Yes, we’re still here!

Wow, it’s been a while since either of us blogged! Here’s the speed version update on what we’ve been doing:

We had a wonderful time in Panama City with my daughter Melanie and her friend Courtny, and then in the States for 3 weeks with family. And, not to play favorites, but our time with our grandson was particularly nice. 🙂 He was 14 months old at the time, had been walking for 5 months, and was an absolute joy to be around. He and Mark spent quite a bit of time playing catch. Or was it “go fetch”? I’m not sure, but it was fun.

On the way home, because of the timing of our flight into Panama City, we decided to try the all night bus into David. Eh, it wasn’t horrible, but I’m not sure we’ll do it again. If the lights had stayed off the whole time, or on, maybe we could have gotten some sleep, but for some reason, that just wasn’t the case. On the plus side, we were able to catch the bus into Boquete bright and early to have breakfast, and since we kept our apartment while we were gone, we were able to stumble home and chill the rest of the day, rather than adhere to our normal MO, which is searching for a place to live immediately after arriving in town.

I started Spanish classes  just a few days after getting back to Boquete, informally first, with my soon to be  classmate, so I could review some of the things he’d already been taught, then the following week, at Habla Ya, 2 hours in the morning, 5 days a week. Phew, it’s intense!

And after class, it’s the gym. Unfortunately, I’m still not running, but hope to be able to start in another month or so. Mark is usually at the gym by the time I arrive. (No Spanish classes for him. Instead, I put a lesson up on our whiteboard every week that he’s supposed to review. That lasted about, um, one week. But, his confidence is growing, and I’m hearing reports from Panamanian friends and neighbors that he’s started practicing with them.)  I’m still not running, so I’ve created a new fitness goal for myself. I want to be able to do a pull up. Yeah, I know, doesn’t seem that realistic for a 50 year old woman, but the trainer there seems to have a lot of confidence in my ability to get there eventually. Poco a poco, just like with Spanish.

2 or 3 afternoons a week I teach English/practice my Spanish with some of the Panamanian women that my  former neighbor introduced me too. In those sessions, I am reminded of the difference between knowing something from a book, and actually being able to use it! I go to the house of my friend Rosmary, and get to chat with her husband too. He talks even faster than most Panamanians, so while I get the context of what he says, the details often escape me. They seem to understand me pretty well, although there’s usually a couple of times in our 2 hours together where I say something that sends them into peals of uncontrolled, tears -pouring -out -of -their -eyes laughter. After one particularly hilarious mistake, Rosmary told me THAT’S why she’s afraid to practice her English. Good thing I’m not overly sensitive about those types of things!

On October 1, we moved again, into the casita we had in April of this year, and Feb-June last year. It’s familiar and feels like home, but man, what I wouldn’t give for a more comfortable couch, and a dryer during the rainy season!

Our casita, with our makeshift screen, so we can keep the door open all day!

Our casita, with our makeshift screen, so we can keep the door open all day!

And, I had my 50th birthday party at one of the local restaurants here! It was wonderful, with some of the friends that Mark and I normally socialize with, most of whom, oddly enough for a relatively small town, hadn’t met each other yet. The big exception to that was my student Sarah, who owns one of the local vegetable stores. Everyone loves her store!

Sarah's store, and the barbershop next door, on a Sunday, the only day of the week they are closed.

Sarah’s store, and the barbershop next door, on a Sunday, the only day of the week they are closed.

When we get together for English lessons, we hang out in her store until one of her family members comes in to take over for her, then we go next door to the barber shop, which is a little more spacious. It’s the type of barbershop you would have found in a small town in the US, in the 1940s. I’m willing to venture a guess that women don’t step across those doors often.

And there you go, the last 3 months of my life, neatly summarized, just in case anyone was wondering what’s been going on. 🙂  Mark and I have a weekend trip planned with friends, to Costa Rica — will fill you in on that later!