As I mentioned in my earlier post I’ve been reading Dr. Pam Klainer’s blog pretty much since the day I decided to write a blog of my own. My reason for blogging is simple. I had many requests for friends and family to let them know how everything was going in our adopted country and for pictures. I was finding that posting things on Facebook for my small group of friends and family was becoming a little tedious and I needed a larger platform. I never expected that strangers from all over the world would be reading, but once I realized they were, I added my blog to an Expat site in the hopes that what I had to give might be helpful to someone out there.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, even when my friend Lee twisted my arm for help with a letter or a job resume. I felt my writing had served me well in the work world, knowing how to spell and construct a sentence was important to me. I’ve always felt that a person cannot be a good writer unless one enjoys reading and has a love and respect for words. Writing is an extension of my love of words. With Pam’s blog I could see that she also loved the written word as her posts, even the short diatribes on politics, current events or religion were well constructed and easy to read. Not to mention that she is a published author. I began to feel that every now and again I should give her the “High Five” instead of just lurking as I normally do on other people’s blogs. Really, if you’re reading my blog and leaving a comment or giving me a “like” I’m out there lurking.
The comments that I’ve read thus far thanking Pam for posting pictures of me on her site struck a chord with me. I post pictures on my Facebook page occasionally for my friends and family or I send pictures via email to my mother just to make sure they know I’m still alive and kicking. I really don’t like having my picture taken. Dusty can attest to this and when El Gordo puts a camera in my face I just want to smack him with it. I like being the one on the other side of the camera because very rarely does a picture of me turn out well. I usually have my eyes closed or my mouth open. There are many horrible pictures of me out there somewhere. In the future I will be a little more open to sharing pictures of myself and try not to be so vain. Vanity does not become me in my middle age. (There’s a song there waiting to be written if anyone would like to give it a go.)
I’ve been cautious about using names in my blog simply because the Gringo community in our area is very small and I don’t want to upset anyone by revealing too much about them publicly. I also don’t normally publish my children’s names or my husband’s name in an effort not to cause them any discomfort or embarrassment. In fact my husband is quite taken with the moniker Spousal Unit or SU for short. I have had a request from El Gordo to change his name yet again in typical pain in the patootie El Gordo style. In Spanish El Gordo means The Fat and he feels he’s lost a sufficient amount of inches from his waistline that we should change it. Perhaps we’ll change his name to El Guapo which means The Handsome and he’ll quit pestering me. We also have an almost obscene amount of affection for our cats, call it transference from not having our family near I guess. Their true names are Bandit and Boomer. They are Panameño cats born and bred and some days I wish they could speak Spanish to me and help me out.
Living on the Azuero and particularly on our street we have only a few choices for English language television and news. Cable and Wireless will not bring their services down our road because there are not enough people living on the new calle yet to justify it. That leaves SKY or Claro satellite. We have SKY and our package feeds from Mexico. The news channels we receive are BBC International, CNN español, FOX News, and CNN International as well as other Spanish language Mexican and Panameño channels. When the campaigning for the US elections this past fall was in full swing, the process fascinated us, even if we didn’t really understand it. In Canada we always had US television channels but they are balanced out by local and national television coverage. Pam’s take on the election and the posts about the religious artifact that had once belonged to her mother piqued my interest. And because my mother has a definite opinion about anything that is newsworthy and is more religious than I am it was a good opportunity to share some of these things with her. Mind you, I had to copy some of Pam’s blog into an email because my mother is very new to the computer thing but it worked out o.k.
Fast forward to now. Pam was planning a trip this month and kindly indicated that she would love to meet me. When the invite first came a few months ago I thought it was lovely of her to ask me, a perfect stranger to come for a visit. I fully expected that if it was to happen it would be one of those mid-day lunch things and then off I’d be on my way back home. When she put forth the invitation again for both of us to come and to stay overnight I was pleasantly surprised. Knowing that she would have many other family members and friends staying it was especially kind of her to ask us what date worked best for us. Around the time we were making final arrangements for the trip the story was breaking in the news about Notre Dame Football player Manti Te’o and his cyber girlfriend tragedy. I couldn’t help but see the humor in our meeting and the parallels in some way. Thankfully Pam and the Pam Fam turned out very real and every bit as wonderful as her blog indicates.
Today Pam and her Norte Americano relatives that came for a visit will be heading home leaving her Panameño family behind. I’m a believer that there are lessons learned from every person or relationship that comes into my life. Yes, even the ones that don’t turn out so great. Coming up next, I’ll share some observations and questions from Gloria that made me pause and think.