Posts Tagged With: expat

Things Ex-Pats Should Consider: Volume 1

I have done a “Favorite Things” ongoing volumes of my favorite things about living in Panama, so I would like to do a least favorite things list too. It seems only fair. It is a list of things you should probably consider before committing to living here. If you are pretty laid back, these things will not bother you so much. But if you expect Panama to be the same as a pristine suburb in the US, you may be very disappointed. These things apply to Panama City:

1. Garbage. There is an ineffective garbage pick up service in Panama City. Trash piles up fast and sits a while. You will see piles of it on street sidewalks, often feeding feral cats.

2. Sidewalks, or the lack of them. Sidewalks in PTY are more like an obstacle course. On one block in my neighborhood, which is San Francisco, an upscale community, there are three two foot deep holes, four rusty pipes sticking up from the broken concrete, several mud slicks, three sections of broken tiles, many splits in the concrete where tree roots have pushed up the concrete, two long patches where there is no sidewalk at all and the curb is a full foot long step down. My husband and I are gamers and like to think of it as gaining experience points while walking; “OK, that was 5 XP getting over that hole, 2XP for avoiding the pipe, 10 XP for not getting hit by the oncoming cars and 50 XP if we get across Via Porras alive… it’s like human Frogger.” The guards at the bank across the street cheer when I make it across the street and I break into a victory dance.

3. Traffic. The traffic scares the hell out of me. The only relief from fear I have is the notion that the majority of this chaos is gridlock in the city in which goes slowly and is unlikely to be fatal if you are in a crash.

4. Car horns. AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! This is the worst! Panamanians honk their fucking horns at EVERYTHING. All the time. All day, all night. No consideration for other people at all. No courtesy, no common sense. The traffic could be backed up because of construction and everyone is honking, as if the car in front of them can magically take flight and move forward at their whim. I think all car horns in Panama should be forcibly removed. It is a huge detriment to the city, a black eye on what is otherwise an awesome place, despite the negatives.

5. The heat. The humidity. This should probably be #1 but this list is random. The heat and humidity here is fierce. It is brutal. You go outside and you are sticky and hot. For those like my husband who professes to be “a lizard” this might be just fine. If you are one of those alien creatures that professes to be cold in 90 degree weather… eat a sandwich, and the heat might be fine for you. For the rest of us, it is uncomfortable and we must make ways to cope with it easier. I carry misting water bottle and fan with me. I walk with an umbrella to keep the sun off of me. I am pale and I don’t tan. I burst into flames like a phoenix.

Advertisements
Categories: Expat Interest, Tourist Interest | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

These are a few of my favorite things…

There is a lot to enjoy and experience in Panama in every corner of the country. This is Volume #1 of my favorite places and experiences in no particular order:

VOLUME ONE: “IN THE CITY”

 

Parque Metropolitano
Smack in the city is the huge 232 hectare natural reserve which hosts an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty. Sloths, tamarinds and gorgeous blue morpho butterflies are easily seen if you go very early in the morning.
362d2bb585722a18a3fd45cf75eaac15

 

The Plaza de Francia in Casco Viejo (French Plaza in colonial Old Town)
With a mix of stately architecture, galleries, cafes, a beautiful flowery garden tunnel and a gorgeous view over the bay, this is a perfect place to have a romantic stroll, have an icee and just chill.

800px-Plaza_de_Francia_Casco_VIejo

 

 

Restaurante Las Tinajas
If you are not visiting Panama during a festival, then the folk show at Las Tinajas might be your best chance to see the beautiful Pollera, national costume of Panama, up close. The music and dancing are excellent and so is the food.
36599364

 

Raspaos (Panamanian snow cone)
Hand-shaved raspaos are a favorite street food in Panama, with vendors carting around large blocks of ice to carve the treats fresh to order. The shaved ice is mounded into an easy-to-hold cone before being doused with a variety of fruit syrups, including cherry, grape, pineapple, lemon, and passion fruit. If you’re looking to add an extra kick of sweetness, ask for a thick drizzle of condensed milk (as shown above), malted milk, or honey.
dd54757ce225917925127e86f1d75380

 

Amador Causeway
A chain of islands that were created by the relocated soil moved when cutting and expanding the Panama Canal, the islands are now a stopping point for cruise ships and a favorite hangout of tourist and locals alike. The islands are connected by a road so you can drive there. Rent a little bike buggy and putter around with your family, skate, bike, run, or just kick back and have a tropical drink and watch the sunset over the bay. I have been told there are several swanky nightclubs there but that’s not my scene so I don’t know if they are any good. 
Amador-Causeway

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Expat Interest, Reviews, Tourist Interest, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s all happening…!

