28 Things I've Learned in 2 Years as an Ex-Pat in Panama

July 4th, 2012 is my official 2 year anniversary in Panama.

Unofficially, I celebrate July 1st.

I moved here to help start up a new office in Panama City, Panama. I left behind my wonderful husband (Bigfoot) a wide array of friends (Girl Posse) and a simple life in Kernersvile, North Carolina. This was a temporary assignment, we were not prepared to move here full-time.
Here is a list of thing that I have learned in 2 years about me. I was 39 when I moved down and feel like I have grown in many ways by taking this chance.

Here are some random things I learned:

1 - My Daddy and Mama did not raise a quitter. (Because believe you me I asked them and Bigfoot for the first 2 months if I could move back home)

2 - You're never too old to start a new chapter in life.

3 - The more open you are - the more you learn. Culture / Work / etc

4 - Technology made this assignment easier for me. Facebook and Skype have kept me connected.

5 - Common sense and customer service are very important to me to give.

6 - My driving "back home" is considerable slower and more agressive.

7 - Carter Brothers makes the best tenderloin biscuits and gravy in the world.

8 - My life was enriched because my friend talked me into getting a dog to keep me company here.

9 - Left to my own devices, I could get in a lot of trouble.

10 - I have Mama Bear/Mother Hen tendencies.

11 - Be kind to people who are learning new things. (Especially people dealing with a language barrier) You never know what someone is going through and how you can change a horrible moment with a smile.

12 - My Bigfoot, who stands behind the curtain of my life is the best stage manager I've ever had.

13 - When I leave Panama, I will leave some of my heart here with many people who touched my life in ways they could not imagine.

14 - It is sad, to me, that I know my neighbors here more than the ones I knew back home. But amazing and I'm thankful for them all.

15 - Amazingly, life goes on. First I learned this when I left, then when my Daddy died and the world didn't just stop.

16 - Water taxis are a superb form of travel.

17 - The abilitiy to laugh at yourself is very helpful when you live to a foreign country.

18 - DeAnna does not do drama well.

19 - When you go from being "the babies" in your department to "the old people" within a 2 month time frame, it can mess with your head.

20 - Sometimes a wave can get you in front of someone in traffic, sometimes it can get you hit by a truck.

21 - My Spanish still is not very good. Smiles are thankfully universal.

22 - Love of friends makes the world go round.

23 - Reliability is very important to me.

25 - If someone wants to take you on a party on a chiva bus, go, at least once.

26 - Sometimes I feel so much like I am "at home" - it crosses my mind that I could drive to the Friendly Center to do shopping and pick up some things.

27 - If a sloth crosses the road on your way to work - chances are, you will be late for work.

28 - I'm so blessed to have so many friends who offer friendship and encouragement from so far away