Where do they live? The city? The mountains? The beach?
Do they rent or buy? We must interject here that the loudest advice we hear from other expats, is rent first in Panamá! Should they buy in a gated community of expats or live with the locals? If one does buy, does he buy new or a fixer upper? Or does he build from the ground up? Everyone moving to Panama has their own dream. No two dreams are alike. They are "OUR" dreams.
Recently we had a chance to meet up with a couple working on their dream home. They are U.S. expats Fred and Cynthia and they live on the road up to El Valle de Anton. They are renting a nice little house while Fred is feverishly working on his "container home". Yes, you heard me right. He has purchased four 40 foot shipping containers, has put them in place and is building his home from them.
Fred admitted to me that this was not the easiest way nor the cheapest way to build a home. But, I believe that his artistic way of putting not only the containers together but the connecting pieces will create an awesome work of art! Because that is what Fred and Cynthia are, they are artists in their own right. We had a chance to view some of their other artwork Fred has done. He discovered that he has a talent for painting portraits of pictures that Cynthia has taken.
Fred and Terry walking towards his lot
Fred welded this beautiful gate
of "Cat Tails"
This is one side where the Master Bedroom as well as other rooms will be
This shows the containers and Fred's new work shop
The other part of this story is that the container home is the second chapter of his Panamanian dream. Primarily, Fred purchased some land near one of the mountain peaks with a beautiful view. He proceeded to begin building his dream home on this land that had stood for eons. And.......... you guessed it, there was an earthquake and all of his work went sliding down the mountain! This time they are building on land a lot flatter with no chance of it going anywhere.
So this is chapter two in Fred and Cynthia's dream of building a home in Panama. They both have to be commended, as it has not been easy. Can you imagine the pain they went through to see their dream topple down the mountain? The tenacity of these two is so admirable that it sort of reminds me of the pioneer spirit of the early Americans.
Here is a link to Fred's Container Home Blog in case you are interested in following his progress. http://panamashippingcontainerhouse.com/
We thank them for their hospitality and their courage and maybe a little craziness, for taking on this monumental project. In the short time we have lived in Panamá, we have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Fred and Cynthia share our humbleness and excitement of living "with" the Panamanians. They seem to be truly good people. We have realized that meeting folks like these is what makes life so interesting along the gringo trail.