I Have Needed to Change the Way I Think Since I Moved to Panama
I moved to Panama about seven years ago. I thought differently (much differently) when I first moved to this interesting, fun filled, beautiful and different country. When I first came to Panama, I thought like an American.
I thought I could get things done like I used to in the USA. I was wrong, very wrong back then. I thought a lot of the laws, rules of living, customs, do's and don't's would be the same .... They aren't! Panama is Latin America, not USA North America and things are different here. They are similar in many respects and different in many other ways.
For example, in Panama if someone tells you they will be at your house tomorrow, I have learned not to count on tomorrow. More often than not people don't show up when they say they will. If they do, I count it as a good blessing. If they don't, it is no big deal. I no longer plan my calendar around what other people tell me about (what I used to think were hard and fast) appointments. Here in Panama I have found that an appointment is more like a concept.
For example, a neighbor (new to Panama) and I had what my neighbor thought was an appointment with a man to fix one of his air conditioners on Sunday. The man was going to come to my house to clean our air conditioners when he finished with the neighbor. We had talked face to face with the repair man on Friday.
I told my neighbor not to hold his breath about the Sunday appointment. Sunday came and went and no air conditioner repair man. No phone call, no message, no nothing. My wife called the repair man today and he said he was busy on Sunday and that he may be able to come this Wednesday or Thursday ...who knows?
Well for me now, this kind of thing is normal. My neighbor still needs to get used to the "norms". I think of the old saying "when in Rome, do as the Roman' do". It is the same here in Panama ... "when in Panama, do as the Panamanians do".
I could spend all week talking about all the differences I have found since I moved to Panama, but I won't. Suffice it to say, I have changed the way I think since I moved to Panama. Surprisingly, I have never been more happy. My personality is no longer "Type A", I have learned a certain calmness I never thought would be possible for me. I am more tolerant of how things are here and I realize that the expression "manana" doesn't mean "tomorrow". It more or less means "not today", sometime in the future.
I believe people will be more happy in their new country, if they learn and accept the mores and customs of the new place, learn to relax and take time to smell the roses. A really great smell ....really.