By Jessica Ramesch
Imagine having easy access to an exciting, cosmopolitan city…and equally easy access to a string of uncrowded, pristine beaches. On any given day, you could take in a world-class show, see an innovative art exhibit, try out a new restaurant….
Or you could wade into the warm waters of the Central American Pacific…toss around a Frisbee…or just dig your toes into the sand and listen to the sound of the waves.
For New Jersey native Debbie Psychoyos, 57, Panama offers all this and more. Weekdays she is in the city, where she and her husband Nick work and enjoy the city’s international social scene. Weekends bring a welcome change of pace.
“Fridays around noon we go to our beach house at Chumico, near Coronado,” says Debbie. “We usually stay till Monday morning, so we have the full weekend at our new home.”
“When I come back,” she says, “I feel like I’ve been gone for a month, with nothing to do but relax and be at peace. My husband does his gardening and I meditate, do yoga, and write.”
Debbie has been living in Panama since late 1982. And though she moved for love—her husband is Greek-Panamanian—she wouldn’t change her life here for anything.
“I used to jump on a plane to Miami when I needed a vacation. Now I have my own paradise in Panama. I enjoy the city and opportunities to connect with people. In 2001, I founded a nonprofit organization created to advance public education here.”
With a large bilingual, pro-business population, Panama is an international hub. Through her non-profit and other interests, Debbie found it easy to meet new people. “I’m in an international women’s forum and I help local communities through social engagement for Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO International). The other women in the group have become intimate friends.”
For Debbie, social time doesn’t end on weekends when she’s ensconced at her beach house. “My best friend has a home next door and our kids and grandkids come often. We have the best time out there together.”
Debbie enjoys walks to the beach or just hanging out at her home and enjoying the ocean view.
“The house is very open. We enjoy lots of natural light and have our fans going all the time. We do have a pool…it reflects the sky and blends into the horizon. And we have incredible plants…white, purple, and pink…they’re like a thick carpet.”
Panama’s coastal areas are peaceful and pristine….and you can grow just about anything here. “My husband just bought a tractor, and he loses himself in working the land. We walk a lot and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sundays we visit little fishing villages, the crater town of El Valle, or the colonial town of Nata de los Caballeros. Fridays we treat ourselves to jumbo shrimp or lobster at a local beach restaurant…it’s our little ritual now.”
In a couple hours, Debbie can drive between the beach and her home in Panama City. Weekdays she takes full advantage of the capital’s many offerings. “Because we are empty nesters now, we can have date night every night,” she laughs. “We have a home in the city’s San Francisco sector and there are so many options nearby.”
From the softly lit patio of Argentinian grill house Los Anos Locos to the authentic Italian cuisine of Casa Tua Gastronomia, Debbie could enjoy a different type of cuisine every night of the week (without ever needing to drive.) She is also just steps away from one of the city’s major convention centers, Atlapa. From networking events to artisan expos, film festivals, and more, she has countless social and cultural events to choose from.
“With a place in the city and a house at the beach, I truly have the best of both worlds,” says Debbie. “Nothing is perfect…but we have a very blessed life here.”beach house, Central American Pacific, expat lifestyle, expat living, living abroad, living in Panama, natural living, panama, pristine beaches, relaxed living