Saturday, November 28, 2009
I cannot express in words what it was like to see a familiar face while Katie Stokes was here. You all have her to thank for taking pictures during her time here; I was WAY too lazy. Weird, I know.
What a whirlwind of fun and emotion. We got to visit different parts of the country and she got a very “Peace Corps” vacation. Poor woman, I am forever indebt to her for putting up with all the crap that is involved with being a volunteer – including my awesome friends here. There is a bit of a stigma that goes along with this job, the isolation unfortunately makes the reunions like any other job…when you see your co-workers that is your common vein. Needless to say most of us find it hard not to “talk shop” when we are congregating. Thank GOD, Kate laughed it off and put up with us because she was a blessing for me these past few weeks.
We blew spit balls in fine establishments together, we played way too many card games, we made fun of pretty much everyone under the sun, we traded music, we traveled to both ends of this Republic and reeked havoc every single time. The one place she really wanted to go was…FINE. We had a pretty bad run of luck in the mountains. Mini rundown of events:
1. We show up with a reservation at a Hostel 6:30pm – Not one freakin’ person present to welcome us with the beds we had paid for. Super Duper.
2. We end up at a family-run joint, just peachy, right? Not so. BED BUGS FOR 3 DAYS. It also just happened to be located on the main street. The 3 days we were there were national holidays…this involved loud drums and tambourines starting before sunrise. Real Cool, Panama.
3. It rained every single day starting as soon as the parades ended, hence the urgency to start the party at 5:30am, right?? WRONG, just postpone the darn thing. Due to intense rains we could not hike.
4. Due to intense rains we were informed after we had risen from bed at 6am, that our rafting trip was canceled.
5. Kate finds out she has lost track of a good chunk of change. We ask everyone only to get incredibly defensive responses. So we got afternoon cocktails. What else do you do when it is raining Panamanian babies and empanadas? I mean cats and dogs…ooopps.
Don’t worry there is a light at the end of this ugly tunnel. We did in fact go rafting the day we left and it was amazing. The river was raging and so were we! After we finished tearing up the river we headed to my community. There was a festival and MORE parades and such. The whole month of November here is a party. Independence days, Separation days, etc., etc. so eventually we joined in! We watched the parades and a rodeo with a drunk cross dresser and ended Kate’s trip with a dance where we danced the night away/danced with men who were too drunk to stand up on their own. I felt like nurses who work in nursing homes must feel, way too much effort to actually enjoy “dancing”.
We played with Michael Jackson (the baby I named after the artist due to his birth occurring immediately after Michael’s death) and Kate obtained a few boyfriends. She even had stalkers! Way too go Stokes, the phantom blonde drops in to my place, steals hearts and flees, unbelievable. Uncouth Stokes, uncouth.
All in all, memories were made, my English got better, my Spanish got worse. I am still teaching English, I still like it here and I am still finding a way to eat as much pizza as I can when I get out of my community. Some things will never change I suppose.
And some things will, my baby bro turned 22, gross. Timbo is also finishing up his college football career, also gross. I keep throwing up in my mouth a little bit. He is so…old. GROSS!!! I see all these pictures of him and my baby cousins getting all tall and stuff, getting braces off…STOP IT ALREADY. Everyone else is supposed to stay frozen in time while I keep moving, right? MOTION DENIED. The world keeps rotating and people get old and change instantaneously. Maybe it is really the opposite, I am like Peter Pan down here, refusing to participate in the growing up part of our culture; solid job, my own mahogany desk with nice family pictures framing the edges, marriage, kids, long term commitment. Ouch, I just felt a shot penetrating through my arm, minor heart attack no big deal.
I figure I will have the rest of my life to catch up to the rest of society-- I will not have the rest of my life to live like this. No sir, can’t just pick up and go with a husband and tots on your heals or at your side. Admittedly, it does not help having everyone asking me why I don’t have kids and how soon I am going to start…if you know me at all you know not to tell me what I should or should not do because I will make sure to do the opposite. Nope, stubbornness unfortunately, is inherent and like a bad TV show I just can’t quit it.
Well now that I have ranted I will leave you be. I miss you all and I miss ‘Murka (That is short for America, mommom!).
****All of the above photos are out of order. All you need to know is that the people, places and insects are all directly related to my life right now.