This blog originated to allow our friends and family back in the US to follow along with our adventures. Some of them follow it and some of them don't. But it has become a source of information to hundreds of people thinking about doing what we've done. Some already retired and planning a move soon, others not planning to retire for many years. And then there are some too afraid to leave the comforts of home or their kids and grand kids, and they read it to live vicariously through us.
Those of you in the first category who are seriously entertaining the idea of retiring to Panamá, these comments are for you. Please read all that you can, not just this blog about moving your life abroad. This blog contains our opinions and our experiences of life in Panamá, but there's so much more information out there. Each and every one of you comes from a different set of circumstances, with a different budget. We don't all want to live the same or do the same things. Do your homework and find out what's right for you. We don't have all the answers and are not experts on Panamá, especially since we've only been here for nine months.
In our paths we've met hundreds of other expats living here and some are happy and some are not. And some of those people won't be happy anywhere, because that's just the way they are. No one knows what the future holds since we are only promised now. I certainly never thought I'd be retired at age 51 and living in Panamá, but here we are.
Life can be stressful living in a country that's not your own with one of the stresses being the language barrier. Clyde and I both have decided we need to resume studying Spanish on our own to improve our speaking skills to make life a little easier here. Don't expect to come here and find English speaking people along the way because it doesn't usually happen.
Visit the country to check it out for yourself, rent a car and don't be afraid to drive around. Interact with the locals even if you only know a few words of Spanish. Panamanians don't bite and really are accepting of foreigners as long as you treat them the way you'd want to be treated. After your trip go back home and do more research, consider all the options and visit again and again before making your final decision.
Some things to ask yourself are:
....can you accept losing all control at first
....can you accept growing old in a country not your own, speaking another language
....are you willing to re-learn everything all over again, just like a newborn baby
....are you afraid of dark skinned people that live in simple homes with bars on their windows
....can you see yourself going to a doctor or being hospitalized with Spanish speaking staff
....can you accept not being able to open a bank account without providing a bunch of documents first
....can you accept not finding the same products you used back home
....can you accept being all alone just you and your spouse at first with no friends
....are you willing to live in a hot, humid, tropical climate with a long rainy season
....can you live without door to door mail service or an address
....can you live in a country where hot water is a luxury and not found everywhere
....what if your relationship ends in divorce or death of your spouse, could you deal with that here
....can your relationship survive the stress and change
....can you live with geckos and frogs inside your house, and the poop that goes along with them
These are just some of the things one must consider before moving to Panamá. The list is endless but all my brain could think of right now.
Chame Traffic Jam
My hot, sexy, lovable, wonderful yard boy spent most of the day trimming, mowing and picking up mangoes all around the property. Then he came in and cooked me a fabulous dinner of blackened tilapia and baked squash with melted butter and brown sugar on it. Now he's relaxing in front of the TV before he and I hit the bed. Of course if you haven't figured it out by now, my faithful gardner is none other than my wonderful husband Clyde who spoils me with love.
Cerro Campana mountains in the background
I painted the trim around the windows which needed to be done since we had new windows installed. Then some cleaning before having some fun getting arty fartsy outside. Our kool outdoor shower is a little funkier now with some graphics done by me. And when I pick up a paintbrush I just can't stop so I painted the septic tank covers too. Thankfully there was no rain today although it did cloud up a bit and I had Clyde run and get some plastic to cover the shower area with just in case it poured.
No it's not a cake. Not too many people have a
Septic Tank Cover this purty!
Septic Tank Cover this purty!
The other Septic Tank Cover
Funky New Outdoor Shower
Another View of our
Clyde decided since the country of Panamá wouldn't give us an address we'd make our own. He erected the "Mango Street" sign at the end of our road and now tells everyone that we live at #1 Mango Street. There are no street signs or addresses in Panamá since there is no door to door mail system. Actually we do have an address according to our house deed, but it's nothing more than a finca number along with the name of our neighborhood called "Celaje." But unless someone tells you that you would have no way of knowing the name of our "obarrio" or neighborhood.
Here is our new street sign!
We are enjoying life here on Mango Street but just remember that the grass isn't always greener under someone else's mango tree, but life is pretty good today under ours here in Panamá....along the gringo trail.