It seems like the smallest things are what instantly bring me to tears, yet what can also completely change my outlook and make me see the bright side of life in Panama.
Thankfully, it’s like God knows exactly when I need one of the bright little moments.
After a particularly trying first week in the village, I was exhausted, depressed, and having a hard time envisioning myself as being truly happy during the next two years. Just as I was getting ready to leave the village to walk back to the secluded area in which I currently live, I noticed a large gathering of people. My first reaction was instantly sadness. There was a party/meeting, and none of the people I had spent all day visiting had bothered to tell me? Then I smelled food, and decided to make the best of it and invite myself. After all, that seems to be at least somewhat culturally appropriate here.
A few minutes later, the people I had been visiting, and who had not invited me to their house for this party, saw me and with huge smiles on their faces, waved me to the front of the food line. Then, as my neighbor gestured to small crowd he said, “Look, Geli, it’s your people.” Side note, my local name is Geli. I have a post about that coming soon.
It was such a small gesture, and something he probably has no idea would have had such a big impact on me, but that little sentence paraphrases all of the many reasons I’m here. Now, they’re my people. There’s the kids who can be both incredibly sweet and pull-your-hair-out annoying, the fathers who eagerly show me their farms and homegrown businesses, the mothers who cook for me even though I’ve already eaten multiple times, and the grandparents who treat me like one of their own.
As hard as it may be sometimes, they’re the reason I’m here. My people.