So I get to Panama, & before even touching down in Panama I already had the feeling (always trust your intuition) that there were going to be problems with Tom, this guy I’m renting a room from.
While he did let me in the apartment, I told him that night because of what happened with the Spanish school, I don’t know my schedule now & so I will have to take things week by week. I was originally supposed to rent the entire month from him because I was supposed to go to the Spanish school for the entire month. Obviously that changed.
I needed to settle down & figure out what I should do next since I was without a Spanish school & didn’t know if I should try & sign up for the Boquete one, or find one in Panama city, or just forget about taking Spanish right now even though I REALLY wanted to go.
I put an ad out on the Yahoo classified group for Panama looking for temporary lodging in Boquete, just to see if I got any responses, pricing, etc.
The next thing I know a day later, Tom comes into my room & tells me he’s rented out the room & I have to leave by the 18th (it was the 3rd or 4th at this point). I was in TOTAL SHOCK.
He didn’t bother to ask me what my plans are, he just decided that because I was no longer committing to a whole month, that business was business & he had a better offer to rent to 2 people, not just 1. He also made a comment that “I see you are leaving for Boquete.” LOL WHAT???? Just because I put an ad out on a classified site this means I’ve packed my bags & I’m gone? Talk about assuming facts not in evidence. It was just convenient for him to use this as proof that I had no intentions of staying there when in fact in the end I did have that intent. People who assume & try to make decisions for others really irk me.
At this point I hadn’t even had time to breath, I was tired every day & needed to nap which was not like me, & I couldn’t figure out what I should do next. Now I was homeless in a couple of weeks. LOVELY, add to my stress why don’t you.
It became clear to me later on, that a lot (not all) expats are pretty much like Panamanians; if they can’t get something from you, they will throw you out real quick & a lot are only in it for the money or the gossip.
A woman later on stated that Tom had every right to do what he did since I was now on week to week rental situation, but of course I didn’t see it that way. He knew dam well that I had planned to stay for a month. I was new to the country, didn’t know a soul & now he was renting out the room right out from underneath me.
In the end it was probably for the best, because Tom turned out to be a very immature 70 year old (not sure how old he was). His wife was a very nice person, but strange (she very rarely if ever left the apartment), but this Tom guy who claimed to be a former psychologist, or something to do with that profession, turned out to be somewhat of a problem for me. I should have known, as most shrinks are the ones with serious issues that they could never resolve, so they go into the profession to try & solve everyone else’s problems.
The first time Tom really rubbed me the wrong way, was when he rolled his eyes at me. LOL, who does that but a little child. Why did he roll his eyes at me??? Because my US Internet phone line with ACN wasn’t working well, & so I asked him if there was a problem with the Internet which was included in my room rental. I hadn’t had this problem the week before, so I didn’t know what was going on.
That’s when Tom decided he was going to tell me what was best for me (controlling person) by telling me I should just ditch what I was using & go with what HE uses – Skype. When I told him I had already looked into Skype & wasn’t happy that they didn’t have a phone number listed on their site, & didn’t respond to my e-mails, he stuck up for them trying to make it seem like I was an idiot. They don’t HAVE to have a phone number on their site, they are Skype.
LOL, Tom needs to stick to what he knows best which is handyman work, & let me stick to Internet websites which is what I know best. I don’t care what company it is, if the company doesn’t have a phone number, be very very leery.
I held my ground (I tend not to be a pushover) & he didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t just going to switch to Skype like he wanted me to. Not to mention I was on contract with ACN for a full year, but I never got to that part.
Can you believe it LOL, this guy I’ve known for about a week starts telling me what to do with my life & business.
I continued to try & be pleasant towards him, but after he rolled his eyes at me, I lost all respect for the guy.
Once when I tried to be friendly & get him information on where to get better priced fish, he didn’t even say thank you, he just took the piece of paper from me & threw it in the garbage.
His attitude towards me continued to be immature & his energy was very negative, so I tried to stay clear away from him. I can’t stand people who try to control others & think they know it all.
