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Susanna Perkins

Columnists > Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

Don’t Blame The Country!

Posted by: Carole on Saturday April 13, 2013 (02:08:55)   (1914 Reads)

Susanna Perkins

Years ago, wallowing in the despair of an unexpected divorce, I remember complaining to a friend. My son (five years old at the time) was not behaving well. So, naturally, I blamed the divorce.

My friend tolerated my ranting for a while. Eventually she said quietly, “You know, it’s pretty common for five-year-old kids to do that. I think he would behave that way even if you were still happily married.”

Gob-smacked.

When you're in an unfamiliar or especially challenging situation, it becomes an easy target for blame when anything goes wrong. It’s far easier to blame the divorce or the new country when something goes badly than to look at yourself.    more ...


Columnists > Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

One-Year Anniversary in Panama

Posted by: Carole on Thursday March 21, 2013 (01:32:23)   (2048 Reads)

Susanna Perkins

It’s been a year now. One brief, fast-moving year since I landed at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City with my mountain of luggage, the first step in my expat life. As with any anniversary there’s a certain amount of looking back, reassessment and measuring.

So how has the time here in Panama measured up against my expectations?

The Logistics of Daily Life

My first serious trip to the grocery store took hours. Everything was strange. The store was not arranged the way I’m used to grocery stores being arranged. Brands were all different, most of the labels were in Spanish, and so everything had to be studied carefully.    more ...


Columnists > Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

Finding A Rental In Las Tablas, Panama

Posted by: Carole on Sunday February 17, 2013 (00:58:09)   (14229 Reads)

Susanna Perkins

I spent my first three weeks in Las Tablas, Panama, homeless and alone. I had traveled to Las Tablas while my husband stayed back in FL. He was getting our house there ready to rent out while I was looking for a place for us to live in Panama.

After arriving in town I checked into a hotel. I had no idea how or where to start looking for a rental.

You see, Las Tablas has no organized real estate market as we know it in the US. No rental agencies, no real estate companies. Certainly no MLS (multiple listing service).

I had one contact to start with – someone I'd connected with on a Yahoo forum who indicated she knew of some rentals in the area. I sent her an email, and arranged to meet (after I got over being sick, that is!).    more ...


Columnists > Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

Living In The Land Of Buenas

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday January 15, 2013 (13:21:35)   (3015 Reads)

Susanna Perkins

When we decided to move overseas, I read everything I could get my hands on about different cultures. I knew that, whatever country we ended up in, they’d do things differently than we were used to. In some countries a hand gesture that’s perfectly acceptable at home becomes a deadly insult, for example. In others, showing the soles of your feet is taboo.

Since I began living in Panama, I’ve learned that everyday words like “hello” and “goodbye” can improve my quality of life.

In the US we’re taught from an early age to fear and avoid strangers. You don’t make eye contact, you don’t talk to them and you learn to wrap yourself in invisible social armor to protect yourself from them. That’s definitely not the way it’s done here. Instead, I’ve learned three new rules for encounters with people I don’t know.    more ...


Columnists > Susanna Perkins

Susanna Perkins

Adventures Of A US Expat In Panama

Posted by: Carole on Friday December 14, 2012 (23:35:34)   (3072 Reads)

Susanna Perkins

My Expat Adventure Began, not with a Bang but with a Whimper

Leaving the USA
After years of planning, months of selling off our possessions and weeks of camping out at a friend's house while we made ours welcoming for a tenant, our Panama adventure was finally underway.

The plan was for me to go on ahead and find a place for us to live while my husband wrapped things up in Florida with our three dogs. Once I found a house to rent, he and the dogs would join me.

We were aiming for a small town on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula.    more ...