Countdown! Less than 30 Days to Panama

Countdown to expat moving dayWow, the time is really flying by as we get closer to our move to Panama.

It seems just last week When I started this weekly recount of all the preparation steps we’d taken toward our upcoming Panama move. But actually, it was two months ago!

Now we’re within 30 days of our projected move date, and stress levels are rising.

Hopefully, by seeing what we’re doing, you’ll be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that seem to be an inherent part of a big move like this.

Weeks of December 26 and January 2

Quite honestly, I didn’t do anything about our upcoming move during the week between Christmas and New Year. We were visiting our children in the northeast, and I took some time to chill — literally and figuratively. We saw temperatures in the single digits more than once during our stay. (Actually down to zero one night, and a couple hours after we flew out the temperature dropped into the minus numbers.)

Since returning home on the 3rd, though, it’s been pretty busy.

House Repair

We thought we were done with this category, but a couple things came up this week. We had to replace a ceiling fan that conked out unexpectedly — better now than after we’re in Panama with tenants in the house! We also had to call the Roto Rooter folks to clear out a clog in the line from the washing machine. Both pretty small compared to some of our earlier projects, thank goodness.

There were also several big tree limbs that needed to come down, so my husband’s spent some time this past week working on that.

Packing and Organizing

We’re clearing out more stuff. I’m shipping a couple of boxes to my sister in Virginia and another to my son in LA. Now that I’m home from the frozen north, I’ve packed up my heaviest winter clothes to dispose of. I’ll keep a couple of sweaters, but all the other sweaters, sweatshirts, etc., are going. I’m trying to get my clothes, shoes and personal items whittled down so they’ll fit into two suitcases. . . I’ll let you know how that plays out.

We’ve also designated an area in the garage for boxes that will go into storage. We’re gradually getting more out of the house and into that storage area.

My husband, the avid cyclist, has been researching bicycle options. He currently has two road bikes. He’ll sell one and ship the other to Panama. He’s decided a mountain bike would be a good choice for riding in Panama, so he’s researching to see whether it’s better to buy one here and ship it down, or buy one there.

Selling Stuff

We had another estate sales agent come to the house last week. She was much more encouraging than the first one, and was pleased that she’d be able to work us into her busy schedule because the house is small and clean. I liked her attitude — instead of seeing obstacles she saw opportunities. She understands that we can’t set a date until we have a signed lease in our hot little hands, and she’s willing to work with us practically any time as long as we give her a week’s notice.

I think we’ll be able to deal with her.

At this point the tentative plan — and again, it’s contingent on having a signed lease — is to set up the sale for just before the tenants’ move-in date. While the estate company is here setting up and conducting the sale, we’ll head up to my in-laws’ place for a visit with them before we take off.

Renting the House

Still nothing definite, but more activity. If you know anyone who might be interested in a charming 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in lovely Winter Park, FL, let me know!

Remember those stress levels I mentioned? We don’t have a definite move date yet, and won’t until we’ve found tenants for the house and signed a lease. I’m confident we’ll have someone in here by February 1, but the extra uncertainty isn’t helping.

Moving the Pets

Nothing particular to report in this category. The dogs are healthy, they’ve adjusted to their new kennels, and there’s nothing else we can do until it’s time to take them to the vet for their final checkup and the start of the paperwork race.

Maintaining Our Lives

So far the auto bill pay I set up through the credit union is working without a hitch.

Last week my husband finished collating all his paperwork that I’ll need to do tax returns. So this week I’ll be starting the tax returns and the financial aid paperwork for our daughter.

The Panama End

I found another Panama forum last week, on Reddit. Got some new leads on places to rent. . .

Somehow, when I write it down, it doesn’t look like much. But I assure you, we’ve been very busy this past week preparing for our Panama adventure.


  1. While you are packing, can you spare a moment to put aside the old documents pertaining to your move? Even the ones about the dog! Please don’t throw them away. We’ll archive them and send you a digital copy, if you require. The paperless society is coming and we must preserve these collections while we can. More on Thank-you.

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