So our new employer/school has been pretty darn awesome with the transition so far: the HR team has been taking care of us (and our kids) beautifully, and they put us up in a somewhat-high rise overlooking even higher-rises overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Not too shabby a place to land, but not a longterm solution to the housing puzzle. The International School of Panama is in the Northeastern outskirts of Panama City, and from what I gather, nearly everyone here really enjoys living far from where they work and sitting in horrendous traffic every day. Most neighborhoods where teachers live are about 25 minutes from school, but there's always the caveat of "unless there's traffic, when it could take you 3-5 days. Pack snacks." We’re anti-commuting freaks, which has limited our options somewhat.
We came to Panama with two possibilities already researched and in the front of our minds: Did we want an unnecessarily large house directly across from the school for more than we’d like to spend? Or did we want an unnecessarily inexpensive (and furnished!) house which is slightly smaller than we'd like just across the highway from the school? Upon arriving, we talked to more people, saw several additional possibilities, and found that this was, indeed, the conundrum. There would be no in between. We had to bite the bullet and make a decision.
We hemmed. Then we hawed.
Then we... put off making a decision and instead explored a bit of the the big city!
Here’s us in the Casco Viejo, where we spent a super quick afternoon last week to check out the crumbling, colorful old town. Fun fact: this is the newer old town, set up in 1672 after good ol’ pirate Sir Henry Morgan (or Captain Morgan for you boozers out there) sacked the original Panama City a year earlier.
And here’s us quadricycling along the Amador Causeway, connecting a few islands in Panama Bay.
Next we popped over to the the Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo, a celebration of Panama’s special place as a crossroads of two continents, two oceans, and every product you’ve ever bought at Target.
And here’s us watching every product you’ve ever bought at Target on its way to Target.
A few pics of Warren's exploratory jog around our hotel's neighborhood:
This introduction to Panama all happened between us jumping through hoops for the Panamanian government (HR took care of all the heavy lifting, we just had to sit in the immigration office for a few hours), signing lots of forms that happened to be Spanish (it's possible that we accidentally signed up for a subscription to Cat Fancy magazine), and scratching the surface of the largest shopping mall in the Americas (we passed at least two Crocs stores, and we saw maybe a tenth of the mall).
We're finishing up the last few days of training just for us newbies - next week is whole staff, and then we get to start the actual teaching part. While the housing decision is certainly looming over us, we hope other distractions will clear the mind enough to make the answer crystal clear.
In the meantime, we're enjoying the view.