Renée Ramirez
Renée Ramirez
Panama, 2022-2023
My name is Renée and I’m spending a year in Panamá working with Fundación Calicanto. Calicanto is a Panamanian organization combatting gender-based violence through social and economic empowerment programs. I’m a Nashville girl and graduated from Belmont in 2021 with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Economics. This is such a privilege, thanks for following along! Read More About Renée →

Preparing for the Big Move

Hi all — Sharing my first blog post as I prepare for my Lumos move in T-11 days!

Professionally, preparation these days looks like wrapping up my work. I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing, onboarding, and communication to pass off my projects/responsibilities to our new and current team members. This season has been a pretty consistent reminder that I am not indispensable and that is a really good thing. Feeling so grateful for the 2 1/2 years working with Placemat + Feeding Nashville and really hopeful for the growth and future of our team. I am sad to miss it; it’s hard to leave a good thing.

Personally, preparation looks like listening to grammar and story podcasts to refine my Spanish (my favorite currently is El Hilo), getting rid of things, spending time with my family and core friends, and a lot of personal admin things like immunizations appointments and selling my car. I just got back from a solo ski trip to North Carolina which was so refreshing and fun. It was helpful to have time to be quiet, explore, collect myself, rest, and plan for this big move. I took some time to map out my goals, budget, priorities, etc., and am feeling much more pulled together and prepared than I was previously. This upcoming week is going to be full of lots of goodbye parties (Omicron might say otherwise) and knocking things off my long to-do list! We’re getting so close, this is crazy!

The three most frequent questions I’ve been getting recently are:
“Are you ready?”
“Are you scared?”
“How are you feeling?”

I’m guessing you might be curious about those things if you’re reading this, so am writing out my responses here:
1. Truthfully, I’m ready.
2. I’m not scared about this move/project/experience at all. BUT it is easy to feel scared about what my future might look like post-Lumos. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that things can change in my life and in the world so quickly. I’m anxious to see who I’ll be and what I want when this is over.
3. I feel sad to leave my family + community here in Nashville. I have such wonderful friends, pastors, and support here and really love them. At the same time, I’m so excited to explore, grow, and experience living and working in Panama. Every time I think about the fact that I am getting to move to Latin America and help people practically, tears of joy well up in my eyes. This opportunity touches a deep dream in my heart and I really am so grateful for this next step.

I’ve been thinking recently about what it’s going to be like when I land in Panama on the 18th. I am so looking forward to the flood of “This is really happening! I’m living here! I’m speaking in Spanish every day! People look like me!”. It’s happening so soon. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this time with my favorite people, wear my mask and get some things done.

That’s all I’ve got right now, chicos. Cuidense!

– Renée

See some photos from my trip to Banner Elk, NC below.


A Couple of Notes:
I have Spanish-speaking family who will be reading this so will be posting in both Spanish + English as time allows!

Writing a blog is going to be a great way to process this experience but is also kind of nerve-wracking because I’m scared of becoming a babbler. This is not going to be the type of blog where you read through someone’s entire life story just to see the cookie recipe they posted 🙂 With this in mind, I’m setting some boundaries below for both of our sakes!

My general format is going to follow:
– Current projects + work check-in
– Something new
– Something difficult
– Something I’ve learned
– Something I’m grateful for

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