Saturday, October 26, 2013


IT'S FINALLY HERE! Katherine Elise Ballew Carter is GETTING MARRIED. I cannot even contain my excitement.

I am writing to y'all from the Atlanta International Airport while I wait for my connecting flight to Amsterdam, where the wedding will be held. Yes, that means I am in the United States for 9 whole hours. But don't worry, I  managed to eat a burrito within 10 minutes of landing on U.S. soil, so I already have my priorities straight.

I will be spending the next week and a half preparing for and celebrating the marriage of my sister Katherine and her soon to be husband Stefan! I literally could not be happier. AND I get to see almost my entire extended family, so I am more than sure that seeing family and friends is going to give me a super boost of energy and spirit for when I return back to my post in Panama.

However, I am pretty sad that I will be away from Panama this next week and a half because there are literally 4 different holidays being celebrated while I am gone. In true Panamanian spirit, school is canceled for these holidays and everyone goes out and celebrates including parades, parades, and more parades.

Otherwise, I'm still absolutely loving Panama. Here are a few quick updates on what has been going on:

-I'm playing on a flag football team in Panama! Which is hilarious, because I'm still not entirely sure how this happened, but now there's no turning back. The best part is it's a national league, so it is taken super seriously. However, it has quickly become one of my favorite activities. The girls on the team are great, and after long days at school it's nice to be able to exercise and play! The games officially start in January, so stay tuned for that!

-Joseph and I found out that there are other American missionaries in the city! After we met, we were invited to dinner and had an amazing dinner and were able to talk IN ENGLISH! It was a nice little piece from home.

-Justin Bieber came to Panama this past Thursday and the entire city was in chaos. Every teenage girl pretty much lost their mind - especially all of my students. So that was an experience in itself.

-I found this statue of Einstein by my favorite coffee shop (and only coffee shop in the city). Still completely unaware of the significance of the statue, but it's pretty cool
-At school, the kids just got done with midterms. It's crazy to think we are already halfway through the trimester, and then it is summer! (Summer is in January and February, which still confuses me)

-I'm finally learning a significant amount of the students' names. Since I have so many students, it's been super difficult to remember names. So, it's actually really exciting when I can remember more than  10 different names in a specific class.

-The two most common questions that I have gotten from students are "Why are you white?" and "Can I pet your hair?" - both of which I never know what the correct answer should be.

-My host family continues to amaze me with their generosity and kindness. They have been especially supportive of helping me get to my sister's wedding, as well as everything else.
Celebrating that school was canceled one day - the boys literally celebrated for a whole hour. Absurd.

-A few weeks ago, Panama played the USA in a soccer game which would determine who qualified for the World Cup, and in the last few minutes, the USA scored two goals, beating Panama 3-2. Although I knew soccer was a super serious matter, I learned it's definitely not okay to EVER mention that game again.

-The second Hunger Games movie comes out in one month. I cannot wait.

So that's a pretty basic update on what's been going on! Next post will be detailing the wedding, with probably a gross amount of wedding pictures. I apologize in advance!

Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for all the support!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Celebrate We Will

"Every single day is worth celebrating" - Something that someone in church told me one day that has really stuck with me. This is absolutely true, and is incredibly visible in Panama. I'm pretty sure that every single day of the year is a holiday of some sort or there is some kind of celebration. One lady told me that half the time, people don't even remember what they're celebrating, but they know there is reason to celebrate, so as Dave Matthews would say, "Celebrate We Will." I'm going to make this more of a picture blog to show things that I think are worth celebrating or events that are currently being celebrated. 
Celebrating 160 years of the Episcopal Church's presence in Panama
The parade of the Episcopal down Via Espana

A member of the band at San Cristobal during the parade
A day retreat that the 6th grade from school went on to learn more about the theme "friendship" - definitely something worth celebrating!
Cinta Costera - a brand new walkway along the coast with a beautiful view of the city

Another view of the city

Flowers in the city! Such a rare but beautiful sight

The smallest park I have ever seen that is located in the heart of the city
Exploring the city at Cinta Costera

Got to see the Panama Canal AND watch two ships pass through the Miraflores Locks - dream come true!
Next year, the canal will be celebrating 100 years!
The Miraflores Locks
Selfies with Patricia at the Canal
A beautiful and (finally) sunny Sunday!
Celebrating having a super cute little brother
My girl Vicky who is absolutely insane but so sweet
Panama celebrates Fashion Week this week, as well as other random celebrations. After dinner we explored the city and randomly got painted for Neon Night - Panama literally celebrates everything
The coolest apartment building ever

I don't even need to explain why it's necessary to celebrate burritos
There is so much to celebrate. Sometimes it's grand events, and sometimes it's the simple things. Either way, I have realized how much I truly have to celebrate, and how much more there is to come. Speaking of GRAND EVENTS to celebrate, I am leaving in 3 short weeks to go to my sister's wedding in Amsterdam. Stay tuned for that blog, which will probably be overflowing with wedding pictures. YAY!

Until next time!