A Sad Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is this week. Christmas and New Years aren’t far behind. What are the holidays going to be like in this year of COVID-19?

I just saw this article Arizona grandma who sent wrong text has 5th Thanksgiving with stranger (usatoday.com)

You might remember the lady who sent a text to the wrong number inviting who she thought was her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner. When the recipient realized it wasn’t his grandmother, but asked if he could come anyway he was told “yes of course. That’s what grandmas do, we feed everyone”. They have been friends ever since. This year though, they had a very small early Thanksgiving celebration, but without her husband of 43 years because he died of COVID-19.

We see the staggering numbers of the sick and the dead, numbers so big that it’s hard to realize that every single one of those numbers is a person who left a hole in the lives of everyone near them. They have partners, parents, children, friends, coworkers, and more. What is this holiday seasons going to be like for the countless people who have lost loved ones?

I’m sad because I can’t celebrate with my family. I haven’t seen them for a year, and it’s our tradition to have the whole extended family together for Thanksgiving. The whole world is going through this though. Nobody can get together like they want to. It’s hard to whine when I know there are so many other people mourning lost family and friends, and there are so many more living, or dying all alone this year. And we haven’t even mentioned the many who have been hit economically, or who survived the virus but now have crushing medical bills. It’s a bad year all around for way too many people.

I hate to read the news from the US and other parts of the world. It seems like it’s always bad, and then it gets worse. Here in Panama the numbers are up a little, as was expected. The testing is also up. They have been close to or even above the goal of 10,000 tests/day. Contact tracing teams are hard at work every single day. They are caring for the sick at home so they don’t need to go out and infect others, and they are making more use of hotels to isolate the infected. The numbers of recovered people exceeds the numbers of newly infected, and the hospitalization numbers are more or less steady. The 2% death rate has dropped to 1.9% a couple days ago. Of course we wish we were eradicating the virus, but there is a lot to be said for holding steady now that the economy is much more open, and it’s also a time of many Panamanian holidays.

In other news, we had really bad effects from hurricane Eta that came through near here. Then, shortly after, Iota came through on the same path. We were all on high alert but nothing happened here, no rain at all. Unfortunately however, our neighbors in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras and neighboring countries suffered a second devastating blow. We certainly hope that this is the end of storms for this season! There’s still so much work to be done to recover from the past storms. Today it was such a pleasure to see blue and sunshine in the sky after what seems like weeks of gray, rain, and drizzle. We reminded ourselves that summer is coming and by March we will be begging for rain.

US politics is also a frequent topic of conversation here. I’m tired of explaining that…. well we all know the topics and concerns of the day. There are also many questions about the virus situation, and why people are so resistant to masks and other safety measures. Here, people question and grumble as much as anywhere, but are very cooperative with masks and other things they need to do. There are also the normal questions about the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of the vaccines that are coming, but everyone I have talked with is hopeful that they will be a big step in keeping people safe and returning our lives to normal. We give thanks every day that we are here. Thank you Panama.

This holiday season may suck but there is hope. A vaccine is coming and hopefully it will make a difference. I hope you all are able to celebrate, even if remotely, with all your loved ones. I hope you and yours are OK. Take good care of yourselves and each other.

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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4 Responses to A Sad Holiday Season

  1. ponygroomusa says:

    I just finished watching the PBS News Hour. Amazing photos and video of what happened to Nicaragua and Honduras. That’s worse than anything I’ve seen in Florida. I was reminded of my days in Albermarle, Augusta and Nelson Counties in Virginia when huge rains took out bridges and a dam, washed away houses, and created mudslides. I wish I could wave a wand and get them all dry, warm, and fed.

    I am looking for simpler explanations of politics here. I hit on the explanation that there is a cult of personality and there are followers and there are others who do not follow. A lot of Americans have always wanted a monarchy, and he has tried to be the monarch people say they wanted. The resistors say he is The Mad King.

    His mentor (not his father) taught him to never say he was wrong, or made a mistake. Always believe you won, and are going to win. Never quit. At the least, this is The Power of Positive Thinking. At some level it is Magical Thinking. When someone takes that to the farthest extreme it comes across as ruthless, domineering, and abusive. He has applied this guiding principle to his daily conduct after the election. He can be expected to continue along this path until forced to do or say something different.

    Today the breaking news, as you probably know, is that the GSA manager responsible has “ascertained” the winner of the 2020 Presidential and Vice Presidential elections. This means money and office space, email addresses and other resources, will be released to the Biden transition team. The team has moved along their path without this official ascertainment. The ascertainment helps keep the process moving forward.

    I don’t usually write about politics on your blog but today is a milestone – almost all states have certified the vote. The team filing lawsuits to block certification has a won-lost record of 2-34 as of today. The ascertainment happened today. The Electors meet in 21 days. Inauguration happens in 58 days. Not long now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Eta made quite a mess here, and worse in neighboring countries where they also got a second hit from Iota. Many of those people don’t have much to begin with, so it’s been really devastating.
      I saw that things are finally moving forward with the GSA and the transition. What good news! The incoming team needs to be well informed and organized for the difficult situations facing us.
      I’ve done quite a bit of reading on why people think and believe as they do, which has been helpful. We’re all well aware of the huge chasm that divides us and I hope some healing can occur so maybe someday we can look forward together instead of flighting against each other. Hopefully the next couple months go smoothly and our representatives can get to work on managing the country!


  2. Bill Carmine says:

    You always bring a smile to my 🌝 Bill

    On Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 6:00 PM The Panama Adventure wrote:

    > Kris Cunningham posted: ” Thanksgiving is this week. Christmas and New > Years aren’t far behind. What are the holidays going to be like in this > year of COVID-19? I just saw this article Arizona grandma who sent wrong > text has 5th Thanksgiving with stranger (usatoday.com) Yo” >


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