One Small Step

Thanks to all that replied to my “Hello World” post. I had chosen that title as it is the default title for the first post on WordPress and it almost seemed like a first post since it had been so long.

I doubt if I will be able to be as active posting as I was before. It will take a few days for me to organize the Green Card post. I will have to go back and look at my notes related to all the submissions.

I am trying to give myself motivation for the book project. I used the book as motivation to buy a Google Pixelbook, which is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. It is Google’s Chromebook and is not cheap, so seeing something lying around not being used, usually motivates me to get active. At least if it is technology related. I need to be careful how I phrase that or Lilliam will start leaving hammers, drills etc lying around the house.

Speaking of getting active, yesterday, I took the Texas written driving exam. I had foolishly allowed my Texas license to expire and therefore put myself in the position of needing to take both the written and driving exams.

Getting a license requires a quite a bit of documentation. I needed a Social Security card, so that required a trip to the SSA office. I got the SS card last Friday, which cleared the way to take the written exam.

Besides the SS card, I needed my passport and two forms of identification to prove I was a resident of Texas. I had my new Medicare card (with current address) and new voter’s registration (with current address), but they still wanted one more. I was able to use my phone to send the attendant my car insurance card, which showed residents address.

The written exam was 30 questions and I needed 70% correct (21 out of 30). I got 77% correct (23 out of 30). The reason for the low score was that there were a lot of questions such as “What is the maximum fine for a first offense DUI”? I am glad I passed because I really did not want to study the manual

My passing took a huge load off of Lilliam who is really stressing out over having to take the test. I have the driving and parallel parking test scheduled for the 26th. That was the first open date to take the test. You would not believe how many people were at the DPS office.

I have finished my taxes and one of the things I need to do the E-filing is to enter my Texas Driver’s license number. I could have printed the forms and mailed it but used it as another motivation to get the license. I needed all motivation to go take the test I could muster.

When you move to Texas, you are required to have a drivers license within 90 days of entry, assuming you plan on driving. My end date was February 12.

Hopefully, next week, I will get out another post. With a little luck, it will be done on the new Pixelbook.

I hope that Chiriqui Chatter can remain a resource for understanding retirement in Panama. I am open to ideas for posts following the ones I mentioned in my “Hello World” post.

19 thoughts on “One Small Step

  1. My sympathies on the written test for license!.Good luck with parallel parking!
    I avoid it at all costs.

  2. I am not really concerned about the actual test. My parallel parking skill has always been pretty good and with all the new technology, such as back up cameras on the cars, it should not be a problem.

    The lady at the DPS said it was a minimal amount of time as they could not afford much time due to a large number of people taking the test.

    Hopefully, I am not too overconfident.

  3. I just recently had to renew my Indiana drivers license and since it had not expired all I had to do was bring in all my proof of being whom I say I am and passport medicade card SSN card and to letters sent to me at my address to prove where my home is such as mail coming to my address, and after getting enough proof that says I am whom I say I am and proving that I live at that address, so after all that all I needed to do was eye exam and take my picture and guess what I couldn’t pass the eye exam so after 3 weeks I got a pair of glasses and I passed the eye exam and my license was mailed to me 2 weeks later boy its —- getting older but at least now I have my license saying how old I am and can drive legally

  4. All the best getting settled in to your new residence. I look forward to reading whatever you have time o share!

  5. Don, yes, that would have been the same for me, if I hadn’t let mine expire. I was worried about the eye exam as that was one of the reasons I needed to come back, but I passed it. I need some laser surgery, and Panama did not have the right equipment. That is on my list to do after I get Medicare part B active.

  6. Good to see you back, Don Ray.

    Yeah, well at least you got to take the test in english…
    After 16 years in CR, and 5 in David, my US license long expired…had to bite the bullet recently, and take their test…just prior found out it is via computer 60 seconds per question.

    Example question….you see in your rear view mirror that a car behind is about to hit you…what do you do…a, b , c, d, ?? Correct answer…apply the brake??

    After 10 questions aprobado appeared on screen…no score… and I was one happy gringo….and I was right, no need to ever study Espanol.

