Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dream team in Panama!

The dream team (me and my two bosses/coworkers, Jarrod and Becca) hit the streets yesterday to get shit done!!
First was the U.S. Embassy, where we had some legal stuff to do before we were allowed to get a bank account.  We showed up right as the doors opened, and it actually ended up being much easier than expected.  
After about an hour or so there, we headed over to our partner agency (accross town about 15min by taxi), MIDES (the ministry of social development), where we met with this super nice lady and got some more logistical stuff taken care of (transportation for our volunteers, etc).

We craaazay!
Once we were done with MIDES, we took another taxi over to the Hospital Nacional, where we met this sweet American guy who was some sort of hospital administrator who's going to help us out this summer if something should happen to one of our babies.

We also had a delicious Panamanian lunch somewhere in there-- I had fried chicken (yum!), rice, and platanos fritos (fried bananas!). SO GOOD. I forgot to take a picture, since I was so busy chowing down, but no worries, because it sounds like that is a very common meal I'll be eating this summer.

After all that, we headed back to our hostel to change out of our business casual and took to the streets in search of adventure.

They bought Panama hats.. I did not.

I like how our team knows how to find that balance between work, fun, and relaxing.  Last night we then went down to our hostel's bar, where I got a couple of drinks (I'm not on the clock yet), and enjoyed some DELICIOUS pulled pork sandwiches. Yum!! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fashionable, F*ckable, Friday!

I'm sorry to announce the temporary disbandment of Fashionable, F*ckable, Friday due to the fact that I'm living IN PANAMA and I look like CRAP most of the time-- even on *gasp* Fridays. Did I mention that it's in the high 90s here every. single. day?  Well, it is.  Which means that I don't look cute enough to be posting any pictures of me or my current outfits any time soon.  Or even fashionspiration, since that will just make me sad that my entire wardrobe consists of polo shirts, khakis, dress pants, soccer shorts, and flip flops.  (I also didn't really bring any makeup, making any photos of me even less showable to the world..)

Here are some examples of the supercute fashion choices I'll be rockin' all summer (taken from pictures of past AMIGOS experiences), in case that wasn't convincing enough:

So, excuse the fact that I generally look terrible in this one, but please note that I am wearing jeans with tennis shoes, a summer staple.  Also a summer staple? The AMIGOS polo. I might have it in 4 different colors.. 

Next up: t-shirts with soccer shorts, my go-to outfit for anything and everything in Latin America.

Braids! I know braids are back, but the pippi longstocking look can only take you so far.  Also note that I'm wearing yet another AMIGOS shirt.

When all else fails, I will be rotating about 5 v-neck tshirts with my one pair of jeans and some converse or vans. Hip!

You better believe I can make a messy bun look good in Panama! (you can't tell, but this is another AMIGOS t-shirt in this picture)

Last but not least, for those days when I need to do some heavy labor (aka play around with wet cement while watching boys lift things), I will pull out my oh-so-classy wife beater-khaki-rainboots combination that will just knock your socks off.

What can I say? I'm a classy lady.

I might do a couple ironic Fashionable Fridays this summer, since it would be so mean for you all to miss out on those days when I'm looking especially hot, tired, and AMIGOS-y.  At least, I'll try my best.

Happy Friday from Panama!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Special Thursday Bday edition!)

Yummy yummy birthday cake in Panama City! This girl is all smiles :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Estoy Aqui!

I'm here!!
I finally made it to Panama! It was a long journey, especially since I had to drive up from San Diego to Sac, and then I stayed with my parents for a couple of nights, but now I am in beautiful Panama City, so it was well worth it.

I got in last night around sunset, and I'm staying in this cute little hostel, Luna's Castle, which is filled with shirtless european guys, some older hippies, and a whole bunch of young travelers and surfers.  For now, I am by myself, but tomorrow evening my bosses are coming up to meet me (and taking me out for a BDAY DINNER!) and they'll stay with me here for a few days before we all head back down to our house in Chitre for the rest of the summer.

Here are some pictures of the hostel where I'm staying:

The reception desk area (sorry it's blurry)

Ping pong table and book exchange

Looking out from the bathroom window over the bar area (where I'll soon be ringing in my 21st!)

One of the few lounge rooms (I spent quite a few hours in that hammock today! :))

LOVING the lanterns and the map

The hostel just has 3 guitars and someone is always quietly playing while everyone reads

The view from the balcony of the cityline 

Night view-- The white square light is an electronic billboard that plays ads 24/7! Usually it
says "Panasonic" and it's completely legible from the hostel balcony.

