Do you remember the Biblical story of the Exodu

Do you remember the Biblical story of the Exodus? The Israelites managed to escape Egypt, its bureaucracy and crime and unpleasantness -- and through the forty years of wandering in the wilderness they whined and complained for ever having left, and, when they got to the Promised Land, they proceeded to set up a country with a king, bureaucracy, crime, and unpleasantness.

There's a moral in this story for expats moving to Panamá or any other foreign country. Don't expect it to be your home country. Think of yourself as a guest, and respect the way things are done here. You will certainly conclude that some things might be done better; but, if you keep your mind open, you will realize that some things are, in fact, done better in your new country. Don't rush to judgment, and don't sneer or criticize your new neighbors. Don't leave the United States (or wherever) for various reasons (high costs, political turmoil, psychological tension, crime, etc.) and then demand the same kinds of services here in Panamá that lead to the same factors!
The community of Boquete, for example, is about half "gringo" by now, with the proportion constantly increasing. As an inevitable result, the cost of living is higher there than in other parts of the Tierras Altas - and crime is more common, government is more irritating, and the pace of life is far less tranquil. The gringos there, sadly, have been creating a new "Egypt" in imitation of the one they couldn't wait to get away from.
My advice is come with few preconceptions - and come with few physical possessions. You can buy what you need when you get here. Start fresh!

Do your homework. If you rely on Social Security or Medicare, get solid information on their availability to you. If you have medical needs, consider proximity to a good hospital. (There is a top-notch facility in the capital city of this Chiriquí province, and a new hospital is about to open in Volcán. Don't rely on other gringos for information; I have lost track of the completely erroneous un-facts given to me by gringos living here.
Above all, be gracious. On my first day here I began the practice of walking about my new neighborhood - for exercise, and to get to know my neighbors. My Spanish was at the time execrable, but by this means I quickly improved, and speak it fluently now; I find it abhorrent that some gringos expect everyone here to speak English, and start angrily shouting at Panamanians as if that will somehow improve their ability to understand English. By walking about, I also became known to my neighbors, such that they looked out for me as good neighbors do.
Become used to how things are here. The electric power and internet services often quit for a few minutes or an hour -- that's life here, so don't whine about it. Panamanian homes often don't have hot showers; if that's how it is for you, enjoy it (I find it's better than coffee in the morning). Shops and services often make promises and are rather flexible about when they keep them or whether they will keep them at all; don't let this get you angry; it's just how it is here. You do better to ask someone knowledgeable for a recommendation of a good service provider.

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