The Perils of Living in Panama and How to Deal

Locked in.  Just out of arms reach.

Locked in. Just out of arms reach.

Each and every day I get to wake up truly happy.  Happy because I’m confident in what I’m doing, I’m surrounded (near and far) by people who love me and I truly LOVE where I am living.  A large part of this happiness comes from the ability to laugh at myself and at situations I often find myself in.  And as a foreigner living in Panama, it really is the only way to deal with certain situations here.

Just the other day I was in a little fender bender in the city.  The gentleman (WHO HIT ME!)  spent several minutes speaking (in Spanish) with much passion while gesturing emphatically.  I can only assume he was telling me what a terrible driver I was.  I imagine he thought I was a nut job when once he reached the end of his speech my only response was to burst out laughing and say apologetically, with my best Southern drawl,  “Lo siento senor, mi espanol es no bueno.”  

It seems like not a day goes by without something happening that makes me feel like I am on a hidden camera show.  You know what I’m talking about?  Those situations you find yourself in and you say… “Seriously?!?!” Just a few days ago I found myself in a situation very similar.

I was taking out my trash, two hands holding the rubbish and my keys dangling precariously from my middle finger.  I went to unlock “the Cage” (the door to the metal bars that keep me safely locked inside my house) when the keys suddenly dropped.

Outside of the gate.

OUT OF ARMS REACH!!!

I had effectively just locked myself inside my house.  Now on any given day there are neighbors, children, dogs, chickens, talking parrots and a myriad of other people and animals wandering around my street.  But today…It was an absolute ghost town.

Yes, I could have called the trusty big brother to bring his set of keys and help a sister out but I’m making an effort to be less dependent on others and use my own resources first.  The broom handle was to short, I tried to use my leg (and hook the keys on my toe) but my monster thighs couldn’t make it far enough.  My last resort…measuring tape.  It would have been a success I”m sure but at that very moment the sweet lil punkin’ who lives next door walked by.  I called out to him, “¡Ayuda! ¡Ayuda! Mis llaves!” (Help! Help! My keys!)

Nothing is more humbling than having a nine-year old walk over, pick up the keys, and look at you (through the cold metal bars of my self-imposed prison) giggle, shake his head and then hand the keys to me.

Gracias vecino (thanks neighbor).  I’d still be locked in if it wasn’t for you.

And incase y’all were wondering, I literally document EVERYTHING that happens here in Panama.  Check out the photo a the top of the article! :-)

~Lauren