Colombian Marriage Proposals in Panama

I had been here in Pedasi a few months and was getting a little bored.

residency visa

(Photo: George Eastman House/Flickr)

Retirement is wonderful, but after a while of not having much to do, I was running out of things to keep me occupied. I had planted flowers, painted the house, furnished it, baked home made bread and created recipes for pies with local tropical fruits. I was fat, smoking and not really exercising, so I decided it was time to start getting in shape. One Sunday as I was doing my daily one hour walk I ran into a Columbian man I had met once before at a neighbor’s house. He came driving up, stopped and asked me if I would like to join him for a cerveza and ceviche at Playa Arenal. At this time I had no car, so I jumped all over the invitation. I quickly returned to the house, grabbed my purse and my pocket spanish dictionary and away we went.

That’s when it started, my first romance in many years.

A few weeks of courtship had passed and my Columbian amor was trying desperately to communicate something very important. My Spanish had improved enough by this time to sometimes catch the “jest” of a conversation. But during many conversations I found myself just nodding my head with a big smile repeating si, aha si, ok si. (I have found this to be a normal instinctive reaction for many new foreigners trying to be friendly, when in reality we have no idea what the spanish speaker is saying or what we are agreeing to.) However, in this case a “jest” of a conversation and a robotic repetition of si or yes with a big smile was not sufficient for my Colombian. The topic was obviously important so he suggested that he talk with my son Charlie who speaks fluent Spanish and a meeting was arranged.

I called Charlie and asked him if he could stop by the house to translate for us. Once my son arrived my new boyfriend explained that due to his Panamanian citizenship we should marry and after filing all the proper paper work I would have a Panamanian resident visa. This would open the door for many benefits of living here and would eliminate me having to leave the country every six months. I sat there at the table with my mouth hanging open as my son patiently translated this. I could tell through out the conversation Charlie thought this was very funny and was trying not to laugh. It was also made clear that it would be acceptable that I could file for divorce after two years and still have the benefits. I spoke not a word. Finally, when all had been translated and I had said nothing, my Columbiano who was a foreman on local public works projects added one more statement. “If you don’t want me, then you can always marry the drunk road grader driver.”