Dancing In A Pollera In Panama

When we were deciding to move overseas, and then choosing the place to move to, my husband and I were intrigued by Las Tablas’ reputation as the folkloric center of Panama. Of course, it’s well known that Las Tablas is the place to attend Carnaval, with the town’s population swelling from 10,000 to over 100,000 […]

Read more

Panama, Where Friendship Is Easy

Since moving back to the US, I’ve become painfully aware of one huge difference between living here and living there. Meeting people and making friends in Panama was easy. Doing it here is hard. A vibrant social life was one of our pleasures in Las Tablas. We had plenty of friends, and getting together was […]

Read more

My First Thanksgiving In Las Tablas, Panama, Snuck Up On Me

There were no weather-related clues that meant anything to me. It didn’t get colder, leaves didn’t turn color or fall off trees any more than they normally did, days didn’t get appreciably shorter. . . . Not until after my son’s November 5 birthday did I even give Thanksgiving a thought. We had moved to […]

Read more

Settling In At “Home”

Those of you who’ve been following my column for a while know that, after 2-½ years in Panama, my husband and I have returned to the US. It was a combination of family concerns and a job opportunity that brought us back. Settling in, though, has been much harder than we expected. Harder even than […]

Read more

The Culture Shock Of Repatriation To The USA

“Repatriation is a bitch,” I’d been warned. Somehow I suspected it might be. After two and a half years in Las Tablas, Panama, my husband and I and our two dogs arrived back in the US. It wasn’t something we really planned on doing, but some opportunities opened up, the stars aligned, and here we […]

Read more

Does This mean I Can’t Call Myself An Expat Any More?

One month ago, my husband and I were dealing with a drinking water crisis in Las Tablas, Panama. We had chosen to move to Panama in part because we’d have access to potable water. So when we learned the drinking water supply for most of the Azuero Peninsula was contaminated with Atrazine, we were pretty […]

Read more

Clean Water Is Important

As a US citizen and resident for nearly six decades, access to potable, safe water is something I’ve always taken for granted. Of course I know that’s not true everywhere. I’ve seen the heartwrenching statistics, and the pleas from charities that bring clean water to far-flung peoples who need it. I just never thought I’d […]

Read more

Internet Adventures In The First World

As an American who’s living and working in Panama, I rely heavily on internet connectivity. I’m a freelance writer and WordPress website builder, so I need the internet to work quickly and all the time. Now I’ve spent the past month back in the US, and I have to say, I’m not impressed with my […]

Read more

The Language of Expats

“What’s your name?” she asked. “Susanna.” “Where do you live?” I told her, and mentioned we’d been there for two years. “Oh,” she replied, “my mother lives in that neighborhood.”Realization dawned. “Yes, she’s my next-door neighbor,” I responded, beaming. We talked about her family, and her nephew, Cyril, who runs a hostel in Panama City.Emboldened […]

Read more