Since the Alouatta has no address (common in places like Panama), I decided to grab the GPS. This is where I live:
N 08 24.948
W 082 11.876
I am no longer lost
It can be extremely difficult to create a home in a place so extremely foreign, but with some time and care I’ve found myself talking real pleasure in doing things like cooking, yoga and gardening (along with researching). Below is the before and after of my little vegetable garden. It now has some garlic, ginger, pineapple, squash and tomato growing in it.
My relationship with the monkeys has also changed. I’ve begun to understand their different personalities as well as likes and dislikes. For example, Nina is like an independent 12 year-old kid. She likes to do what she wants on her time, but occasionally she decides that she misses her “mother” and wants a little snuggle. Coco was raised as a pet the longest, so he acts the least like a monkey in the wild should. Mojo is like the little king of the jungle, yet he’s also the youngest (7 months) so he likes to climb way up into the canopy and then dangles around your neck when he’s tired.
And it turns out that working and living at a remote location with almost all girls isn’t so bad. It has become kinda like a family here. Without the everyday distractions of “real world” life, I’ve found myself truly being able to focus on myself and what I want with my life- its been a long time since I’ve been able to do this. And it’s the little things that I’m discovering- I want to take dance classes when I return, work as an EMT, learn more Spanish and get an internship in neurology or cognitive studies. The location doesn’t matter, which leaves so much up to the imagination!
Not only that, but I feel so confident being here now. I’ve met so many single, young women traveling around Panama and Central America including a few visits from some good old friends like Alex pictured above. We’ve been friends ever since we both lived abroad in France! And in Panama everyone is so nice! And I feel safe- to travel with friends, alone and just to live. Panama is truly a special place. ~B