Photo Friday! 

Okay ladies and gents, today’s photo Friday is going to highlight the less than glamorous parts of peace corps service. It can’t all be bailes and mountain views after all! 

Thankfully the water doesn’t go out too often here but when it does it’s a real bummer. I’ve started keeping a full water bottle in my room so I can at least brush my teeth and wash my face if things get dire. 

The power has been going out more and more often so I’ve been trying to make sure my solar lamp and extra phone battery are always charged. I’ll be stocking up on candles when I live alone. 

This happens EVERY TIME I do laundry and it is one of the most frustrating things in the world. I have no clue how or why it happens but I am convinced the laundry gods have a grudge against me.

I know some of my friends on snapchat have already gotten to check out most (all) of these pictures but I hope it gives a little more insight to everybody else. But hey, at least I don’t have to wash my clothes by hand! 


Photo Friday!

Bailes are very popular in Panama and they’re even more popular when Samy y Sandra are the ones performing the music! I got a chance to see them in penonome with some fellow PCV’s and it was so much fun! They didn’t go on until 10:30 so I only got to listen to a few songs but the energy they brought was amazing and Sandra is basically the definition of glamour. 

Sandra was super nice and let us get pictures with her!

Brenda before the baile


Photo Friday! 

Lizards! From big ones to tiny ones Panama has got you covered! Here are a few of the ones I see most frequently (or in the big iguanas case actually never)

This dude likes to hang out outside my house

Pretty sure this is a skink of some sort

These babies are called gargillas and they live in houses and make chirpring noises!

Photo courtesy of my host mom because I have yet to see the iguana

Host bro caught a baby iguana and I got to pet it!

One of the challenges that I’ve had to face in Panama is indifference to animals.  I’ll see dogs in the street that have ribs poking from their sides because they’re so malnourished. My host families dog Beethoven  came home limping because someone threw a rock at him. With reptiles it seems to be the same. My host brother will throw rocks into a tree to try and hit the big iguana. Two teenage boys I don’t even know were throwing mangos into a tree by my house trying to hit an iguana. I’m not sure how to start the discussion about animals here but it is something that presses at the back of my mind. There is so much amazing wildlife here that I would never see outside if a zoo in the US! I have yet to see a sloth but I’m sure my day will come. Until then I’m going to keep brainstorming and trying to understand the cultural differences.


No More Wasted Time

The past month has been a little bit of a whirlwind for me. There have been days where I’ve been busy from the minute I get up until I get to bed (okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration-but they were very filled days I promise you!) and days where I couldn’t find the motivation to do anything productive and ended up playing a lot of computer games. I started really working on English with Linda. We work for about a half hour each day and each day I try to think of a way to make the class more fun. 

family vocabulary

body parts and family practice

playing memory

My regional leader Chelsea came for my one month visit. Basically it’s a way for them to check in and she how we’re doing and help us address any problems that we’re having. She came on a Friday and my school was having a big Father’s Day celebration. All of the students’ fathers were invited to come to school to participate in games, eat food, and receive gifts. I was pretty proud to see all of the English teachers I work with really shine in the “dinamicas” portion of the event. Dinamicas are games that you get people to play to build up their energy and get them to dejar la pena (stop being shy).

The “king” of the event

In the few weeks after that not much was going on in my life. I spent some time working on my Community Analysis project for peace corps and hanging out with people in the community. Oranges came into season so Linda and I went to hunt some down and basically just spent some time relaxing. A few exciting things did happen though. My host great- grandmother told me that when I move into my place she’ll let me adopt one of the kittens she has! My heart is set on a little gray boy cat. Even more exciting-my friend Cherish asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding!! I’m so excited to be a part of her big day and I’ve already sent my vacation request to the office. 

I got offered extra language training from peace corps and it was intense but so helpful. For a week straight I went to school from 8-1:30 and came home for what started off as 2 hours of language training and increased to 3 and then 4 hours. It gave me a chance to work on the grammar that I’ve been struggling with. I also got a chance to go to a birthday party and show off my balloon animal making skills (I can make a dog and a sword) much to the enjoyment of a bunch of children. My community also celebrated “San Juan.” Children rode around on “palitos” and we paraded around the streets, people danced, and I hung out with some of my 3rd graders. 

Linda’s school did another performance-this time at the public library. She did a solo dance performance and sang with a group of other girls. La Pintada has also instated a new location for “bailes” or “dances.” My host mom took Linda and I there and it was certainly interesting. At first no one was there so we decided to go wait in the park where we amused ourselves by acting out random improv scenes. My host mom stole the show when Linda challenged her to act out giving birth in the park. 

shakespeare in the park

This month was pretty tough on me. I’d bbeen feeling pretty stressed out from a lot of things and decided to really take time to focus on my health and wellbeing. I worked out a lot, started meditating, and started writing more. I threw myself into things I was really passionate about(I’m working on a pads/tampons initiative

that I’ll hopefully talk more about in the future). Finally I started really working on my report and making some plans for community English courses. I pretty much listened to the entire “If/then” soundtrack on repeat multiple times. So I’m taking a page from Idina Menzel’s book and saying “No more wasted time, no more standing still, I once would dream of building cities and now I think I will.”


Photo Friday! 

Did you know that there are several different types of mangos in the world? I definitely didn’t before I came to Panama. Whenever I’m out pasearing a gift of mangos is pretty much one of the best things I can receive. Here’s a few of the different varieties. 

Mango pinta or “painted mango.” This is the kind you’ll find in your local grocery store in the US. 

I’m still learning to effectively cut them

Mango papaya. While I’m not sure where the name comes from these mangos are enormous and delicious. They never change from their green color so you can tell if they’re ripe by their smell and their feel. If they feel just a tiny bit soft you’re good!

Mango platano-named for their shape and sometimes gigantic size! 

Finally this little guy which I think is called “mango rayada” or “striped mango.” I’m going to have to start thinking of new ways to incorporate mango into my diet considering a tree hangs into my new backyard! 


Photo Friday!

So I got a lot of requests for food posts from people so here’s the first one featuring, you guessed it, breakfast!

In times of need Ron Swanson comes to me with words of comfort

Now if you know me you’ll know I’ve never been one for breakfast food but that’s changed a bit in Panama.

Hojaldres (the fried dough looking thing) are basically that. If you put powdered sugar on them you could close your eyes and pretend you were at a carnival about to ride in some metal contraption operated by a teenager.  

Those little yellow discs? That’s what you’ll get if you’re offered a tortilla in Panama. At first I didn’t really like them but they’re definitely growing on me. There are silver-dollar sized ones that I like more than the large ones. 

Last but not least-lemongrass tea! According to one of my counterparts this is usually served at funerals but I get it sometimes for breakfast and it makes my life better. It doesn’t taste like lemons or grass. It does however taste like the leftover milk from Froot Loops-a taste so memorable that it’s stuck in my mind for probably close to 15 years (I’ve never been much for cereal and I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I had it). You can bet there will be a lemongrass plant in my future yard so I can make this stuff daily.