Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012!!

Oh man, where did this year go??!!  I'll tell you it was the most horrific year we've had and the most wonderful!  It was due to the "horrificness" of what happened at the beginning of the year that we made the decision to chuck it all and head out to explore and live the rest of our lives. I always say...there's a silver lining in EVERYTHING!!!

Yup, we're going to be celebrating this New Year's Eve and our 12th Anniversary with many new friends out on a beautiful veranda in the tropics having a great potluck meal. And, maybe even a really good hamburger!! LOL  But I know a good time will be had by all!! So here's to you Mike!! Thank You for a wonderful exciting 12 years and to many more wonders for us both together!!

Once the early party is over everyone will mosey into town and enjoy the local festivities there. I've heard they're great so it'll be another "first" to observe and partake in.

This last week was spent having a beautiful Christmas dinner with again some very new friends and some that are now in our "true friends" category.  The evening ended by stepping into the pool.  THANK YOU Christine & Wayne again for hosting a terrific party. And, thank you Melinda & Rod, Ingrid & Roy, Lorna & Pete, Simone & Michael, and Alicia & Billy for all helping us celebrate this Christmas!!

For some reason (who knows!!) I can't insert Pete & Lorna's pictures.  I've tried and tried.  Sorry!
Truly, not much went on.  We hung out reading, taking a nap here and there, pilates and yoga thrown in.  But allot of talking about whether or not we want to go to Ecuador or Spain first after our trip back to the states this Spring.  I think with what we know now, we're going to head to Ecuador first because it's high season in Spain and we've been there for that already.  And, that means I will be able to talk Mike into at least a visit to Paris during the holidays to enjoy the lights and wonderment of the season there.

The biggest event this week was our Christmas massages that we gave to each other.  The Pedasito Hotel is a quaint small boutique hotel right in the center of town and they have the ONLY "Spa" in town.  I'd met the young lady from Israel at the baby shower and she was just a delight!!  Well, I can tell you she's also a VERY skilled masseuse!! For one hour each we got all oiled up and I mean oiled!!  From head to toe and it felt luscious!!  Thank you, Galy!!

Above are a few random shots of Pedasi. The former President has a home here and some of her family.

We continued our gift to each other by having lunch at a new venue for us just another block down toward the square.  The 2 of us ate a full course meal for $9! 

After yoga on Friday late afternoon, we ended up having drinks on the veranda of Lucielle & Gerhardt's place along with Christine & Wayne and some Quebec, Canadians in for a short visit.  Afterwards, Mike & I took Christine & Wayne out for dinner as it was their 1st wedding anniversary!  Mike & I then went to Smiley's and enjoyed some more time with friends and the live music.  Mike only played one song because the music they were playing that night didn't call for much Congo contribution.

Sunday morning we took a wonderful walk on the beach all the way from del Toro Playa to Playa Arenal with stiff headwinds!! Took us about an hour but it felt so good as we haven't been on the beach for a couple of weeks. 

Mike's a happy camper at the moment because both the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks won their football games.  Although, if you know my Mike, he got pretty animated during the Bears' game and I didn't really want to be around. LOL

Today we were back in our Spanish classes.  I was pretty happy that I didn't forget as much as I thought I would over the holiday week without classes.  I even got to play a real "game" today because I have enough "knowledge" and words to be able to read the Spanish and answer in Spanish!! Yee Haa!!

As this is our last week - OMG!! - we want to get the most out of it and enjoy everyone that we've met along the way! So very hard to believe our 5 weeks is almost over and yet, we feel like we've been here for much longer. Yes, Pedasi is on our radar!

Christine & Wayne have decided that they're going to drive us to Gorgona rather than us taking the bus. Wow!! How wonderful!! Just like Rick bringing us here from Boquete.  What wonderful people and new friends we have!

So until my next post - HAPPY NEW YEAR and may you all be healthy, happy and content in 2013!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Yes! It's December 25, 2012 and we're spending our Christmas in a very leisurely way with new friends for dinner at Christine & Wayne's. At least our commute is very easy - just open the door between our place and theirs!! LOL

I've made the deviled eggs and salami/cream cheese/olive rolls and they've been chillin in the frig since yesterday. All of our Christmas Skype calls have been made and we're just deciding we'd better eat something cause I know I sure won't make it to 2pm without something in my tummy! Mike's also making his now infamous fruit smoothies! Yummy!!!

Last Friday, I went to yoga and it was great, as always! Afterwards, we went with friends to meet their friends, Steph and Fanny, expats from Quebec along with their lovely 2 teenage children. We sat and visited and imbibed with a few along the course of the evening as we sat on their front porch and traded stories. Fabulous!

When we got back, we made dinner and I was ready to just veg. Mike on the other hand was still rarin to go so he went up to Smiley's and played 2 sets with the band as their congo player. It's become quite the ritual for him and he's having a blast!! Gaining confidence and stronger hands is making his playing a real contribution to the band. Love it!!

Saturday was a really lazy day! One of recuperation, nail polish change, cooking dinner, watch a little TV. Need a day like this every once in awhile even when you're in paradise.

Sunday was quite full with watching football up at Smiley's with lots of friends, having dinner of fabulous lip smacking BBQ ribs and mashed potatoes! I was in seventh heaven!!

But what we were all waiting for was the BIG Christmas Parade that gathered outside of Smiley's and was supposed to start somewhere between 6 - 7pm. BUT as I've said many times before....this is Panama and it'll start when it's good and ready!!  So we walked up to the main square to see the activity up their and met many more expats who were enjoying the festivities. Wow, it was a great event to watch!!  Being able to share a real local tradition with the locals and seeing their happy, shining faces is what this journey is all about!

