Sunday, May 10, 2009

April 27- May 3, 2009 Santa Clara Fo Sho!

We had a giant group of trainees at the waterfall in our community last Sunday. Pretty amazing way to start the day!

Skyline of Panama City.

Beach pictures from a rainy day in Panama City.

Panama City
Playing with the pollitos yet again.
The front of my house - Abdias playing with the pollitos.
My frontyard
My host brother, Abdias. He is 4 and absolutely wonderful.

We arrived in our training site on Sunday and were sent out to find out new host family/residence for 10 weeks. TEA (Tourism and English Advising) and SAS (Agriculture) are living here and CEC (Environmental Conservation) is staying in a town 10 minutes away. My host family is small: Tereso, my host father, Maria, my host mother and Abdias, my host brother live in an awesome part of the town. They are amazing people -- so kind and helpful with my Spanish. They are very understanding of my weird tendencies. Abdias is 4 years old and might possibly be one of the cutest little boys I have ever met. I think the whole language thing adds to the effect little kids of me, for real.

Let’s see…my host mom was looking at my photos and said Tim (my brother) looks like Brad Pitt. Way to go Tim! That definitely makes up for incident with Leonardo DiCaprio with Marta and I a couple years back. What a load off my shoulders.

Big black ants are all over the place here. Cockroaches come in all sizes…some look like they could be mistaken for mice. True story. I have not encountered too many spiders here, YET. The mosquitoes are the real issue in all honesty. I get eaten alive! And a lot of them carry random diseases, not just malaria. No worries guys, the geckos are all over my room! I love those little suckers. Haha.

The public transportation system here is pretty simple. Diablos Rojos are public buses. They are glorified school buses. All of them are painted with different pictures and have different things going on inside. It is pretty awesome. And they are not expensive by our standards.

My name is incredibly hard for people to say here so I often get called “Grutchen”. Pretty awesome, right? Hmmm. Oh and I look like a tomate after my walk home for lunch and after any form of exercise.

The food is WAY better than I anticipated. Lots of rice and beans, bananas and plantains, eggs, chicken and bread. Maria is a great cook! I had my first hardboiled egg two days ago and I LIKED it. Crazy, I know. Since that fateful day I have had 3 more. Wow I have been missing out all my life. I also had my first ham sandwich. She fried it in a pan so I didn’t have too hard of a time consuming it. I am still not a huge fan but it was yummy. Every dish my host mom has cooked so far has been amazing.

Training was good this week. Long and hot – I hope my body starts to adjust to this heat. I am sweating more than ever before in my life. It is the beginning of the rainy season, it means everything cools down at bit at night and you wake up to even more moisture! Yay!! Haha.

On Saturday we were sent on a scavenger hunt in Panama City, it was really nice to be able to have some free time with every sector.

We hiked to a waterfall today and swam for hours. It was glorious. Tons of us getting to know each other and actually relaxing semi- comfortably, what a novel idea… I am having some trouble completely opening up here. I really enjoy every person in our entire group. I have given it some thought and I think my emotional reluctance at this point is a mix of the intense climate and being exhausted both mentally and physically. This year has flown by and I am in a very different place than originally anticipated. Perhaps it is a good thing. People will get to know the real me when the time is right. I am doing my very best not to compare experiences but WOW it is hard. We get to travel SOOO much during training and in a couple weeks all of our technical training starts in Spanish as well. I have no choice but to get better. Holler at your girl.

The take away message is as follows: I am doing very well. Week one has been a success and training has been successful as a whole so far. I am walking a tightrope between getting to know my host family and community as well as my fellow trainees. Hopefully that will become easier this week!



Xaris said...

Muchas gracias!

So jealous about the food. Hard-boiled eggs ROCK!

Amanda said...

I miss you and I'm so glad your having fun! I wish I could be there but I know you are going to have the best experience ever. Don't worry about opening up too soon, I'm sure everyone loves you...and as soon as they get used to the crazy you then you can open up and show them that you aren't just a goof ball, you're actually the shit!! I love you gogo.

OH! I had coffee with Josh King today, he says to tell you hi! Just a funny note, his family is hosting five Chinese Acrobats for two weeks....only Josh right?! haha

Tim said...

Hey Gigi: I'm glad things are going well....remember to put dryer sheets in you pocket and the mosquitoes won't bother you....a trick I learned in the Air Force...and stay away from that "Panama Red"

Love you always and miss you big time


Ben Bloxham said...

Woohoo! Thanks! Glad to see you live in a HOUSE--yay! And that you're in an awesome place. I'm sure every day is a new and crazy adventure. Keep posting on the blog!