My Christmas Week

I haven’t written much lately, so I thought I would take a few minutes to wrap up this past week. Although a little busy the past week, in comparison to when I lived in California, this week has been pretty laid back. If I were in the U.S. this Christmas, I would have had a very busy month with singing performances, mall shopping, wrapping gifts, Christmas parties, and visiting family and friends. It is so very different here in Pedasí.
This little village does celebrate Christmas as they do all over the world, but not with so much hype. There are few Christmas displays and items in the markets; some, but not all, homes have decorations and lights with Christmas trees and Bethlehem nativity scenes on their front patio. (I even saw a Bethlehem display at the local Cooperativa (credit union) this morning-not very politically correct in California, but definitely accepted here.)

So this past week started with the “Plaza Del Mercado”, a large yard sale, bake sale, and craft/local vendor sale that Animal Advocates of Pedasí, for which Mikkel and I volunteer as co-coordinators, offers at “la cancha”(the municipal basketball court) twice a year. We have been storing everyone’s unwanted, not needed treasures in our garage for many months now. So glad that we have space again. Each year the locals ask when the next one is, and each time we have many lining up 2 hours early to get first claim to what is available to sell. This time, with the help of a lot of volunteers we were set up with plenty of time in advance. So we opened up 15 minutes early. It was like “Black Friday”, a huge crowd moving as a mass through the gates to grab and look through all the racks of clothes and tables and tarps covered with a multitude of things to buy. The line to pay for their trinkets was never-ending for about 2 hours. The bake sale was a hit; most every cookie and “postre” was sold. I can definitely claim another “mercado” success with all proceeds from this fundraiser to go to subsidizing the costs for sterilization of dogs and cats and toward the education of responsible pet care and treatment. All who volunteered were certainly exhausted afterward, but very satisfied with the results of their efforts. We have a great team and I am very grateful for all of them. I have a few pictures of the “mercado”, mostly taken before or after the rush. (I was too busy selling raffle tickets for the sewing machine which had been donated and a much-wanted item.).

.The remainder of the week has been pretty quiet. Our car was finally claimed by the new owners who showed up yesterday, although with all that I had prepared in advance with the municipal office for the document transfer, the car still did not get transferred. We will have to go to Las Tablas on Monday to complete the transaction even though I was assured it would be very simple. TIP-This is Panama.

I have been arranging and practicing singing Christmas music for the last couple of days. (Oh, this feels familiar, but on a smaller scale than what I used to do this time of year in California.) The owner of Restaurante Smiley’s, John, found out by someone who will remain anonymous, but initials are MM, that I sing. So he asked if I would lead the Community Christmas Sing-Along tonight. Couldn’t say no; I love Christmas music. Tomorrow is Christmas Day! We don’t have any children or family here to celebrate, but we have been asked to join some others for a day at the beach. Couldn’t say no to that either; I also love the beach. Then Saturday, we are having another “Expat Meet & Greet” Potluck at our home. People from all over the Azuero, visitors and residents have been invited. We have done this a couple times before and have 40-50 show up. Afterwards will be the Pedasí Christmas Parade for those who want to hang around and watch.

There’s always something happening here in Pedasí even if is seems rather quiet compared to that in the U.S. This Christmas, our 3rd in Pedasí, is still a day to celebrate our blessings and the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether you believe or not, I wish my readers all a Very Merry Christmas!

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