Decorations have sprouted everywhere we go. The Western world is not alone in the mass consumption of goods purchased on “Black Friday”. Nope, you should have seen the crowds at our little mall in David on that day! The Panamanians were out in force ready to save big on all the sales in the stores. We made the mistake of going to David to get a few things done before the weekend. We had to pick up some lights that Scott had ordered for his workshop so Lumicentro was our big stop. There wasn’t even any parking in the lot, we lucked out and found a spot on the side of the road. This ‘mall’ is normally busy but not like this! You could barely walk for all the crowds! There were police out in force and people standing in long lines inside all the stores. Not only inside the stores but also outside the stores there were families waiting with large appliances, washers, huge big screen TV’s, and all sorts of purchases. It was seriously a madhouse! So we got our lights and high-tailed it outta there as fast as we could. That was a lesson learned, next year on ‘Black Friday’ you won’t find us anywhere near David and especially not anywhere near any stores! Ugh! We really hate crowds! That was equivalent to Valley Fair on Black Friday…quite possibly even worse! Read the rest of this entry
Today( Monday,12/22) I had the best Christmas EVER! My friend Lynn invited me to help her with something really special. Last year she and her friend Brian began a new tradition of giving Christmas gifts to all the Children in the Village near her jungle lodge, Rambalita. This project began last year with a generous donation by Brian, who is a good friend of hers, and this year she was able to collect more donations from other friends and with the help of many of her good friends she successfully pulled it off again this year. A lot of work goes into this and I feel so honored to have been invited to help. Lynn put a huge amount of much love and energy into making it all happen.
Her cuidador or property manager, Javiar has a home in this village and he helps by collecting the headcount of all the children, how many niños , niñas and infants. There are 34 houses with 71 children in total, 28 girls and 43 boys. Lynn and a friend went into David and had a great time shopping for all the gifts and they also purchased a bit of food items for each house as well.
After the shopping spree she put out the word that it was time to wrap! And her good friends came with scissors in hand ready to wrap their little hearts out! According to Javier, the children here just love to receive a gift that’s wrapped. Each child got an age appropriate gift as well as a backpack type of bag filled with little goodies. Then each household got a grocery bag of food. And the moms got some pretty plastic flowers and a little gifty item and the dads got a little trinket as well. It was indeed a Feliz Navidad for all!
This was a completely new experience for me and I was overwhelmed. All the Children in the village were so precious I just wanted to hug them all. They were pretty polite, patient and grateful. Although I suspect there were those who were attempting to get more than just one gift. I tried to help handing out gifts for a little while but then it became apparent to me that there was no way for me to know if I was getting repeat customers!! So I began to repeat..”Habla con Javier” “Habla con Javier” Habla con Javier”!!! Yikes!! Javier was much more in the “know” about who had how many hermanos and hermanas ! It seemed as though there were millions of little hands tapping me on the back and on my arms and as I turned to see what they wanted those little faces just melted my heart! I had to let someone else do the handing out before I just blinding gave the same adorable face anything at all!! Did I mention…Overwhelmed!!
In the end I think everyone was happy and a Feliz Navidad was successfully had at Rambalita! As we packed up to leave many of the mothers very sweetly came up to us and took our hands and thanked us and wished us a Feliz Navidad, with smiles on their faces. All I can say is, this Holiday is officially the best one I’ve ever had! I hope I get to do this again next year and many years to come. Christmas is a time for giving and for generosity and even though they don’t know it, those families at Rambalita gave me the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. The joy in their faces warmed my heart and made me happy as well. You just can’t wrap that and put it under a tree and I’m sure they don’t sell that at a mall. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family.
