Although today is Easter here in Panamá, there will be no Easter bunny or any other things us Americans associate with this holiday. No chocolate eggs wrapped in brightly colored foil, no hollow chocolate bunnies to bite the ears off of, no baskets filled with fake grass. no marshmallow peeps and no hard boiled eggs to color. Like other holidays we've been through here, there seems to be absolutely no commercialism and no food pushing.
Holidays in the U.S. always involve food being pushed in our faces in every store we enter. Christmas cookies and candies; Valentine's Day candies; cakes for every occasion and not to mention the food frenzy that goes along with Thanksgiving. Our old grocery chain in Texas used to push cookies and cakes to commemorate St. Patricks Day, Forth of July, Easter, Fathers and Mothers Day or any other holiday they can come up to smother something in frosting.
And then there's chocolate being wrapped in decorative foil for every holiday too. Piled high to the ceiling in every store in America making it nearly impossible to ignore. These monster displays speak to us saying "go ahead, buy some, everyone else is doing it so it's ok." And we always manage to justify it in our brains as if the calories don't count because it's a holiday.
But here in Panamá there is a definite lack of chocolate or any other sweets for that matter. They are here but come at a premium price since they're shipped in from the fatter countries like the U.S. And they don't jump out and speak to us like they did back there, although a few Snickers bars did manage to leave the store with us last night. We had the choice between Snickers and M&M's at the registers! A far cry from the assortment of junk food found at registers in U.S. stores.
Easter in Panamá is a time to be spent with family and for many a time of worship. The week prior to Easter is Semana Santa or Holy Week. Many businesses wrapped it up on Wednesday and were closed for Thursday and Friday. This was obvious by the non-stop flow of traffic headed into the interior of the country. People headed out to the beaches or weekend homes to spend time with family and friends. Since our new house is surrounded by holiday homes the neighborhood was not as quiet as usual. Homes that are usually vacant were filled with the sounds of kids playing as families gathered with loved ones for some holiday cheer.
My fingers are sore and swollen as I type from yet another long day of painting at the house. But the painting is just about finished now with only a few decorative touches left to be done. Clyde worked on plumbing yesterday and installed one new toilet and sink with two more left to go. Ceiling fans and lights still need to be installed before putting in the new tiles for the drop ceiling. And then there's that little matter of knocking a hole in the wall to open up the kitchen. Perhaps the guys can tackle that next week too.
We have been waiting for two months for the body shop to get the parts needed to repair our car after the accident. Every time Clyde would stop by they'd tell him the parts were still on order. We found this very strange since every other car in Panamá seems to be a gray Toyota Rav 4 the same as ours.
So last week we had to pick up paperwork from our insurance broker in Panama City and Clyde asked her to call. They told her (a Panamanian) that the parts have been there and that Clyde must have changed his phone number since they couldn't reach him. Funny how they tell a Panameno one thing and us another....eh? So tomorrow Clyde has to contact our insurance company again to make arrangements for a rental car while the work is being done. Our insurance will provide 11 days of a free car rental and hopefully that will be enough time for them to get the work done.
Easter for us will be spent with friends here at the rental house. Some food, drinks and good company will make for a relaxing day. Sometimes friends have to force friends to stop and take it easy for a day.
Clyde said the Easter bunny can't come to our house because we have a dog now and she won't let him in. Funny but after our morning walk a few days ago I left the front gate open since I know Venus won't leave the property. Rarely do we get people walking by our house but sure enough I heard voices out front. Venus immediately ran out to say hello....I guess....and the lady screamed, froze and panicked. I ran over to get Venus and apologized to the people smiling on the inside all the while. You see growing up I was the kid afraid of strange dogs and that fear stayed with me into adulthood. Although I was ok with friends dogs as an adult, I was still never really comfortable around them. And now I'm the women walking the mean dog (at least she looks that way). I'm comfortable sticking my fingers into her mouth to hold it open when I brush her teeth. While walking her in a park yesterday I noticed her eating something and pulled a rock from her mouth like it was nothing.
Yes life in Panamá has been a life changing experience for me, full of new experiences. But this is just the beginning of many more firsts.....along the gringo trail.