     Yesterday I watched my bookshelves, desk and sofa carried out of the house by the total strangers who bought it off of Craigslist. A large red suitcase is sitting smack in the center of my living room, half full of things I want to take with me to Panama. It is mostly clothes because I haven’t had the heart to try to see if my art supplies will fit in there and still give me room for a few changes of clothes. I have to pack my life into two suitcases and a carry-on. I shouldn’t say “have to” but instead I should say “GET to”. There is a beautiful kind of rebirth to all this disrobing of my suburban life of the last four years. All the stuff I have collected going out the door. The stuff just walking out and the rest of it I get to choose what are the truly important parts of my life and what can simply be parted with.

     My passport is being renewed. I did the fingerprinting thing today (to apply for residency in Panama, you need a fingerprint FBI report and you can do that at a UPS office) and our landlord is showing the house to potential renters since we are moving out in less than a month. Now, it all feels very real and approaching very, very soon. I am happy about this, though admittedly apprehensive. No matter how adventurous anyone is, tossing your whole life in two suitcases and not having much of a plan after that is a little nerve fraying. And there is so much to do that it all seems a bit overwhelming. Sell everything. Cancel the electric, the cable, the phones… oh God, I can’t take all my books! Now THAT is painful. 

     The next year is going to be a life changing experience. Moving to another country… even though I lived there before, it all seems very different now, and I feel a bit unprepared because of my four years of cushy (but depressing) life in the American burbs. What Spanish I knew, I have forgotten (and I have had two brain surgeries since then, and it has been hard to remember words in English sometimes, much less Spanish.) I have so much to learn and so many ways to change. It is exciting and yet scary at once. The good kind of scary. 

     Aside from the international move, I have a big trip planned for next Spring. I’ll talk about that in another post. But, it’s a big three month long trip to Europe, so a lot is going on for me in the next year. Now I just need to pack my things and try to breathe.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

How I live the way I want and travel the way I want.

I have the good fortune to be able to travel often, and I have been asked often how I got that good fortune and what I do to maintain it. How am I able to spend an entire Summer in Paris, or hop around Eastern Europe for months at a time? Don’t I have a job? Am I rich or something? Yes, I have a job and no, I am not by anyone’s standards “rich” though I am comfortably middle class- right in the middle. The answer is that it took a lot of life building on my part to get to a point where I can live my life the way I want to, live almost anywhere I want (note I said almost) and get to do these things. It certainly did not happen by accident. 

 

I don’t have children. I made a decision early in my life to not have children. Not because I wanted to travel, but because of many, many reasons. While I am sure it is possible for some super-parents to be able to do this kind of stuff with a family, I have never met anyone that does. Not having the cost of raising children has freed up most of my income to do with as I please. No, I don’t consider it a sacrifice because it was a well thought out choice.

 

I decided to quit college after four months. I actually consider this a good thing (for me) because I realized I was not getting an up to date or applicable education that would actually get me employment. Instead, I was being forced to take useless classes that had no bearing at all on what I signed up to learn to do. I realized pretty early that my goal was to work for myself in the future, so I didn’t really care if a potential boss cared about my degree or not. I knew I would need more chutzpah than most to be able to bypass the hurdles that would come from not having a degree, but I weighed that decision against the idea of starting my adult life with thousands of dollars in student loan debts I would never get out from beneath, and decided I preferred chutzpah. I have never regretted that choice. My husband made the exact same choice after one year in college, for the same reasons. We are doing quite well. I am not saying that not going to college or quitting will work for you, but I’ve never had a problem and I believe that the American tradition of “if you don’t go to college you will be unemployable or flipping burgers” is a myth. It depends a lot of the kind of career you want. Some require college truly. Others don’t and yet people still think they do. It seems a horribly expensive decision to make on auto-impulse.

