Jan 24, 2013

The Familiar

When I visit Panama, I am coming home; home to the familiar experiences, memories and adventures of my youth. I was born in the Panama Canal Zone; when I was about 5 or 6 we moved to La Cresta, an area of the Bella Vista section of Panama City. My brother now lives in La Cresta, about a 5 minute walk from the 3 story building we lived in back then.

This morning we went for a walk and I shared memories and stories with my nephews. My brother Roger, now lives in the same building my DAD used to live in when he moved to Panama and coming back to "Torre La Cresta" is emotional.

Torre La Cresta is 23 stories, my DAD used to live on floor 10, my brother Roger bought the 14th floor and has a lovely home with his wife, Maria Elena. When I am here the filing cabinet of memories in my brain goes into overdrive. Many mornings I wake filled with reflection and memories of exact moments, of conversations, memorable meals, family gatherings. Some of those memories are now filtered with the lens of time and maturity, some are very familiar and comforting, some sad. I still hold close to my heart the elevator ride I took the second Saturday of December in 2002, when I descended the 10 stories to the lobby, knowing in my heart that was the last that I would likely see my DAD alive. It is on record one of the longest 3 or 4 minutes of my life. If I think about it long enough I can still feel the anguish in my heart. Today I rode in the elevator several times and smiled in my heart, I have such great memories of my DAD.

Coming back is a wonderful mental work out, a marathon of wonder and joying remember all the good in my childhood, recognizing and celebrating once again the amazing Mother that we all had. Imagine a "gringa" in Panama; she moved here in the mid 50's when moving to a Central American country was not cool. My Mom came to Panama when Ana and Roger were babies, they were born in Rochester Minnesota; she fell in love with Panama, the people, the traditions, the customs and she flourished !!!

The familiar on this trip as been sensory; foods, smells, sounds, heartbeats. As I told Cindy on the flight down, I was looking forward to having a big glass of water, the taste of the water from the Chagres river is sweet and right out of the tap.

------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------