The answer to the question of what it’s like to move to Panama is going to be different for each person you ask. For me and for my family, it was a very emotional thing to move to Panama. We didn’t have to say goodbye forever to all our family, but we did say goodbye for now to many members of our family. That’s the most painful part of deciding to move abroad.
We’ve been blessed with members from both sides of our family being able to visit us here in Panama. We’ve been back to the United States a couple of times, but it’s not the same as being able to drive a mile down the street to see Mom, or go over to the next mailbox and see my brother. Those things are the most challenging part of moving away.
On the day we moved to Panama, we got on the plane when it was below zero degrees in Kentucky, and when we landed in Panama it was 82 Fahrenheit. It hasn’t changed- it’s been 82 Fahrenheit every single day of the year in some parts of Panama since we’ve been here. That’s one of the better things about moving abroad.
Where we moved to Panama at first, it was on the beach where it was in the 90’s every day of the year. Where we live now it’s in the 70’s every day of the year. We don’t get all four seasons like we did in Kentucky. Here in Panama, we get a rainy and a dry season, which we far prefer than the subzero weather. As I was getting older, it got harder and harder for me to be in subzero temperatures three months of the year. It would numb my feet, hands, and mind. I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Here in Panama, we don’t have to worry about that at all. I don’t own a heavy jacket, a sock hat, any mittens, or insulated boots. You won’t find those here, and there’s no reason for them to be found here. That has been a beautiful part about moving to Panama. Things are green all the time, and things are sunny most of the time. Even in the rainy season we experience sun every single day.
There are birds here in Panama I still can’t pronounce the names of that are the most colorful things you could ever imagine. There are fruits here in Panama that I can’t pronounce the names of that the tastiest and most beautiful things that I’ve never seen in the United States.
Here in Panama, there’s far more wildlife, fruits and vegetables than I was ever exposed to going to the name-brand grocery stores in the United States.
I have six children. We were homeschoolers in the United States, so from my children’s standpoint, it was easier for them to move than most because being from a homeschooling environment made it easier on our children to adapt and move to a new country, because their schooling was exactly the same here as it was there. As far as their schooling, and as far as what they can expect from their teacher who are just Mom and Dad, none of those things change.
We moved in to a community where there are many expats and many who homeschool, so it was very easy for my children to make quick relationships and friendships with the people who are here. I would say that our friendships both from my standpoint, my wife’s, and our children’s are far more diverse here.
In Kentucky, the instance of knowing someone who was from another country was far and few between, and most of the people you would meet and become friends with who weren’t from Kentucky were usually from Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, or somewhere close.
Coming here to Panama, we have very good friends from Canada, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, the United States, Mexico, and many other places around the globe. Panama seems to be the new melting pot for the world.
(Gilbert Boys Hanging Out and Having Fun At Home,Volcan, Panama, pictured.)