Category Archives: Panama Journal

Hasta Luego, Papa

This is not an easy post to make. I’ve sat down at my computer countless times over the past few days to write this blog but the words wouldn’t come. Today I decided that no matter what, I was going to do this. For my dad.

Chiriqui Chatter was very special to him. I know he made many friendships and reached many people through his writing here, and he enjoyed you all so much. Keeping this blog going was more than a hobby, it became a means of touching lives in ways he didn’t expect. It made him happy to write here.

Years ago he set me up as an admin for this exact moment. Now that it’s here, I don’t feel worthy. I’m not sure I can do it justice.

*Deep breath*

My name is Kimberly Dawn Williams Frank and I’ve been blessed to call Don Ray Williams my father throughout my life. In late December he suffered a medical emergency that required surgery, and over the course of the next four months doctors did everything they could to save his life, but on the morning of May 4th, in the comfort of his own home and surrounded by family, he took his last breath. We are overwhelmed with sadness. My dad was supposed to be a centenarian like his Uncle Horace. He was supposed to watch his great grandchildren grow up. My middle school son still needs help with his math homework.

That life lesson my dad taught me many years ago rings truer than ever today. It’s not fair.

So how can I possibly sum up 77 years of his life in one short post? It’s not possible. I could barely scratch the surface of all his accomplishments or even begin to say how much he was loved and appreciated. The amount of generosity and compassion my father bestowed on family, friends, and often times strangers, is overwhelming. Already I’ve had people reaching out to tell me stories of his kindness, how he’s helped people find homes, set up their technology, and even provide financial support.

My father was the smartest man I’ve ever known. Do you remember when you were a young child and you believed your parents knew everything? That never went away for me. My dad was always the first person I would call when I had questions.

“How do I connect my speakers to the receiver?”

“What does this light mean on my car?”

“What kind of investments should I make?”

“How should I respond to this person?”

“What’s happening in politics right now?”

“What’s the best laptop?”

He wasn’t perfect, there’s only one Father who is, but he was very special. I will miss him so much. I think I will miss his laughter the most. He and I had a unique sense of humor and when we were together he would almost always laugh. I mean the kind of laughter where his face would turn red and he’d throw his head back in silence until the bubbled laughter would finally burst through. It made me happy that I could help bring that kind of joy to him.

His wife, Lilliam, was the love of his life. I can’t express enough my gratitude to her for loving and nurturing my dad all these years. Though countless times I told my dad he didn’t deserve her (haha), they completed each other. She’s been an amazing wife and step-mother and will forever be my family.

I plan to leave this blog up. At least for now. Lilliam has told me it’s paid up for the year and the thought of taking this down feels like erasing a part of my dad. There’s so much knowledge and history here.

Thank you all who shared in my dad’s life either through leaving him comments here or real-life friendships. Know that you were all special him.

Hug your loved ones today. Life is short, so take a look around you and be thankful for what you have. Don’t take things for granted; if you have something on your mind, say it. Don’t let a day go by without telling someone you love them and you appreciate them.  I was blessed to be able to have all those conversations with my dad while he was in the hospital. I told him I loved him and that he was a great father. He told me he loved me and that he couldn’t ask for a better daughter. It was special. It was needed. Have those conversations with your loved ones now. Don’t wait.

During his last day on earth, my son prayed with my father and my daughter shared the gospel. He couldn’t speak to us at that point, but we know he heard us. My prayer and my hope now is that he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior so that I can end this blog with one final message to my beloved father:

This is not good-bye, dad.

I’ll see you later.

Zapped

I am really sorry I let this blog become almost dormant. When I was in Panama, I had a large readership and the subject I want to write about is something that my previous readers should pass on to their children and grandchildren.

I have always been interested in technology and it is easy to allow one’s life to be overrun by technology advances. There has to be a balance between benefit and danger. Driverless cars are coming. We depend on GPS. Systems can be hacked. And then there is radiation.

A good friend that read my previous post on my granddaughter wrote to me and asked if I had watched Generation Zapped. I hadn’t, but I have now. It is on Amazon Prime. It is a must watch. Had I watched it before I bought my current house, I would have had it hard wired so that I didn’t need WiFi.

Here is the trailer for Generation Zapped.

After watching it I watched this presentation.
I encourage you to watch the movie and the presentation.

Technology is good, but it may be the death of us.

Checking In

It has been a while since I posted anything. Retirement does not mean you have nothing to do. Lilliam and I are well and busy all waking hours of the day. She more than me.

I had the motivation to make a post today following my reading of my granddaughter lindsay’s blog post. My daughter, my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were a prime motivation for Lilliam and me moving back to Texas.

I now have 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

Of my 8 grandchildren, Lindsay had been given more than her share of challenges. Her first child, Nealon, was born prematurely and kept us all on the edge of our seats. Mason, Lindsay’s second son, has presented a second set of challenges, which her post provides a view of autism.

