Friday, December 14, 2012

We Like to Party!

We like, we like to party!

If there is one thing that Panama knows how to do, it’s celebrate!  Everything… 


Forget the piñata, we’re just going to throw candy out!

Kids with cake on their hands.

Kids with cake on their face.

Thanks Be

A very belated Happy Thanksgiving!  This year I headed up to Cerro Punta in the mountains of Chiriqui in western Panama to celebrate Thanksgiving with 150 of my closest volunteers.  The weather was perfect;  55 degrees and drizzling rain all day!  I wore the one long sleeved shirt and pair of jeans I own that are acceptable to bring out in public, meaning the mold isn't too noticeable yet.

I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all holidays.  One because there were no bottle rockets shooting off around every corner and secondly because it's all about eating good food and being thankful. 

We had a rockstar team of volunteers cooking up the delicious food we enjoyed.  Real American Thanksgiving food!  My friend Erica said it well: This year, I'm still appreciative, but less in the wide eyed, shell shocked at civilization, give me as much food as you can sort of way, and more in the I totally appreciate my life, my friends, and what I've been given the opportunity to do sort of way.

It was awesome to be able to spend this holiday with so many dear friends that understand exactly why I feel so so thankful and blessed at this point in my life for friends, family, Panama, Peace Corps, life in general  and 55 degrees and drizzly.

Drea, Sonia, Erica, Beth, and I excited for dinner!

One time...

...I ran a half marathon without training.  And then I did it again.  This time I knew that a race in the rainy season would not provide me for a dry road to train on.  So… I looked up my time from the last half marathon I didn’t train for in 2009 and that was my goal to beat.  Logical?  Yes!  The first hour and twenty minutes was really good, and then it was about 8am, the sun was out in full force, and this girl was getting a lotta bit dehydrated.  But I finished under my goal time of 2 hours and 19 minutes and 23 seconds… by seconds.  :) 

There were a bunch of volunteers that ran (all women! plus Nate) which made it a lot of fun.  We celebrated after at New York Bagel and ate back all of the calories we had just burned in the form of cream cheese and bagels!

Photos by: Ruth Xochichua!

Dear Universe...

Sonia: Dear Universe,

Drea: And God,

Sonia: Thank you for giving us strong legs and a healthy body that allow us to enjoy the hike home.  We thank you for giving us the positive attitude to appreciate all of the challenges we face.  Thank you.

Bri: In advance.

I had a little bit of a meltdown the other weekend and was very thankful to have my homegirls Drea and Sonia by my side to hold hands in a crowded café and send our premature appreciation up to the Universe and God. 

I’d just like to say it worked!  We rock!  Life is beautiful.  :)

Feliz Dia de la Madre!

First of all, a very happy belated Mothers’ Day to all of my moms!  Panama celebrates Mothers’ Day on December 8th which means an extra day to demand breakfast in bed!  Though Panamanians celebrate this day on a more community scale with receptions at the school, church, or even your place of employment – I went to talk to an engineer at the Ministry of Health the day before and had to make it quick because the two hour long Mothers’ day reception was about to commence.

After posting about my new shower improvements, my mother felt like I had slighted her in saying that she couldn’t provide for me what someone else’s parents could.  Well to clarify, that wasn’t the case.  I am very thankful for all of the hot showers I have been provided with in the last couple months due to Mike and Nancy’s thoughtfulness!  But my mother didn’t let me down, just in case you were confused like she was, she at one point sent me all of the connector pieces for a homemade solar shower so that all I would have to do is find a tire tube.  There was even a diagram, just so I had no excuses… or because she thinks I’m a crappy engineer?

My mother has always enabled me to reach my goals.  Like when I described to her that my boyfriend bought a seashell shower curtain and had a beer box for a garbage can (because he’s cheap, I mean thrifty) and said I wanted to hot glue some seashells to a soap dispenser for him.  She didn’t say, “That sounds trashy,” as she probably should have, but rather, “What about a beer can toothbrush holder?”

Love you, Mom!  :)

A few photos from our school’s Mothers’ day celebration… 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

And I'm Still Learning...

... that I'm allergic to Aleve?  It makes my lips puff up reeeeeal nice.  :)

... that I always thought I was crossing BOTH of my eyes, but was really only crossing one.