As we are fast approaching our three year anniversary here in Panama I thought it might be a good time to update our friends and family on our adventures, trials and tribulations. It has been a wild ride with lots of good days and unfortunately lots of bad days.
CASA DE LAS BENGALES: Our beautiful house is still under construction. Our first builder turned out to be a con-man not only stealing a large amount of money, but exaggerating his skills. Once he was fired, the house sat dormant for seven months until we found a new and improved builder. He spent the first month correcting all of the deficiencies and inaccuracies. Little things like columns the wrong size and in the wrong place, floors and walls out of square, a carport too small to fit an actual car and the teeny tiny thing of having to redesign stairs so that they wouldn't end in the middle of the pool. We are very happy with the new builder and now that the rains have stopped we hope to rapidly approach completion. The kicker is that we are spending over two times what we budgeted!
|Roof structure going in|
|So much bigger than we thought|
WORK: We have been lucky enough to find gainful employment in order to help us pay for the builder debacle which is somewhat of a mixed blessing. It is great to have the ability to continue building our dream home, but now we are both working full-time. So much for early retirement! Fortunately we work from home most of the time sitting at our garden table surrounded by the beautiful breezes and lush greenery.
FRIENDS: After two years in this rental house we have finally found a really great group of friends. Expats tend to come and go for varying reasons and in the relatively short time we have been here we have seen quite a few come and go. Karen, our first friend here, moved back to the states after only a little more than a year. Our dear friend Leo, found himself a wonderful wife and swept her back to the states before she could change her mind :). But now we have met a really great group of folks here in this area that we can laugh with and share our crazy experiences. Even as much as we love each other's company, sometimes it is nice to socialize.
TRAVEL: One of the main goals of our move to Panama was to have more time and money for travel. As it has turned out we have less of both! We finally decided that we need to start living a little more so we have set a goal of some sort of travel (even just within Panama) every couple of months. We were lucky enough to be able to travel to Paris for Christmas, Peg's 60th birthday and New Years this year. Our boss let us stay in one his apartments which just happened to be vacant for our two week window - I think God knew how desperate we were to get out of dodge. We had the time of our lives. A great city with so much to offer and don't even get me started on the food. Cuba is on our radar for our next big trip. We just have to figure out how to make it happen.
|Beautiful hike with the Crouch's in Boquete, Panama|
|Loved seeing our dear friends on our home turf|
FAMILY: We were hit with the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in Peg's mom in August. We made a trip to see her in September and were rewarded with her upbeat, nothing can stop me attitude as her treatment seemed to be working. Sadly she passed suddenly, but peacefully on November 7. We are completely at a loss to be living in a world without her beautiful spirit. 2016 also had the nerve to take my beloved Aunt Georgie and Peg's fun-loving Uncle Billy. Grieving from another country is not for the faint of heart.
|Uncle Billy's 80th Birthday|
|Glad I was able to see Aunt Georgie|
DOG BITE - THE SEQUEL: Well Peg is decidedly very tasty to the canine crowd. In May, she was getting fit by riding her bike when a pack of dogs chased her and one took a huge chunk out of her ankle. A month after the stitches were removed we realized there was definitely something wrong. A trip to the ER in Panama City determined that she had severe necrosis that needed surgery. After a week long hospital stay and four - yes four - surgeries they let her go home. The good news... medical care here in Panama is fantastic and the health insurance even better. It didn't cost us a dime.
|Black and Red are not good colors on Peg|
|Not a happy camper|
HOPE: So after a really disappointing 2016 we have started 2017 with a new motto: Live every day with JOY, PASSION AND COMPASSION. We are excited to be moving into the new house in the March - April time frame at which time we finally be able to welcome all of you as visitors to our beautiful part of the world.
Of course there is a lot more to tell... kids - all good; Zoe - still alive; us - on a diet again etc. As always would love to hear from all of you! XOXO