Travel

Nine Years

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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.

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