San Blas

You know all those photos you see of Panama? Beautiful beach, clear water, palm trees, white sandy beaches... usually it's San Blas -- a group of 365 islands on the Caribbean side of the country. For us, a two and a half hour drive and another hour by boat. But the payoff? Worth every minute.…

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…

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.…

My sort of Chinese side

  My dad was born in China to missionary parents. My grandparents along with their children left China at the end of World War II after spending almost two years in a Japanese-run internment camp. My Grandma Baltau learned to make gyoza and scallion cakes there (though she used lard and white or brown onions).…

Love from Panama

The hardest part about being in Panama is being away from loved ones. We want to share their joys and sorrows, celebrate events and be with them. When loved ones hurt, we hurt. We have not been in Panama long enough to have seen from far away so many life-changing diagnoses, life-altering job and home…

Sloppy Joes

I just made Sloppy Joes for dinner. Nothing fancy. It's a go-to dinner that fills up hungry boys and is easy to make. I use turkey. I know some think that is sacrilegious, but I don't like all the grease of red meat. Like many things, making Sloppy Joes in Panama is a bit more…

Moving, growing, changing

Moving to a new country brought many changes. MANY changes. But the stage we are in life would have brought so much changes anyway. Jack will be attending Florida State by the end of this month. Neil started high school. Young adults we love as our own are heading to other universities, new jobs, many…

Unpacking memories

In between crushed lampshades and ridiculously wrapped rocks, we uncover items that bring back memories. Beds are sporting quilts made by my grandma and my mom. Glassware I bought when I was 25 and travelled to Prague to work for an English-language newspaper (Prognosis). These glasses have survived the '94 Northridge Quake, a couple Santa Clarita…