Four Would Have Been Better Than Two

It has been downpouring this morning for the last 4 hours since I woke up and doesn’t seem it will let up anytime soon, so I thought I would write a few things about what’s been happening this week.
So here we go again. On Wednesday, we are at Playa Arenal for our afternoon swim. We usually go there every afternoon for about an hour to swim and walk along the beach. We come back to our car and low and behold, the left rear tire is flat. It was one we did not exchange in David; we only bought 2 tires since it did not look like the other 3 were bad, including the spare. Oh well! Mikkel got out the new jack he had bought from PriceSmart and proceeded to place it under the car. Not short enough. Luckily he had kept the old jack and thought he could lift up the car enough to put the new jack under. Fine, but then discovered the new jack was missing the screw that let out or kept in the hydraulic pressure and also the pipe to pump it up. As before with his great ingenuity, Mikkel used the smaller jack to lift up the car enough to place the larger jack that was braced up. Then pumped the smaller jack up more. It’s hard to explain, but it worked. Fortunately this time we were not out in the middle of a jungle, but at the beach where the fisherman bring in their catch and pongas (small fishing boats); and if all else failed, we could walk a mile back home. Someone came over and helped Mikkel loosen the lug-nuts for him. In about 20 minutes we were on our way home with flat tire in the back. I guess we will have to find a local place for tires now. After talking to some friends, we will probably go take another trip to Chitre for tires. Another adventure; never a dull moment in Panama, or as we continue to say: “It’s Panama’!”

I don’t think I have shared that I started volunteering at the Buena Vida Language School helping to teach English to the school children every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. This was something God had placed in my heart several months ago before even moving to Panama. I even took an online course and received my TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), although I was not sure how I would use it. So here I am helping two other expat teachers who have also been volunteering for about a year now. This week we have just a small group of children, ages 4-11, because the children are off from school for the week. I’ve been told there will be many more next week, so much that they divide into two groups, and with me joining them, they may have to divide into 3 groups by October. It’s really a joy working with the children. They are so sweet and I am so happy I can help. Having been a teacher for over 20 years, I just can’t give it up. Besides, this helps me with my Spanish as well, gives me an opportunity to serve the community, and I get to meet other expats, children, and their families. Another blessing given to me.

We drop off our laundry at a nearby laudromat where they wash/dry/& fold for you for about $4.50 a load, including detergent, fabric softener, and if needed, bleach. We don’t have a washer at our apartment, but will at our new home. The launderer knows us now since we drop off at least once a week, usually telling her we will pick up “mañana”, and it’s always ready and neatly folded. It is also self-serve, but ususally the washers and dryers are being used and I don’ want to wait. They also have some mattresses for sale, and now a couple of refrigerators (small town, need to diversify). One time we had brought a small load in which had a mixture of whites and colors. Forgetting that there was a new red towel we bought at a discount store in Las Tablas, the woman was so apologetic when we arrived to pick up our clothes and about 6 white items, including Mikkel’s shirts were now pink. We told her “esta’ bien” (That’s okay, it wasn’t her fault). We then bought some bleach at the local market, soaked the pink clothes in hot bleach water, and hung them out to dry. They are back to white, and we bleached the red towel also, so now it’s pink. But we don’t mix the colors and whites anymore.

Thursday morning we decided to go to another beach outside of Pedasi, Playa El Toro, not for swimming, but for exploring. It’s amazing how the next beach over from the white sands of Playa Arenal where we swim. The sand is black and sticks to your skin a lot more. The beach is very rocky and when it is low tide, you can walk out on the rocks and explore the tide pools. We saw some interesting little purple/blue fish and other creatures. There are a few make-shift huts back in the bush where people live; I think they might be squatters, but no one seems to mind. Apparently there was a huge tidal surge that changed the landscape of this beach; it’ a lot different from the first time we visited in 2012. But, again, there’s always another adventure, even in this sleepy little town. Later that evening we went out to dinner with some old friends, soon-to-be our landlords and had a wonderful visit.

Well, the rain still hasn’t let up, and there is no Internet for now. Guess we won’t be going to Chitre today for new tires. There is always “mañana”. I’ll post this later when I can get on the Internet. More time for quiet time and reading now- “tranquilo”.

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