One Year in Panamá

Today marks one full year that I have been living in Panama. My how time flies. Having arrived on Independence Day, I knew I was in for a bit of a struggle in terms of “settling in”. Roads were closed, people were partying in the streets, and I, the outsider, had just arrived with baggage in hand to partake in the chaos. This was, in my eyes, immersion test #1: how do you respond to this type of event after a long flight, no access to your apartment (thank you roadblocks), and nowhere to put your luggage? You jump on in of course! After all, November 3rd marked the day that Panama gained independence from Colombia and became it’s own country in 1903, quite important! Luckily, my friend had space in her car to put my things so we could celebrate.

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One of the many parades in Panama during Fiestas Patrias. 
Why have I been here for a year? When abroad, I enjoy longer stays, sagas if you will, within my host country. When I say longer, I mean months instead of mere weeks or days. When staying in a country for only a week, I experience less of the web of interconnectivity that grants you access to so many different people and places. I realized this my first time living abroad in Peru. Had I been a passer-by, I would have had no reason to return (I visited Machu Picchu and almost every other tourist attraction on my list). But because I stayed for 6 months, I, instead, now have many reasons to return. I actually feel a longing to “return to my home” in Peru, which is why I returned this year in February. With time comes attachment, I suppose. That being said, staying in a country for longer than a few weeks requires a certain commitment; a dedication to embedding yourself within the country’s intravenous web of life. This is exactly what I decided to do in Panama.

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Another Fiestas Patrias parade.

“The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark. For to stay is to freeze and crystallize and be bound in a mold.”-from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran

I read this right before I got on the plane to Panama. Living here has definitely proved to be transformational (no crystallization here) and looking back, I have much to be grateful for. So, I want to give shoutouts to a few people that have guided me through the transition period. First shoutout goes out to my girl Tinna for a) picking me up from the airport on that chaotic day and b) offering her home and her heart to me on so many occasions. You are my soul sister and we miss you so much down here in Panama. Second shoutout goes out to Moises, my boyfriend of almost a year, who has helped me learn about everything from wacky Panamanian customs (like never showering after you eat hot food) to how to take a Diablo Rojo downtown, thank you for your patience and love, te amo! And my final thank you goes out to my family (love you Mom, Dad, and Heather!) as well as the dance community and Movement Exchange team in Panama, if it weren’t for you all I’d be entirely lost. Here’s to another year!

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Being a Non-Drinker in a Global Drinking Culture

There are two things in this world that seem to be the norm wherever you go: being an omnivore and being a drinker, however occasional it may be. I don’t participate in either of these social activities, ever, which has led to a number of interesting, and sometimes harsh, reactions from people around the world.

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The Real (Paradoxical) Ibiza 

Looking below as I fly into Ibiza, I see rock formations in the ocean, crystal blue waters, infinite greenery, quite the opposite of what I was expecting from a party island…but just a brief introduction to what would be a week full of binaries. Arriving, I see my friend Allison. She had been living in Ibiza […]

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Protests in San Francisco

Ayotzinapa. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Blurred images of Mexico? Violence and fear? Perhaps a family who has lost their son, brother, or friend? Whatever image comes to mind, you may feel like this case is too far removed from your life to affect you or the people you love. But […]

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Last Week in India

Upon arriving in Pushkar, I noticed that I had just one week left in India. This realization put me in an odd state. On the one hand, I would be back in my beloved San Francisco, but on the other hand, I would be leaving a place that has changed my “forma de ser”, or way […]

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Third Week in India

Having parted ways with my Movement Exchange colleagues, I arrived in the New Delhi airport evening time on the 17th of January and was stunned by the stark differences of this city compared to the cities of Mumbai and Kolkata. This city was the main governing station during the British imperial era, and you can […]

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Second Week in India

There’s a reason they describe Kolkata as the “City of Joy”. This bustling cosmopolitan city has a soul; a living, breathing, pulsing soul, that runs through the streets, the buildings, and the people. Ever feel something within that you simply can’t put into words? Or perhaps you felt that words didn’t do it justice? This […]

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First Week in India

As I stepped off the airplane, I knew I was entering a different stage of my life. A phase where I would start to breathe differently, perceive differently, live differently. Sarah and I had traveled from Chicago together and arrived right after midnight on New Year’s Eve, ready to welcome the New Year in a […]

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