Christmas in a Catholic country

By some estimates, up to 85 percent of Panama is Catholic. We live just a few minutes from the impressive Apostolic Nunciature in Clayton (state funded and a bit controversial here). World Youth Day is set for Panama in January of 2019. Every housing complex, government office, local mall and even parks have nativity displays.…

Bonus Mother’s Day

This year I had two Mother's Days. Yesterday, Dec. 8 was Mother's Day in Panama. Ads, commercials, special promotions, even extended hours at the mall the night before Mother's Day. AND it's a national holiday so everyone is off work so they can spend time with their mamas. Mothers deserve no less. Coffee and pastries…

Spanish lessons

My Spanish lessons started a few weeks ago. Dean's company provides 80 hours of one-on-one lessons for me. The teacher is very good. She's smart, funny, follows Panama politics and is willing to explain so many things. She comes Mondays and Wednesdays for two hours each visit. My teacher thought I was a bit brilliant…

Happy Thanksgiving

I was feeling a little jealous of all the Thanksgiving posts on Facebook -- the pumpkin pie, the turkey, the families and friends gathered together. I've had two Thanksgivings away from home. Prague in 1991 and this year. But then we took a flight to Bocas del Toro. My menfolk and I had an island holiday. Holidays…

Coming home

Neil and I spent five glorious days in California. We saw so many friends, visited favorite haunts, ate at familiar places, shopped at stores we knew and understood. It was nonstop action! Almost every minute was spent storing up as much California as we could squeeze in. It was great. Like taking deep lungfuls of…

Panama Patriotism

Flags and banners are up everywhere. Special programs are planned. The kids have most of November off of school... The Month of the Fatherland began in Panama last night with a light show, fireworks and ceremony on the palace. Photo is from Municipio de Panama Facebook page. National holidays in Panama this month include: Nov.…

Happy Halloween

  In Panama, Halloween as we know it seems relatively new. There is some trick or treating, but it seemed like the kids thought it was odd. The parents were excited though. I don't even have kids who trick or treated and I loved it. Dean's work had a festival last week for little kids.…

Keeping our cool

The air conditioning units are being serviced today. Have I explained how the A/C works here? We live in a concrete house so there isn't central air. No ducts, no vents, no moving air from room to room. Each room has it's own unit, like this: You turn the air on in the room your…

Home

We sold our home, packed our stuff, hugged a million friends and headed to Panama. Next week will be the first time any of us have headed back to the U.S. Neil and I are making a quick trip. School holidays give Neil 6 days of California sunshine (hopefully). Looking forward to seeing friends, eating…

Cloudy with a chance of no bites

The first morning I woke up in this house, I went downstairs, made myself a cup of coffee and wandered into the living room. I looked out the front windows and nearly dropped my coffee: Masked men in coveralls with machines strapped to their backs were striding down the street shooting billowing clouds of smoke…