about all the things I love to see, starting with my own backyard. I’ve planed a lot of flowers and plants, and I enjoy the birds, bugs, and other wildlife that visits here. The weather is pleasant enough that I can spend all the time I want on the terrace. And, best of all life is generally chill. People are super nice, the pace is slower, and nobody stresses out about much of anything.

Oh, and Panama beat the USA in soccer last night. They had the game on TV in the brewery where we played last night, and we got to see the final score on one of our breaks. I was happy to see this little country get their name and success in the news.

When I arrived I didn’t know for sure that this would even work out, so I never though ahead to this many years. Now though, who knows. We have no intention of leaving and I feel like I can look ahead to many more years here. We are so thankful every day.


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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17 Responses to Nine Years

  1. Iliana says:

    Hi Kris, I just found your blog (and subscribed) about a week ago. Super enjoy reading this entry… thanks for being so candid. My husband and I have wondered about retiring in Panama. You’re making us reconsider this dream again. Todo lo mejor! 🙂


  2. I knew you were coming up on nine years, Kris. I am so happy to see your enthusiasm and delight remains as strong as ever–you convey this so well, and I see it as a mindful, “present moment” antidote to some of the jaded, blasé posts that baffle me on the Fb expat pages. Your blog changed my life, and I still cannot believe my good fortune in getting the opportunity to follow in your footsteps. I am earning much-needed funds in Maine, yet I get so excited when I realize the days are speeding by toward my December return home, to Paso Ancho and Volcán. Now where is that vax card?? Guess I better get on that, get a replacement! See you in David or Boquete soon!


  3. Leroy O. Jackson says:

    I’m sure you’ve posted it already, but why did you not choose to live in or near Panama City? Would that be a better place for a US expat who wants more of the comforts of home?


    • It’s too much city for us, expensive, lots of traffic, noise, etc. David is the next biggest city so we have everything we need here, but it’s without a lot of the big city stresses. Of course comfort can mean different things to different people but for us, it’s good here.


  4. Alan Marshall says:

    Hi Kris, I have been following your blog for years now and enjoy your views very much. That being said, I am wondering what Panama’s government is saying about all the immigrants passing through the country on their way to the US? Also what is your view on this?
    Why aren’t Panama and other countries along the immigrant trail doing something to impede these people? Is it because they just want to “pass the buck” on to us? Very hypocritical to most Americans. I look forward to your thoughts.
    Thanks again for your posts!
    Regards, Alan Marshall


    • Yes there are immigrants making the very dangerous trek through the Darien jungle and piling up in eastern Panama. Bob Adams talks about it a bit in his recent video Then, you hear about the serious labor shortages in the US and Europe, and one would think… but the situation is way too complicated for me to understand all the considerations.
      Thanks, glad you enjoy the blog 🙂


  5. Julie Garman says:

    Hello Kris! I am a new retiree as well as a new blogger. I discovered your site on one of the “Top retirement blog” lists and am glad I did! My life looks very different from yours but I am enjoying reading of your adventures and insights! Thank you so much for sharing!


  6. Hi, Kris! Not sure if you remember me (Valerie) but my husband and I moved to Panama around the same time you and Joel did. We are considering going back for a while next year, so I started checking out some of my favorite Panama bloggers. I am unreasonably happy to see that you are still there and am going to enjoy catching up on what has been going on with you over the last several years. 🙂


    • Wow, wait, who? Did you go back to the US to take care of family, a parent? You’re coming back to me in bits and pieces. Old age.. ya know 🙄 How are you? Where have you been? Are you both doing well? Yes we’re still here and really happy. I hope all is well with you too!


      • Yes, that’s me, and I’m impressed that you remember! Yes, we’re both well. We have been in Florida for 6 months, after a year and a half in Spain, and it is feeling like time to make plans again. Thanks for keeping up with your blog…it will help me get back into the Panama mindset!😀

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