April 14, 2009

Moving On... Maybe

I've been waiting to write a post, hoping for just the right inspiration to hold your interest. So here's the thing. My wit and sass have gone right out the window, along with the hormones. I'm just fresh out of clever.

I'm also, for once, fresh out of drama. There was one promising day, about a month ago, when we had a few small earthquakes ... 5 point something, I believe. My chair started swaying and I felt as if I were riding a wave. Naturally, Larry and the kids hanging around didn't feel a thing. I, on the other hand, figured I was either having a mini-stroke, or a new symptom of menopause. A second, stronger quake occurred later on and Larry did feel that one, but William and his friend were nonplussed. We're dry as a desert and windy enough only for a daily dose of dust in the house. It's annoying, but nothing like the floods of last year!

Our life in this cloud forest has become what life becomes once your nest is built ... usual. After a full 14 months, we now tap out the hum drum rhythm of the day-to-day... or should I say dia-tras-dia?

We've sold the beautiful house we built and are waiting to close. I'm mildly tickled by the notion that we'll be allowed to stay on through most of the summer ... as caretakers. And that works for us for now.

Well, in case you thought a blade of grass was in danger of sprouting under Larry's feet, we are thinking about purchasing a downtown fixer-upper. This, of course, will make Larry happier than William in a candy store, and I'll be a tool belt widow... again.

I mentioned the location we are looking at in an email to a friend in Connecticut, another Elizabeth, explaining that the property we are looking at is a real dump (trust me when I tell you it puts the "U" in ugly) ... to which she remarked. "So you're buying a crack house! Good for you!" So here is my promise: if we close on the crack house, I'll be sure to post before and after photos.

William is finishing up 4th grade Home School in the mornings and still attending local school in the afternoons. I hope to have him fully matriculated by the end of June. His Spanish is kicking in after spending the Panama school break (December - mid March) with the neighborhood kids, which likely means he is fully bilingual on a WII, X-Box and D.S. He continues to entertain us daily with his own version of Spanglish. But, now that he is really speaking, I have to concentrate on improving my own skills, driven by the horrible notion that by the time William is a teenager, he will be verbal steps ahead of me. Oh God, I can't let that happen.

The Orphanage -- Casa Hogar Trisker

We spend Saturday mornings at a local orphanage where Larry knocks himself out (with William's help) teaching soccer to a group of boys, while my friend, Johnnie Fernandez and I spend teach the girls (and a few boys) crafts. It's a daunting task to come up with projects and materials each week and my gal Johnnie shines in this area. I think I'm mostly there as chaos control.

Altogether, there are roughly 50 children in all. The kids are chock full of mischief, curiosity, need and lice. It's easy to feel frustrated when we see obvious ways we could improve their living conditions and quality of life, but have to struggle in a system that isn't ours.

I confess that I approach each Saturday with with feelings of dread, but I leave with a sense of reward. Every little bit counts, I hope.

By law I am not allowed to take or post pictures of the children. Perhaps I will take one of the outside to give you an idea. Suffice it to say we have grown to love them and are committed to our Saturdays. Don't be surprised if I set up a donation site for school scholarships, supplies, etc. I tell you these children are utterly deserving, and your dollars, which go a long way here, will be well spent.

Wrapping Up The Year

All in all, I'm glad we made the enormous effort to move here. Truth be told, I'm not madly in love with Panama, but it's growing on me. And the benefits of the move are obvious. We have undoubtedly extended William's childhood and given him a broader perspective of the world. While it isn't easy to miss friends and family (especially Dylan who is now in college), we've made new friends, too.

The most positive aspect this move has had on our family is that it has given Larry and me time to get to know one another. Whether we liked it or not! In Sarasota, with Larry working nights, we never saw one another. Here, we are together all the time. I'll admit this kind of intense restructuring was forced and never could have happened under the circumstances of our lives back in the States. Ultimately, we have surfaced from the move as a much changed and definitively better family. The irony is clear: what initially seemed to be costing us so much in the way of stress, effort and money turned out to be our family's priceless gain.

1 comment:

Mark Ballard said...

I was talking with Aldona today and she said you were selling your house. I thought maybe you were moving back. So I came to read the blog. And apparently Larry just needed another project.

In spite of all the drama it sounds like you are having fun. In living in and learning another culture and language, William is avoiding some of the worst our own culture has to offer.

My love to all of you.


News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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