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Columnists > Stephanie Angulo


Stephanie Angulo
Stephanie Angulo became an American expat in Panama at 30. She didn’t go to Panama to retire. She writes about her experiences starting a restaurant, exploring her new country, traveling, and assimilating into Panamanian culture at Xpat Escape. You can also follow her journey on Twitter.


Stephanie Angulo

ExPat Phone Home

Posted by: Carole on Sunday July 29, 2012 (16:24:48)   (9001 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
As the hubs and I were planning our move abroad, all our goals concerned our immediate family (which includes me, the hubs, and our four legged baby, Tuaca). Saying our goodbyes to extended family as the big day approached, we scheduled family trips back home and vice versa. We are constantly in touch with our relatives via Skype, Facebook, Mobile, and my personal blog. As our friend base grows in Panama, we find that this isn’t always so with other expats.

It’s hard enough to stay in touch with loved ones when you live in a different city or state, but moving to a whole other country brings about new challenges since it’s easy to get caught up in your new life abroad. Tons of new experiences await you in a different country. Phone calls and Skype dates get put on hold and become fewer and farther apart.    more ...


Stephanie Angulo

Panama…The Horniest Place On Earth

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday May 16, 2012 (00:30:11)   (3867 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
With a country of 3.5 million and at least half of that population living in the country’s capital, it’s no wonder Panama City is so horny…the honking type of horny that is. The traffic might not follow you out of the city, but the horns will. Beeping the horn when behind the wheel is a way of life here and almost like a method of carrying on a conversation with whoever’s willing to listen, the girl walking down the street, other cabbies, or even the hot dog vendor at the corner.

Coming from Texas, we don’t honk our horns unless we’re telling you to get out of the way or worse. Moving to Panama and driving anywhere, through tiny towns or the big city, we would get honked at. For a long time our blood pressure would go through the roof. The hubs and I would look like screaming teapots left unattended on a stove if someone honked their horn behind us. We couldn’t figure out for the life of us what we were doing wrong. Honestly, how can someone honk their horn at you while sitting at a stoplight? It was difficult for us to enjoy exploring the country when we felt berated by the locals behind the wheels of their own cars.    more ...


Stephanie Angulo

No Peakie Panish (Learning a New Language)

Posted by: Carole on Sunday March 11, 2012 (13:36:06)   (4671 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
There can be a lot of pressure when moving to a foreign language speaking country when only your better half knows the lingo. It puts stress on one side to constantly translate and the other racing to learn the new language as quickly as possible. In the case of my husband (a.k.a. the hubs) and me, he was already fluent in Spanish before moving to Panama whereas my lingual skills were limited to words like fajitas, fiesta, and margaritas.

During our first three months in the country, we didn’t socialize. The most translating the hubs did was ordering my food at restaurants, which I picked up quite quickly, although he is quite the gentleman and prefers to order for me while dining out. Our fifth month in Panama rapidly changed with the opening of our taco stand.

I have all the know-how in the kitchen and the hubs brings his appetite. I had to teach all of our new Spanish speaking employees how to recreate intricate Mexican recipes. The hubs was charged with the task of interpreting.    more ...


Stephanie Angulo

The Other Side Of Carnival

Posted by: Carole on Friday February 24, 2012 (13:16:25)   (3001 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
Panama is home to the second largest Carnival celebration in the world. Businesses shut down while people hit the streets for five days of drinking, culecos (tanker trucks spraying the crowds with water), gluttonous amounts of food, and scantily clad women adorned floats. Thousands of cars and busses line the main highway in a traffic jam as far as the eye can see from Panama City to the interior for all the major parties; the largest event being in Las Tablas, Panama where the festivities begin the Friday before Ash Wednesday.

Although carnival stretches over five days, only one day is a national holiday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The banks are closed for a week. Restaurants are unattended for days. Small mom and pop shops remain unopened only during the one national holiday in hopes of making a few sales throughout carnival. Not everybody is free from work though the cities are near empty. What are those people doing?    more ...


Stephanie Angulo

A Mexican Restaurant in Panama – Our New Business Abroad

Posted by: Carole on Thursday January 19, 2012 (00:33:04)   (4595 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
When my husband and I moved to Panama last January, we were looking forward to a slower pace of life. Considering that we were only 30 and 32 at the time, we weren’t looking for retirement. We knew we were interested in business opportunities available in Panama, but the last thing we ever thought of opening was a Mexican restaurant in La Chorrera, Panama (a city about 30 minutes outside of Panama City).

So how did this whole crazy idea come about? When we lived in Texas, we could get Mexican food anytime we wanted. Our favorite Mexican food is the taco…the ones on the soft double stacked corn tortillas with grilled meat. Since I mainly cook Mexican food at home, the hubs, being the entrepreneurial man that he is, naturally suggested that we take my recipes and open a Mexican restaurant in Panama about 3 months after we moved here.    more ...


Stephanie Angulo

Missing the Movies?

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (19:24:04)   (3924 Reads)
Stephanie Angulo
Just because you move abroad doesn’t mean that everything in your life is suddenly 100% different. You will find yourself partaking in many of the same activities you did back home, like going to the movies. The hubs and I have always been avid movie goers and didn’t let moving to Panama, a Spanish speaking country, slow down our movie date nights. Waiting in line to see midnight showings of Lord of the Rings, all the Matrix movies, and Ironman 2 barely scrapes the tip of the iceberg. Since our big move in January of this year, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to enjoying our movie theater experience in Panama.

If you’re considering moving to a non-English speaking culture, or have already moved to one, these suggestions will help you know what to expect before you sit in front of the big screen, otherwise you just might not want to watch another movie in a theater abroad again.    more ...