Journal Entry Number 1
Ok, to save time, space, originality, and creativity, I am not going to bore anyone (myself) with a precise description of the plane ride. Suffice it to say, I was nicknamed Kitty by Pheobe, who reminds me of one of those stately and mature cats. The ones who sit on the windowsill and watch life beyond the glass. The cat does not possess that life, but creates her own, all the while keeping in mind the various forms life takes. Although, Pheobe’s abrupt panic/excitement regarding our first view of Panama (which involved much movement and a camera) momentarily transformed that stately cat into the one who jumps to the opposite side of the glass and hurls herself into life on the other side.
When we finally landed, we had to wait in line to get through customs. Which involved much motioning and unhappy looking customs people. And I swear, it was so not my fault, but we were detained by customs. A…unpleasant looking woman came and began interrogating Madeline, in Spanish, about something. But with no Spanish to speak of, or rather with, we couldn’t do much more than gesture outside. The customs official then demanded our passports and took us back behind customs and motioned to us to sit in a circle. Then forgot about us. About 30 minutes later, another, nicer looking customs official came over. She could speak some English, which was a big relief. After she heard us out, she called over the other customs woman, and asked for our passports. The first woman seemed to have forgotten that she took our passports, but eventually returned them, and we were on our way.
There were five of us American “ambassadors”. Right now though, Pheobe and I are the only ones going to Changuinola. Joining us are Grit and Wow (unsure about the spelling) from Thailand, and Lotta from Germany.
Lotta is a lot of fun. She and another German named Viola were two of the first people I bonded to in Panama. Lotta is confident and likes to laugh (note: Maddy, she would make a fantastic addition, along with Viola and some of the others).
Grit is interesting. Unlike the usual Thai students, he is more outgoing and confident. He seems to have developed a sense of attachment to Wow, who is significantly less confident. She seems very unsure of herself and her surroundings in general. Grit looks out for her, especially after the van ride this morning(discuss Panama City Drivers later) when the driver pulled a stop very suddenly and her head hit the window opener. She was ok, but was later nearly sideswiped by a bus side-view mirror when the bus beside us pulled out. Both Grit and Lotta seem to be able to keep up or at least deal with my insanity.
Pheobe. She is from Tuscon Arizona, and as mentioned previously, nicknamed me Kitty. She is very likable, but has a killer writer-mode. Interrupt her and you are dead. Yes Pocket-pon, writer dead. Her pen will remove your guts and force-feed them to you. Scary. But like I said, she is very likable. She writes in a diary too, although I think we both refer to this as a journal. She also has a blog, the name of which I do not yet know.
Lastly, we have our AFS chapter leader. She is…interesting…I nicknamed her Mama Duck. And we are the ducklings. Running out in front of a bus and yelling at us (in Spanish) to hurry up may have had something to do with it. However, some things concern me. She made Pheobe go with her on a “food run” after the others and I got back from ours. Pheobe and Wow had stayed behind to guard our bags. Pheobe not only wasn’t able to buy food, but she had to carry Mama Duck’s bags when she went shopping. Lotta and I took Pheobe food hunting when she got back. We passed Mama Duck, who at this time had been joined by her daughter, who I call Chane, like from that anime (insert name later). She sorta joked with us, in Spanish the whole time, about us getting her food. At least, we though it was joking. Until we got back and learned she was serious. Mama Duck asked for food, and Pheobe gave her the pizza she had just bought. Mama Duck looked at it, then at us, like “Is this all you have to offer?” Then began eating. Later, she took some of Pheobe’s whipped cream from her milkshake. But she also had all of us give her .50 cents. She is supposed to be our chapter leader, but she can’t even speak any English, uses us to get food and money, and laughs at our fail attempts to speak Spanish. I’ll give her the last one, but I know that there is something in the AFS rules about how if you feel you are being used, you need to tell your AFS Liaison immediately. Well, what do you do if your liaison is the one doing it, and she doesn’t speak English anyways? She is mostly picking on Pheobe. One theory we tossed around was that because she is a friend of Pheobe’s host mother, like a sister to her, maybe this is how the family dynamic works. But it still doesn’t seem right. I want to do something about it, but I can’t even think what. I have no cellphone, and no internet access right now. I’ll tell mom about it and hope that she can help. Because, what if we have a crisis before we can speak Spanish? What use is it to have n AFS liaison who can’t understand us, and doesn’t even try?
Anyways, right now we are all on a bus. A blue one! An antennae bus! With comfy seats. And a toilet. With no toilet paper. Just like all the rest stops along the way to Changuinola. It’s a double-decker, which apparently originated from Germany. The word double-decker that is, not the bus. I have no clue where it came from. I already feel as if my Spanish is improving. Not by much, but it’s easier to recall words.
We left at 7pm. And we won’t get to Changuinola till 6am. This is Hell. Not my Hell, somebody’s Hell for me. At least Pocket-pon understands me. I should stop writing now so everyone can sleep, my light might be keeping them awake.
Ok, back. So, mini-crisis involving me not being able to find my bus ticket…I put it in the cellphone pocket of my backpack and promptly forgot about it. In my defense, I was half asleep. It was an honest mistake anyone…ok, really only I could make. It was somewhere safe, meaning I forgo about it.
Just found out the other four go to the same school. Which I do not go to. This officially sucks.
I really am wishing I had gone to Spain.