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.