 

I am successfully self employed. My husband and I own a small software development company that employs 8 to 10 programmers (8 full time, 2 part time specialists) from around the world. We started the company with no start up cost, save a computer and a lot of talent and hard work. No bank loans, no maxed out credit cards. Just work. We both worked in the IT industry before, being employed by large companies and proved our worth to employers, built reputations for excellence and reliability. Then we branched out on our own, hired amazing programmers and now everyone in our company works from home – virtual office. What this means for us (and our employees) is that we can travel or live anywhere, as long as reliable high speed internet service is available. In 2005, we sold everything we owned and moved to Panama, bought a house and have been happier than we could have imagined. We operate our business from a home office, usually spending 9 months out of each year in Panama and the rest of the year traveling elsewhere. While we are away from our home, we rent it to visitors for short term stays, covering our mortgage and often making a profit. We work while we travel. We don’t do the ‘sight seeing all day, every day’ kind of travel (though that is fun), and we prefer to stick to one place and have more time there to explore at leisure and soak up what life is really like. When we plan well, we can usually have 3 to 4 day work weeks (though we check in to see if problems occur) and have the rest of the week off, since our company is running on it’s own while we are away. We have to be connected. We don’t ever really get days off because if a client needs us, we will be there without complaint, but this style gives us the opportunity to travel while we are still young and to be able to afford extended travel. We usually rent short term self catered apartments rather than hotels or hostels. We can go to Buenos Aires, spend the mornings working and be tango dancing by 3pm. It is a different way to travel and live. It is a lot of work and a lot of hassle, but it is worth it.

 

I enjoy my work. For the way I travel, this is very important. I actually like what I do and I enjoy doing it, so if I have to spend all day inside on the computer while in Paris instead of going to a beautiful garden, I am OK with that. I don’t begrudge it. The garden will be there when I am done. This requires being pretty laid back about everything.

 

I’m laid back, man. Chill. I tend to just go with the flow no matter what. When you travel a lot, it helps to have an easy going attitude. I don’t expect things to go my way. I figure if things do go my way, it’s a lucky bonus. I have traveled with very regimented, uptight people before, where everything was expected to work on schedule, like clockwork, and any interruption to a plan or a routine was met with irritation and fear. In my opinion, those interruptions are part of the experience. I tend to be annoyingly rigid when it comes to my work while traveling, because I want to make sure I am always on time for my clients and always meeting deadlines, but the rest of it – bring on the chaos.

 

Low cost of living at home. We keep costs at home fairly low, making it easier to have expendable income and to justify leaving for months at a time. The car is a used Toyota Corolla, the house is awesome (we like it) but we bought it in 2005 for $147,000 (in Panama) so the mortgage is low. We tend to shy away from spending on material things and prefer to invest in experiences instead. Living in Panama instead of the US has made it possible for us to live this way. We lived in California for years and watched our money be chewed up while getting very little in return. So we moved.

 

I limit exposure to naysayers. This is a difficult thing to do, but I try to limit the amount of time I spend around negative people, particularly the ones who enjoy telling me that things are “impossible” or that I “should” live a certain way, according to their life plan. When you are doing what you want to be doing, those people will come out of the woodwork and do their best to inflict their own misery on you. I don’t let them infiltrate my life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to well thought out advice, or concerns. It just means I don’t listen to haters. To live your life as you want (travel related or not) takes immense courage, and you shouldn’t let haters slow you down.

 

I am always trying to do something new. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to be in theater. I had done a lot of theater work as a kid, and then in Panama, I thought “How am I going to be in theater here?” It turns out it wasn’t that hard. I found a theater, I auditioned, got a part and have been in several plays there. A couple years later, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write over the top, pulpy novels, the kind I enjoy reading for escape. So I wrote one. I published it, and people bought it. So I wrote more, and people bought those too. So I was a writer. Then I decided I wanted to be an artist. Well, that one was harder for me, but I’ve only been painting for three months and I just hung my first piece in a gallery, and no, I am not very good. At all. Like, seriously. But my art is up there for people to see, and I’ve been hired by an author to illustrate the borders of a children’s book. So, I think that makes me an artist. A good one? Probably not, but an artist. I wanted to start a company, so I started one. I didn’t ask for anyone to validate my ventures with a piece of paper or their permission. If you want to do something, do it. Don’t think you need to wait for someone to tell you it is alright. If it’s safe, sane and right for you, do it. If you have this attitude, you will rack up so many awesome experiences in your life resume, and travel will be richer for you.

 

It’s all just my opinion and experience, but I hope this helps.

Categories: Expat Interest, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Panama: Pros & Cons In My Opinion

This is all just my opinion, but here is a basic run down on what I consider the good and the bad about living in Panama. Please note that my home is in Panama City and so my opinions are based around living in the city.

PRO: Affordable and quality medical care. 

CON: The heat and humidity. For me, it is uncomfortably hot and humid. 

