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
There is a small house in that jungle somewhere-across the road from ours.
Another Pedasi home a few blocks away
The road to our house
Taking a siesta in the back patio – “tranquilo”