We had a great time on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas day there was more. My Spanish teacher and friend called to invite me to her house for an afternoon party. She spent so much time on line trying to pound some Spanish in my thick head that over the months we became good friends. I have met her beautiful baby boy and his paternal grandparents but not the rest of the family, until yesterday. I finally was able to meet her guy (what a nice man, no wonder she loves him), her mother, two aunts, her grandparents, her sister, a slew of cousins and other relatives, enough that I gave up on keeping them all straight.
I was also happy to see her new house. The house has been in progress for a long time. When she became pregnant she went to live with her boyfriend’s parents so they could help take care of her and the baby, and the house was put on hold. But now the new family is ready and the house should be ready within the month. It’s in a new housing area in Los Algarrobos, just a few minutes north of David with row after row of identical little houses, most not occupied yet. It will be interesting to see how this neighborhood develops as people move in and put their touches on the houses. The house is small by US standards but definitely attractive and comfortable, and really full yesterday with that crowd of people!
What a happy afternoon! Again, we were the only gringos and I think the only non-family members but we were made to feel like family. We have been invited to spend New Year’s Eve at a cousin’s house nearby. The lady who teaches in the comarca has invited us to go there with her. The comarca near here is the Indian reservation for the Ngäbe-Buglé Indians. She goes on Sunday, walking in for the final part of the trip, and then returns on Friday evening. There is no electricity, and I’m sure a life quite different that we are used to. What an experience that would be! I am very interested and need to talk with her again.
I should have taken a photo of the housing area. These are all small but new houses, and I thought her house was attractive and comfortable for a small family. It has three bedrooms and one bath, and costs $38K because it’s on a corner lot. The others like it cost $35K. This is what most working Panamanians can afford since average income is $500-600/month. It can be a problem in these working neighborhoods though that robbers come during the day when everyone is at work. So, they don’t want to move in until their are security covers on the doors and windows, and the driveway still needs to be finished as well. But, the inside of the house is finished, furnished, and ready so it won’t be long before they are living in their own home. It will be easier for Yaira too because she has to go to Boquete every day for work.
Whew! So, that’s all the news of our Christmas here. Next week is New Years so there will be more news and photos. I realize I’m not as young as I used to be, when I could stay out late at night and fully recover with a good night’s sleep. I think I’m still recovering today.
I also realize every day how much I owe to my teacher. When we first met I spoke little Spanish and understood even less. Now, with all her hard work and more than a year in the country, if people speak clearly I can usually understand almost everything. I love to talk with people so this ability to communicate is really important to me. She has helped me learn Spanish and has welcomed me into her family, and I appreciate both enormously.