A Different Type of Hard

Posted by on March 22, 2014

A Different Type of Hard
Hello world,
Here I am with a three week and a half late blog for which I am forever apologizing for. But I shall continue with my story. For the sake of trying something different I wanted try a more structured form of writing this time around. The topics will start with Spanish class, Loma Bonita, birds class, terrestrial ecology class, and finally more marine biology.
Spanish class
The Spanish class exit exam was the Spanish dramatization. I think it went well. It is crazy how fast it actually went. I really appreciated the class and felt like it has definitely helped me improve my Spanish. I honestly think the main reason though is because we were in class for about 3.5hrs and my class only consisted of me and two other people. The extensive practice was really rewarding and I can clearly see my progress in the Spanish language.
Loma Bonita
After Spanish we left to Loma Bonita. It was truly a beautiful place. The goal was to interact with the people there. The people there are majority farmers and it was awesome to experience such a different way of life. It was very hilly and it literally took me about 15 minutes of walking uphill to get to my house on a daily basis. It served as my daily workout because I had no other option if I wanted to interact with the outside world. However, the walks up and down hill were definitely worth it. This was also during the week of Carnival. Almost everynight there was a traditional Loma dance. There were tambourines and singers and so much dancing! Also we spent a day in the urban carnival spot where they had loud music, a large waterhose and also a hose with bubbles.
Birds Class
If there is something I will never forget, it is that birds are often morning creatures. I remember this because getting up at 5am for a week will permanently be engraved in my brain when I think of birds. I am not a bird person, but even I have to admit it was good experience to catch a bird and hold it in my hands and do measurements. There was a lot of practice in working in groups and giving presentations so I was pleased with this class.
Terrestrial ecology class
Another class I will not easily forget because of the mud that was everywhere. The view was amazing. Also the teacher for the class was probably one of the best teachers I have had here in Panama thus far. What I found interesting is that he gave us a day to come up with our own question and an experiment to test it. The group I was with did measurements with the length of ant hills to their food. It was mindblowing for the amount of walking ants did to get just get their food. Further, I learned how to live in a cramp space.
Marine Biology/David
Currently I am in the second part of my marine biology class. We are in the city of David. We have been clam hunting and fishing. I think I actually like the 1st portion of Marine Biology in terms of classwork. The teacher we just had did not give a single lecture past the 1st day when he explained what we were going to be doing for the week. In David I did come across one of the nicest host moms you could probably ever meet though. It is also the first time we are living 4 students in one homestay house. Therefore there is always something to do. The food is probably the most delicious it has ever been here in Panama. This week has really felt like a group retreat more than something academic.
Feelings, Emotions, Thoughts
After talking to my friend I’ve been wondering how hard culture shock will hit me when I return back to the states. It was explained to me that when you return everything is the same again, but now you’re different. It made me feel somewhat uncomfortable, but it makes a lot of sense. The time seems to moving much faster than what appears on the calendars because I feel that I return very soon. So I currently I am torn about leaving. I was also told by someone recently that the best gift you can give your child is a passport which had me thinking how lucky I am to be apart of this experience. Not only going to a new land, but being in a place has such diversity. Did you know that Panama is comparable to the size of South Carolina yet has more bird diversity than US and Canada put together? I may have taken my experiences here for granted. So now I am aiming to try and take more advantage of the limited time I have here. Lastly, I wanted to explain the reference to the title because I heard from some of my peers and family that it looks like we are on a vacation. The problem with photos is it doesn’t show all the tribulations that occur on a daily basis. While I cannot say that it is super challenging academically. It is hard when you have to wake up early, walk up a mountain or go fishing for a few hours then afterwards be expected to do some type of academic work. It isn’t always just the academic work that makes a day long or hard, but there are many other factors that should be thought about.
Next stop: More no internet
We leave in the morning from David and are heading into the mountains so I will be without internet for a while again. I hope to come back with a good story to tell and more importantly do it in a timely manner. Until then… PHOTOS! *Also I did not edit or look over this so sorry for the errors that is bound to be found.
Jacolvy Garcia

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