Every morning we have tech class, where we learn about anything and everything pertinent to international development in Panama. In the afternoons we have Spanish class. Most of the TEA program placed into the Advanced Level, as I believe some Spanish was a pre-requisite for our program. The class is mostly conversational, and it is really helping me to fine tune my grammar and increase my vocabulary (especially in Panamanian “modismos” and slang).
Class ends at 5 pm each day. After that, I usually begin the process of what the Panamanians call “paseando.” It involves stopping by each and every house on the way home to hang out and chat. I think within just my first few days here, I’ve already met half of this little town. Each week, I have nearly every evening booked up with a different house visit- trying someone's cooking, helping kids with their English homework, or just hanging out. The whole town seems to be so excited about our presence, and everyone wants to know all about us. Which is actually pretty easy, because nearly the whole town is related. If you tell something about yourself to one family, it is guaranteed to spread like wildfire to the others. Children are especially fantastic; they in turn tell you everything about everyone else, and they also make you feel like a real celebrity of the town when you walk by.
Last night my host family took me to a pizza place a few towns over. I think they know that Americans eat a lot of pizza and drink a lot of Coca-Cola, so they were trying to make me feel right at home. And I did! It's no New York Sicilian-style or Chicago deep-dish, but it was quite good.
Attached are some pictures of my house, my room, and my host sister, Estefany.