One thing Tom was initially nice about though, was he helped fix my mouse that kept dropping. Normally it never drops, but because the desk he had given me had too narrow a keyboard tray, it kept dropping & it didn’t drop on carpet like it would back home, it was on solid tiles, so naturally after the second or third time, it started to fall apart & I can’t live without this mouse.
He also gave me a wheely thing to take my computer in to get fixed.
He also offered to put in a wireless card for me instead of me having to take the CPU back, so at first he was nice & helpful, but I learned later on that he’s like this with everyone & it’s probably how he gets his validation in life. Not discounting it, just saying that just because a person is nice to you, doesn’t give them the right to try & control you.
Another issue I had was that they stopped offering me breakfast that was supposed to be included with the rent.
I know he will say I got up too late (around 10 am usually) & they were up at 5 am plus I didn’t want his oatmeal he had left out on the counter all day (no thanks) & while his pancakes tasted good, because they were made with toxic white flour, I couldn’t handle them & didn’t take any the next time he offered. I later realized that Tom is the type that if you don’t like everything he likes or does whatever he says to do, then he has a problem with you. I’ll speak for myself, he had a problem with me.
He once made me an omelet which was okay, but kind of tasteless. My point is, if you say something will be included in the rent, you have to stick to that deal. After maybe a week, the deal was off the table, because he no longer offered me anything & I wasn’t going to ask. They could have maybe offered lunch instead, but they didn’t.
I had already learned that every time I opened my mouth around Tom, he would either make a face or bark at me, so I tried to avoid him at all costs.
When it became apparent that I wasn’t finding a new place to live (I tried trust me), he told me that his landlady (Lyssa) who he was VERY close with (how close I left up to my imagination several times because I could sense something between them while living there) had a room for rent if I had no place else to go.
I didn’t want to stay with her because she had stuck up for Joseph Ennis (that Spanish school owner I told you about) & it was clear her opinion was the ONLY opinion that mattered, so I didn’t feel all warm & cozy with her, but then again I didn’t know her very well & if she was my only option, I wasn’t going to say “no”.
Another issue I didn’t like is one day they had to put a door on that small maid’s room for that 2nd person they were going to rent to & he never bothered to tell me that there was going to be extreme noise & dust all over the place.
I’m very sensitive to noise & pollutants so this was a shock to me. The respectful thing would have been to inform the tenant since I couldn’t even get into the kitchen to get food since they were doing all of this in the middle of the living room floor. At this point it had become obvious to me that Tom was just being a prick.
In the end I did have to end up renting from Lyssa & Tom was kind of freaking out. He used to put invoices underneath my door & he slipped a letter underneath there reminding me that I had to leave by X date.
Even on the last day when I moved out I tried to be nice to Tom, but he just didn’t reciprocate. I even left a heavy duty lock for him that I wouldn’t have use for as a gift, & hugged his wife Barb since I would miss my talks with her. She was an intelligent kind woman who I wish I would have continued to get to know, but she seemed lost on so many levels.
Unfortunately later on about a month later after I had already moved out, Tom & I had a further problem.
One day while living with Lyssa my Sony headphone sponge came off. You know the sponge part that covers the ear piece. Well I tried to get it back on, but couldn’t because my finger nails are way too long, & I was afraid I’d rip the delicate covering. I asked Lyssa if she could ask Tom to just put it back on for me as I knew it would take him all of 5 minutes if that.
Since she sees him almost every day I think & she goes over to their apartment all the time, I figured he would do this small favor for her. Unfortunately he wasn’t around, so she ended leaving it on the table for him & was intending to ask him if he’d have a problem fixing it for me (she knew he didn’t like me), but before she could talk to him, he e-mails me asking me if this is mine.
I say yes, I told him Lyssa had dropped it off & could he please fix it for me? It would be much appreciated. I told him I tried to fix it myself, but I couldn’t because of my fingernails & I typed “LOL” making a joke out of it. I have a feeling even if they weren’t long I wouldn’t have been able to get the cushion back on.
He doesn’t say anything, just writes back, tells me he fixed it & it’s ready to be picked up.
I could feel his negative energy again, so I was trying to figure out how to get over there to get my headphones. Lyssa wasn’t heading over any time soon & I wanted them, but I was also busy & didn’t want to waste money calling him from my cell phone as I was already running up such a high bill, plus he’s literally right down the street from Lyssa.
