Rose Colored Glasses

Occasionally, Juan tells me that my posts sound like they’ve been written by a travel agent. Ok, maybe not every time I write a post, but often when I’m writing about our life in Panama he thinks I’m wearing rose colored glasses. He is always supportive and interested in what I write but at times I think he’s trying to encourage me to dig deeper. So, as any good writer should do, I mumble something under my breath, roll my eyes, and try to let that constructive criticism sink in. I try to be introspective and reflective about possibly sounding too idealistic and in turn, I begin to think of all the really nasty, sad, realistic, debatable topics that I could rip into about life in Panama: The horrible garbage & litter epidemic in the streets and on the beaches of Panama? The god awful drivers and the numbingly annoying traffic in Panama? The mind boggling apathy of (practically) every person who works in the Panama service industry? The gigantic discrepancy of wealth distribution and the sky rocketing prices of living in Panama? The insane heat that sometimes makes me want to just faint, then cry, then melt away, leaving me begging for winter? The list goes on! It’s a blogging gold mine!

But, every time I’m about to really lay it all out there, I look around me, I see Joaquin running naked in the living room with windows thrown wide open 24/7, I realize that I am constantly out meeting friends for drinks and dinners and walks and creative events, I lollygag in flip flops in November through this quirky neighborhood I adore, I teach incredible students who are also my neighbors, I jump in the car each weekend with my healthy, happy husband and son and we take off for an adventurous beach picnic, and overall, life is really good. I want to walk the political, edgy line at times, but I don’t know…I guess it’s just not in me when it comes to really stepping back and reflecting on my life here, and on this experience I’ve had living in Panama. Trust me, I do my fair share of complaining but when weighing ALL of the realities of living in Panama, I can’t help but write about the “rosy” things that rise to the surface because they have all been amazing. They are the things that I want to hold close to my heart and remember when I’m an old lady.

Call me naive or optimistic, but at least I’m writing from the heart.

And now, to make matters even rosier, I’m living out my last two weeks in Casco Viejo, Panama and it’s impossible not to love and embrace ALL the eccentric, creative, annoying, beautiful, frustrating, colorful idiosyncracies that exist around me, just as they are and just as I will remember them, always. The heat, the breezes, the beaches, the traffic, the construction, the friends, the meals, the rooftops, the children, the church bells, the reggaeton, the garbage, the smells, the foliage, the rain, the graffiti, the beginning of my married life, the beginning of parenthood, the memories of so much richness that has made up what is now, my life’s history.

And for all of that, I am incredibly grateful to Panama.















  10 comments for “Rose Colored Glasses

  1. Marie Andree Soundy
    November 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    …and we are grateful to you and the rosieiness you have brought to this neighborhood of friends. What a fantastic journey you and your family have gone through here in Panama! I wish the best of luck to you in Antigua and hope you continue to blog rosieness wherever you might be! We’ll be reading…We’ll miss you!

    • Molly Berry
      November 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      Marie, your comment brings tears to my eyes! What a truly wonderful note to receive and even more, a very special feeling to know that I may have made a positive impact on Casco Viejo in some small way:) I will miss my life here so much, but I am very excited to know that I WILL be seeing you in Antigua soon, a little part of Casco and Antigua coming together! Lots of love. xx

  2. allie
    November 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Molly, that was so beautiful.

    • Molly Berry
      November 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you Allie, I’m so happy you think so. We miss you & Dan a lot but know that these bonds are strong and Casco will be a part of our friendships always. xx

  3. Denise Montgomery
    November 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I think it’s worth noting that sometimes its the very flaws that can make you love a place. When you are forced to live a little differently, challenge your comfort zone, and see things in a new way, you learn how to appreciate what you have. The quirkiness is delightful because you think, “HOW can they throw garbage on the ground, but be so hospitable at the same time”? It is joyous to examine such things….

    • Molly Berry
      November 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Denise! What wise & true words from a dear friend. You are so right about seeing “flaws” for what they truly are, finding ways to love all angles of what is around us. While I do think there is an element to challenging that comfort zone, I also believe that by pushing myself to constantly live with my eyes open and accepting of things as they are, I learn to find newness in even the tiniest things. It’s not always easy, but it’s a good practice:) I really wish that you could have come to visit us here, but who knows, maybe you’ll find your way to Guatemala?! You have a door wide open for you! xx

  4. November 14, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    I feel that same “rosiness” about Panama. But more than the trash, or the corrupt policemen or the horrible tranques, the one thing that breaks my heart the most is knowing that I’m living a temporary life with “borrowed” friends.

    And yes, I know that we’ll probably see you more than once in 2014 and the future years to come… but I still can’t (and don’t want to) believe that you’re leaving. Your presence here has meant so much for our life in Panama that I actually don’t know how it will be like when you guys are not around anymore.

    Love you, Molls! Thank you for so many great memories together.

    • Molly Berry
      November 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Pawichiz, I completely understand your sentiment…it isn’t easy to live in a place that is transient and which just naturally feels like a revolving door with the ones we love coming and going. But I do not agree that it’s a “temporary life with borrowed friends” because I TRULY believe that the experience we are having, living in this neighborhood with these friends, will live on beyond our physical time here. You are so much MORE than a borrowed friend – in fact you are a friend for life who will always be so, not matter where we live. Casco Viejo will live on as the place where we met, but our friendship will continue growing far beyond these streets and walls. I am beyond GRATEFUL that I get to come back to Casco in only 3.5 months for your wedding. It will be one more unforgettable, shared experience in this very special place. Love you Pao!!

  5. masha
    November 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Damn right Babushka! It should all be purple through one’s eyes. Eventually it would all become purple if we all looked at it that way. Keep spreading the purpulemess around :)))
    Love ya

  6. E. Bronson
    November 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    As a latinoamericana I so appreciate your ability to see beauty, not perfection, in the breathtaking landscape of Panama or Guatemala. Granted both countries have many problems that are impossible to ignore, but your ability to experience your life abroad looking at the world around you in such positive way will always make your life, wherever you are, much more pleasant. Love u

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