PRO: Friendly people. I have found it fairly easy to make friends in both the Panamanian and the expat community.

CON: Traffic. In the city, traffic is a nightmare.

PRO: Plenty to do. I rarely get bored in Panama. There is always something to do. Festivals, lectures, classes, parties, good restaurants, beautiful things to see. Since costs are relatively low, I can afford to actually go out and do things.

CON: Hot garbage. Seriously. The trash pick-up service in the city is severely lacking and dumpsters get overflowing with trash that sits in the heat and makes a stench. If you are considering living in Panama City, this is likely something you will see in most neighborhoods. 

PRO: Affordable living costs. Panama is no longer “cheap” but housing and living costs are quite lower than most places I have lived in the US, UK and Western Europe. 

CON: The many predatory real estate scams that are present in the Panama real estate market. Panama is moving away from it’s old west anything goes reputation of ten years ago, but you still have to navigate a pretty risky landscape of fraud and con-artists. If you are savvy, you can do it, but you must be very careful.

PRO: Panama, despite it’s flaws (the US certainly has it’s fair share of problems too) always feels like home. It is a fairly easy jump for a new expat. The currency is the US dollar, the expat community is large and friendly, the US is a short flight away and as an American you’re never really that far from something familiar. It is easy expatriation. 

CON: Same as above. The Americanization can be seen as both pro and con. 

PRO: The beauty. Panama is a genuinely beautiful country with a rich history and culture. It is difficult to not be charmed by it. 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Medical Care In Panama

I get asked about medical care in Panama often. There is a very xenophobic idea that I encounter often in the USA that the only decent medical care is found in the USA or ‘those expensive white people countries.’ I think they mean France and Germany but I don’t speak fluent stupid so I’m just guessing. I have rather complicated health problems myself. I have very severe epilepsy. That’s the big one. More common problems I have dealt with are high blood pressure, chronic ear infections (diving, yay!) and some pretty standard dermatology issues.

I have a very good general practitioner in Panama City. She is very attentive, takes her time with the patient and I prefer her to any doctor I have ever had in the US. She does not toss unneeded pills in my direction as has been my experience with many US doctors. Pills are a last resort, not a first with her. I greatly appreciate that. I see a neurologist when needed and my GP manages my epilepsy medication in tandem with my neurologist. I also have frequent appointments with a physical therapist to manage the damage seizures do to my body. My epilepsy is treatment resistant so even with medication, I still have frequent seizures. That would be the case regardless of where I live in the world. My doctor visits cost me $18. (It is a modest clinic, not a big fancy hospital, but I am very happy with the care I get there.) My prescription medications are all about 30% less than what I pay in the US except my epilepsy meds which are a bit more.

In 2006 I had an ear infection so severe that I was hospitalized. When I was finally well enough to go home, my ear/nose/throat specialist gave me his cell number and drove me home so he could learn the route to my house in case he needed to make a house call. And I puked in his car.

I have seen a psychiatrist in Panama City and found the experience pretty much the same as seeing a ‘shrink’ in the US. Same office, same meds, same methods. (I suffer from depression and PTSD) My appointments were $40 for an hour long session.

I had surgery for a hernia behind my navel two years ago in Panama City. I was treated at a small clinic and my experience was a very good one. I had three doctors attend me and two spoke English. I felt very confident about their skills and no more scared than I would be in an American hospital. The bill for the surgery, anesthesia, etc was $1400.

Last year I had full blood panels and all around tests done (blood, pee, poo, the works) and this was done in a big fancy hospital (Hospital San Fernando). I usually fear blood tests because I have weird veins and nurses tend to poke me multiple times and I end up feeling like a sprinkler. The nurse who drew my blood was a one hit wonder. She nailed it right from the start, no pain, no weirdness. EKG – $40. Blood, poo, pee tests complete set – $350

I do not have medical insurance in Panama (because I move back and forth) so these costs are reflective of having no insurance.

I have been more than impressed with the quality of medical care in Panama City. I cannot speak for other parts of Panama as I have not seen a doctor anywhere else.

In case you are wondering about dental- same thing. Good quality care and very affordable compared to the US, even if you have insurance in the US. I MUCH prefer my doctors in Panama to the ones I have seen in the US. In the States, I find doctors are often uninterested, not available, don’t listen and rely too heavily on drugs that are not needed (got thin eyelashes? take THIS! Sure, your eyes will turn yellow but you’ll have thicker, fuller lashes!) No, I don’t need four different anti-depressants plus sleeping pills, plus social anxiety pills plus restless leg syndrome pills. What I need is a doctor who makes realistic diagnosis and advises me without a corporate lawyer involved.

