Retirement is not about slowing down, and I guess I am a prime example of that. Each time I plan on writing a new post, something comes up and I’m out the door. Today I am making an extra effort to put some thoughts down as I am turn the corner on my first year living in Boquete full time.
I am amazed at how the time has flown, and I am also amazed how incredibly easy it has been to make the transition to living in a new country. I don’t want anyone to be mislead by that last sentence as there have been many challenges along the way, but really, it hasn’t been that difficult. I’ve written about all the planning that went into our move and I see others all the time doing the same thing…to different degrees. Some folks plan to the nth degree, others just arrive and jump in. I think we fell somewhere in between. Having a good lawyer, relatively sound minds and bodies, a few good friends here who had already made the move, and an attitude of ‘how hard can it be?’, we seemed to have bumbled our way through and are very happy with our decision to make our home in Panama. If you want details on how we managed this, this is not the blog for you. If you want lots of encouragement to follow your dreams, then this definitely is the blog for you.
Dennis has managed, in a very short time, to get our little casitas in fighting shape. New roofs, ceilings, spiffy paint job, gravel driveway, and now an outdoor rancho in which to enjoy the never ending gorgeous days. Dennis has done most of the work, with the help of some very capable workers on the heavy jobs requiring extra bodies. As I sit here, Dennis and Ahmad are up on ladders soldering the roof beams. A little oven for a fire and maybe a pizza or two will be a nice addition on chilly (if you call 70F chilly) evenings. We did have a little glitch regarding the need for a permit and are in the process of working out the kinks on that one. Tomorrow Ahmad and Dennis will travel to David to ANATI in search of a plot plan (cost about $.75 for a copy I think) to submit along with a drawing of the outside area. Problem solved.
Life is pretty tranquillo. I’ve found great places to shop for anything we think we might need. It only took 4 stores to find a splatter screen, but the search is half the fun. (It was Arrocha) One of my favorite things to do is travel to the downtown area of David and explore, then have lunch and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. Fresh produce is everywhere, and I am learning to use the local vegetales and jugos (vegetables and juices) At the moment, the limes are abundant and I am raiding Margo’s trees to make the best limeade on the planet. I kid you not. My juice from the tree tomatoes met with mixed reviews. Day 3 of sauteed chayote with carrots, onions, peppers, garlic, and mushrooms was well received. That was a very big chayote. What can I say? Thank you Cedo.
Being away from friends and family has been an adjustment. We have had a few visitors and that is always a treat for us. Our good friend Claude recently came for a short visit and vacay from work up in Canada. We did a beautiful 4k hike up to the Boquete Tree Trek, had an excellent dinner at the Rock, a delicious restaurant on the Alto Lino loop, and got in a great visit. We have an abundance of restaurants to choose from here and although they are all good, we do have a few favorites. The Art Cafe, hands down, just feeds you on so many levels. The food, the vibe, the music, the and art are all inspiring. Daniel has created a very special place. And then there is Mike’s International Grill, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s the neighborhood bar and grill run by Heidi and Mike, always good for a meal anytime of the day, a soccer or football game (yes, Tom…American football), a glass of wine, and running into someone you know.
So that brings me to what I love about the lifestyle here. Getting together with friends just seems to be high on our list. We have such a wide assortment of interesting and wonderful friends. Two weeks ago, we spent the afternoon poolside with the Chiriqui Rainbow crowd. Last week, we joined the crazy Trivia group at Los Molinos for a night of laughter and friendly competion. I took a trip up to Volcan to a friend’s finca to see a working farm in action. Along the way, we stopped for fresh herbed cheese and some cookies at the cooperativa in Buena Vista, a store that sells locally made goods. There are so many little places to explore, I think I will be quite busy for a long time discovering all that this area offers. Yesterday, I made a trip up to Rodrigo’s greenhouse for my hydroponic lettuce and then went to the Tuesday Morning Market for a talk on Insurance (actually very entertaining and a fresh perspective by Magda Crespa, our local insurance agent) and a quick pass by the locally made chocolate bars (irresistible) by Deborah and another quick hello to the DoTerra Essential Oils distributor new to the area (I am so happy). Today I’m off to the gym to hang out with Lesia. I’m so busy tomorrow with spanish lessons, lunch with friend Sheryl, tai chi with Kevin (don’t get me started on how much I am enjoying this) and an afternoon beading class with Margo and Barb, that I had to cancel a whale watching trip with another group of friends. Looks like Dennis and I will have to do that on our own. Sunday is the monthly flea market, then volunteering to help make fruit empanadas and sell food at the big Amigos de Animales venta de patio event coming up. Mid month we are heading to Boca Chica for some beach time and birdwatching. Does this give you an idea of how much there is to do here and the wonderful diversity of it all? Oh, I almost forgot. This Friday, I am meeting with another group of very creative women to begin a watercolor class with a local artist in the area and also welcoming new casita guests for the week here on vacation from Germany.
It sounds as if I am busy all the time, which isn’t quite exactly true. There is plenty of time for just sitting and enjoying the tranquility of life here. I am grateful for time with my meditation practice, taking pictures, reading a good book (just finished ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye’ and am starting Dr. Joe Dispenza’s ‘You are the Placebo’) and working in my garden.
The days come and the days go. One of Dennis’ favorite things to do is watch the ever changing vistas that come with living next to a volcano. The sunsets are beautiful and a cold beer on the patio makes him a very happy fellow. Ah, the simple life. Clouds floating down the side of the mountain one minute and gone the next with flocks of parrots flying overhead and spectacular thunderstorms that almost seem like they are in the room with you. Kaboom! The polarity of life. Calm and chaos. What a wonderful time of life to be able to really stop and just be one with it all. Very cliche’, but it’s really true. My own True nature.
“MY ENTIRE LIFE CAN BE DESCRIBED IN ONE SENTENCE; IT DIDN’T GO AS PLANNED, AND THAT’S OK.” Rachel Wolchin