So one day when I had enough energy, I walked over to his apartment, got in the door & made my way upstairs.
Tom always left his door open & if you understand how most old apartments & houses look in Panama, there’s a gate like door, & then the wooden door. Well Tom always left the wooden door open, & Lyssa would always walk right in calling out… “hello, hello”, so I didn’t think it was ANY big deal to do the same especially since I had lived there just a few weeks earlier.
I didn’t barge in, but I saw that his new tenants were right there in the living room & I said, “Hi, how are you doing? (as I opened the gate). “Is Tom around, I’m the tenant that was in here before you guys?” No they said, they think he’s in his room & the door was closed. I told them I was just looking for my headphones, do they know where they are?
With me only occasionally was the bedroom door closed, because I think Barb felt comfortable around me, but clearly with 3 strange people living in the house, that may have been a different story. Anyway, I didn’t know where the headphones were, but then I noticed a bag right there on the table as I scanned the room. Sure enough, I look inside, pull them out to make sure they are mine & say… got it. You guys have a great day & I left.
The entire stay was maybe 2-3 minutes if that.
I was pleased I didn’t have to deal with Tom, got my headphones, was going to e-mail him to thank him (I think I already did when he told me they were ready) & was on my way to my other errands in no time.
Unfortunately again Lyssa was having problems with her Internet, so I couldn’t e-mail Tom. Tom of course knew there were problems, because I’m pretty sure even if he didn’t see Lyssa every day, they talked on the phone all the time.
The next thing I know, either the next day or the day after, Tom writes me this NASTY e-mail & here’s what he says…
You came to my home without advising me you were coming. You put the current guests in an awkward position by announcing you were a former guest who lived here, then came in and pickup the headset and left. You did not leave me a note. You did not show respect for the current guest or our relationship. You seemed to be solely concerned with your personal wants and/or desires with little regard to how your actions impact on others You have not made any tangible effort (like offer to buy me a beer) to express any gratitude for the many times I have help you. In fact you have in general regarded me with (in my opinion) an attitude of distain and/or remote distancing.
The only purpose for my taking the time and energy to write and send this to you is to help make your stay in Panama the best it might be. It you extend to others the attitude you extended to me you will shortly find you may not have anyone willing to assist you after a short time of knowing you.
With best regard for you well being,”
Oh boy was I furious. The nerve of this asshole…
I told you this is how he talks down to me.
I actually had a nice reply (I”m being factious of course) already typed out to him, but I refrained because of Lyssa.
Then I realized what kind of guy Tom is. If you don’t give him something in return for his favors, oh boy. I happen to be a very very giving person. In fact sometimes TOO giving. But, I only do this to people I like, NOT people who are control freaks & who talk down to me.
Talk about drama in panama, I put his guests in an awkward position? LOL Ok, let’s be more immature shall we?
And Tom wants me to buy him a beer? What are we going to talk about how much he thinks I should switch to SKYPE???
Now if it was his wife, sure not a problem.
You see I’m not like other people. When I do a favor for someone, I don’t expect something in return. That’s why it’s called A FAVOR!!!! Because you aren’t supposed to expect something in return. You are supposed to do it out of the goodness of your heart. Had Tom come to me & asked me for something & I was able to oblige, I probably would have done that no problem, he never did.
I was a very good tenant to him & his wife. I cleaned up after myself, they even ate my food (first time I offered, second time they took it without asking), I was quiet so as to not disturb them & I was a polite kind person.
I thanked him whenever he did me those 3-4 favors, 2 of which I never asked him to do, & to me a “thank you” is just as rewarding as something that costs money.
In the end I bought the guy a box of wine because I didn’t want anything more to do with him. Just give him some booze & shut him up. I’m sure he’s gossiped about me & lied about everything, because he’s one of those types that people likes, but you don’t really know what he’s like until you REALLY get to know him.
He said thank you in an e-mail with some flowers & that’s it, I’ve had nothing more to do with him.
The point of this story is to yes, vent, but just to show you how just because you move to Panama, doesn’t mean the other expats are gong to be all nice & loving to you.