So fun! I wrote an article called A Born Again Panamanian and did English translation work for a new, stylish women’s magazine here in Panamá called Des Ubicadas. Here is a pic of my family, the magazine cover and article text.
A Born Again Panamanian
They say everything happens for a reason. What started as an accident turned into an opportunity to embrace change and create something new.
At 91 years old, Dad doesn’t leave the house often. Yesterday he woke up early and announced he was ready to go home. Sometimes this happens; he gets confused and doesn’t understand he is already home. Perfect time to take him out for a spin. I drive as Mom changes the dial to her favorite lite jazz station. I don’t know which I dislike more, lite jazz or salsa, but I’m having to adjust to both — and plenty of other new things — now that I live in Panama.
Even though I’d visited several times since my parents relocated to Panama 6 years ago, I had never considered moving away from California, my sister and friends, or even the United States. My parents left Panama when I was 2 years old so that my mother could pursue her dream of becoming a medical doctor. She was successful and fulfilled, in huge part to Dad’s relentless support and motivation. My sister Michelle and I enjoyed a comfortable and safe childhood growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. We both went to excellent universities and completed post-graduate programs. For 38 years, I led an incredibly blessed life abroad.
When mom fell and fractured her hip in April, I immediately flew here to be with her. Coincidentally, I was looking for looking for work at the time since I had just completed a one-year contract as an attorney at Google. Yes, working at Google was interesting, but eventually my experience became the same as with every other corporate job I’d ever had — totally boring. Plus, due to the long commute, every day was a long day. I was in the rat race and wanted out badly. So I finally gave myself permission to create my ideal life. I would only consider work that appealed to me. I would stop doing what I think I “should” do and start doing what I wanted to do.
Interestingly, I returned to Panama for the same reason my parents left it — to follow their hearts and create a better life for themselves and our family. I’ve returned to create a better life for myself, one filled with family and healthy interdependence rather than over-independence, stiff competition and stress. One could say I returned to the place I was born to be born again. I appreciate Panama now more than I ever have before because it offers me new opportunities, a chance for new ways of being. I’m getting to the know the culture I was never a part of before. My Spanish is improving tremendously. Together my mother and I are building a business. At the same time, I’m exploring my interests in foreign exchange investing, writing and teaching. My transition is taking place slowly but surely; Mom’s lite jazz bothers me less and less. All in all, it’s a good life.
Read more about Laura’s life in Panama at http://www.panamaguy.wordpress.com.