Last year we spent a month in the states visiting family and friends, although we did get back to our home about a week before Christmas. This year we are “staying put”. So as our tradition has it, we set up and decorated the Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving and some of the Christmas lights around a window. Mikkel is still planning to hang the icicle lights from the roof. Seems we are one of the first homes in the barrio to decorate our veranda, although Thanksgiving dinner at Villa Romera Restaurant was already fully decorated for Christmas. But the restaurant is in another nearby town.
I really like having most of the decorations outside; does not clutter up the living room. The only thing I have to watch is the cats who love to play with the hanging ornaments. Last year they actually pulled down the tree and many of my collectible ornaments I brought from the states with sentimental value broke. But I have learned to let go and this year we bought a huge box of plastic ornaments from PriceSmart along with a new artificial 7ft. tree (the top section of the old one had broken and kept slumping over). I do miss cutting down a fresh tree to decorate and the smell of pine. I went to Machetazo (like a Walmart) in Chitré yesterday and saw many fresh green pine trees for sale, each sitting in a bucket of water. Not sure how long they will stay green.
Dry season (verano) has arrived early this year. I can tell because the wind direction has changed. And with a short and not very rainy wet season, I think we are in for a long hot and very dry summer. No rain until next June possibly. Although it was somewhat overcast today, there was still no rain in Pedasí. So I have turned on the drip irrigation in our garden and started watering the areas not reached by the system, which means a higher water bill. It is still a lot lower than any water bill we received in California. Came across our first scorpion for the season under a mat in front of the garden shed while sweeping. Eventually the insect life will be changing, less mosquitos and “chitras” (no-see-ums). More flowers seem to be blooming.
Again, Christmas does not seem to be as commercialized here in the pueblo as in the large cities or the United States. It is nice to watch Netflix without all those Christmas commercials-buy this, buy that. I did watch a few shows lately on ABC.com and CBS.com; so many commercials for Christmas shopping. Definitely don’t miss that. I noticed that many stores with a few exceptions in Las Tablas and Chitré waited until last weekend to set up their Christmas displays. Here in Panama, Día de Madre (Mother’s Day) is on Tuesday, December 8th. So many are concentrating on that starting this weekend where families will be visiting their mothers starting on Friday. Afterwards, I think I will be seeing more and more Christmas decorations popping up throughout.
But Christmas is not about decorating or shopping for presents. It’s about sharing our love for family and friends where ever you may be. For Mikkel and I, its celebrating Christ’s birth and the blessings we have received. Although I love and miss them, we won’t be with our family this year, but we have a new family of friends to share this joy with. So I look forward to this season at home in Pedasí.