To be welcomed into a home for a good nights rest and a solid meal is heart warming but then to be invited to the families farm for a sacred holiday weekend is an honor. They informed me that the gesture was not an obligation but an invitation to join them in their home away from home in Arraijan. Of course I gladly accepted and packed up to head out!
The girls and I are ready to go! As we depart the city, you can quickly see the surroundings begin to change as the buildings turn to trees and the holiday traffic diminishes.
I’ve been informed that we’ll be stopping at a popular local spot to pick up a snack along the way. Here they make everything fresh including the empanadas, fruit juice, desserts, cheese and yogurt. Wait, fresh yogurt… and it’s frozen! Yes please.
Back to the car to share the goodies! Here are empanada’s they ordered, on the left is con pollo (with chicken) and on the right is con queso (with cheese).
For me, homemade yogurt that was just simply frozen. A bit sweet for my taste, but what a treat!
As we near the farm, they take me on a small detour to snoop around a local market. This one also included local artist selling their work, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I figure someday when I “settle down” (enter sarcastic finger quoting here) I’d love to decorate my home with things I’ve gathered from all over the world. It may be few and far in between, I enjoy supporting the local creators making a way of life doing what they love. Thank you Raman!
The next bulk of pictures are just shots I took from the passenger seat as we drove through the gorgeous country side. This is the Panama I’ve been waiting for.
As the gates are opened, my excitement increases seeing the hidden treasure that awaits. I’m not sure when this was built, but the grounds itself should be fully taken in and not just passed through.
My goal is not to fully expose this generous family and their belongings, however they were more than encouraging of my photo taking! Here is the open air play room that dubbed as my new hair salon as well.
Again with precious Allison not knowing what to think of it all. After we were done with the haircuts, she came up and grabbed my hand and with her other hand touched her head. Adorable, she wanted a haircut too!
My accommodations in what I think is the biggest room I’ve stayed in since the beginning of my travels (that doesn’t have 12 bunk beds included).
Here are only a couple of the homemade goodies that I got to sample. First we have the popular Panamanian fried bread called hojaldras. These traditional doughnuts are usually eaten plain at breakfast or topped with cheese and beans for a midday snack.
This is a basic rice, fresh pork and beans with a side of platinos.
On the last day here, the sun exposed perfect heat for the girls to have their swimsuits on by breakfast. As we take a walk, you’ll notice the guest house and a pool… with no water? Turns out the swimming pool area is in the middle of a renovation.
Being the creative and determined girls that they are, it’s been decided that a couple feet of water still makes for a good time! Can you remember the days when nothing got in the way of playing in the sun? The pictures below are actually a part of the 30 minute attempt to get her back out of the pool. All smiles from my view!
On the way back to the main house, we noticed a great location for the handstand photo.
A final note of gratitude to my new family in Panama. Dan and Lia, I loved observing the unconditional care that you have towards your children and I encourage you to keep guiding by example as I learned so much from you. Many thanks for sharing your home, food, family and time with me!
In the photo below, starting from the left: My coloring partner Elena. Your high energy and love for fun reminds me of the youth I still have inside. Keep practicing your handstands and next time we’ll have a contest!
Next is the oldest named Alexandra. Our walks and talks are still fresh in my memory as I enjoyed listening to your thoughts and sharing ideas. My fingers are crossed for you to get to that “One Direction” concert soon enough!
Oh sweet baby Allison, I loved connecting with you and was thoroughly impressed by your intelligence and never ending smile. (I’m not just saying that because we share the same birthday)!
On the far right sits Eliza. Concerned for my comfort, you were always the first to offer additional help…your consideration didn’t go unnoticed. Math can be a bummer, but finishing homework in time for dress up made it all worth while!