 Yesterday I spent the day preparing food for the Christmas dinner while Mike helped Wayne set up their new pool in the backyard.  They plan on putting in a real pool but this suffices for the interim!! Once filled (after the well went dry - oops!!), we all climbed in and had afternoon drinks. It was quite refreshing and a good time was had!!

We were woken up last night at midnight by the fireworks. Evidently, at midnight, theirs quite a display since this marks the true beginning of Christmas. And, the tradition here is to open all gifts at midnight so everyone's up anyway.  Except us.... Oh wait! We were up because they woke us up!! LOL

Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!!! Music is playing, Mike is studying Spanish, I'm updating the blog while we both partake in the smoothie. 

Life's damn good!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hump Week in Pedasi !

Week 3 in Pedasi, Panama is winding down fast!  Amazing how when you really settle in to every day life, the days just seem to flow together just like in "real" life. LOL  I think this means that we have gotten into a decent routine between Spanish lessons 3 days a week and yoga the other 2 days. Nice, really nice!

Last Sunday we just kind of lazed around, slept late, read, did Spanish homework, I painted my nails & toes a beautiful shade of green, Mike watched football, and all in all just enjoyed being bums for the day. A OK!!

I also took some new photos of "our" place and thought I'd share them with you.

Monday brought  us back to Buena Vida - Good Life - Spanish/English school owned and operated by our new friend Ingrid.  Our actual teacher is Andriena and she's absolutely delightful and patient!!  I walked away from class with a roaring headache! Seems my brain is trying to tell me that I haven't exercised it too hard over the last decade although I thought I had.  Let me tell you, learning a new language from scratch is very humbling!! 

Mike is doing great but he's being pushed too. He says that when he can understand a full conversation between locals, he'll feel like he's gotten pretty good. 

Monday afternoon we went along for a ride to Las Tablas again with Christine & Wayne.  They needed to meet with their attorney regarding their Pensionado Visa application.  It turned out that their still missing one document so they had to leave on Tuesday morning to head for a border run to Costa Rica.  This has to be done every 90 days so that you can continue to drive and be in Panama legally.  At this point, they're still "tourists" even though they own property and live here.

On our way home, we offered to buy a "round of drinks".  After going to a couple of towns looking for their cantinas, which all closed, we stumbled upon a BIG party in Marabe, a small town just before Pedasi.  Lo and behold, they had been having a party all weekend and Monday was the last day! They had the road closed off for the "rodeo", which was having the local "jovens" try and ride the bulls.  Just a fun time had by all!



Tuesday was yoga again for me in the morning, which I so enjoy!!  There were only 2 of us but we had a grand time, as always.

The afternoon was spent doing homework, which is taking up more and more of our time.  Must mean we're advancing somewhat.

Since Tuesday evenings means live music at Smiley's, we decided to walk up for dinner and hang out. Mike was again able to play the congos and there was another impromptu guitar player there. Met some more expats traveling around the country and visited with others that we've gotten to know while here.

Wednesday morning was Spanish lessons but then we got a call from our previous Boquete hosts, Jim & Lesia.  They had picked up their 2 daughters from the airport in Panama City and had driven down to just outside of Pedasi to spend a few days at the beach here.  After lessons, we hopped a cab and went out to where they're staying at the Posado de Distillarados. A resort with beautiful wood cabinas overlooking the ocean with beautiful grounds and a nice cool dipping pool.

We all hung out at the pool and caught up on things in Boquete. They reiterated that it really hasn't rained much since we left.  After a lazy time in the pool, they drove us back to our place and we invited them in for drinks and snacks. Since Christine & Wayne were still gone, we were able to comfortably lounge on their back porch. And, then we all went out for dinner at Pasta y Vino's. Love that place!!

After a scrumptious dinner, they went back to their place and Mike & I took a stroll through town and saw my favorite Christmas tree.  It's made up totally of the plastic grocery store bags stuffed into chicken wire and all lit up at night. Church was in service and we finally got to see the beautiful interior. I'm looking forward to seeing it Christmas Eve!  Another night cap at the Pedasito then home for the night.

Today brought me to yoga again and there were only 3 of us but it was a special class because we got to do pairing. So enjoyed sharing my space with Lucielle.  She and I make a good "pair" for poses and balancing.

The day is kind of cloudy which makes it easier to stay around the house, play with the dogs and cats that we're watching for Christine & Wayne, work on the blog, do homework, etc. etc.  A bit later is supposed to be a children's parade so we'll walk up to see it.  I'm planning on making a meatloaf, mashed potato, cheese and bacon casserole.

I've been enjoying all of the beautiful pictures of snow from back home in WA but I'm sure the 3 days without power at our old place is starting to get a bit old.  I'm sure their glad we had put in a 12,000V propane generator!! LOL  So, we get to live vicariously through them for our "snow moments" this year.

I also want to introduce you to "our kids" that we've been watching the last few days for Christine & Wayne.  I have to admit that I don't know the kitties' names (bad me!!) but this is Fisher and Melvin.

Have been having some issues with loading pictures into the blog so it's now Friday after our Spanish lessons. Sun is shining and it's warm but there's a nice ocean breeze.  More yoga again late this afternoon and then meeting up with friends at Arenal Beach for drinks and a visit to celebrate the Solstice & End of the World! LOL

Hope everyone is ready for Christmas because it'll be here very soon!