La MICA weight-loss program


We made it! And ‘wow’ is pretty much all I keep thinking.

I got to experience a bit of Carnaval craziness in Panama City with my fellow KC people, and I feel like it was a wonderful introduction to the next 2 months of unpredictability. I have certainly never been so aware of my race and gender before. Something about being a pale, white girl labeled me as a prime target for water guns, foam spray and the most effective confetti attacks I’ve ever seen! All I can say is, you win you sneaky, confetti-throwing children. You win.

After a continental breakfast at our hotel with Julie and Pablo and a tour of Panama Viejo, we ate lunch at the airport and picked up the St. Louis folks. We are learning that 25 gringos is quite the sight in Panama City, let alone El Copé. We piled our massive amounts of baggage and people onto the bus and headed to the drop off point to hike to the La MICA station. Luckily we had a crew of incredible Panamanians to follow us with our bags, since carrying a small backpack was enough to make me worry about toppling over on the trail. Something about seeing a wiry little Panamanian 10 year old girl in flip flops carry our stuff for us made me feel more pathetic than I ever have before. But, finally we arrived at our new home!

Nothing here is what I expected or could have ever imagined, and I love it! So when Chad referred to our research station being relatively out ¨in the sticks,¨ he wasn’t joking. We are living on the side of a steep hill with the most incredible view of the forest and river below us from our porch/classroom/dining room/common room/lab. Now that the PVC pipes carrying water are glued together and we’ve figured out the generator, we have running water and electricity (at night). I still can’t wrap my head around this being home for 2 months. How did I get lucky enough to be a part of this incredible experience?

Wednesday we toured El Copé and the park, and I cannot wait to get to spend more time in both places. I have to admit, I’d take the cool, rainy weather of the park over hot sticky humidity any day. I think I could wander in the cloud forest looking at the plants for a year and not get bored. It is beautiful, and I feel like a sap/nerd as I realize how happy being around this much greenery makes me. Maybe I should just ignore Julie’s warnings about Visa-hassles and move here…

I have too much to say for now, but it is crazy to think at some point even this new lifestyle will feel normal.  Other than that, I am glad to be getting to know the group better, and thank goodness for everyone’s sense of humour. The boys are funny in their own right, but together in their (super roomy) side of the dorm, they make for great entertainment. Though, I may feel differently the longer they take this ¨be like Che¨ mantra too far.

The girls, on the otherhand, are sweet-smelling and dealing with our cozy room quite well. Our mosquito nets and closed windows make the dorm pretty sticky at night, though the longer we’re here and more tired we are, this won’t matter as much.

We go to Panama City and Kuna Yala next week (after some more time in the Park and a History midterm this weekend) and I can’t wait for our first real excursion. I am trying to write as much down as things happen since I can’t be on here as much as I had thought, and because we are fitting so much into our long days! I actually don’t miss the internet much, and it’s wonderfully quiet to be cut off from the outside world.  But ’till next time we enter civilization!

Hasta luego!

(Amelia, Nina and Hayley, you should be proud of my acceptance that I should probably learn more Spanish.)

  1. #1 by Hayley on February 18, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    So glad you made it! And are sticky! Also, glad you got the carnaval experience out of the way, although I feel like wandering the streets of big cities, people take any chance they can to water balloon or silly string you! Also, have fun on your first field trip!!

  2. #2 by Aunt Kathy on February 19, 2010 - 7:50 pm

    Hi Maeve,
    Hayley forwarded on the blog link so we’ll be following you. I think your mom is lucky because she won’t have to hear how the weather is making your hair a total fuzz ball (we heard that from Hayley a few times). Glad to hear you made it safely and that you LIKE it so far. Have fun exploring!

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