The city from a little bit closer

This morning I went for a walk around town and ran some errands (bought a new sim card and charger for my phone and familiarized myself with the area) and passed through the local fish market!  Then I read for a few hours in the hostel (finished the book I brought-- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and went for another walk in the evening around the older, more historic part of town. I can't wait until tomorrow and the next day, when I can explore with my friends/coworkers, since there were a couple of times when I felt a little uncomfortable on my own (in the evening).

Panama City, Panama:

Cute old local fisherman pulling in his boats for the day
(it was noon when I was here-- LATE in fishing terms!)

"Whole octopuses $3.50"

"Large shrimp $6.50"

Those are some big freakin' fish! The guy was telling me all the names of
 the different kinds of fish.. but I forgot them all...

Yumm! :P

The nicest McDonald's I've ever been in..

At the very least, I could come home with some LEGIT hipster
outfits by the end of this summer.. heh.

"City Fashion Outlet" ..loving the Spanglish!

Apartment buildings in the city... must be hundreds of people living in this one

Casco Viejo ("the old quarter").. the hostel where I'm staying is on the right side

Super cool old church!

Inside another church which had this awesome gold alter thinger

The streets are so colorful and covered with some cool murals!

Here's another mural with some history.. I didn't really get it, but it looked cool!

Most of the old part of town looks like this-- basically falling apart, but still adorable. :)

All in  all today was a good day.  Nice and relaxing, even though I walked pretty much all over the city (minus the business-y downtown part).  It's kinda fun to be in a more touristy area than I'm used to, since people are always SO IMPRESSED by my Spanish-- they're used to people who come visit without speaking a word, I guess..

Can't wait for tomorrow! My 21st birthday in an awesome city with some awesome people.. Better be fantastic.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm leaving!

My roommate and one of my best friends wrote the nicest, sweetest, bestest, and most amazingist blog post today over at A Vigilant Muse.  It was so awesome (and kind of sad)!  But it did make me realize (again) that I am leaving tomorrow for home, and then from there to Panamaaaa! Wow!  Tonight will be the last night I am sharing a room with her. ever.  Crazyyyy!

Mugdha: I love you so much, and I am going to miss you like crazy this summer!! 

How cute are we? This photo is a bit overused... :P

So I just wanted to say a quick thanks for the post, and a warning to all my readers that I probably won't be updating so much over the next few days, because I am about to begin my million day long journey to Panama.  Wish me luck!  Once I get settled, I'm sure I'll have pictures and updates and lots of exclamation points for your enjoyment. :)


Adventures with the Sister

"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child"  
--Linda Sunshine
.. there were so many good sister quotes, I couldn't just choose one! I've included some of my favorites between pictures. They really have nothing to do with most of the pictures, but oh well.

My sister is visiting me!!! Some of our favorite things to do together are: 
1. go shopping at cool local/natural/organic grocery stores 
2. Eat (this week was a lot of Mexican food) 
3. Argue with each other 
4. Talk about AMIGOS and traveling, and
 5. Take pictures!

Unfortunately, we didn't take many pictures of numbers 1-4, but we did do a lot of number 5 at other times, and here are the results:

 "Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of.  You know whatever you do, they'll still be there."  ~Amy Li

"Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five."  ~Pam Brown

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double."  ~Toni Morrison

"More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you've been bad and good."  ~Linda Sunshine

"The mildest, drowsiest sister has been known to turn tiger if her sibling is in trouble."  ~Clara Ortega

"A sister is a forever friend."  ~Author Unknown

"Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago - the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider.... It doesn't seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we've traveled."  ~Jane Mersky Leder

Don't ask.

"Our siblings.  They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long."  ~Susan Scarf Merrell

She's a weird one!

"Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way."  ~Pamela Dugdale

"A sister shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams."  ~Author Unknown

"Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize.  Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks.  Borrow.  Break.  Monopolize the bathroom.  Are always underfoot.  But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there.  Defending you against all comers."  ~Pam Brown

"Sisters don't need words.  They have perfected a language of snarls and smiles and frowns and winks - expressions of shocked surprise and incredulity and disbelief.  Sniffs and snorts and gasps and sighs - that can undermine any tale you're telling."  ~Pam Brown

"One of the best things about being an adult is the realization that you can share with your sister and still have plenty for yourself."  ~Betsy Cohen

"We know one another's faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar.  We have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws."  ~Rose Macaulay

She likes to pretend she doesn't love me back.. but she does.

"Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer."  ~Louise Gl├╝ck

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.  She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.  She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.  She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.  Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child."  ~Barbara Alpert

Well, we had fun together, anyway! Sorry there were SO MANY pictures.. :)