Friday, November 18, 2011

How Did We Ever Find The Time To Work?

Back in Texas I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning, spend two hours in the gym, work all day, get home by 6pm and be in bed by 9pm.  There's just weren't enough hours in the day to do all that I needed to do.  On the weekends I'd make lunches and breakfasts for 5 days since I packed both meals to go during the week.  Weekends also included grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning and hoping to find some time to relax.  How wonderful it would be to not work and have time to do other things.

So here I am in Panama, fortunate enough to have taken an early retirement with my wonderful husband.  Gone are the days of early workouts, stress at work, and no time for me.  I have all the time in the world now, so why is it that I still can't find the time to do things? 

During my working career I'd often hear retiree's say things like "I don't know how I found time to work," as I wondered what it would be like to be retired.  Today some expat friends stopped by the house for a visit and this very subject came up in conversation.  People always ask "what do you do all day" and we have to answer "we don't know but the days fly by."  We can use the excuse that everything takes longer to accomplish in Panama, since things move slowly here.  Just like getting a drivers license that took us 3 days of running into Panama City.  Yet I heard the same complaints from retirees in Texas, so it's not just a Panama thing. 

We spent a few hours chatting this morning with our expat friends. They moved here from Switzerland two years ago because prices on everything kept going up.  It's nice to know that it's not just high prices in the U.S. that drive folks to retire elsewhere, but other countries too.  Then I hopped on my spin bike and peddled my butt off for an hour.  Lunch and a shower killed more time and laundry filled in the gaps.  Now I'm blogging to all my faithful followers who I appreciate so much for all your support.  Leaving here soon to meet another friend for drinks at his home about 20 minutes from here.

Back from a nice evening of chatting to another U.S. expat that moved here from New Mexico six years ago.  The three of us had dinner at yet another Mexican restaurant, near Coronado.  This restaurant was very "gringo-ized" in that every time someone came through the door the blond, gringo owner yelled "welcome" but was immediately able to switch into Spanish when necessary.  We learned that the gringo owner was from Virginia Beach in the U.S. He married a Panamanian woman and moved here with her, and later opened a restaurant.  Everyone here has a different story and it's fun to meet other expats and hear what brought them to Panama. 

Today our trails led us to chat with new friends that we've met along the way.  In many ways I do believe that's it's easier to make friends here in Panama, since all of us expats are here without any.  Whatever the reason that brought  each of  us here, we're all here to find a better, healthier, cheaper way of life and to share our experiences with others that we meet.......... along the gringo trail.

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