English classes and travel
this week is english week at the university in soná (my nearest town). some months ago, a friend who is enrolled in the basic intro class asked me to do a seminar during this week. So on tuesday, i went to the night class of about 30 and did an interactive presentation or as i called it sports extravaganza teaching some continuous verb forms. it was so fun! and i felt so honored as they treated me like a queen, had a banquet of food, called me ¨miss christy¨ and gave speeches after the seminar, or really about a 4 hr class. they also invited me to the finale which is tonight. There is a beauty-talent contest and i am going to be a judge!! yikes! just as long as i`m not competing. but it should be fun as long as i don`t make anyone too mad with my decisions. panamanians are very competitive. But i stayed with this wonderful family for the seminar that i will be staying with again tonight. The husband, Ramiro, is in the english class and i met him at a bakery in town that he and his wife, rosa own. they make the best stuff! it actually tastes as good as it looks which is something lacking in a lot of panaderias. anyways, they started talking to me months ago one day and they had hosted another volunteer in the past and are just about the most gracious people i have ever known. they give me free chicha or fresh juice drinks and send me away with cookies to my town! when i arrive the other day, their daughter about my age sat me down and gave me a manicure-pedicure! haha, that didn`t last long in the campo with the next day being laundry, mopping, cleaning, carrying buckets of water around day! but they were lovely for a moment. they would do anything for you if you asked them to. it feels so comfortable to be there in their house. something i´ve definitely missed. they are more sophisticated and educated with their children studying engineering and computer programming. I´m always happy to see them and they,me.
I have been traveling a bunch this week with a trip to the city the past weekend for a meeting of this seminar we are trying to put together. It was great and we got the proposal on my boss´s desk plus had a blast celebrating my friend, Erin`s, birthday at this fantastic italian place. it had GREAT food and a perfect ambiance outside in a little nook! if you come, i`ll have to take you there. i also got my hair cut and it was fun to do something special for myself like that. i figured it was time since when i go on my long runs, my hair was getting so stringy i`d come back with knots in it that dari would help me pull out! yikes. speaking of the running game, i did one of the longest runs today of the schedule, 30km or 18mi! but i did do a bit of walking at one point bc my foot was bothering me. i just pray i can make it to the marathon. i`ve been working so hard for this and i think by now probably the whole nation knows i`m training for it.
my youth group is good and we are still planning on going to chiriqui in a national park called parque amistad in a couple weeks. i`m a little concerned about funding though, however i did get a boost when the professor of the university handed me an envelope which i later opened to find $30 in! since we can`t charge anything for our work, i`m putting that one in the bank for the trip! You wouldn`t believe how hard it is to raise money in a place where there isn`t much cash flow going (although you should, cause it makes sense right!?)(; anyways, just wanted to say an early happy birthday to my mom, if you see her or talk to her, it`s on the 3rd of july, almost a firecracker. also a late happy birthday to my grandmother turning 93! on the 28th.
my english classes in the primary school fall on the 4th of july and i want to do something with our holiday to share one of my favorite holidays but i have yet to think of something magnificent so if you have an idea let me know!
The park is really moving along now that they contracted out all the manual and technical labor to the club deportivo in a lump sum which is also better for me so that i don`t have to go looking for workers begging people to work. It is almost done, just need to paint it and a couple little things!
My group of ladies are good. We are working on practices in basic accounting. they come to my house in pairs or triples to do some practice problems and scenarios. it really feels like exactly what i picture a ¨peace corps volunteer¨ doing when i`m in these sessions. i LOVE them! they are so silly and fun and i really feel like in this we are advancing their knowledge, albeit slowly, in something they would otherwise not have the opportunity to discuss. They are also in the midst of building the restaurant! yeah! they are really pumped and should be. HOwever, we still have a long way to go with their knowledge on how to run it. But I am very excited for them.
I still amaze myself at how God continually has to teach me lessons in people. I have been in countless situations with different individuals that I have judged in one way and then my assumptions turn out dead wrong. You would think I would have learned by now. Nope. For instance, I`m thinking of my neighbor doris. When i first arrived, i was flat out scared of her. she just seemed icy and so i didn`t personally invite her to a meeting i had about something. well she took note, like they all do, and asked me why she wasn`t invited. that only reinforced my nervousness around her. But after I moved in next door, she has been nothing but the opposite and truly a lovely neighbor. She helps me in countless ways and I use her washing machine to wash my clothes (though still not exactly as easy as in the states, 10 times easier than by hand!) And we have good chats and she helps me to understand why things are the way they are. So, to note, I have once again been humbled by my own judgements of others.
what else of cultural significance. i apologize that I feel that my journals get less and less interesting as I become accustomed to what is life here. Not as many things strike me as ridiculous or different anymore But I`ll work on it. One thing I`m constantly having to relearn is the art of food storage in the campo. what do bugs like? well, i`ll tell ya, everything. and man are they good, air tight storage containers. you know what`s really gross, the other weekend, i saved dari some fish that i had cooked and i had it covered with a paper towel for a couple hours until he came to the house. well, when he started to eat it, midway through he noticed there were fly eggs in it that they had laid! yikes! he had to vomit up what he had already eaten in order not to get sick! i`m so horrible.
the kids of the town still amaze me as well. they call out my name like it was going out of style! why? no clue, not that they want to tell me something or even that they need me to look their way, just to say it or recognize my presence. i`m going to come back to the states after my time here wanting the same entourage and come out sorely disappointed.
Oh, mom, received the bingo game if you get this anytime soon. we`ll have to try it out here.
Finally, Dari, my boyfriend-novio, is fantastic. I am so thankful to have him in my life here and don`t know what I would have done without a friend close by. Although he`s panamanian, somehow he`s different and I can vent to him about things that happpen. He treats me so wonderfully and constantly makes me feel special. He is making a garden which I had intended to do, but he`s got a lot of expertise in that. He continues to drive the ole coot around in the car, however, is losing patience with him bc all Pipote (old man)wants to do is drink and dari doesn`t drink much and just wants to get home. so we`ll see what he comes up with. but everyone in the community respects him and is always asking me about him. He gets along with everyone and gains their confidence so quickly, it`s amazing.
Well, i`ll end it with that and i`ll hae to let you know how the ¨simon¨american idol judging goes, hopefully they`re good and i don`t have to be mean!
take care all and vaya con dios!