The day before I left to visit my daughter and her family in Seattle I was on a panel with Nikki and some other folks. It was for the weekly Tuesday Meeting at the Boquete Community Center. It was primarily for folks who were new to the Boquete Community/
In the question and answer session someone asked, “What have you missed most living in Boquete?”
I was first up.
Other than my kids and grand kids … the first thing that came to mind, it being August, was corn on the cob! And the audience erupted with yeses and applause. As I write this I’m leaving Seattle and heading back home to Panama, but while I’ve been here I’ve had some fantastic sweet corn on the cob. Maybe the best I’ve ever tasted!
And the peaches!! Like you’ve died and gone to peach heaven!
The second thing I’ve missed … Trader Joe’s. More applause!
Even although “Two Buck Chuck” is now “Three Buck Chuck.” And Trader Joe’s isn’t cheap.
To the above I would have to add Home Depot, Costco and or Sam’s Club.
And there is a certain convenience to things, in part because of the familiarity of knowing where to find what and that for the most part the language of business and commerce is my language. Interestingly though my daughter has to go to certain parts of her house to get a cell phone signal the same way I need to in Boquete, but they have great Internet and Cable TV which some areas of Panama also enjoy.
And what I don’t miss about living in the States …
OK, I have the “Bougainvillea Standard” of living … meaning if Bougainvillea grows there (meaning no killing frost) I can grow there. It is August and the nights and early mornings have that end of August, school-is-starting, Halloween-stores-are-opening, Christmas-decorations-are-appearing-in-stores feel. And while I enjoy deciduous trees in vivid color, pumpkins, fresh apple cider, I know at the end it means winter. I admit snow is beautiful … in pictures, but … I don’t want to live with frigid winters anymore.
I don’t miss the traffic. Of course if I lived in Panama City I’d have far worse traffic than Seattle, but I like my small-town, country living outside of Boquete.
I don’t miss that everything seems to be about money. It’s not just that my daughter is delighted to have found a place to get her hair cut that only costs around $50 … compared to $8 in Boquete. Items in the grocery store are pretty much a wash price-wise, but in the States you do have an entire aisle of salad dressings from which to choose. Chicken, which you’d think would be much cheaper in Panama, costs about the same. I’ve actually seen bananas on sale for less than what they cost in Panama! Trader Joe’s $3 wines really aren’t bad. I don’t give Seattle high marks for bagels, but for $1.50 you can get a bagel four times the size of Mort’s $1.50 bagel, even generously loaded with asiago cheese.
But in the States there is an undertone that money is the most important thing in life, for everything. You don’t move without spending money. The car you drive, the brands you wear, the size and location of your house.