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Rosie approves of her sunny balcony and view!
Buenos días de Medellín!

Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat lately, but arriving in Medellín is a pretty good excuse! We’ve been a little preoccupied with getting our house in Panama rented, car sold, “stuff” packed, and pups ready for the big move. The short version is that all people, dogs, and “stuff” made it safe and sound Nov. 22, and we’re loving our new life so far.

If you’re just coming in on our saga, here’s our earlier post announcing our move.

The Long Version

Our journey began a day before our flight, when we left Boquete, Panama early in the morning to make the cross-country drive to Panama City. We enlisted ace driver/helper/all-around good guy Luis Arce and his van to ferry us, Rosie and Tango, their bulky kennels, and our 12 pieces of luggage (including carry-ons).

After almost eight hours driving almost the entire length of Panama, we fetched up in late afternoon at the Riande Aeropuerto, our go-to airport hotel in PC that is also pet-friendly. After a few short hours of R&R and sleep, we rousted ourselves out of bed at 2:30 the next morning to get to the Copa Airlines cargo office and drop off the “kiddos.”

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One last look at the beautiful Panamanian countryside
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Checking into the Riande with kids and “stuff”
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The Riande is known for its orchids, and they were especially beautiful this time. A good omen!

Luis got us there and made the process super-smooth, although it took a full hour and a half to process the REAMS of paperwork and get the dogs and kennels checked in. And then came the sad and scary moment when we watched them wheel the two kennels back into the huge warehouse with all the other cargo. All we could do at that point was go catch our 7:30 flight to Medellín and hope that a) they’d get on our plane with us and b) they’d be safe.

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Saying goodbye, just for a little while . . .
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The munchkins being loaded into the plane directly below us

Then a lovely thing happened: we got an upgrade to business class, which gave us a bird’s eye view to watch the cutely painted Copa “Mascotas” van drive up and unload the kennels onto the ramp into the plane. I could even see Rosie’s little face looking out of her crate! I’m sure the other passengers thought I was completely loco, because I was calling out to her and telling her everything would be OK, that we were right over their heads. Kudos to Copa for giving the pups such a sweet ride to the plane and waiting until the very last minute to put them into the scary cargo hold. Item a) done; item b) still to come

After just an hour, we landed in Medellin – and then the real fun began. Carlos, our driver/helper on this end, schlepped us and all of our luggage over to the airport cargo complex. It was a bit of a drive from the terminal, and there was one question on our minds. Would the kids really be there waiting for us and be OK?
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Safe and sound and ready for their first Colombia car ride!

Carlos was a great help, but he doesn’t speak English and wasn’t too familiar with the locations of the THREE offices we had to find (yes, three – the shipping company, the agricultural ministry, and the customs office). That, coupled with a silly paperwork glitch that gave us a couple of anxious moments, made the process much longer than expected. We weren’t able to see the pups until almost three hours after we landed. But finally, there they were, safe and sound and so ready to get out of the crates! Bam – Item b) DONE!

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What just happened, Mom?!
Did I mention we did all of this with our baby Spanish and had basically no English help at all? We still have a huge language barrier, but the process gave us more confidence that we’ll  somehow find our way in Medellin!
Settling In
With Rosie and Tango accepted into their new country as Paisa pups, Carlos got us to our new apartment in the Ivy Laureles building in the Laureles District of Medellin. Once we hauled all our “stuff” inside, we scrambled to get to PriceSmart and buy dog food. (Various security people and inspectors had confiscated not only our dog food supply but the kids’ leashes! Go figure.) By then we were completely exhausted, but we mustered the strength to taxi down to El Poblado and have a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with our good friends Byron, Mariah, Dave, and Cindy (all lately of Boquete), plus a new couple, Dave and Marta.
The Rest of the Story
After a week and a half, we’re starting to feel somewhat settled. I (Susan) am enjoying the co-working space in our building, and every day we find another reason to love our new neighborhood.
In the coming weeks we’ll focus on finding a permanent apartment, getting our visas, enrolling  in Spanish schools, and settling into our new routine (not necessarily in that order). Oh, and catching up on our blogging about October Peru trip!
Here are a few more snaps from our new ‘hood.
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Our first apartment is in the shiny-new Ivy Laureles building. Bonuses: yoga classes, massage, and a co-working space (great for Susan)!
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Only a block away is a lovely parque complete with dog park.
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The Medellin Christmas lights are renowned. These are in the same neighborhood parque.
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We love having a little sidewalk cafe a block from our apartment, and dog-friendly to boot!
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Colorful wall art at the Girardot sports complex, just a few blocks from our apartment.
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Another mural at the Girardot complex. Hmm – Tango, have you been doing some moonlighting as a model?

15 Comments

  1. nickymacke Reply

    Lovely to hear that you’re settling in nicely! I’m so pleased it went relatively smoothly. Get yourselves up to Comuna 13 and do the walking tour as soon as you can – it was our absolute highlight of what is a wonderful city. Hopefully we’ll see you soon!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Oh, yeah, Comuna 13 is amazing! We mostly explored it on our own last time. Would love to do a walking tour. We look forward to your visit!

  2. Ronrinkerj@gmail. Reply

    The adventure continues! So glad to hear the initial nice went well. We miss you guys!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      We miss you two also! When do you think you’ll be back in Boquete? Any chance you’ll visit Medellin?

  3. Enjoy the post’s as I’m reading this from my 1st visit to Boquete. Lovin’ this place. Ciao

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Glad you’re loving Boquete! It’s a sweet town with lots of nice people.

  4. NIGEL J WATSON Reply

    Hi Guys, welcome (finally) to Paradisio Paisa. Been keeping tabs on you, figured you’d post after you got settled in. May be of help on a few of the items on your checklist – save you some grief on Visa, Spanish escuelas, cell, etc.
    I arrived from Chitre, Panama, in May, temporarily in Poblado, but plan to locate in Envigado. Feel free to email or call me at 310 399-6810.
    Will be in your neck of the woods tomorrow AM, if you’re up for cafe. chao, NjW

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Nigel – good to “meet” you! Just saw your message – this morning won’t work but let us know when you’re back in the ‘hood, or maybe we can plan a meet-and-greet in Poblado. Are you on WhatsApp?

  5. Your life is never dull. I bet it must feel great to constantly embrace new opportunities, move to new places, and check new neighborhoods. Looking forward to more stories from your new home and the rest of your Peru trip!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Bama! You always leave the nicest comments 🙂 I feel strongly our paths will cross one of these days and we can actually meet in person.

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