After a tongue-in-cheek comedy fiction article about living to Latin America was passed around, one person who'd been thinking about moving to Panama wrote on the message board that this story had persuaded him not to move to Latin America.
Whoa! Although those of us who live here knew that the fun prose had taken a kernel of truth and twisted it into the absurd, newbies don't understand that. They think that every day is filled with bad experiences. So I want to set the record straight.
For every bad experience you hear about Panama, there are dozens of good ones. It’s just that the horror stories get more air time in social media as well in casual conversation. As the saying goes in journalism, if it bleeds… it leads!
To make matters worse, the story was written by a "grumpy old man" whose glass is perpetually half-empty. The Walter Matthau-wannabe's account was entertaining, but it was filled with over-the-top exaggeration, as all good comedy fiction should be. That’s what made it so amusing to those of us who live here. But for those of you who haven’t moved here yet, please note: Every day is not filled with crazy or bad experiences. In fact, once you get settled, most days are normal.
Has my normal changed since I moved to Panama? You bet. City traffic is unpredictable, which means a drive to the grocery store can take 10 minutes or half an hour. Setting up a bank account takes infinite patience… and then deep breathing afterwards. But I also look out at the ocean from every room in my condo and take long walks on the beach almost every day. I have a maid who makes my condo sparkle twice each week for less than I spend at happy hour, and I fill my fridge with ultra-fresh, super-cheap produce each week. I buy fresh fish from the fish market for about $1 per fillet, and having spent 15 years of my life landlocked in Dallas, the buttery taste of freshly-caught fish is downright fabulous. Even the chicken and eggs are more flavorful than in the States.
This was a lesson to those of us who like living in Panama. We need to be more proactive in spreading the word about what is good about living in Latin America.
If you're thinking about living in or retiring to Panama and want to read about the negative, the bad, and the ugly... make sure you also find out about the good, the great or even the fabulous about moving to Panama. Rather than letting the naysayers keep you from pursuing a life in Panama, check it out for yourself. After all, the large group of expats who live in Panama wouldn’t be here if the good didn't outweigh the bad.