Hi there! Hope you all had a nice summer. I can’t believe it’s really been 3 months since I’ve blogged here! The number 1 rule for bloggers is BE CONSISTENT…whoops! So I kind of took summer off…unintentionally. And I’ve been too scared to log onto WordPress for fear of finding an overwhelming number of spam comments (and by overwhelmed, I mean I can’t count that high)…grrr!
So to all the Charlies…I am sorry. To all the Jacks…I am back. To all the Freddys…I am ready. To all my dears…I am here! Let’s do this!
Panama! Through my work, I was selected as part of a volunteer team to build a pedestrian suspension bridge in rural Panama. This bridge will provide safe access to schools, markets, healthcare and work for the people of La Conga. For a week, we endured manual labor, in extreme heat, in rough conditions…and we all loved it! Here are a few photos and links.
The ladies of La Conga. They worked all day – from early morning to late at night – preparing all of our meals. I loved getting to know them and hearing all of their stories. The cutie in the pink dress next to me is Felicita, or “Abuelita”. Her birthday was just 5 days after the bridge was complete. Can you guess how old she turned? I will write about her story in my next blog post…and it will touch your heart.
Before our team arrived in Panama, the men of the community worked really hard preparing the bridge site, and continued to work just as hard with us. Here they are taking a quick break and cooling down.
Belky – this girl was adorable, and wasn’t shy! She pretty much had us wrapped around her little finger…and we loved it! Here she is modeling my sunglasses.
All of the children were beyond adorable. It was so much fun playing and spending time with them.
And then there was Leticia. This girl and her family got me…good. Will tell you why in my next blog post.
I conducted several interviews with members of the local community for the documentary (link below). Here I am hooking up the microphone to the professor in preparation for her interview. My little friend Leticia hijacked my camera phone and took this photo…and a lot of selfies! My new friend Tessa is in the yellow shirt – she did an amazing job coordinating the whole trip for us!
Savvy dirt stomper.
Hanging the suspenders
Everyone crossing the bridge.
This photo is blurry but I love it. Leticia had asked me to cross the bridge with her because she was scared. But before I knew it, she totally ditched me and was running back and forth across the bridge, with the biggest smile ever!
Our team with the community on inauguration day…I’ll introduce you to my team members in the next blog post.
Videos – Watch the official documentary (only 15 minutes long):
San Blas Islands! After we built our super awesome bridge, 6 of us stayed longer and took in the beauty that was San Blas…I couldn’t believe how relaxing it was. After a week of go, go go, we treated ourselves to white sandy beaches to lie in, crystal-clear blue water to swim and snorkel in, and hammocks that beckoned to be lounged in. It.was.perfect.
Home away from home…sand crabs and ants were my roomies!
Hammocks and coconuts were my priorities.
We thought we would get some big rain, but we lucked out.
Palm trees swaying in the breeze.
Casco Viejo! After lots of camping (fighting off roosters, ants, bugs and mosquitos) and longing for a spinach smoothie, I was sad to see the rest of my team/new friends leave for their respective countries. So much so that I considered changing my flight to come home early. Until I saw Casco Viejo. And suddenly I wanted to stay here as long as possible. I can’t describe this city…lovely, charming, quaint, colorful just don’t do it justice. Walking through the streets getting lost, excited to see what lies around the next corner…it was the perfect way to end my time in Panama.
Just around the charming, touristy area was a very run-down area that I had to explore.
The streets were empty, and the silence was loud.
Walking aimlessly up and down, left and right…I found the cutest little outdoor market. Who knew Panama sold hats (ha ha)?
This was close to my hostel.
I found a supermarket, and had to laugh when I saw all of this rice. I practically lived off of rice in La Conga!
I will be doing separate blog posts about beautiful Panama as this post is already way too long, but until then check out my stories on Steller: La Conga Bridge, San Blas Islands, and Casco Viejo! I’m kind of addicted to this app – it’s perfect for idle bloggers like me…gets the creative juices flowing! Love!
Tea! My sister masterminded a proper English tea fundraiser for her chorus. It was a great success, and so fun to dress the part. Of course the one time I decide to “be in the moment” and not take pictures of everything, I regret it. So I have no pictures of all of the creative details. Fail!
Denver! I got to visit Denver for the first time as part of a work conference. I had a great time traveling with my co-workers, meeting new people, and meeting people I only knew by email. Success!
Sneaking in a snack at Denver’s Union Station.
Went exploring on my last morning in Denver. This is the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa…where the fancy people stay! I didn’t realize how LA I looked…oh well, gotta represent!
Lots of eating this summer…
Birthday lunch for a co-worker where I (in)famously ordered the Moroccan Chicken Salad, hold the chicken. Will never hear the end of that!
Went to a surprise birthday party for my aunt…so much fun, and so yummy! I didn’t get any good pictures of people, only food…sigh.
Exploring downtown LA in pursuit of creating another Steller story. Any locals recognize this spot?
Lounging about town in a giant’s chair..
Cool tree…awkward person walking. Or person walking awkwardly…
My bud…we had a fun day hanging out together!
Other than that, it was all work. And all food. And a little play here and there. I redecorated my bathroom – but no good pictures to show for it.
I walked around downtown LA in an effort to rack up steps on the old pedometer. Another wellness challenge is back on at work, and I’m leading my team to victory!
I will end this post with a visit to my favorite eating utensil!
It won’t be 3 months until my next post…but let’s hope it’s sooner than later. Thanks for sticking around!
What was the highlight of your summer? And what’s your favorite eating utensil?