  7. Moving is not easy even domestically. Just did it and never want to do it again. Every Monday (since this is a new place) you call to find out if this will be the week that they will come and fix the things that don’t work or don’t work correctly or that they promised to fix two weeks ago last week. A few showed up this Monday and 4 things got resolved off my list. A used home would have been better because all the little things would have been worked out long ago. Glad your post is back up – I always learn so much from you.

  8. I think when you go to register to vote Texas requires you to be a resident for one year. That was the rule. It might have changed.

  9. John,
    I sent in my registration form, which I picked up at my local post office, and received my voter registration card in less than to weeks.

  10. Double check the card. Mine has had me listed as “F” for 3 decades. Every few years I would send a letter or email to get it changed. No luck. I pointed out the error at the polling place, they don’t seem to care as long as my address is correct. We get new cards in the mail, just received the current ones last week.

  11. Bonsoir M. Don Ray
    Comment allez vous

    Même si je ne parle pas beaucoup anglais
    J’aimerais faire du bénévolat à l’endroit où Monsieur Robert votre ami habite ici
    À David
    Lui rendre visite
    une présence
    et si besoin aider
    Est ce possible de m’informer s’il vous plaît lorsque vous aurez du temps
    Merci beaucoup
    Bonne soirée
    Julie Canada David Chiriqui

  12. Don Ray,

    Glad to,see that you are blogging again. Over the years we have greatly enjoyed you daily comments.

    One topic you might want to address in future chats. When you move to Panama be sure and keep curren on all your US institutions and accounts especially Medicare. No matter how positive a person is when becoming an expat after 1, 5, 10, or more years many folks find they want to return to the US for family, needing assisted living, specialized medical treatment, etc. you do not want to burn all the bridges behind you. Panama is not a good place to retire unless you are in good health and you certainly want to avoid probate in Panama. Selling property in a hurry can also be a problem.

    After 20 plus years and careful planning we had cedulas, drivers license, bank accounts, etc. and we were preparing to move down I suddenly developed a heart condition that required a special procedure not available in Panama. Very expensive but Medicare picked up the entire bill except for $375 and this covered a week in intensive care, operation and rehab.

    Panama has good medical care for a small country of four million people but the Us medical care is more advanced.

    Good luck in Texas Dn Ray,

    Lenton and Ping Rowland

  13. And some US expats voted with their feet again, and are no longer expats. Life goes on.

    @Lenton, yes, my SIL from Panama had the same problem. She is a permanent resident in the US, retired after working 11 years in the US, and is on Medicare. She had 2 coronary stents inserted, spent a week in ICU, and another week in recovery. Medicare picked up all but a few hundred dollars. I don’t know if she would have survived if it had happened in Panama.

  14. Sounds like myself when I let my license expire for the state of Pa. I had to redo the test and do a parallel test also. I went in and waited forever for the test on the computer, when I got to the test, most of the questions were about teenagers and cause of death for wrecks. I was like wtf. I failed the test, I walked back to the lady and said could I take it again, she said no, I would have to wait 48 hours, so again I had to go in and wait, I studied the book up and down before so knew all the questions, when I took the test it was very easy and all about signs and traffic, I was like wtf, when I finished I asked the lady at desk if there was two tests, she said yes why, I said you gave me the other test last time for teenagers. She the says you have to take driving test with parallel parking. I said can I take it now, she says no you have to sign up online. I go home and check online, it was 3 months before first opening. Thank goodness I could drive with my Panama license. I take the test and pass the parallel portion and then go on the road, I was on a road without a speed zone sign and went 28 mph, well she failed me saying that the road was 25 mph, I was so pissed, basically I yelled at her and said how the heck to you fail someone for that who is 40+ years old. I then wrote the head of the dmv. Well the next time I went they sent two inspectors with me. That is what I get. I passed the driving test after going 5 under the speed limit.

  15. hope all is well, Don Ray

    j and n…this expat has been offshore since the 80s….cast my vote early…

  16. Glad that you found what suits you, “Karen”. The USA is such a big place, almost everyone can find their spot somewhere. I am always amazed at the amount of research folks are willing to do on expat locations while assuming that they know everything about the USA. We have the option of living in either place; we chose a tiny piece of the USA that suits us.

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