Archive for » July, 2012 «

Starting Anew

I left off when I was moving to Amador for the month of June. What an adventure that turned out to be!!! But before I go into this next adventure, I want to dedicate this Newsletter to my daughter Janet. After she had left Panama, a few days later I found a piece of paper tucked somewhere in my things. She had read something that was meant for me – it is beautiful and I want to share this with all of you as I feel there are many of us that can well relate to this:

Starting Anew – A Moment of Choice

We can choose to start over in this very moment, there is no need to wait for a new year or a new month or a new week.

Our lives sometimes present opportunities to start something new. The beginning of a new year, finishing school, leaving a job, or changing homes – these are all times that turn our minds to fresh starts. They bring with them the energy of the event, creating a tide of change around them that we can ride to our next shoreline. But we can choose to start anew anytime. In any moment we can decide that a bad day or a relationship that’s gotten off on the wrong foot can be started again. It is a mental shift that allows us to clean the slate and approach anything with fresh eyes. We can make that choice at any time.

Starting new is most powerful when we focus our attention on what we are choosing to create. Giving too much attention to the unwanted aspects of our lives allows us what we resist to persist. We need to be kind to ourselves. Getting accustomed to anything new takes time, no matter how much we like it. With each choice we learn, grow, and move forward.

Making the choice to start anew has its own energy – it’s a promise made to you. The forward momentum creates sort of a vacuum behind it, pulling toward you all you need to help you continue moving in your chosen direction. Once the journey has begun, it may take unexpected turns, but it never really ends. Like cycles in nature, there are periods of obvious growth and periods of dormancy that signal a time of waiting for the right moment to burst forth. Each time we choose to start anew we dedicate ourselves to becoming the best we are able to be.

And with all of that being said, I will tell you that the next chapter in my adventures has been a bit challenging and not at all what I thought was in store for me! On June 1, my driver, Roy who I have known for the past year while coming to Panama and who I absolutely adore and could not do without him – came to get me in Coronado from the city and brought me back to Amador with my “stuff” (let’s just lovingly call a few suitcases and a few bags of things (groceries, etc) my STUFF)! He brought me to Amador which is about 10-15 minutes from the city and the main reason I wanted to be here was the view from a top the hills and also the walking and the scenery of the boats and the skyline! We both commented how high up it was and as soon as we got there, Luke, the property manager, met us and helped get everything into the apartment. Roy waited until Luke called Marcos, a driver he had arranged for me to have that lived right in the area and could get me up and down the hill anytime I needed him. Roy wanted to make sure he met this Marcos and to tell him in Spanish to take good care of me.

It turns out they met, and then since I needed to get to the grocery store, I then found out I had to go to this place called Albrook (this is also where the buses come and go from and the big mall in the Canal Zone is there as well). Albrook is a 20 minute ride to the grocery store- there isn’t one closer. So- now begins the fun of going to go shopping and I better get enough as a 20 minute ride each way is something I did not think of nor did I ask and I wasn’t going to be doing this too often!. Taxis may be inexpensive, but not that inexpensive when you start getting into “time.”

We dropped all of my things and Marcos took me to Rey, the supermarket here that is most famous. I did my shopping and when I got to the check-out counter, Marcos appeared and emptied all of my things from the cart onto the counter and was there to get everything back into the car. We then went back to the top of the hill and he brought all of my groceries in for me and then I told him to please come back at 5PM to take me down the hill to a restaurant I wanted to go to for dinner. After all of this, I wanted to shower, freshen up and go out for a really nice dinner!!!!

I was picked up at 5 PM and taken to Buchaneros, a restaurant on the Amador Causeway that has very FRESH seafood and is a fabulous place, although not on the water. I had a wonderful meal and a doting waiter and truly enjoyed it all. After that meal, I walked over to the marina and went to Alberto’s, a favorite of mine as well, and sat outside watching the Yachts come in for the evening and the sunset over some wine. When I was ready to go back “up the hill” – I called Marcos and he came to get me and take me back to the condo.

