Thursday, January 26, 2012

No One Is A Stranger.....for very long

Since the weather is just perfect here everyday we sit outside to eat most of the time.  The other day we realized how much our understanding of Spanish has improved.  While sitting there eating we heard the neighborhood kids say"nah nah nah nah nah nah" and then heard the neighbor yell at his dog "eh eh eh."  The neighbor on the other side was outside and he answered his cell by saying "alo."  And then there's those other Spanish words we understand like Subway, McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut. But we stay away from those places because they charge "big bucks" instead of "poco balboas."

My dear husband is SO friendly, we make friends in the strangest of places.  A few days ago while out getting a few groceries, Clyde suddenly pulled into McDonalds for ice cream.  While standing in line to order he started talking to a gringo looking young man who we learned was visiting from Canada.  This couple from Canada visits Panamá every year for one month and will possibly retire here someday.  After we got our ice cream we looked for a place to sit in a crowded restaurant.  I was hoping that friendly Clyde didn't park his butt next to the Canadians interrupting their lunch.  Clyde must have read my mind as he found us a seat elsewhere.  Yesterday at an expat mixer in Coronado, who'd we bump into but the same couple from Canada.  This time we had the opportunity to chat for a while and learn more about them.

Also at the expat mixer we met a young couple who just moved here from Austin, Texas.  The female half named Shannon is a licensed massage therapist who was trying to drum up business by introducing herself to the crowd.  Our friend Sharon signed up herself, her friend and her husband for massages  on Saturday.  She encouraged Clyde and I to follow along and we agreed to join the massage party on Saturday at Sharon's home in Chicá.  Another expat from the U.S. who was  a retired chiropractor, is now back in business here in Panamá, just in case we need his services someday.  It's truly amazing the people we've met here, from different countries, from different professions and from different income brackets.  Yet we all share one common thread, that our homelands are too pricey and we all moved to Panamá for a cheaper, more peaceful, better way of life. 

It's hard to believe that only five months ago we stepped off the plane knowing no one, and now we know hundreds of people from around the world.  I had no idea that retirement would include international relationships with truly amazing, adventurous people.  And although Clyde's friendly nature sometimes annoys and embarrasses me, I have to give credit where credit's due.  If it wasn't for Clyde we would not have made so many friends so quickly.  No one is a stranger to Clyde and no one is exempt from his friendliness.  Whether you meet him in a doctor's office, a fast food restaurant or on the street, he will likely introduce himself and start up a conversation whether you want to talk or not. 
His enthusiasm and charisma are contagious and before you realize it, you too will be new friends of ours and just may be included in the next episode of along the gringo trail. 

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