Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Funny Thing Called Friendship

I met Jeannie on my first night in Panama. The lady who works at the guest house that I am staying at was showing me around and took me upstairs to where the shared kitchen and social area were. Seated on the couch was Jeannie using her laptop.

Jeannie got up and introduced herself then asked if I would be interested in joining her for a tour of the city the following day. That first night was hard for me and I was in a horrible mood. I was missing all that was familiar to me, the weather was hot and humid, my room was tiny and stuffy and on top of that everything that could have gone wrong during my trip went wrong.

My flight from Minneapolis got delayed and once I got to DC for a connecting flight I realized I had arrived at a different airport than the one I was supposed to depart from. It was a mistake I had made during booking, I wasn't paying attention to the airport details. Anyway, I managed to get a taxi to the right airport which was about 45 minutes away. Thankfully I got there on time but $80 poorer.

At the airport in Panama I encountered a very rude fellow passenger who used some offensive racial reference toward me. I don't like to remember the encounter because it makes me very mad. As if things couldn't get any worse It took me a while before locating the driver from the school. A good samaritan at the airport offered me her phone so I was able to call the driver and meet up with him.

When I met Jeannie that first night, her friendly demeanor helped put me at ease even though I was still feeling moody and out of it. I just wanted to go back home.

Jeannie and I became fast friends. We toured the city together, went for lunches together, met up frequently after class, she was my photographer and humored me in whatever craziness I threw her way. Unknowingly Jeannie had played a part in enabling Panama to grow on me.

This post is dedicated to Jeannie. I am glad I met you and I am grateful for your kindness. The funny thing about friendship is that it's the unexpected people who end up surprising you.

PS: This is the message I got from my mum on my birthday and I thought how appropriate for this post. "Age is just a number, it is the wisdom that comes with every year that counts. That wisdom shows in the way you deal with people of all walks of life...the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the disabled and people of all races. When you have mastered all these traits then you are wise..."

We decided to swap hats for this photo.

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