When our furniture finally arrived in Panama it took five business days to clear customs. Our agent in Panama looked after the customs clearance but my passport (as the shipper) was required. I could have provided a notarized copy but chose to leave my original with the agent. It was returned to me when the furniture arrived at our house via the movers. Our furniture was delivered right to our door and unpacked by the moving company. The workers were wonderful. There was minor breakage and damage but we were very impressed at how little. We’d had more of our things broken and go missing on cross country moves than we did for this move.
I have friends who moved here with nothing more than a few suitcases and who bought everything here. I know others that have moved with two or three 40 foot shipping containers. To each his own, move more or less what your budget allows. If we had it to do over would we ship furniture again? Probably, we had a good experience and it’s nice to have our personal items around us, they make us feel like this is our home. And it is.
Saying Goodbye and Hello
Not everybody was jumping for joy when we announced that we had decided to move somewhere warm and started looking for that “place in the world” where we could be comfortable and live on a fixed income. There were some people who were positively thrilled that we were able to realize a dream and other who were gloom and doomers. No matter what the destination is and no matter what the reason, taking the big step of moving to a foreign country should be carefully considered before jumping in with both feet. We took into consideration our aging parents and our children which is one of the reasons we ended up in Panama rather than the South Pacific. I remember my mother telling me that it was my life to live and it would be selfish of her to ask me not to go. That made it a little easier to say goodbye.
There are probably some people who think that we are loco and I’m sure some still don’t get it. I think that once the naysayers realized that we had done our homework and that we were going ahead with our move, the objections, for the most part, fell away. When the planning eventually reached the stage where the movers were booked and it was happening we still didn’t believe it ourselves. Even to this day we look at each other and can’t believe we are actually living in Panama.
We have been extremely fortunate to have met some great people who were and still are very helpful to us as we meandered our way through our first year of living as transplants to Panama. One of the things that helped us was to make friends with people “on the ground” that have blazed the trail before us. In fact we’ve had several people who have been wonderful at sharing their experiences with us. We learned not to be timid about asking others for help. Muddling through the intricacies of buying a vehicle, getting our driver’s licenses and getting our utilities set up were all done with help. Hopefully we’ll be able to “pay it forward”.
And how is life in Panama? We love the easy pace, the people and the weather. Is it frustrating some days? Yes, no place is 100% perfect. Do we miss our friends and family in Canada? Yes, pretty much every day. But, we’re thankful that we are able to
realize this adventure.