Been working in the office for the past two weeks and we’ve been on a couple of smaller excursions since then but I’ve been doing a lot of reading and taking of notes. It’s nice to have my own desk and workspace and I’ve got decent access to some reading material through the UAH library site and the FSU library here has some good, if not a bit antiquated, books for my purposes.
I think so far I have made some good friends that hopefully I’ll be able to keep long term. My home-stay family is great. They give me enough freedom and they are interesting enough that our conversations never lack. I am a bit sad however, that one week from Sat. Conchita (my home-stay mother) and Merce (her sister) will be going to Barcelona and I will not see them for the duration of my stay here. Conchita needs to meet with some surgeons over there to see if they can restore her sight. I really hope things go well because she can see well enough to get around but is unable to read books and that is something that she loved to do. They have all helped me so much and even told me that if I am ever in Spain, Panama, Arg. Chile ( the list goes on) that I have a place to stay for as long as I like. I would love to be able to stay in contact with them if not just for the sake of knowing them.
La marea roja
I’ve been to a few games in my life but watching Panama beat Cuba in Panama was as the Panamanians say “¡que ponchera!” We sat directly behind the “band” which was basically just a bunch of guys that brought in drums and trumpets and organized themselves to play for the whole game. They were all wearing shirts with 12 and barra roja so that might be some club or something. Soooo many missed opportunities but all you need is 1 goal and they did it. That was for sure the most intense game I have ever seen.
La segunda semana
Today was our first day of the short Spanish classes. Its gonna be a challange teaching them with only hour and a half a day but I think we can do it. I wasted at least 20 dollars today when charging my mobile becuase I put in the wrong phone number and didnt notice until too late, the second time (I know, fool me twice…but I needed the time) I used the correct number but still havent received the time on my phone.
El Tercer Día
Well I’m not really sure how to start this thing, we’ve been here for a few days now and everybody is having a blast though it is a bit exhausting. Its already interesting to note some of the differences between Panameño and the other dialects that I know. I always think its funny how people will create a community and make something very common into something very uncommon for example “tajetas de juego son baratas” and “jugo es chicha” so even a proficient speaker might have much to learn. So far the two separate hotels have had great staff, very personable and eager to please us and I even got to practice some of my German with the owner of “Los Capitanes” in El Valle.
Lee Meets the New Family
Met my home-stay family yesterday and they seem like they’re going to be very nice. La señora likes to read and teach, even though now she doesnt see well, el señor likes to watch football, so we watched Ecuador beat Columbia yesterday, and the sister likes to talk so whatever I want to do I’m set. They all understand many dialects of Spanish and are helping me to understand more Panameño.
Travel Day 1: Sleeplag, Tea, and Chocolate
Today begins the first step of a loooong travel day to Europe. I’ve been at Chicago O’Hare for 6 hours now, with another 3 more prior to my next leg of flight. I should’ve double, triple, quadrupley checked my itinerary and had an epic fight (Mortal Kombat style) with my aircraft carrier, but I wussed out. In addition to that, I sadly have not had more than 3 hours of sleep within the past 48 hours….oops.
So I’m a wee bit sleepy, and there are no sleepy-friendly areas at this airport. However, this hub is RETAIL CENTRAL. I think if they kept me here much longer, I’d be broke before I’d make it to Romania! I’ve bought myself a well deserved back massage, a meal from the Rick Bayless Frontera Tortas restaurant (which is kinda a big deal for me because I like to think I’m a foodie and this is the closest I will EVER be to Rick’s food), 2 drinks from Argos Tea (think Starbucks – but better, and replace coffee with tea – I ordered me a Green tea strawberry creme drink DELISH!), and some goodies from the Vosges chocolate store (famous for their gourmet chocolate bacon bar).
And if you’ve never had any of the three, please do at least try each of them once in your life. Your inner self will thank you. I feel bad for my next flight; bad for the people sitting next to me as I’m sure I’ll be snoring soon.
More Panama Excursions!
Yesterday we went to see Casco Viejo and the old Panama City foundations. Those ruins were so cool and it was neat to see the history of how the Spaniards came and left their footprints and the natives that lived here before them. This city(country) has so much interesting history and these people are so nice and helpful. It is pretty funny, and a little ironic, that a lot of the people I see on a regular basis think that I am a Spaniard! Esp. considering that my very sloppy Spanish has an Arg. accent.
We’ve been on quite a few excursions the past few days and seen a good bit of the surrounding provinces of Panamá. Yesterday we went to a water filtration plant and Santa Rosa sugar cane plantation. I had never given that much thought to sugar cane and the process it goes through. Our tour guide was so informative and funny. He said he had been there for 30 years and remembers when they opposed Noriega and the troops came by to take the plantation.While he did not get into exact details he told us that Noriega and his troops were not successful.
Then today we went to the canal and saw a ship as it was passing through the Miraflores lochs. That was pretty neat. I had never given any thought to this country nor the canal until we planned for this trip and learning about its complex history has been an adventure.