Jun 29, In the evening I went to a party with my host sister, I don’t know what they were celebrating but it was a lot of people gathered in the street with alcohol dancing. There were kids and adults in the earlier hours of 8:00pm 12:00am then it was a bunch of older teens and adults. There were people dressed up in costumes as diablos and others dressed up in just random costumes. Most of the fireworks that they used were were cheap and dangerous! Natalie told me about how last year the fireworks shot horizontally into the park or went up then down exploding in the crowds. Right after her explanation fireworks started exploding near crowds and we’re hiding under an umbrella. I don’t know why they do the fireworks,nobody’s watching because they’re pretty, (theyre not) they’re watching so they don’t get hit! 🎆🎇 Natalie and I met her friends around 11:30pm and around 12:30am my host brother showed up with some of his friends. We did a lot of talking and dancing and at 1:30am the parade part started. Everyone is dancing/walking along a route that is done every year all over town all the way until maybe 6 or 7 in the morning. It’s kinda crazy to me how ready people are, there were people who were going along in their trucks with their party supplies and I saw a golf kart also. Most groups have are carrying their coolers with ice and alcohol. To be clear, I Don’t Drink however I’m fine with people who do. There was one van that I saw with huge glowing speakers in the back (I’ll insert a pic) everyone was dancing to the music so the atmosphere was so happy and fun. There was a lot of people doing típica dance, a traditional dance of Panama. My sister Natalie is amazing at it, she used to be on a professional team before she went to school in the US. She and another of our group were dancing it together💃🏻 it looked so good! I love seeing people who are partying and who look kinda ‘reckless’ doing a traditional dance in the street together. Also my host sister and brother danced with each other, I also loved that because they have an awesome brother sister relationship. I would not see that in Canada often. Everyone once in awhile the parade would pause for people to do a refill break; this also gave time to do their fancy dancin. There were people with instruments who would play. There was a 20ish year old guy playing the bongos or something and an older guy playing a recorder who just came together and jammed together with many people cheering them 🎶 While moving people were chanting and people making a Tarzan style yell, apperently not everyone can do it because you have to crack your voice while yelling properly. I can do it and when I did it people would think it was funny that there was a female Chinese person who was there and doing it. The Chinese Panamanians maybe don’t do partying as much because I didn’t see any there. While dancing and walking, time was also spent looking for the rest of the people in our group, there was about 10 of us in a massive crowd. At around 5:00am we split from the parade and stopped at a store and talked outside for a while. We said our good byes and went to our homes. I did not go to school the Friday morning 🙈

Jun 30, we went out with our friends again! When my friend was telling me where we’d go he just said “El spot”, horribly indiscriptive. This time it was not at a city party, just a big gathering of friends. Some of our friends picked us up around 12:00am, even though they said 11:00pm but they decided to make some stops on the way. There was about 30 people talking and dancing together on a mountain, more came later around 2:00am. Again my host sister is an amazing dancer! It was hard to meet everyone and definitely hard to see faces because we were all standing in the dark, the only lights were from the city. The view was beautiful seeing the city lights from below, we were looking over all of Chitre. As I said we were all talking and dancing until 5:00am before we all went home 🌄

Jul 1, What do you think I did this evening?… I went out! At first I went to the movies with Natalie, Tiffany (my younger host sister) and Natalie’s’ friend Javier. We watched cars in Spanish and after ate Subway for dinner. Next we went home to get ready for meeting or friends (I feel now I can call Natalie’s friends mine!) We met roughly the same people as the first night at the party in the street. We did a lot of dancing this night at one point I was dancing Merengue, Salsa and Típico with one of my new friends! I learned merengue and salsa in Canada but never tried Típico, all dances are very fun💃🏻I’m really great full to my host sister and brother for letting me meet their friends. All their friends have been so open to me, that’s something I really like about the Panamanians I’ve met. We all left around 4:00am, my feet fell like falling off and I wasn’t even wearing high heels like some of the others! 👠

Jul 4, it was an average day of class, I always just bring in Spanish study material that I stare at all day. A few students from my class had also gone to the party in the street and some others I had saw on Jul 1, so we talked a bit about that. One of the students is helping me find activities I can join in the school; these are the ones she listed: 

  • Banda (Marching Band, trumpets etc)
  • Orquesta (orchestra, violin etc)
  • Coro (choir, group singing)
  • Conjunto folclórico (Dancing, specifically típico)
  • Grupo juvenil (Student Leadership, organizing school events)
  • Grupo ecológico (Enviroment club, taking care of the earth)

Colegio Jose Daniel Crespo is a big school in Chitre and I’m pretty sure has the top marching band in Panama. This year is the 75 year anniversary of music at the school.

Jul 6, Thursday night I went out with my host sister and friends to a place where they were doing karaoke 🎤 my feet were being killed by my heels… At around 2:00am we left cause it kinda got boring. we met more of the huge friend group at the place on the mountain, which I’ve talked about before.

Jul 7, I can feel my self getting sick… Which happens often to me here. My host mom is going to buy surgical masks because I hate spreading my gross cough germs around + my host mom cannot get sick for work 😷