It’s been just over a month since my last post. A combination of things have contributed to the delay. One was moving from the old house to the new one, of course, and I really didn’t feel like writing about that. Boring. And speaking of boring, I kinda got bored with blogging, to tell you the truth, so I just didn’t do it. So shoot me!
It’s a bit noisier in the new house. The old digs were a little bit removed from everyone else, but here I’m surrounded by my neighbors. The young kids play right outside my gate. The neighbors are constantly dropping in on each other so their conversations drift my way. I drop in on them, too and get to mangle the Spanish language.
My lady neighbors are constantly asking me if I cook. I ask them if they think I eat everything out of a can. Certainly don’t order pizza delivered. Closest place that does that is about 15 miles away. Of COURSE I cook. And they’re always surprised when I tell them things like I had chicken a la king for la cena (supper) or chicken curry, stuffed peppers, home made spaghetti sauce, etc. But that still doesn’t seem to sink in all the way. Just as I was getting ready to fix lunch, Llella, from across the street brought me this…
A nice salad with fresh veggies, a dab of tuna and rice with guandú. Guandú, also known as ‘pigeon peas,’ are extremely popular here in Panama. The things grown on trees, not vines as we think of peas:
and when they’re stripped from the pods they look like this:
As you walk around in David or Bugaba you see people with plastic bags full of guandú for sale. This lunch was the first time I’d eaten guandú and I thought it rather bland and not something I’d go out of my way to buy on my own, but I enjoyed my Panamanian lunch.
I’ve been having some disturbing dreams recently. No, not THOSE kinds of dreams where people or monsters are chasing me, stuff like that. No, I’ve been dreaming a lot in SPANISH lately.
Dreaming in another language isn’t new to me. I remember the first time I had a dream in French. It woke me up! You know when you start dreaming in another language that it has become a part of you. It’s in your subconscious.
Those dreams in French were always appropriate, though. What I mean is that when I was speaking French it was always to French people who only spoke French. Naturally, even in my dreams, I’d have to talk to them in French or they wouldn’t be able to understand me, right?
Well, the thing with the Spanish dreams is that while they started in the same way, talking to my neighbors when they showed up in the dreams it had to be in Spanish so we’d understand each other. But the last few nights I’ve had dreams in Spanish where Spanish-speaking people I knew weren’t a part of the somniferous movie. Now THAT’S disturbing! I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been totally immersed for nearly four years in another language.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 39,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
Back in 1991 when we moved Jolie Aire, the boat I was running, from France to Spain we moved from one culture to another. It’s a fact that the French are different from a lot of other countries, but I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of that here. But in Spain we ran into a lot of people who would go out of their way to help each other, and strangers, too. One of my French girlfriend’s favorite expressions when someone would help us with a problems was, “This wouldn’t happen in France.” My stock response was, “You’re right. This is the real world out here. People do things like this.”
One of the big complaints one hears from the expat community here is that customer service is non-existent in Panama. There’s a little bit of truth in that, though it’s not as pervasive as many would like you to think it is. Take this morning, for example. . .
I needed to go into David to pay my insurance bill at Hospital Chiriguí. I was 75 yards of so away from the bus stop when a bus passed my street. No big deal. I always leave the house with my iPod and rather enjoy sitting at the bus shelter listening to a book and watching the passing scene. There’d be another bus along in 20 minutes or so.
But then, at the edge of the tree line, the back of the bus appeared. The driver had spotted me as he passed. (They all know me now after two and a half years living here.) Not only did he back up the main road he then proceeded to turn, backwards, into my little street and back to where I was so I could catch a ride into town. I could hear Florence say, “This wouldn’t happen in France.” I replied, “I know, Florence, it wouldn’t happen in the States, either.” And the amazing thing is, folks, the driver did this for a 60 cent fare. No, it wouldn’t happen anywhere else I’ve ever lived but its happened to me several times here and I’ve seen it done for others, too, over the time I’ve been here. It’s what customer service is all about. It’s what Panama’s about.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Boquerón. I haven’t been up to the park at the town hall this year to see if they’ve decorated things. It was pretty scanty last year but there were lots of decorations the previous two years.
Some of the houses here in the barrio have put up their Christmas lights…
Saturday night a group of youngsters from one of the local churches gathered at a neighbor’s house to sing Christmas Carols. You might recognize the song.