Monday, March 1, 2010

Loving the daily life...

I am having a great time! The family is wonderful, and I've been practicing more Spanish than ever in my entire life. Tons. My head is spinning with it by the time I go to sleep. :) In a good way. I am trying to learn, read, practice, use new words, ask questions, and keep trying even when it gets ridiculous. On top of just saying wierd stuff all the time, I have also picked up a Mexican/Costa Rican accent that makes people laugh every time I open my mouth.

Being here is the perfect balance because Kim, the mom, is from Tennessee and is wonderful to talk/share/laugh with in English. On the other hand, the kids only speak Spanish and I am tutoring, reading, teaching, talking, babysitting, cleaning, playing, and doing everything with them and their friends all day. God is so good, providing so many opportunities to connect, grow, and be challenged.

Yesterday we even went to a big soccer game! The 2 top teams in the country went head to head, the biggest rivalry in town, and the crowd was crazy! Mos def a cultural experience. The family warned me that when the drunk guys see someone blonde they throw beer and bags of pee at them, so I should wear a hat and not look up at the stands behind us. Apparently this may dissuade them from identifying me as a gringa. Well, I really hate hats and the best one we could find made me look like a cancer patient (according to Jimmy) so I decided to take my chances. We had a group to go with and we had a strict plan not to make a scene and to sit in the least rowdy section possible. We decided that if I didn't wear my wedding band they would try to steal me/kiss me/hit on me but if I wore my ring they would curse at me. I decided to take my chances again. On the upside since I know almost no slang I rarely have any idea about the offensive things men are yelling. It works out. :)

Also if I take money anywhere outside the house I have to hide it in my bra. You have to put the money on the very bottom of your bra because the robbers know all about this trick and will make you flash them so they find your money and take it. If you are very strategic, however, about the placement of said money and the way you flash, you won't have to give them a thing (no pics on this one!). I am just laughing as I think about all the crazy things I am learning here :)!

Our strategy for the game went perfectly: I stuck really close to the biggest guy in our group, we ignored everybody, and had a great time watching the game. I have to say it is really hard to know what's going on in that stadium because the don't have a scoreboard/time clock and Mike wasn't there for me to ask tons of questions. Also the last soccer game I watched was like 5 years ago in another huge, packed, rowdy stadium in Costa Rica.

It's so fun here because I never know what each day will hold. For example, today the kids took me down the street to the ghetto where they grew up. It was a really rough neighborhood. They wanted to introduce me to their family. I ended up meeting someone's aunt and tutoring her in math/fractions for her adult high school homework the entire visit. You never know! :)


  1. Wow Rachel that is crazy!! I had no idea about all us gringas have to deal with in these areas :) I am proud of you girl!! Tienes que representar!!

  2. Rachel - I'm so glad you have this opportunity. It sounds amazing, and I know you're the perfect person for reaching out to so many all at one time. Thanks for doing this's a great way to keep up with you!

  3. Rachel, You have hit the ground running. Talk about immersion as well as boldness. You amaze me.


  4. Thanks girls! I am so thankful for the prayer and support.

    Charity- I'm sure Alex will give you the low down if you get to go to any Panamanian soccer games!