"Why Panama?"

When we visited the United States in November and December 2014, our friends, family members, and even new acquaintances asked many questions about our life in Panamá. It really didn’t bother us, and we were glad to answer those questions, just as we did before we moved almost 17 months ago. This time though we have the experience of having lived here full time now, so our answers may be a little different than before, knowing what we know now. The questions were pretty much the same as before. I believe I have probably addressed most of these questions before in my blog. Q: Is it safe? A: Yes, probably more so than the U.S. especially in the interior. Q: Do you speak Spanish? A: Yes, enough to understand and get by. We took language classes for several months when we first came. I also teach English to the children as a nearby local school who in turn help me to learn their language. Q: What is the weather like? A: Warm and humid most every day. There are 2 seasons: Wet and Dry. The temperatures average about a high of 87˚F and a low of 75˚F. We measure rain in feet, not inches. Q: Aren’t there snakes, scorpions, mosquitos, and big bugs in Panama? A: Yes, but there are in the U.S. also, just depends where you live. We have had a few snakes and scorpions in our garden; I just use Avon Skin-So-Soft for mosquito repellent; and I guess I have gotten used to the bugs. Q: How much is the cost of living? A: Depends on where you live in Panama and what you feel you need to live. On the average, it is less than what we would be paying in the U.S. Q: Where you live, are there restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores, etc.? A: Yes, but not like the big chains in the U.S such as Safeway or Home Depot. Not as much choice in products, but sufficient. If we drive an hour to Chitré, there are McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Do-it-Center (like a small Home Depot), a small mall, and several large grocery stores. Q: Are there other Americans where you live? A: Yes, some, plus Canadians, Irish, Italians, Australians, and Israelis. We have met people from all over the world. The number one question we are asked is: “Why Panama?” Along with that, more specifically, why did we choose to live outside the United States? Have we renounced our citizenship? I first want to address these questions, by making it clear that we love our country and its founding freedoms. We will continue to be U.S. citizens, paying our taxes and voting in the elections. We love to visit various parts of the country and find God’s creative nature in its beauty such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, the beaches, various countrysides, etc. We enjoy the variety of cultural events available. And I am grateful for these freedoms that allow me to make choices, including where I travel and live if I am able to go elsewhere. Of course as with almost any country, there are some things we don’t like (traffic, crime, crowds, unfriendly people, etc.)- all again depending on where you live or travel to. But one thing I want to make clear, we did not leave the U.S. for any political reason; in other words, we did not move to Panama because we don’t like how things are going in the government. And thank God, in the U.S. we still have the freedom to disagree. It was claimed that I may have insinuated that this was the reason; far from it. And enough said on that; I don’t want to write about politics in this blog. So again: “Why Panama?” If you have followed my blog, you know pretty much our story. Basically we live here because we can live near a beautiful beach and afford it; the people are very friendly; and after visiting a couple of times before moving, God opened our hearts and all the doors for us to move here. Mikkel would say we can retire on our fixed incomes with more dignity. This is not to say there haven’t been some problems, as you may know from reading some of the postings in this blog. But after the past 17   months, I can say I still love living here; this is home for now. This also doesn’t mean I don’t miss my family, U.S. friends, and the church we attended. I will always love my family. I will always cherish those memories. Life is full of changes, though, and takes us in many different directions. So we have followed this path to live here in Pedasí and be part of this community now, making many new friends, memories, and experiences. I always say we have been blessed in our “Third Life”. Where ever God may take us or you, look for His blessings. imageimage

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