Highlight Reel from Bocas
Here goes my debut. As I depart from Panama, I thought it would be fitting to write about the most memorable times or highlights of Panama (sans experiences Trent already wrote about). So here it goes:
Arriving at our host’s house, and getting yelled at by her visiting daughter. Apparently she was pissed off at president Trump and I was the most reasonable target. Of course, I had no idea what she was saying as it was all in Spanish. That was a warm welcome!
Getting locked inside the studio apartment. Yep, hard to imagine getting locked inside, even when you have the keys. The key on the bolt would not budge. Trent and I started to take inventory - water, check; food, check. There was no getting out through the window - both windows had iron bars that would prevent a break-out, yet they were put there to prevent a break-in. So what to do…I started yelling our hosts name. Luckily, she was able to get the door unlocked from the outside. Although I must admit, I had already counted myself out of class at that point, so realizing I now had no excuse to miss was certainly a disappointment.
The school offered conversations with Spanish speakers. So after an exhausting, and humiliating week at school, I attended a Saturday conversation secession with a local. We had a good conversation where, I understood a decent amount. At one point in the conversation, she shared a story of her daughter. Here is how it went….“I had pains in my stomach, so I went to the hospital, and left with a baby. I did not know I was pregnant. One day no baby, and next day baby.” Of course, I had to break the ‘rules’ and ask her to repeat in English. You hear these stories and wonder if they are real…verified.
The week there were more people at school who were older vs. younger than us. When embarking on this journey, I imagined we would be the older by far of the travelers we would encounter, particularly in the Spanish school. I was pleasantly surprised when we were relatively the mean in age. What an inspiration to see individuals in retirement, so dedicated to learning. It’s important to Trent and I to continue learning, no matter our age. I have to admit, learning a new language is quite humbling. Who knew we would be speaking like 3 year old children again.
Spanish class blunders. We were asked to describe people pictured, specially addressing their profession and physical characteristics. First, Trent described the woman as having a black horse (caballo), instead of saying she has black hair (cabello). Next he described her as working in a window (ventana instead of vendadora). After the woman next to me recovered from laughing fits, myself and another classmate, stuck up for Trent saying that women do work in windows in Amsterdam, so it’s very plausible. Also, if you saw the picture, it may not be too far from the truth. The woman, yes woman, was in the park swinging. Next is my blunder, in the same description exercise, I said “She is Christmas”. The instructor looked at me like I was on drugs, I then realized I was singing ‘Feliz Navidad’ in my head and instead of saying feliz, which is happy, I said Navidad which is Christmas. The best for last…we were playing some sort of game and Trent was behind on points. When he won the right for the point (punto), he asked for a bitch (puta) instead. Our teacher, Gilberto, got a big kick out of it. And, the class couldn’t resist using the line the rest of the week.