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Mike and Martha with their grandson Jayson

Bringing my Grandson to Panama

It is with mixed emotions that I write my thoughts today. I’m packing to return to San Diego with my grandson, Jayson.  He has spent a month of his summer vacation visiting his Nani and Papi each of the last three years, and to Martha and me his visits are the highlight of the year. I share this because many of us who have made the decision to re-locate to a different a country struggle with leaving behind our children and possibly grandchildren too. What Martha and I have found, and what I want to share with you, is how wonderful Panama is when you share it with your family and friends.

I am sad to see him go, but at the same time happy to have spent the time with him here in Panama. I am thankful for the opportunity to provide the special experience for him to see first hand another culture he would not otherwise be exposed to.  Travel is among the best forms of education, after all.

In the five years we have been here, our children have visited multiple times, and they seem very well adjusted to us living here. As time has gone on, we have also adjusted to not being there with them. As I write this, it occurs to me that life goes on. We don’t miss them and love them any less, but when considering the next chapter in our life, there are often compromises that need to be made when making life-altering decisions.

Though some of the decisions and concessions we made when we moved here were gut wrenching, in some ways we feel that as things at home change dramatically, and life as we knew it no longer exists, we are able to provide a stable platform for our families here in Panama.

Two months ago I stated that I thought 10 days was about right when planning a trip to Panama. I referenced a couple of three day, two night road trips as examples, and shared a recent trip to Chiriqui. This past month, as we had Jayson with us, we decided to try a couple of one-day trips that we accomplished easily, and enjoyed very much.

First up, we rented a 63 ft. motor yacht with three other couples and three children including Jayson. We departed from Balboa yacht club, just outside the city by the Bridge of The Americas, at 9:00 in the morning. The view of the city, and the bridge, from the boat was amazing!  The boat was well stocked with snacks and plenty of liquids for both the kids as well as the adults. Our captain and his mate were top notch, and they made the trip interesting for all aboard. We motored for approximately an hour and a half to our destination at Taboga Island.

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Once we arrived we had the choice of going ashore to explore the island, hanging out on the boat, or swimming and floating around on inflatable rafts. The kids had a ball jumping off the boat until they were exhausted. We had lunch, and then toured back and checked out the bridge and some mega ships traversing the canal as up close as you can get! After an incredible day, we were all home in time for dinner.

Next up, we decided to try a day on Lake Gatun, fishing for Peacock Bass from a pontoon boat. We left Coronado at 8:00 in the morning (a little later than planned) and arrived at the lake by 9:00. The weather again was perfect, and our guide was great. The bait and necessary gear were provided, and within minutes Jayson had hooked his first ever fish! Despite the late start (a start time of around 7:00 is best) we ended up with eight keepers, and we headed back to the pier by noon. The guide filleted the fish for us, and we were home by 2:00. We cooked and ate the fish for dinner and couldn’t help but be pleased with another great day in Panama with our grandson!

We truly treasure our time together when he visits, and we love to share some of the many things to do in this spectacular country.  Though it was hard to part ways today, we know we have provided memories he, and we, will treasure for a lifetime.

Jayson sends a big “thank you” to Karyn for the swim lessons, and he couldn’t be prouder of his certificate of accomplishment. He will miss Raffi, and Lucianna, and Gavin, and Mary & Ella, and Vicente too.

I encourage anyone considering the next chapter in your life, to come and experience the many things that Panama has to offer. We did, and are happy to share it with our friends and family when they visit.

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