 

 

131218055030396 10-edificio-sur-san-fernando

Hospital San Fernando in Panama City

 

 

Categories: Expat Interest, Personal, Tourist Interest | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Haters Gonna Hate… a lesson in naysayers

FROM URBANDICTIONARY.COM
 
hater –
A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person. 

Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesnt really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock somelse down a notch.

Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town. 

Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that ’89 Taurus?

 

 

I decided pretty early on in life that I was going to forge my own path. As a teenager, I was certain I did not want to have children and I was certain I was a believer in logic and reason over superstition and religion. Those two things alone puts me in a pretty small percentile. I have always known I am bisexual. I have my own political views that don’t sway to one side or the other.  I also knew I wanted to travel and I had a fairly strong impression that I would likely end up living “overseas” at some point in my life, maybe permanently. I could never cope with the idea of a nine to five type of job, a cubicle or going to useless meetings. The idea of working at the same company for twenty years made me cringe. The idea of living in one town, in one house made me uneasy. I met my husband when I was twenty and he had the same ideas about life that I do. We clicked automatically and have been best friends since then. I am not saying my decisions in life (being a child-free by choice, globe trotting, self employed atheist) are right for everyone, but they are exactly right for me. I am doing what I want to be doing in life. I am doing what I have always wanted to do. 

I am happy with my life and proud that I have made choices that I do not regret. The thing about living a bit differently and choosing an unpopular path is that haters show up often and are quite vocal. Where are you from? Where do you live? What is your job? Do you have children? These are casual questions that usually pop up in any conversation with a newly met person. Nothing wrong with that. Here’s how it goes for me though:

X: Where are you from?
Me: New Orleans, but I’ve moved around a lot.
X: Where do you live now?
Me: Panama (or Paris or Budapest or Prague or wherever I happen to be)
X: OMG why?
Me: Because I can.
X: So, you work there.
Me: Not really. I work for myself.
X: I bet your kids hate that though, moving around often.
Me: I don’t have any children.
X: OMG why not?
Me: Because I don’t want to.
X: But EVERYONE wants kids.
Me: No, not everyone.
X: Is there something wrong with you? I mean, you CAN’T have any.
Me: No, I just don’t want children.
X: You’ll change your mind though. 
Me: I’m 36, so no. I won’t.
X: You’re making a huge mistake then. You cannot be happy/a real woman/fulfilled without kids.
Me: This is a personal matter, so I’d rather just not discuss it.
X: I’m just letting you know, that as someone with FAR more life experience than you, you WILL regret not having children.
Me: I just met you.
X: And…?
Me: What makes you think you have more life experience than me when you don’t know me?
X: Because I’m a mother.
Me: Oh, OK. So that gives you some kind of magic insight into my life and ambitions?
X: It’s just something all mothers know.
Me: OK, like I said, it’s personal.
X: I just don’t want to see any woman give up such a magical experience…
Me: What is your favorite sex position?
X: What?!!!
Me: Your favorite sex position. Missionary? Doggie style? Cowgirl? How do you get off? 
X: That’s personal and an offensive thing to ask.
Me: Well, you were all up in MY vagina, so I thought I should get to know yours a bit better.

So, as you can see, I make friends about as easily as Robinson Crusoe made ice. I get the “you’re not a real woman unless you have kids” commentary OFTEN, and the transcript above is one of the more polite versions. It works a little bit the same when I tell people I am an on again, off again expat. If people learn that I earn my living writing, making art and traveling and that I answer to no boss but myself, they like to tell me “That’s fun, but that’s not a REAL job.” Apparently, enjoying the work you do means the work is not “real” work. The atheist aspect of my life gets the most vitriol, as a recent study showed that people trust rapists more than atheists. I wish I were making that up. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, and my moral compass is not reliant on reward or punishment. That puts me in a weirdly narrow line of people who are unjustly viewed as being heartless or potentially evil by many sects of religion. I don’t care if someone else is religious, but I’m not. Simple as that. 

The awkwardly shaped puzzle pieces of my life fit together (for me) in a way that works and I am happy with. However, at least once a week, I am bombarded with negative commentary about how others perceive I should live my life,

     “You live in PANAMA? Aren’t you scared?”

No. Why would I be scared.

     “How can you just turn your back on your country like that?”

What? I’m still an American citizen. I pay taxes. I vote. I donate to various charities and take an active interest in my country… why am I talking about this with you?

