Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Been A While.....Forgive Me!

Hello everyone!!:)
.....I know and I'm sorry, it has been A WHILEEEE since I've blogged and I truly apologize. There have been many times I've wanted to sit down and blog and share but the words just weren't appearing and my fingers felt stuck. But today I am finding my fingers able, working and full of inspiration. So here it goes......

My time here in Panama has been full of so many emotions; Happiness, sadness, excitement, frustration, loneliness and complete wholeness. So I'm going to share a few experiences of those emotions with you guys.

Hogar de Niñas de la Capital
The first few months with Hogar de Niñas de la Capital and my girls were a bit challenging. There was the language barrier, the girls were just getting to know a new, different person, I didn't have many friends and I had to completely learn how to operate and get around in a city that was new to me. Now this is the frustrated part. Honestly, I don't think frustrated really covers how I felt hahaha. When I would have problems with work, I felt like the director and I were literally talking at each other and not actually communicating, which, all in all, got neither of us anywhere. Then there would be some days where there would be no water in the tank system we use, which means we would have to go out with bottles, tubs or anything we can put water in, to go get water for use at the home. At that moment, I realized how much I took the simplest thing, like water, for granted. Many people honestly don't realize water is essentially the most needed thing to operate in ALLL things (cooking, cleaning, bathing, SUSTAINING LIFE). Also in the first few months I was trying to teach the younger girls how to read and do mathematics, in SPANISH. Let me remind you, this is the first few months, so my spanish was NOT that great to teach another language... Once again, Frustration! We would begin by working on the ABC's and most of them picked it up after days and days of practice. Then started to combine letters, which began the difficult part, because I was learning the language as well so some of my pronunciations were terribly wrong hahahaha. But, I tried my best to help as much as I could to get them further and further.

Now the loneliness and sadness part, because I think they go together for me. I think just about everyone in the world goes through some form of loneliness in their lives, but we somehow find a way through it eventually. When I got here to Panama I pretty much had no one, which made me feel quite sad. I would get on Facebook and see pictures of my friends and family and just think of how much I missed them and wished they could be here. That even got me thinking AHHHH I want to go home!! I was missing my friends and family, I wasn't fully adapted to the Panamanian culture and way of life and I really just missed life as it was in the States. Then, my mom and dad came down to spend Christmas with me, here in Panama, for a week! I was soo happy to see them, felt so much love and everything at that moment was perfect. ...Then they left, which was sooo sad for me. I didn't want them to leave because I had finally had a piece of home with me here in Panama. But that didn't stop me to keep going. 

I know, I know all that talk of all the bad stuff. There has been soooo much good and fun as well. Now the happiness and excitement! I began to make friends, Great friends! Shortly after my loneliness fit, I put my foot down and put myself out there. A friend I met, in the school, in Bocas del Toro, Alexis, was in Panama for a few months and we became good friends and did many things together. Like sneaking into the hotel pools around the city to beat the heat (I promise it is a more relaxed thing to do here in Panama and we never got in trouble LOL), going to beaches and walking around the city to get to know the place. Before she left to go back to her hometown in the States, she introduced me to more of her friends and this social group called Fast Friending(FF). After that I met another awesome friend, Beatrice, who's from England and is currently still here. We have done many things here as well! We also use the social group FF to plan out things to do in the city. In this group there are people from all around the world who are in Panama from all different periods of time looking for and planning things to do around the country of Panama. I have been to different beaches, hiking and visited many restaurants through this group. The people I have met really made life easier and happier for me here. WIth the friends I've made, I've gotten to do and see sooo many cool things and I'm so thankful to have made it this far.

Now wholeness.... I'm gonna say, I think this feeling might be one of the greatest feelings that I've felt in my entire life. I have 3 very significant experiences with wholeness that I'm going to share. 

1. One day a few months ago, maybe even towards the beginningish lol, I was having a rough time. Like I was just ready to give up, everything was just against me. I felt like I just couldn't be a good teacher to the girls, the director and I weren't actually communicating, I was having a hard time finding my purpose and I felt like my voice just wasn't being heard. That night I went to sleep and had a dream that a really good friend of mine I knew for a long time, who passed away, came to me. First of all, seeing him and his smile was so amazing and the feeling began and I started to cry. Then he said to me,"Nahh Brooklyn, don't cry...IT'S GONNA BE OKAY. I promise everything's gonna be alright." He hugged me and I cried harder. Then I woke up crying in real life with such a heavy feeling. Like it's an unexplainable feeling that I had but it was so real and I felt every second of it. And at that moment I knew God used a familiar Angel to speak to me.

2. This was maybe last month, quite recently. I had another dream where I was speaking. I was in front of a crowd of familiar faces giving a speech saying,"Always and forever trust in the lord. He is and will Always be there with you and next to you, through whatever you're going through. To always have patience because things you may want in this exact moment, you may not be ready for. And you should trust that the Lord will handle it when it is right. Trust and have patience in the Lord and he will guide you through and through."And this crowd of people were so immersed in my speech they began to get emotional which made me tear up as well and the feeling I had, again, was so heavy and I woke up and could actually feel it in my chest, throughout my body, this unexplainable feeling so amazing. 

3. Semana Santa..Holy Week! Easter!
So normally every Holy Week and Easter I'm usually surrounded by my family, the church, food, easter eggs and all thing easter. This year, as I'm in Panama, I went to a part of the country called El Valle. It's about 2.5 hours from the city. This was a completely different easter than I've experienced in my life, BUT I felt the most closest with God. Why? Because I was surrounded by so much beautiful nature that God created, I just felt him all around me. I went on 3 hikes, went to a Hot Spring and swam in a cold mountain spring in one of the mountains. Now what I'm about to say is what got my fingers moving to write this blog. 
La India Dormida From the Bottom
I was with this girl,Sarah, I met, and had been hanging out with for a couple of weeks in the city. She was already in El Valle for a day before I got there and when I got there we went on a hike called Cerro Cada Iguana. It was a beautifully tall hike lol but quite amazing. We were reaching the top and I am unsure how we got on the topic but she turns to me and says,"You know, before I met you I had such a negative view on the church and religion and I pretty much gave up on it. But you make me believe and you make me see how positive it is to believe in the Lord. I wish the church was filled with more people like you." After she said that I was taken aback. In my mind I felt like I didn't do anything but be myself. But she continued and said," Well like what you're doing here in Panama helping those girls but still living life and hiking and stuff. Like you aren't trying to force your religion down anyone's throat but you can just see your good/happy spirit bouncing off of you and that's kinda cool." Like whaaaaaaa lol I felt sooo good about life after that. I had been questioning my purpose and it walked right up to me and smacked me in the face lol. And to think all I have been doing here is trying to be in peace and LOVE and serve the world with a smile on my face. And it's crazy how the smallest things has such huge effects on others.
La India Dormida From the Top

Cerro Cada Iguana

In the beginning, life started out rough but that's expected when you go off to a different country, culture and way of life on your own. To me it's all about how you get through it, how you come out in the end. I can honestly say I have learned and grown so much as a human being just in the time I've been here. I've noticed how much pressure we put on ourselves for the smallest, most insignificant things in life when other people are actually facing a harsh reality in their everyday lives. Like the first few months I was here I was frustrated with the water system, but I had to tell myself, "This is their everyday reality. You can get with the program and be happy and thankful that we can actually obtain water in a different location, or be continuously angry, sad and upset and get yourself nowhere." Life will always have trials and it's up to you to fight and continue to get through them. They won't always be easy but that just means you have to fight harder. The Lord gives his toughest battles to his strongest warriors!