Geesh! You may be wondering where I’ve been, or maybe you’ve been glad to have a break from my ramblings! But for those of you who are wondering why I havent posted anything for awhile….It’s because our internet has been out of commisssion for over a week!!Grrrr! While I can post over my data plan, I can’t seem to download any photos. We spent an amazing weekend at our friends Jungle Lodge in Rambala and I have lot’s of great photos to share with you as well as all my tales of adventure! We had such a great time and as soon as our internet is back, which should be tomorrow, I’ll post my Rambala post. Until then, It’s our first Tropical Christmas and I must tell you it’s quite humorous to us to see Christmas trees on top of taxi’s and in the back of pick up trucks. Decorations in Palm trees and loads of garlands and lights dripping from the outside of the houses everywhere we drive. Why is it humorous? Well, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to us! It’s warm and sunny and we haven’t even broken out our winter clothes, oh, I almost forgot…We don’t have any “winter” clothes!! Whaaahahahaha!!! I’m reading all about the freezing cold temperatures in different places in the states and we just made reservations to go to the beach for a couple days next week!! Yep, two weeks ago we were in the mountains in Costa Rica and this past weekend we were in the jungles on the Caribbean side of the country and next week we head to an area near, Boca Chica, about two hours from where we live, to lounge around with friends on the beach. We have friends visiting from Canada who we met a few months ago and they invited us to join them and their friends for a couple of days of fun on the beach!! As I’m writing this post Scott is contemplating what he wants to BBQ on the beach……Big smile!!! I don’t think I’ll get a tree this year, but Scott did come home the other day with a beautiful Poinsettia for me, so we have a tiny touch of the holiday’s , not to worry. Today we stopped at Romero’s ( our version of Safeway ) to pick up some groceries (me and my injured ankle waited in the car) and when Scott got back in the car he had Christmas music in his head, “They must have been playing Christmas music in there!” he said. So It is definitely Christmas here in Panama, it just doesn’t feel the same to us. Life is good(It would be even better if our internet would come back to us!), and we’re living our life to the fullest and enjoying every moment , even with a hurt ankle!! It’s amazing what one can do with crutches! Don’t worry, I’m being very careful as I limp my way through the jungle and I’ll go gingerly on the sand. Thanks for worrying about me….
November 28 marked our sixth months living here in Boquete, Panama. I don’t know how six months flew by so quickly but I can only say, we were definitely having fun! Which would explain it! Now we’ve entered into our first holiday season living in another country. And I find myself thinking , “what were we doing this time last year?”. Well, this time last year we seemed to be experiencing an emotional whirlwind. We were in the midst of many “lasts”. And this year we’re in the midst of many “firsts”. I must admit, the “firsts” are way more fun.
One thing that Scott and I really have agreed upon since we’ve been here is to let go of big expectations about many things. And the holidays are one of those things we’ve really ‘let go’ of. This has been a period of time for us to reestablish ourselves in a completely new place. We’ve had much to adapt to and have done so with as much care and ease as we can muster. As far as Christmas goes, we don’t yet know what that will look like for us. We may or may not find a tree to decorate, that would mean buying some decorations, given the fact that we haven’t shipped our belongings out here quite yet. I’m not sure I’m up for buying more things that I already have, we’ll see about that. We’re in the very beginning of redefining this new life of ours and that means new traditions too.
There is a possibility that our trip to the states to facilitate the packing of our container may coincide with the Christmas holiday. We wont know for a week or so, but we’re very close to having all our necessary documentation ready to hand over to our attorney and begin the process of getting our permanent visa. Once that’s all in process and we get our mulit-entry visa, we will be able to head back for a week or so and oversee the packing of our container to be shipped out here. This pending trip also has us very limited as far as our plans for the holidays here. We should have a more clear handle on this soon, which will be nice to know. Good thing we don’t have any big expectations for our first Christmas in Panama.
I’ve seen a couple of cars with big Christmas trees tied on top and today I saw a photo of our friends in California cutting down their tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains. These familiar sightings give me small pangs of “ahhhh, that looks fun”, but then I remember that, this year, at least we just aren’t quite ready to go along as normal. I already have two invitations here to attend some holiday gatherings and I look forward to those events. This community here in Boquete is quite welcoming and we already feel so much a “part” of this new place we now call Home. And I’m also looking forward to visiting California and spending time with those that we love. In spite of not quite having our new holiday traditions ready to begin, I know each and every day we find so much to be grateful for . Even without a traditional Christmas tree in our house we can celebrate what the holidays are truly about, which I believe is looking around at the PEOPLE who are so very special and feeling gratitude for each person we love and are loved by.