On a royal birthday every house must fly a flag, or the owner would be dragged to a police station and be fined twenty-five rubles. ~ Mary Antin ~
Welcome to another Little Bits Day. It’s at this time that I offer some observations around the burg and in life.
Yes it’s true, yesterday was my 29th birthday. I did not fly a flag nor did I ask that every house do so. SU claimed that I did give my “royal wave” to some of the townsfolk as we passed by on our way to clase de español though.
A few of you may wonder how I can be born in 1962 and be celebrating my 29th birthday. This is how it is calculated; when I turned 40 I decided to start counting backwards. Eleven years later it calculates out to 29. I am now younger than my oldest daughter. Freaky isn’t it? Try it, it works, and if age is only a number then I’m just a mature 29. Speaking of age I’m apparently getting better every year. How do I know? Well it’s in print of course!
Here’s another observation about birthdays. Once I had children they (meaning birthdays) ceased to be important to me. Birthdays are only meant to be celebrated as milestones once we have children. I only started to feel overwhelmingly compelled to celebrate the milestones, 30, 40 and since I never reached over 40 because I started counting backwards for some reason my friends felt it necessary to celebrate 50 with me last year. What a great group of gals. I even got to ride on a mechanical bull. No bulls this year just wandering gallinas on the calle. I guess that’s close enough; although they were too small to ride.
I have not had to cook two nights in a row. Whoot, whoot! Thursday night Vecino Jr. exercised his culinary skills and treated us to chicken enchiladas and a delicious dessert of what he calls lady finger cake. It’s a chocolate mousse meant to be encased in a crust of lady finger cookies but here in the campo we work with what we have and it’s never lady fingers. Sometimes it’s milanos, sometimes chess cookies but it’s always good. Enjoyed under the stars on a beautiful breezy evening makes it taste all the better. Last night (my unbirthday night) SU took me to our otra vecino’s restaurante on the corner where we enjoyed some wonderful pasta. Yes, the wonderful Pasta e Vino is just down the corner from us and it is muy bueno! Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful pumpkin and chocolate cake once again prepared by Vecino Jr. I think the kid has a calling. Gracias to all my friends and family for the birthday wishes. Or in Vecino Jrs. observation, my hypothetical birthday.
This has been a year of “firsts”. I guess when one embarks on a new adventure it’s to be expected. Yes, the newness has worn off of being in a new country and having a new life but we still are grateful every day. I spoke with mis mama yesterday. She is a wonderful woman and I hope she knows how very much I admire her and love her. We talked about how every day is a gift not to be taken for granted and how we must make the best of what we have been given or change what we aren’t happy with. There is no point in being unhappy and complaining about our situations, we all have choices even though we can’t always see what they are. I laughed when she said that she was happy every morning when she gets up to greet the day to find that her old cat hasn’t died overnight. I told her for me it was seeing the sunrise every day. We are each grateful in our own way and life is too short to be miserable.
There was a new law approved in Panama on March 6th designated Bill 196 that approved providing free sterilization in Panama for women over 23 years and with two children or more. Women may apply to be sterilized in health centers and public hospitals free of charge if they qualify under the new law. Men can also ask for free sterilization in a public health center after counseling under the new law. In the burg and in Panama there are a lot of young mothers. Many girls finish school at 16 and immediately become pregnant and often have many children (not always by the same father) by the time they are in their early 20’s. The Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Panama asserted that the law placed Panama in danger of ending up “aged” like many European nations that have taken similar actions. Whatever people’s opinions are, the law has given women dominion over their bodies something that we take for granted in Norte America.
Speaking of the Catholic Church in case any of you didn’t notice the Catholic Cardinals chose a new Pope this week. Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was chosen to lead the Catholic Church on Wednesday after five ballots, taking the name Pope Francis. Pope Francis took his name from St. Francis of Assisi. Even most non Catholics might be familiar with the original St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. Early legends speak of how beasts and birds were charmed by Francis’s calm ways and how they entered into loving friendship with him. Francis loved nature, wild flowers, clear waters, and sunrises. It is hoped that the modern Francis will distribute some of the eight billion dollars in the Catholic Church’s coffers to the poor and needy and that he will somehow rise above the Catholic old boy’s network to create some change in the church. Others have their own hopes for the new pontiff. Whether there will be any transformation in the 1.2-billion-member Church, which is beset by disgraces, conspiracy and dissension or the old boy’s network of The Church will remain to be seen.
Easter will soon be upon us. Last night while we were having our dinner el fresco we saw some of the members of the town iglesia católica circulating through town stopping and singing in front of houses. Several houses throughout town have displayed crosses propped in buckets of sand and draped with cloth throughout the Lenten season. Every Friday a group circulates through town with one of the altar servers bearing a cross leading the way as they sing hymns and stop at each cross. Good Friday is but two weeks away and this will be the large parade of the Way of the Cross.
We’re off today to pick up our truck from Chitre. We’ve been without it truck for a few days now. I’m dealing with it better than SU. I guess it didn’t help that he’s got a flat tire on his bicycle also that he tried without success to repair. We’re fortunate that one of our friends is going up the peninsula and is able to give us a ride.
Have a good weekend!