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Diece Cinco

In the "Cult of Escapism": Diece Cinco

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Diece Cinco

One week down and I´m back in the mall at an internet cafe.  Today was our ´¨Panama City Adventure¨ but there was nothing adventerous about it so im going to talk about other stuff instead.

I moved in with my host family exactly one week ago.  There are (most of the time) five people, two dogs and fifty chickens living in the vicinity of the house.  I am lucky because I have running water, and indoor bathroom, and a host mother who cooks fairly balanced meals.  Many of the other trainees are only getting rice, bread, a tiny bit of meat, and then rice. Im getting something more like rice, meat, some fruit, and lots of rice. 

Besides the fortunate food situation, I also have an excellent host family.  The father is extremely chill, spending most of his time in front of the TV.  Last Sunday, as a warm up to living in the house and to speaking Spanish, I watched the Yankees game with my host father and asked lots of baseball related questions.  Their son is also very relaxed, he is 15 and mostly just interested in being a teenager.  When I talk to him, it´s mostly about how much things cost in the US and what kinds of cars and computers people have.  My host mother´s mom also lives with us; I dont talk to her much because she is difficult to understand, but the other day I watched her sharpen a machete with another machete so Im never going to mess with her.  The ¨daughter¨ is actually my host mother´s granddaughter, who lives in the house during the week.  She is really cute but insane and spends 100% of her time either: doing homework, sleeping, running and laughing (never one without the other), or hysterically crying. She is a lot of fun.  However, I spend most of my time talking to my host mother, because she is most patient and hangs out a lot on the porch, where there is a hammock I have become particularly attached to.

It turns out our training is actually Spanish all day Mondays and Wednesdays and Technical training Tuesdays and Thursdays. The weekends vary from week to week.  My Spanish class is great, since it is four people (including me) and is conducted on someones porch.  If anyone has the opportunity to learn a language on a porch I highly recommend it. Also, any class that does not have any reading or writing assignments is ok in my book.  We bascially spend the whole day talking and writing down vocabulary words.  Then when I get home, I talk with my host family so my spoken Spanish is improving dramatically.

Next week, we are all being split up and sent around the country to visit active volunteers.  I am going to the mountains of the Comarca region in the northwest. The temperature at 3,000 feet will be a welcome change from the 24/7 sweat-a-thon I have been participating in since I arrived in Panama.  However, since we rarely leave the village (which has no internet) and the trip will occupy all of next weekend, I probably will not blog for a while after this. 

By the way, the rice, bean, and plantain count has been demoted to the rice count.

Rice count: 700 pounds

Also by the way, the title of this post refers to yesterday, when I referred to fifteen as diece cinco (instead of quince) and my host family gave me grief the rest of the night. 

                                                      The best classroom of my life.

                                                                   One of 50+ chickens. 

Juleisy (little girl, left), Clementina (host mom), and Abuela (she is otherwise nameless and thereby all the more terrifying).  Also, my hammock.

Da Casa.


At August 30, 2010 at 9:40 PM , Blogger davidcic said...

i looked at the title the first time and got confused, but i said to myself, "Jack knows Spanish, David. Forget what you learned at good ole' Whitman Hanson, Jack lives there he knows how to say fifteen." And then, your explanation at the bottom made me feel a little better about my Spanish retention from 5 years ago.

My favorite so far in your adventure- Abuela.

Also, I've decided to be the most active commenter on your blog to encourage you to keep updating!!!

At August 31, 2010 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Esther said...

Glad to know you're thoroughly enjoying your experience there, Jack! I'm loving your blog!

At September 15, 2010 at 2:54 AM , Blogger Charlie said...

Jack! Fear la Abuela! I shit you not. If they feel threatened in anyway, well . . . Hispanic Abuelas have been known to cause spontaneous cessation of life and existence. Also, if they have a hand fan, you must watch out for the back of your head from the much feared Colleja.

At October 31, 2012 at 10:36 AM , Blogger bama said...

Looks like an interesting experience. I must say it is rather civilized compared to my son's site in the Philippines. He has electricity, but carries all his water. I read another blog by invitation only. It is by a PCV in Fiji. The culture there seems really challenging for a female. I like the website I will recommend a dive resort on the Island of Romblon in the Philippines to be added to the site.


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