Now starts the fun. After reading for a little bit, it was time for bed. After taking off the bedspread, I realized there was NO Mattress Pad on the bed, nor was there one on the other bed in the 2nd bedroom!. Not clean nor healthy!!! I also noticed that the headboard was not attached to the bed, and so I tried to pull the bed out a little so I could LEAN the headboard on the wall a little. Then only did I see the heavy dust and filth behind the bed!. And I was told the condo had just been cleaned spotless for me!!!!!! OK- I finally got to bed and in the AM- I had to make some breakfast. To tell you that the dishes were “sticky,” as was the silverware is not skirting the truth. I had to wash before I could eat! This was not for me.

However, I decided that I was going to see how long it would take me to walk down this mountain to the street. So with a large bottle of water, I started descending the mountain, and passed the 20 mountain sheep (yes, I am NOT kidding you) that sort of roam around there. It took me the bottle of water and 25 minutes to get down. I found a bench- sat for a few minutes and then continued the walking. The area I really wanted to get to – the nicer Marina area with the nicer restaurants is still a ways down the causeway. I did not walk there,but just around my area and finally got a taxi to get me back up the hill to my condo. Yes, the views are magnificent from where I was, and I did pay a lot more for that monthly rental as that is the going price in that area because of the views, etc, but obviously- this was not for me. There really was no security, and I was feeling very uncomfortable, to think nothing of the dirt and filth. I realized very quickly this was absolutely not for me at any price. WOW- what we learn the hard way!!!

I immediately placed a call to the renting agent and told him that I had to get out- I made a terrible mistake and I could not do this. I had no transportation, but worse was the fact I did not feel safe and I was alone high atop this mountain as well as the filth. He had to talk to Luke, the property manager, and now Luke had the Flu and was out for the weekend. To make a long story short, I called my friend Isabel to please come and get me on Sunday so we could at least spend the day together……..

On Sunday, Isabel, along with her mother, Viola (who is 94 and as sharp as a tack) showed up at 10AM, came into the condo and Isabel asked me how I could have ever taken this place so high, and also with the sheep? I told her I did not need a lecture at that point. Anyway- Viola tells me to get ready and that I was to move in with them by Monday, and no matter how long it took, that was my home and that is what I had to do. She was really a hoot. We did have a fabulous time on Sunday in the city and they kept me out until 8PM.

 My friend Isabel, her Mother Viola and me in the Ice Cream Parlor

My friend Isabel, her Mother Viola and me in the Ice Cream Parlor

By Monday AM- I had not heard from Luke, so I started the calling. To make a long story short, I called my friend Roy- he heard the panic in my voice and thankfully, he showed up within 10 minutes, not knowing what was going on, and then knew I was moving out. He felt so sorry for me, but got everything out and took me to Isabel’s in Costa del Este, across a Causeway from Panama City in another direction, but again, on the water and just 10 minutes from the City itself. Isabel had a doctor’s appointment, but Viola knew I was on my way. When I walked into their condo (a huge 3 BR, 3bath with maid’s quarters, etc), Viola was standing at the door with arms open to me and telling me “Welcome Home – this is YOUR home.” I fell in her arms and could not stop thanking her. Isabel came in a few minutes later, finally met Roy and between her and Viola, they let me know that I was more than welcome to stay for as long as I wanted, and if it was for the entire month, so be it. I was not to worry about a thing!

The grounds of Isabel Boyd's home, where I stayed in Coronado

The grounds of Isabel Boyd’s home, where I stayed in Coronado

Between the Property Manager and the Realtor, they could not do anything for me except tell me they could put me near the city for an additional amount of money. I told them NO, I felt I deserved a refund, and that was out. SO- I lost all of that money, but I did turn it over to my lawyer who said I probably would get nothing but we might ruin a few reputations. I need to chalk this up to a bitter learning experience and just move on. I decided to do just that, and have since learned that no matter what you want to rent, you must pay to stay for 2-3 nights first to TEST it out, see if it is really what it is supposed to be. And if someone won’t rent it for a few days or give it to you for a few days.- MOVE ON!!! A bitter lesson, but one well-learned!!!!!

