I’m currently sitting in seat F10 on my Copa Airlines red eye flight to Panama City. I’m embarking on a two month trip through Panama in which I’ll be attending Habla Ya Spanish School’s full immersion program in two locations, the bustling metropolis of Panama City and the floating island town of Bocas del Toro.
What qualifies as full immersion? Well, my courses are five days a week for 4 hours a day. I tested into the beginning level, and am hoping to become much more confident and capable in my Spanish speaking and comprehension.
Ever since I started traveling more I realized that it’s somewhat selfish to only speak one language and expect the rest of the world to accommodate me. When this opportunity arose I was elated, I’ve always wanted to delete my auto retracted response that I speak “poquito Español” when asked if I speak Spanish.
I haven’t taken Spanish lessons since I attended Central Oregon Community College nearly a decade ago, but growing up I was often surrounded by the language, and to speak it fluently has always been a huge goal of mine.
I’m thrilled to be working with Habla Ya and writing about the program and my experience with the school! In addition to my lessons, there are weekly activities that will help me to get out and explore the city!
As some of you may or may not know, this experience was quite a segway from the course I was scheduled to embark on. I had originally planned to transfer to Cal State University, Long Beach to get my bachelor’s degree in journalism. Perhaps I was burnt out from school, but I felt myself being pulled away from school and toward my writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly value education, but I also believe that it comes in many forms. Following an academic career in Journalism was my way of trying to fit the square peg that I am into the round hole of conventional expectations. I may very likely return to school to get my bachelor’s when the time is right. Essentially though, traveling and writing are the most important thing to me outside of my family.
So here I am, mid-flight, enjoying the luxury of for once in my life having an entire row to myself, sipping on a celebratory rum and coke, (listening to Despacito, don’t judge you know you love that song) and pondering what’s ahead.
Ok I’m going to stop the list right there because, holy smokes, I’m going to be 30! I know that in the grand scheme of life that I’m still young, but this is just a crazy thing. The unrealistic life I had predetermined myself to be living by 30 is definitely a stark contrast from my reality, but I’m ok with that. In contrast to my plan A, I’m following a path that might not check off the boxes on the outline I made at 23, but then again, I don’t think I knew my ass from my elbow at 23.
But, now I’m rambling. Bottom line is that I’m going to be 30 in a month, celebrating in a beautiful and diverse country while chasing my dreams. I never would have put that on my list at 23, and in that regard I couldn’t be more proud of the life I live.
This trip symbolizes much more than just a working holiday for me. This trip is:
These may be meager accomplishments to some, but to me they’re a big deal. I love writing, so the fact that my writing is in turn the tool that fosters more traveling makes me very proud.
I’ll be in Panama City for two weeks and then I’ll take the overnight bus to Bocas del Toro, where I’ll stay for a month. Steve will join me toward the end and we’re not sure where we’ll be so stay tuned! Be sure to check back every Monday as that’s when I’ll be posting updates. Here’s a quick peek at my digs for the next two weeks.
Have you been to Panama City? Recommendations are welcomed in the comments below!
If you love Latin America, check out an explicit look at daily life in Havana, Cuba!