     “God hates you.”

OK.

     “But if you don’t have kids, you won’t have anyone to take care of you when you are old.”

So, you had your children as insurance policies? That’s cold, man.

     “You’re just running around the world acting like a teenager on gap year because you refuse to grow up.”

Guilty. So damned guilty I shine with it. 

 

My point is one you likely already know. If you are living the life you want, haters will show up and try their best to break you down. They do this because they are fundamentally unhappy. Because they screwed up somewhere along the line and your happiness is a reflector of their mistakes. Haters gonna hate. Don’t let it tear you down. As Cartman says, “I do what I want!”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Really, really good advice from Mike Rowe

Really, really good advice from Mike Rowe

A fan asked Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs” for advice on life and the advice Rowe gave was particularly spot on in my opinion. It applies not only to jobs but to life in general.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

If you don’t set goals…

When I was twelve I made my first bucket list. I never knew the term “bucket list” and instead I called it a “wish list” but it was a list of things I wanted to do before I got too old to do them. My expectations in life at that point were shaky. I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age eleven and the seizures were frequent, severe and treatment resistant. At twelve, I had an aneurysm that almost killed me. I was diagnosed with AVM (arterio-venious malformation) at twelve and my view on life was drastically altered. Endovascular coiling (brain surgery, basically) saved my life. I have had two more aneurysms since then, one that ruptured when I was twenty-three and almost killed me… again. So, my views on life expectancy are a bit different than most people’s, I suspect. I do not expect to live past fifty at the most. This number is not something I have any data for. It is simply a realistic “what if” that I have chosen to base my life around. It is less morbid than it sounds. I figure, “expect fifty years and if I get more – bonus!” I don’t live my life moping around, waiting to die. Instead, I try to fill my life with as much as possible, instead of waiting and saying “I can do that later.” There is a damn good chance I can’t do it later. My bucket list at twelve was finished by fifteen.

Since then, I make a list every year or two. While I am preparing for an international move, I feel it is time for an all new list. I don’t just put the big things (“go to Paris” and “zip-line in Costa Rica”) on this list. I make it a point to put the little things on there as well. It is the little experiences that pack emotional impact and create meaning. The list is not ‘resolutions’ and I feel it is important to not think they are. I don’t expect to complete ALL of these things. I do expect to try to do as many as I can, and to feel comfortable changing my mind about some of them, discarding them and generally being fluid in my life choices. My list for next two years will evolve as I move along, and you can follow my progress here:

My Bucket List Online

The website I use is fantastic for keeping detailed lists of plans, goals, dreams and inspiration. I have created a loose list, and not added photos or descriptions yet but I will in the future. 

From my list…

  • See Yosemite in the Spring
  • Move back to Panama
  • Attend a writer’s retreat
  • Get involved with a charity in Panama
  • Take a yoga class 
  • Be in another play at Ancon Theater Guild in Panama
  • Tell my friends how much they mean to me
  • Swim in “Amit’s Lake” again
  • Have one of my art pieces shown in a gallery
  • Attend the “Day Of Reason” rally in Sacramento
  • Learn to make Jumbalaya and serve it with mint juleps 
  • Have a nice going away party before I move
  • Set up and organize my art studio in Panama
  • Take a photography class
  • Organize photography walks
  • Go hiking in Boquete, Panama
  • Learn to make Carimaniolas (Panamanian/Colombian fritters)
  • Go sailing in The Pearl Islands in Panama (on a catamaran, yesssss)
  • Learn to play guitar
  • Sing more often
  • The next time I have the chance to say something biting and snarky… don’t.
  • Redecorate my home in Panama and document the experience here in my blog
  • Have the lovely Elena Nathani-Badrutt take my photo
  • Hike through Parque Metropolitano 
  • Go to archery practice twice a week without missing a session for three months (then continue)
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

This is all I am taking with me.

This is all I am taking with me.

My actual belongings. Yes, I am 36 and I dress like a 19 year old. I took less than this with me the first time. I lived out of a suitcase for four years and it was the best thing ever. I might also re-pack several board games that you cannot get in Panama easily (like Lords Of Waterdeep… geek stuff) to minimize the bulk and take them for plenty of nerdy game nights with friends. It’s amazing how many aspects of life can be digitized. Photo albums are no longer needed. Book collections can go on an e-reader. Maps, guidebooks, language software… all in a tiny instrument.

Categories: Expat Interest, Personal | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: