In fact, she was the first person in her family born in the country.
“I am thankful to my family who made the move to Panama more than 70 years ago,” Julia told me when she and I met two years ago.
“It was my forward-thinking grandfather who took the brave decision to venture into the unknown,” Julia explained. “He moved from China to Panama in 1949. Then, slowly but surely, he was able to bring the whole family over in the early 1980s.”
Sophia, our Editorial Director, meantime, was also born an expat but not in Panama.
“What brings you to Panama?” I asked when interviewing her for her LIOS position three years ago.
“The standard of living,” she said simply.
Sophia had been living in Colombia, working as a teacher, and, as she put it, she “was looking for a lifestyle upgrade.”
Marketing Manager Abby likewise arrived in Panama three years ago.
Abby hails from Venezuela.
“My mom is Panamanian,” she explains, “so, when things got uncomfortable in Venezuela and it was clear it was time for us all to relocate, Panama was the most sensible option.
“My family decided to move to Chiriquí, but I wanted to be in the city,” Abby says. “I wanted a fresh new start for everything… and that’s what Panama has given me.”
Our IT Manager is Jamaican. Miguel relocated to Panama nearly a decade ago in search of employment opportunity and found it with LIOS a year later.
Miguel is also a runner. “Panama City’s Cinta Costera is a runner’s dream come true,” he says.
Indeed, this pedestrian-only stretch that runs the length of the Bay of Panama through the center of Panama City is busy from early morning until well past sunset with runners, cyclists, skaters, and amblers of all ages.
Real Estate Sales Director Evren is Turkish. His sales team includes a Panamanian, an American, a South African, and three Irishmen—Neil, Darren, and Felim, none of whom have any intention of returning anytime soon to their native Emerald Isle.
“Go back to grey, wet Ireland,” Darren says, “and give up my new life here in Panama where the sun is always shining? I’d have to be daft to do that.”
Conference Manager Alessandra is Panamanian but also Italian and American… and her Conference Assistant Gloria is Panamanian, Spanish, and Guatemalan.
“My maternal grandparents were Spanish, and I have family in Valencia and some in France,” Gloria explains. “Because of the war in Spain they moved to Peru were they had my mom and uncles, then they wanted to start a business and decided that Panama was a good choice for that. They came here, first to Colon and then eventually settled in Panama City.
“My dad’s family is in Guatemala,” Gloria continues. “He moved here to study with the Americans in Clayton. My mom was working with the Army. That’s how they met.”
Panama Circle Member’s Liaison Marion is a German who has lived in Panama City with her Panamanian husband for more than 35 years. IT staff Dio, Cesar, and Leroy are Panamanians with serious programming chops. Video Editor Kevin is a Zonian—that is, he was born in the Panama Canal Zone but raised in Indiana.
And Customer Service Manager Wilbert is a Panamanian New Yorker—born in Panama but raised in Brooklyn. He returned to Panama after graduating university in the States and serving in the U.S. Navy.
Every day, about 8:30 a.m., this diverse group of people meets up in a house in El Cangrejo to consider, day-by-day, options and opportunity worldwide and then to package the best of the lot of it for your benefit.
Next time you’re in Panama City, stop by. We’re a couple of blocks away from Einstein’s Head in the building with the bright red awning…
And our eclectic LIOS team in residence loves to meet fellow wanderers.
Founding Publisher, In Focus: Panama