Panama 2018: Planning Already

Planning has already begun for Panama 2018, which will be in January this coming year. I’m going a little earlier than I have been for the past few years, taking into account Minga’s declining health. I’m hoping she’ll be well enough to come to the villa, get some of Gloria’s wonderful cooking, and be fussed over a bit.

Booking this early probably sounds crazy, but when you’re looking for very specific flights on specific days, there’s no point in waiting. The fares don’t change that much, and once I have the villa dates locked in, I’m ready to set the rest in place.

I’ve written before about how Lily, Minga’s granddaughter, is even more of a planner than I am. Just as I was in the process of booking the villa, she emailed to see if by chance I’d started thinking yet about next year’s trip. I think she loves the planning she gets to do on her end — she coordinates with David, our driver, and makes all the arrangements for our Panama city time. The adventure gives her something to anticipate in the new year.

This year week one will include friend Sally — who’s come every year since the first and has been a key part of all the adventures — plus her significant other Michael. They will be joined by Bob and Candy, a college friend and her husband with whom I reconnected at the recent reunion. Week two, at this point, will be just Sally and me. I’m sticking to two weeks, since I’ve become a part of Matt and Amy’s support system with kid pickup. They cope when I’m not here and never ask me to cut trips short, but I know it adds to the number of moving pieces in their lives when I’m away. And, I treasure this time with my grandkids.

Lily sent me an online article from a Panama City news source: the flight I take from Houston to Panama City experienced severe turbulence, and several people were taken to the hospital upon landing. I wonder if that has anything to do with the extremely hot air that has been plaguing the Southwest in recent days.

I like planning for Panama too, and looking forward to the annual adventure. What we do doesn’t change that much from year to year, although the guests do. But it’s a very special part of my life. I’m going to miss it when I get too old to go.

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