Time passes by like crazy. My life is full of beautiful moments, sad moments, tense moments, but I enjoy it to the fullest. I love it when I give my captains a can of Coca Cola with lunch. I love it when I play volleyball with the guests and the Guna`s come and join in. I love it when hordes of kids come running at us when we arrive in one of the Guna villages. But most of all I enjoy the moments on the boat especially enjoy on the boat, as the engines make it impossible to talk and I can quietly enjoy the view as we pass along these paradise islands on one side and rainforest of the mainland on the other. On these moments I am so happy and grateful that I have turned my life upside down at the end of last year (see my blog `In a country far, far away`).
“Raphael, Raphael!”, I shout while I`m thundering down the stairs, skipping 3 steps at the time. During our time off in Panama we stay at Hostel Kamehouse, an old villa that once belong to a wealthy American family. “Que pasa?”, asks Raphael, one of the employees of Kamehouse and also a very endearing friend of mine. “My parents are coming! They come in July and they`ll come with me on one of the trips!” I announce enthusiastically, still out of this world stoked about the brand new news that I have heard from my mother. “Wow that's great! Come on we should celebrate this amazing news.”
Way too early I arrive at the airport. With fear of the immense daily traffic jams in Panama City and the fact that I want to jump into my parents arms as soon as the doors of arrival plus the fact that it`s their first trip outside Europe, I decided to take four buses earlier than needed. After some polar bear imitations by walking up and down at the airport and some silly fiddling on my phone, I take a look at number 1004 on the information board. `LANDED` there it was, with red flashing letters. I jump up and pick a spot between the two doors which regularly spew out people with a mountain of luggage in front of them. After some nerve wrecking minutes the sliding door opens and I catch the first glimpse of my parents. We jump into each other's arms, my mother and I burst into tears and my father gives me a big kiss on my forehead. It is an indescribable moment to have my parents with me.
“Are those your parents?” Asks one of the girls in the group when we arrive at the first island. “Yes those are my parents.” “Ow wow, so cool! My parents would never go on a trip like this. Do they like it?" She asks curiously. “I think so, but I think you can better ask them yourself” I reply with a wink. Not only the participants of the trip, also the Guna`s are deeply impressed by the arrival of my parents. “It is a great honor to meet you and to show you our islands” says Benicio, one of the captains, when I introduce my parents to him. Everywhere we go, they are treated like royals.
Once in Colombia we stay just outside the village in Cabinas Darien of Enrique and his mother. His mother spoiled us three times a day with a delicious, fresh, home cooked meal and fresh fruit juices. We hang out on the beach in hammocks, visit the local waterfall, natural pools, eat the best patacones of Colombia (fried, beaten flat, plantains), and we get salsa lessons from Enrique.
It is wonderful to show my parents how I live, where I live now and to have them with me again.
Time flies and it’s already time for the next trip back to Panama. My parents join in for the first part, so I can drop them off at the airport of Puerto Oboldia, which is in the same village as the border crossing. Again tears stream down our faces. Tears of sadness, but also of happiness because it was such a great time.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto