A Bad Day?

What does having a bad day mean? An annoyance? A cranky boss or client? Losing your job? Losing the fight for your very survival?

I saw a story from National Geographic. This girl was born in Rwanda in 1994, prematurely, as her mother was running to escape the genocide. Her mother died soon after the birth, the baby girl ended up in an orphanage where it was arranged for her to be adopted by a Belgian family. She made it out on the last plane, now suffering from malaria, days before all the other children were massacred. She survived though and has now returned to Rwanda where she works to help people with education and medical care.

The article and video are HERE

People get upset sometimes. There is no water today, and it was off on Monday too. We had to go downtown and the traffic was nuts, and then we had to sit around and wait our turn for a car inspection. They didn’t even look like they were trying to hurry. The ants are eating my moringa tree, again, and the darn frog who croaks at night is so loud. It’s sunny and too hot, or there’s too much rain, and they still don’t have season salt in the supermarket. Why does every conversation have words I don’t understand, and they talk so fast?

Some people aren’t happy with the expat life. It’s too hard to adapt, to tolerate the frustrations. There are for profit companies promoting the expat life in various countries but they won’t tell you of the problems and challenges. This is something each of us must learn for ourselves, and then decide if we can be happy.

But, when I hear about the suffering and challenges confronting so many of the worlds people, I see how fortunate we are. We have clean water and at worst, we have to grab a gallon jug from under the sink. No one is shooting at us or bombing our city. We aren’t suffering from diseases with no available health care. No one even looks down on us for our differing religious, political, or lifestyle views. We have everything we need – food, shelter, affordable medical care, friends and community ties, and freedom from worry.

My worst day would be an incredible gift to so many of the world’s people. My worst day is a good day, and I am very thankful.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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27 Responses to A Bad Day?

  1. Joyce says:

    There is a saying that I love to share with people who complain or are unhappy. “If all the people in the world could take all of their problems and toss them into one enormous pile and you took at look at that pile, you would grab yours back”.

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  2. David says:

    Hi Chris, I finally made it to Panama, I’m in Boquete got a apartment a block away from Boquete central where you catch the bus to David, I love it so far, I’m giving myself 3 months to check it out ,Eduardo Horna got me the apartment, a little pricey, compared to some of the places I’ve seen for rent in the paper, I originally wanted a place in Da-vid, so I could be close to the beach but the drive to Da-vid is only 1.75,so I can’t complain, I’ve been trying to buy some botas, size 13 or larger to wear over shoes, as I like hiking up in the mountains, due to the rain, the boots would be great, but none my size to be found, I had a friend send my boots and a few other rain gear to me,the package made it to Panama, but I’m told it will be shipped to David in three weeks then I go there to pick it up ,,it took one day to get to Panama, but will take like 3 weeks to get to David, now that I don’t understand. I see many guys my size, – 6-3 -230lbs and I wonder where they buy their clothes (ropa),I’m learning. I arrived here while you were in the states,.

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    • Good for you! Welcome to Panama. Yes, now you have three months to get to know the place and the lay of the land.
      Wow, who are these guys your size? Panamanians tend to be smaller than us. I also have trouble finding clothes and shoes, forget it. My feet are way too big. I generally shop in the US and brings things back with me.
      TIP (this is Panama) and things are generally at a very reduced pace. Your shipment is probably waiting in line until there is room on a truck, and nothing happens on weekends. I think 3 weeks isn’t unusual for mail.
      If you want some fun music and dancing, come by Mike’s Global restaurant tonight. My husband’s band will be there. We should arrive around 7 and music starts at 8. Tomorrow they are at the Boquete Brewery at 4 so we will arrive around 3. If you don’t spot me ask anyone in the band.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Amen.

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  4. Kat McKay says:

    Thanks for reminding us of that Kris! We are truly blessed.

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  5. It’s always a good thing to put things into perspective when you’re having a bad day, but it’s equally important not to get caught in the trap of emotional invalidation. By telling yourself (or someone else) “It can’t be that bad — think of how bad other people have it” you run the very real risk of invalidating your own (or the other’s) experience. Keep things in perspective, but remember to accept that your own problems are real and need to be acknowledged.
    There – lesson in psychology for the day.

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    • Ahh yes, very good point. I was going for gratitude. You can still have problems, you will have problems. It’s part of the human condition, but if you can recognize the good things I think it makes the problems easier to tolerate and increases your overall happiness. Yes… your problems aren’t that bad, look at those other people. Yeah, not helpful in the least. Maybe better – look at your resources and abilities. I know you can figure this out and I’ll help you however I can.

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  6. What an awesome post, Kris! I love the last sentence –
    “My worst day would be an incredible gift to so many of the world’s people. My worst day is a good day, and I am very thankful.”
    That, truly, says it all. Thanks for the reminder. We all need it from time to time.

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  7. Sunni Morris says:

    I agree. We are so blessed and we should be thankful everyday because things could be much worse. Indeed they are for people in war-torn countries. I just hope that kind of situation never makes it all over the world.

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  8. Tobias Mann says:

    Puts life into perspective really. The fear we Americans live is a far cry from the visceral truths that transcends fear for many in the world. It’s hard to fear nuclear apocalypse when you are struggling to feed yourself and clean water is a three mile hike the malaria infested swamps. It’s all about perspective. I enjoyed the post. Points well made.

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  9. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    I remember grousing about my job to a fellow coworker. He was a retired Chief Master Sergeant. One day he told me he had been a top sergeant in charge of a 160 man unit as his last job before retiring. He said that any day he was not called in early to cut down someone who had hung themselves during the night, he was good. Gruesome, but I have always remembered it.

    “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet” — Persian poet Sa’di

    The rainy season of Panama can be a serious downer for many people. Lack of sunshine is a well documented contributor to one’s mood. Melancholy is often the result. Nena always mentions the rainy season in Boquete growing up as a dreadful time for her; one of the reasons she spent so much time with tias in David as a teenager.
    jim

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    • I remember the recession, and when work was getting me down I’d remind myself of all the that people who would give anything for a job, any job. But solders hanging themselves, how awful.
      I think we probably do have less rain in David. Most mornings are sunny and I’m outside a lot so I’ve never felt the lack of daylight. Going to Boquete though, we’ve unloaded a lot of band equipment in the rain and some nights are darn chilly.

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  10. David says:

    Hi Kris, sorry I missed the band, I feel I don’t know the place well enough to go out drinking yet, besides that I haven’t met any ladies, (due to my limited Spanish speaking ) that would accompany me, there is a movie star cell place down from my apartment, the guy that works there speaks English and Spanish and is a big guy, told me to go to Daa-vid for my clothes, you mention health care in your post and someone said chiriqui hospital in David, 2nd floor, for health insurance, I went there but no one spoke English, I’d like to rent a scooter so I can explore more, but don’t want to do that till I have some insurance. I’m also a veteran, I wonder if there are VA facilities available here. I have yet to find my quiet little spot where I can enjoy the outdoors with a good book, or do some meditation, I think with the scooter I’ll be able to find that.

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    • You don’t need to know much Spanish to get by in Boquete. The folks at Mike’s are almost all gringos, and many people come out solo. It’s more about having dinner, enjoying the music, and socializing than drinking. The band is at the Brewery every Sunday, 5-8, a short walk from the park. That is more of a mixed crowd but the staff speaks English. Come on out and make some friends, and who knows, you might even meet someone special.
      I have heard that there is some VA care here but I think it’s for the folks who have TriCare insurance.
      I have a bike which is great for running around David and the surrounding areas. That wouldn’t work so well in Boquete though. I know there is a biking group up there but I’m not up for biking mountains.

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  11. Arlo & JulieAnn Kehren says:

    Kris — Will your band be coming to Boquete any time soon? I’m leaving the US on Labor Day and will probably be on my own for a while until the Hubster joins me. I would love to finally meet you, after following your blog for the last year or so! — JulieAnn

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    • The band plays in Boquete a lot, at the Boquete Brewery every Sunday, usually Mike’s Global every other Saturday, occasionally at Big Daddy’s… look for the Me3 page on Facebook or let me know when you get settled here and I’ll let you know what’s going on.

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