We all know that out of everything bad, always comes something good!. I was called the next day by my attorney here to tell me that my paperwork at Immigration was approved and I could now go to pick up my Temporary Visa. Although I was thrilled, here we go again with the Immigration Office and the waiting. I made an appointment to go with the attorney the next day, and to my surprise, they had listened to me and had a runner go early in the AM to get a number!!! By the time we got to the offices, they were calling my number and I was whisked inside the room alone to sign a few papers, have a picture taken and in 10 minutes, I had my Temporary Card in hand and we were out of there!. Can you believe it????????? I was shocked. Now the good thing about having this card now is that I am now entitled to my 25% discount on Food in Restaurants, Drugs, and I mean that as long as you buy your Tylenol and things at the Pharmacy in a store and not from the aisle itself, you get 25% off!!! I also get 25% off of theatre, movies, and on Copa Airlines when I fly. However- they will not do it until I get my permanent Visa.

The pool at Isabel Boyd’s home, where I stayed in Coronado

The pool at Isabel Boyd’s home, where I stayed in Coronado

Panama does give retirees from other countries a LOT of great benefits. They want you to live here and spend your money here, and they make it worth while. You also get a discount on electricity, etc when you own your home or condo and there are NO TAXES on real estate for 20 years (I think that is changing to 15) – but hey- this is fun.

I lost a LOT of money on the rental for June, but I got my Visa approved and that was reason to celebrate (let’s always look on the sunny side) so I told Isabel we were going out the night I got my Visa. We went to that great restaurant La Vitrola down the street from her – I ordered Champagne, we ate and listened to the fabulous music. The wait-staff there knows we love the little multi-grain bread, so when we were leaving, they gave us each a boxful of the bread!!!!! People are so very nice here among the Panamanians. They are fun-loving people who truly enjoy getting to know you. And with me, I am trying to learn Spanish, and I am always challenging them to learn a little English as well. What fun we all have!!!!
Phyllis and the hopeful “Queen” of Carnivalito (Small Carnival) at the Union Club in Panama City

The pool at Isabel Boyd’s home, where I stayed in Coronado

The pool at Isabel Boyd’s home, where I stayed in Coronado

I was now truly experiencing city life every day, and realized early on that is was too hectic for me, and I did not like having to go to the malls every time we needed something or had to go shopping. Nice for a change – once in a while, but not on an everyday basis. I already missed the “beaches” and the quieter way of life – but hey- this is why I had decided to move around. I needed to learn and find out for myself what I really liked and what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.! So I was now finding out! I knew I had rented a condo in Vista Mar for July and August through the help of my dear friends, Bunny and Karl Kaiser who live there. They know people who own and would consider renting to me, and I just needed to see this one. After 2 weeks with Isabel, she was going to go to Coronado (the beaches) to her home there for a few days and I decided to go with her and spend some time there. We contacted Bunny to see if we could see the condo before I paid the rent and she was more than happy to show it. It was also noted that it was empty and if I wanted to move in early- I could also do that.

Bunny and Karl Kaiser

Bunny and Karl Kaiser

Isabel and I went to see the condo and I already knew its size and layout as this is the building I have always loved and the entire community here. This is where the French Restaurant is as well as the big pool and beach down the way (about a mile or so down). Well, the apartment is huge, lovely decorated, large balcony to sit out and eat or have wine in the evenings. EVERYTHING I love, but transportation was going to be a little problem since I am NOT buying a car until after I return from the states in the fall and know where I will wind up settling for a while. But we will not make that an issue. We decided I would move in on the 20th and start my 2 months from then. Either I will extend my stay for an additional week, or whatever. Isabel wants me to come back to the city for a few days before returning to the states so I am with her and she can get me to the airport a lot easier than I can from here. From the beaches it is about $90 to go to the airport if I have Roy pick me up and get me there. It is 1 ½ hours to the airport from the beaches – 15 minutes at the most from Isabel’s!!! So I am sure I will do just that.

