Monday, July 13, 2009

July 7- July 13 “Look the doll is going swimming in the Ocean!”

Things took a drastic turn mid-week when I decided to be a big girl and embraced the awkwardness that is my life right now. I went to the school and talked to the director/teacher for grades 4-6 just to get to know her a bit better in an informal setting. We talked for a few hours and had a great time. She is young, energetic and very excited to learn English from me. WOW. Who would have imagined? She answered all my inner questions about how I am supposed to reach Peace Corps goals of sustainable development. We set up class times so I can teach her English and I am going to observe her classes for a couple weeks before I begin teaching. Amazing. Afterwards we had snacks and chatted about the community and being far from our families. She lives in the school during the week since she is single and her family lives 3 hours outside of the community. She definitely understands my loneliness and sadness, as she feels the same at times. It is especially hard for her seeing as she is Panamanian and in their culture families are incredibly close. Children from the community started to trickle by and we decided to play basketball…eventually we had enough kids and started a baseball game. It was so much fun!
I have started to venture out on my own more and more. Running on the beach, swimming with the boys that live near me. There is an adorable group of 10-14 year olds that all want to play with me all the time. It is very comforting. So we swim, play cards, play soccer…they help me with my Spanish and I with their English. Everyday I become more independent and that much more excited for my life here.
Quick laugh for you all: When we were walking to the beach a few days ago a man yelled at me, asking where I was going. I told him I was going to swim. He promptly informed 5 houses surrounding his that, “the doll is going swimming in the ocean”, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
Today my host family and I cleaned the little house on the beach that I will be living in for the next two years. It was so much fun! We were barefoot mopping the floor, soaking it in water, soap and bleach. Killing cockroaches and termite nests in the rancho (my soon-to-be awesome front porch facing the ocean) I realized how far I have come. I killed a cockroach and didn’t care at all that it even existed. Saw two spiders and DID NOT kill them. I repeat, DID NOT KILL THEM. I merely encouraged them to leave the house. For those of you reading this that know me, understand just how MASSIVE an accomplishment this is for me.
Afterwards my host dad, mom and brother sat on a palm tree hanging over the beach in front of my house and looked at ships with binoculars. We talked about all the animals in their part of the ocean and the fishermen see when they are out to sea.
I am very lucky to have the family I do, as well as the community as a whole. They are wonderful people – my host dad is an incredibly genuine person. It is so refreshing to spend time with him. He is loving and caring with his family and has been a great friend to me. I really look forward to spending more time with him, he makes me want to be a better person. It is hard to articulate other than to say he is the type of person you want to be around all the time. He is positive, hardworking, constantly wanting to learn about the world, open-minded and has a kind heart. He exudes the essence of what life should look like no matter where you live in this enormous world.
Now that I have rambled on for paragraphs I will close with this statement: The quote, ‘jump and a net will appear’ has never become more apparent and tangible in my life than this past week. I hope that those who read my blog all have the opportunity to experience something as wonderful as this week has been for me on my little Peninsula in Panama…

*Sorry for some of the repeat pictures. The computer freaked out on me and wouldn't let me see what I had added. I hope you enjoy them, seeing as this is my home for the next two years. My next update will have pictures of my future house, I promise!

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