“Rainy season” has a meaning for me now that it never did before. In New England, or even on the East Coast really, the weather changes so quickly. You don’t like it, you wait five minutes.
Not so here.
La lluvia. Siempre está lloviendo. Todo el dia, y todo la noche. It rains and drizzles and pours then rains again, then more drizzling, then more regular rain. Weather gets into my soul. While not a terribly moody person, I find myself very affected by my environment. The cafes of my choosing, my home and my environment – always I want them to be full of energy and bright colors and some sort of positive feeling. I’m a sarcastic sort with a dark streak of humor, and I like to be around happy people who feel happy things about the world.
And so I like rain, when it makes green things around me grow lush and wild. I like it less so when it makes my life so inconvenient, when it sloshes around me all the time, when I had planned on a sunny warm vacation and instead need to cope with water water everywhere.
But anyway. I am resolved to still do the activities I want to do. And so this weekend some new friends and I went ziplining in the rainforest. I haven’t worn a harness since I used to rock climb when I was younger, but it felt good and right to be active again, after spending so many hours at a desk, behind a computer these past few years of graduate school. It rained (of course), but if it was going to rain anyway, I might as well be high above the trees, zooming through the forest and experiencing a rush of exhilaration.
Yesterday was a big holiday here in Panama, and despite the rain, thousands of people came to Boquete from all over the country for a grand parade and celebration of their independence from Spain in 1821 (It should be noted that they then were part of the Republic of Gran Colombia, which consisted of today’s Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador. They separated from Colombia later).
All day the party went on, with food vendors offering all kinds of delicious things on sticks, and locals mixing with tourists to cheer the local bands as they paraded by in colorful costumes. And I’m struck by how this idea of independence, of self-determination, is valued by so many across the world. How important it is to people that they be their own masters, that they have the rights and abilities and opportunities to carve out their own destinies. Even my Spanish teacher here was surprised when I told her that D.C. residents have limited voting rights, and are not represented in Congress by a voting member (explaining the No Taxation Without Representation license plate was a language challenge, let me tell you). But still here in the pouring rain, Panamanians came out to celebrate.
My Spanish hasn’t begun to improve yet, but I’m starting to understand where my strengths and weaknesses are with the language (verb conjugation: good, vocabulary: bad). So at least I know where I need to improve, and can set some goals. Thankfully, rain doesn’t impede my classes or studying, so hopefully I’ll begin to see the fruits of my labor soon.
I’ve finally found my way around the good wi-fi spots in town, so I’m hoping to blog more regularly now, and I have much to explore on my blog – from the coffee plantations to the food to the yoga to the wonderful other people I always meet while traveling.
It’s only been a week, but when I think of all I’ve accomplished this week – all that I’ve challenged myself to do, and all that I’ve set my mind to – I think about those weeks back at home that just seem to drag, one into another. And I think of how much time in life there really is to do everything we want to, if only we’re willing to be aware of what opportunities are open to us. Life is short, I know (Joe – I miss you always), but life is also long. And there really is enough time to experience everything we want to, and to become the people we want to be, if only we’re brave enough to imagine it and confident enough to pursue it.
After all, even when it rains the whole day and night, you can always look forward to the next morning’s rainbow.