7×7 Birthday Reflections

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Today is my birthday so I’m feeling a bit reflective about my recent transition to Panama and my life in general. Here is a list of my favorite and least favorite things about living here so far.

Least Favorite Things
1. After 2 months, mosquitoes still bite me. I think the frequency will lessen over time but for now bug spray is a key – albeit smelly — necessity.

2. Traffic here sucks. They’re creating a subway system and the streets are a mess in many parts of the City. Road rage is a somewhat understandable reality.3. Customer service blows. Sales people often hover over me when I browse through a store, which makes me nervous and isn’t very helpful. Cashiers usually don’t look me in the eye and hardly ever say “gracias” at the end of a transaction. Last week I researched spy glasses online with the subversive thought of recording the crappy service I get at major department stores and posting my experience on YouTube.

4. It’s not as nice here as in the States. A lot of the streets are dirty, people aren’t as diligent about picking up trash, old buses blow out gross fumes and many areas flood when it rains.

5. I don’t have access to some of my favorite internet sites, such as Amazon, Yelp or Google Navigation. I used all of these on a regular basis to simplify my life, learn my way around the area and access great resources. Without them I feel a bit lost.

6. The culture is not as friendly towards dogs, which means I don’t get to take Billy with me to as many places, like the mall. Dog owners are not as diligent about picking up after their dogs so there’s more poop on lawns and streets. Yuck.

7. I miss my sister and Bay Area friends terribly. Hope they all come to visit at some point. Yes, this means you!

Favorite Things 
1. On the way to the farmer’s market I caught myself thinking “I hope the coconut man is there.”

2. I’m “improving” my driving skills by watching other drivers. Stop signs are now optional, I’m great a merging across 4 lanes at a time, and I don’t feel like a complete jerk (just a minor one) making a left turn from the right hand lane.

3. I get to spend time with Dad, Mom, and Sammy on a regular basis. Maven and Billy have tons more space to roam and get to bathe regularly on a large, sunny terrace. My life here is more about family and healthy interdependence than *over* independence.

4. My days are my own to create. This is challenging since it takes discipline to be a free spirit, but it beats working for * the man* and having to rely on an untrustworthy, female boss any day…

5. I’m closer to Brother Stuart and his family, which includes smart and beautiful nieces Gaby, Nicole and Victoria.

6. I can go to the beach and the water is warm! I don’t have to wear a jacket all of the time like I did in SF. Instead I wear shorts, flip flops and sundresses most days. My *soul suit* is taking shape!

7. Everything is new and, therefore, an adventure. I’m much better at finding my way now when I get lost. I’m challenged to be creative when things are different and I want them to go my way. I’m cultivating a new perspective on the world with more texture and color than before. All in all, it’s a good life.

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