Wednesday, November 20, 2013


It might not be too surprising that we just had another festival/holiday/parade/celebration! But this time, I have lots of pictures to help explain. 

Last Friday, the school had a Desfile de Tunas, which is basically a parade in which traditional Panamanian clothing is worn and there is loads of singing and dancing. Each classroom in the entire school represented a separate region in Panama, and therefore wore the clothing that was traditionally worn in that region. I really enjoyed seeing this whole day unfold because every student dressed up and they were all very passionate and excited about the celebration. Most of all, I loved how I got to see how proud they are to be a part of this country. At first I literally didn't recognize several of my students because I have only seen them in their uniforms, but everyone looked so cute in their traditional outfits! I loved it. It's a bit hard to explain, so maybe these pictures can help!

The day started off with "La Coronacion", or the crowning of the new Queen of the Pollera. The Pollera is "The National Costume of Panama" but mainly it is the traditional dress of women in Panama

Some cuties from elementary school presenting the crown and some flowers to the new queen

The beginning of the parade

 This is one of the boys that I live with, Michael. Definitely didn't recognize him

A few of my tenth grade students dancing in their traditional outfits

The start of the celebration

A beautiful outfit. This is often worn at Carnaval as well!

Two more of my students. Along with the Pollera, the women wear beautiful hairpieces like the ones that this girl is wearing in her hair
One of my eighth graders!

I really can't express how impressed I was with the entire celebration. Each class prepared a presentation, which included dancing and singing. This typically included one or two girl soloists, and the rest of the class sang in the background. I'm not even kidding, I'm pretty sure every girl in this school has a ridiculously beautiful voice, and it was really cool to hear how talented several of my students are! 

All you need to know is that November really is one gigantic holiday, and I'm totally okay with that.

Thanks for reading! Don't worry, I'm sure I will be updating you in a week or so with the next holiday!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wedding in The Netherlands

Here they are! Mr. and Mrs. Fiddelaar. Have you ever seen two happier people?

There are so many things to say about this wedding and these two people. Mainly that I can honestly say I have never seen so much love and happiness in one community. Katherine and Stefan's family and friends were not only a lot of fun to spend time with, but are some of the most generous, caring, and genuinely happy people I have ever met. Which is a very convenient thing considering we spent 16 hours together on the wedding day! Literally, 16 hours.

Weddings in The Netherlands are SO different than what most of us are used to. However, once I was able to experience this whole wedding extravaganza, I definitely think I prefer weddings like this! All of their family and friends were able to spend a whole day together, sharing stories and mainly just admiring and adoring this super cute new couple. I'm going to include a few photos so you can have a little bit of an idea of how the day went:
Getting ready with the beautiful bride!

Cutting the Cake!

Kat getting serenaded 

Celebrations of the new bride and groom!

The two best friends that started it all and inspired this love story

The most beautiful bride!

Photo Shoot!
It really was the most incredible wedding. As absolutely heartbroken as I am that my sister will be living on a different continent than I am, I couldn't be happier for her and her new husband. Their happiness was contagious, and as long as they have a special guest room for when I visit, I will allow this marriage to happen :)

It was a whirlwind of a trip, but it was the happiest of times with family and friends, old and new. Once I flew back into Panama, I jumped right back into things and went to a parade the following day. This parade was to celebrate Panama's independence from Colombia, and all the kids in band have to march pretty much the whole day to celebrate. 

The month of November in Panama is FULL of holidays and celebrations. There were 3 holidays while I was gone, and now there is another holiday coming up this Monday! This holiday commemorates the uprising in the Villa de los Santos against Spain that led to independence. Endless parades, food, and celebrations. November is definitely my new favorite month.

Thanks for reading!