My reason for posting Lindsay’s blog is that she is an excellent writer and I felt her view of her experiences might help others in similar situations. I know my blog was always therapy for me and I am certain her’s will provide her therapy.

Check in on Lindsay’s blog and tell her her Grandpa sent you and he is very proud of her.

Farewell George H.W. Bush

Today is the funeral of a great man and the 41st president of the United States. I was fortunate to get to dine with him at a dinner where he spoke.

I was working in Washinton D.C. on a contract for the army when he sent troops to Panama for Just Cause. I never mentioned this when I lived in Panama because many Panamanians protest that invasion and there was a large loss of life during the invasion. While Panama was better off without Noriega, it is a good time for U.S. citizens to stay off the street during its anniversary.

I also worked in Austin for a project for Governor (future President 43) George W, Bush. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo with him to remember that time.

George H.W. Bush will be buried in College Station, Texas at his Presidential Museum.  I hope to visit there in 2019.

RIP President Bush.

 

Reflections on the Move to the US

It has been over a year now since Lilliam and I moved to the US, so let me take a little time and reflect on Lilliam’s and my initial reflections on the US move. I returned after living 15 years in Panama and Lilliam was beginning her transition to the US, only having experienced it on several short visits.

I will start with our arrival in Houston. This was our initial point of entry and Lilliam’s final interview with immigration prior to receiving her Green Card. The interview was pretty quick and she was happy to now be into her new life experience. Continue reading Reflections on the Move to the US

Sending Stuff To The US And the Move

I have been meaning to post this for some time and I guess this is the time. When Lilliam and I started getting ready to move, I started looking for a way to ship items back to the US.

I should say that if you are moving to Panama, I recommend you leave furniture, cars and all large items wherever you are moving from. I moved a 40-foot container to Panama and 99% of the items are still in Panama.

Moving items from Panama is more difficult and much more costly. I checked with DHL, a shipper in Boquete and a shipper in Bocas. The shippers only sent pallets and the price was out of reason. Continue reading Sending Stuff To The US And the Move

Why Haven’t You Written Lately

I keep saying I need to touch base with the blog readers to see if anyone still checks in.

That thought seems to enter my mind and then dissipates almost as fast as it entered.

Sometimes I think that maybe I won’t get back to writing and I should take the blog down. Then I receive an email because the blog is still up and it renews my energy.

Here was the email today.

Hi Don,

Biill Warren here.

I knew Bo Kjaer Olsen way back in 1994 or so and he told me so many treasure stories and I shared mine with him. I cannot believe he was murdered aboard his lovely ship in Panama. This is a sad night for me. I have tried to find him for years. His printed flyer/brochure was super nice. Did he ever go back to the ” de Gouden Buys” and bring up those 24 chests of gold coins? He told me when he approached the diamond areas along Namibia and so africa he was shot at by deBeers diamond company security guards. Is his son alive and if so, is there a way for home to contact him? Or a wife or daugh-in-law? And, did the cops ever find the guys who killed Bo and shot his son? Zach and his wife must have had a good look at the bums.

Where is Bo’s ship which i believe Baron Hiltons son bought him. Did you know the Hilton family financed Bo for salvage?

I am a published author. Books about my adventures researching, searching and salvages treasures around the globe. I write you now at 2 am in Odessa, Ukraine on the black sea where i am singing my concerts and diving and writing.

thanks,

Bill Warren

This was obviously related to the posts related to a shooting and Embassy case I had written about. Zech and I have remained friends since we met. I encouraged him to move back to the US and he has done that.

He still has medical problems because of the bullet that remains in his back. We communicate on a monthly basis.

At any rate, this was today’s reminder of why I have kept the blog up. I will post again but now isn’t the time.

Dr. Bullen will be in his David office on Saturday, June 2, 2018

I received a WhatsApp message stating that Dr. Bullen will be in his David office on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

As you may remember, he is the doctor that helped Lilliam with her skin cancer need.

My original post, on Dr. Bullen’s office, can be found HERE.

Information on his dermatology practice can be found HERE.

Numbers to call for reservations are 223 9697, 215 2106, 213 1907.

David – 777 8076 direct, 774-0128 ext 2185
Mobil 6982 2188 (English)

Green Card Experience

Lilliam and I visited the US several times before we decided to apply for Lilliam’s Green Card. We started the Process in July of 2016. The process is described in the following US Government website.

In our case, I had to file form I-30, which is the petition for an alien relative. The filing fee was $535.

There were many more fees as well as the expenses of preparing the documentation. All in all, I think I spent in excess of $1,500+ to get through the entire process.

I am not going to go into any of the filing specifics, but will merely describe the process and anxiety we went through in satisfying all of the requirements.

Some people hire lawyers to do this, but I am convinced that it can be done by the individual if you are patient and willing to read the instructions and double check your work. I had to do the filing as I was the petitioner. There are requirements for both the petitioner as well as the relative. Continue reading Green Card Experience

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.