We all have expectations of people. People here expect me to be friendly, to teach them English, to be a little different from them. I expect people to be respectful and try their best. I just came back from a Peace Corps training event called PML (project management and leadership) in which we all invited someone from our community to accompany us. It was a four day training at the same eco-lodge where we had our last one. My counterpart never showed up. I had invited her, I watched her write it on her calendar, I checked in with her two days before the event, and she still never came. Not only that but she didn’t even contact me. I was the only one there without a counterpart but luckily, I work with an amazing group of people. Both my fellow Pcv’s and their counterparts worked with me to be sure that I didn’t feel left out. During an activity where we “llenar tanques” (fill tanks) by saying nice things about each other, Bennett’s counterpart Abdel asked if he could go up with me too. It was the sweetest thing. So some people exceed your expectations and others fail to meet them. And that’s okay-we move on.
The green group!
Chilling with Abelardo (Paul’s counterpart) and Benita
We had a “noche cultural” or “cultural night” during the training where people could show off their talents. I sang, some volunteers did Acro-yoga, some counterparts and volunteers did traditional dances, and I was even asked to participate and sing tambor with my fellow coclesanas and their counterparts!
If you saw my photo Friday you know that my friends visited so I won’t dwell on that topic any longer. I finished my 5 week English course (our last day was Halloween!) and had 3 women graduate and receive certificates! I hope they learned a lot and are able to put it to use. We’re planning for a part two in February and they want to have it twice a week! Not only that but they want to work more on conversations so one day each week will be completely conversation based. I’m really excited to continue working with them and I love all of the amazing ideas they brought to the table.
I encouraged people to dress up but I was the only one
All of us volunteers got a chance to get together and have our own mini-Halloween celebration as well! I’m glad I was able to put together some kind of costume because it’s my favorite holiday and I’m sad we don’t celebrate it here.
As always, there are tons of parades in Panama. We celebrated founders day in La pintada and then in the first week of November we celebrated quite a few independence days and flag day! Krista and Jake were here to see those and they were impressed by the marching bands. Marching band is super popular in Panama-it’s considered a big sense of pride for the school if they have one. And I learned that parades really do go on rain or shine as evidenced by the photo of a bunch of boys doing push-ups in the rain
Last but not least we celebrated students’ day! Kids dress up like teachers and they even “teach” class for the first few hours of the day! Then all of the teachers get together to put on a series of skits in front of the entire school. I may be biased but I think my English teachers miming was the funniest.
All the “teachers”
So how did I come to choose this song for this month? To me this song is all about our expectations and what we want from people. I have a lot of expectations all the time and I’m coming to terms with the fact that they won’t always be met. I’m learning to set less expectations and to be gentler with myself and others. I’m communicating more and expressing my feelings and allowing myself to be a little vulnerable. It’s not an easy feat.