The pool at the beach at Vista Mar

The pool at the beach at Vista Mar

I am now at Vista Mar Beach and Golf Resort. It is 10 minutes west of Coronado where I initially stayed. As I said before it is a gated community with very good security, has a large tower of apartments (54) and the second one will be completed in about 4-5 months. They have an 18 hole golf course that will soon be completed and it is known that this will be the BEST course in all of Latin America. The beach and pool for the entire community is about a mile down , but you look out from your balcony over the golf course down to one of the original apartment buildings and out on the Pacific. It is truly breathtaking. It is a lot more quiet in this community as we are about 10 minutes West of Coronado and the shopping centers there. So the noise, etc of the streets and city are not here, but in Coronado. One has to like the quiet to appreciate what we have here. Since I am only here a little more than a week, I cannot give an honest opinion yet as to what I really like or dislike at this point. I do know that I love the size of the condos here. They are very spacious and large and the balconies are really great, among the largest around. However, I am not right on the beach, but can get there easily enough. Right now I walk it or get a ride. No one has an extra golf cart for rent as that would be ideal.

the beach at Vista Mar

the beach at Vista Mar

I wanted to go to the restaurant the other night, and one of the guys working in the building drove me down. The maître d’ recognized me as I have been there several times. I told him I was not renting in the Las Olas Tower and was happy to get a ride. He immediately wrote his cell number down for me, handed it to me and told me anytime I wanted to come down to just call him and he would send someone to get me and he would also get me back!. Now- that is what I call taking care of someone. These local people are very much into making the foreigner happy and doing whatever it takes. Yes, it may cost a few bucks here and there, but you get taken care of and you are a happy camper. That is what they want for you – to be happy. Basically, the Panamanians are a very happy people and the ones working on this property are happy to be here.

A most interesting thing happened recently that I must tell you about. One of my friends in St. Pete sent my blog to a friend of hers who had lived in Westin, Florida for 50 years and she and her husband had decided to return to Nicaragua, where they were originally from. She had started writing her “adventures” and so my friend sent my blog to her so that she would know about me. It turns out, that this Mary B (I will not give out last names) knows me. She used to visit St. Pete and was in my store (Festive Occasions) when I owned it and remembers me and the fun we all had. She contacted me to tell me that they had decided they really wanted to return to Nicaragua, so they did. However, they have family in Panama and will be coming here to visit, and then we will catch up once again. However- the best part is that she gave me an 365/24/7 invitation to visit them in Nicaragua!. Did I ever think I would be travelling around Latin and South America???? Never even gave it a thought and now I am excited that eventually I will be expanding my horizons and be able to do some travelling around these countries. How thrilling this will eventually be!!!! Small world that we really do live in.

Yes, I am adjusting – like I said – I have my ups and downs. I am learning that this is Panama – things are slower here and when someone says an hour or so, it could be tomorrow or whenever when it comes to being there to fix something. But you learn to go with the flow and just not worry. I did go into Coronado the other day to arrange for a Post Office Box. If anyone wants to send me any mail, or a small package not weighing more than 4 pounds, you can now do that. My address is as follows, and you must have it just the way I am giving it to you:

Phyllis Eig
PTY 14870
2250 NW 114th Avenue – Unit 1P
Miami, Florida 33172

This wonderful service takes your mail directly to Miami and it is then flown to Panama and will get to me within 7-8 days total time. However, for the privilege of this service, I pay $28 per month. Will see if I really need it after 6 months which is the minimum. Right now I do need to be able to receive some mail, but I have learned that people usually share a box and have people address in a certain way so they know what belongs to whom. I don’t think I would do that, and I am in the process of transferring everything to online anyway, so I may not need it in the future. We will see.

In the meantime, I went to buy some plants today for the patio and the condo just to warm it up and bit and give myself some soft greenery. Most of you know how much I love plants. So I am settling in this place nicely and will be here until the end of August.

No big plans coming up soon, so will just glide along and keep you all posted as things go on. I will be returning to the states in September. I have some business I need to be in St. Pete for, and I am also making a trip to Cincinnati to visit with Jeff, Suzy and my grandchildren who I haven’t seen in over a year now. Sammy will be 3 in September, so will be there for that and can’t wait to see him and Max and have some real “NANA” fun!!

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