Counting Our Blessings

As I am drinking my coffee this beautiful morning, Mikkel hands me a smoothie he made for breakfast – fresh papaya, banana, mango, and pineapple blended up with a little ice. Afterwards he says, “I really like our automatic ice maker.” Actually, he fills up ice trays with water and puts them in the freezer. I responded with, “And I like our dishwasher.” I wash dishes by hand. Then I added, “I also like our clothes dryer. It is so natural and makes things smell so nice.” I hang my clothes out to dry.
I started about all the things I used to have, but don’t really mind not having anymore. I have written about some of these things before, but it is always good to re-evaluate and count my blessings. TV is one thing we have been without until yesterday. We shipped our TV here in the crate, but it has been sitting in it’s box all this time. So we decided not to get satellite TV for now. A few days ago we finally set it up on the stand but did not connect it. Then yesterday we connected it with our Apple TV which is connected to the internet. We also have a router that cloaks our IP address to make others think we are in the states so we can watch TV shows and movies in English (not live but past episodes). It works, but surprisingly we have little desire to watch it as much as we did in the states. We have no DVR to record-oh well.

There are other things we have learned to live without. 1.) No hot water heater for our kitchen and bathroom sinks and clothes washer. I heat up water for dishes (or use a semi-solid dishsoap for cold water). 2.) A full stove with oven – the oven would only heat up the house. We have a 3-burner counter top butane stove which works well for Mikkel along with a toaster oven and microwave. We do want to get a gas BBQ soon so Mikkel can cook outdoors and keep the heat out of the house. (He has learned from our friend how to make pizza on the BBQ.)
3.) Central air conditioning throughout – we have a wall unit in the master bedroom that cools off the room very well, although we only use it for a little while at night. The ceiling fans and cross breeze from the front to the back seem to do just fine and sitting out in the patios keeps us comfortable as well. 4.) I do miss our TempurPedic mattress, but I am sleeping well on our bed that came with this furnished home. 5.) Daily delivered mail – the utility bills are hand delivered (slipped under the screen door or left on the door handle. We pay for them at the local Western Union office about 4 blocks away. My mail from the states is forwarded to my daughter who scans and emails the important things and throws away the junk mail (certainly don’t miss that). We also have a mailbox at MailBox Etc. in Las Tablas. Any mail or things we want to order can be shipped to our Florida address and forwarded on to Las Tablas. 6.) Can’t go to the neighborhood Starbucks for coffee, but Mikkel, each morning, makes a very good cup of Panamanian brew with the AeroPress coffee/espresso maker (like a French press without the grounds in the cup). 7.) Wearing makeup (my daughter-in-law Rosie would die). I brought all kinds, but hardly ever put it on-maybe a little lipstick and blush once in a while. The humidity is great for the skin. 8.) We don’t have lots of kitchen cupboards or storage space or closets, but we found ways to store things. Most everything is open, not enclosed, because things easily mildew or mold here. I love our little home; it’s comfortable. I walk look through the neighborhood and walk around town viewing the many houses. Some big and luxurious, some with just 4 block walls and no glass windows or doors; but everyone seems content. Children are happily playing, adults sit out on their front patios and greet you with “Buenas” and a big smile.

So when you think about it, we really are not living without much, just differently. We are living with less stress and more peace (tranquilo). We have certainly been blessed and I thank God each day, even for the frustrating times when things don’t quite go the way I planned. But everything turns out okay. This life may not be for everyone, but I know it is God’s will for us. Wherever you find yourself, count your blessings.

House across the street

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There is a small house in that jungle somewhere-across the road from ours.

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Another Pedasi home a few blocks away

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Our home

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The road to our house

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Taking a siesta in the back patio – “tranquilo”


6 thoughts on “Counting Our Blessings

  1. mcmoller says:

    We have only been here 3 months, but have met a lot of expats who have been here many years. I believe it all depends on your acceptance and tolerance level of a different culture (it is not the US or Canada) as well a your expectations. I did read that blog and it is possible this blogger just had a lot of bad luck experiences. Yes we do have power & water outages, but the water is good where I live. We have power surge protectors on everything as well, but never had anything go out due to lightning, only faulty old wiring, which was fixed. I have been told there are homes in Pedasi that apparently have water & sewage problems, but the town presently is building better systems for all. I would also be careful of someone asking for money over the internet. This blogger apparently does not have a large network of friends to help her out. We purposely have connected with many, not for money, but for friendship and support. When we are in need, friends are very willing to assist in solutions, such as power outages, ATM problems, product & service locations, etc. One of the things that brought us to Pedasi was the friendly people, both Panamanians and expats. Again, it all has to do with attitude and what one is willing to live with or live without. Panama is not for everyone.As for me, I count my blessings. I may not have much in worldly possessions compared to what I had in the US, but I am content and this retirement is more than I would have ever imagined I could have.

  2. Kris Cunningham says:

    OneCardShort, where are you?? You seem to have had some amazingly bad luck. We’re in David and our internet never goes down, or our electricity. The water is fine, but if you don’t like it you can collect rain water. Water goes out sometimes when they are working on something or supplies run short in the dry season, but never for more than a day and jugs of water on hand make it easy to live with. Maybe you should come to David where rents are also relatively cheap. More rural areas are even less expensive, though utilities may be less reliable.Also, consider bus travel. It’s about $16.25 to Panama City from David. We stay overnight at the Costa Inn with free breakfast and free van to the airport. Check for cheaper airfares (maybe Spirit Air) Maybe you can get a laptop and downsize the equipment so you don’t have to ship stuff or pay excess baggage fees, which of course is very expensive. Anyway, if you need cost saving ideas just ask around. Many of us are on a budget and have to watch our money too.
    Also, maybe you should check with a doctor. The usual signs of contaminated water are intestinal upsets, not the numbness you describe. That has to be something else.
    Oh, and lightning… having moved here from Florida we’re very used to dealing with that. Put surge protectors on your equipment, and unplug everything if it starts storming or if you aren’t there to keep an eye on it.

  3. mcmoller says:

    You can email my husband Mikkel at for info on the router. Some homes in Pedasí have fences around the front & bars on windows. Most do not. I feel very safe here. The other night we walked home from our friends home about 5-6 blocks away. It was after 11pm. No problems & did not feel the least bit unsafe. One of the reasons we chose this area to live.

  4. Allison says:

    Two questions for you, if you don’t mind answering them: Can you tell me where you get router that has U.S. IP address? And do any homes in your immediate neighborhood have fencing with gates around them or are bars on windows and heavy front doors all that has been needed?Also, you hit the nail on the head in that it is all what you find you really need and can get comfortable with in your new life. Now, I wouldn’t think of doing chores (such as hanging clothes) since work gets in the way! Tranquilo life at its best! Enjoy!

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