October 18, 2010

Class of 1961's Arnie Galeota reports on his six months in Panama

By Arnie Galeota

After living in a foreign country for six months I was ready to come home. In Panama I enjoyed the different attitude people lived their daily lives with. There was less stress trying to make a lot of money. People make a lot less money there but stretch it and manage to enjoy themselves every day. The cafes are always busy at night with the local citizenry just chilling over coffee or beer. Panama consumes more beer than any other country in Central or South America except for Brazil, which is 80 times more populated.

With all that said there is still so much more to enjoy in this country of ours. All the state of the art technology, the many amusement parks, the huge following of many sports here, the beautiful national parks and various landscapes from waterways to mountains to cities to farms and so much more. The biggest cultural difference is their priorities vs. ours. Here it's to make money and use it to make more money and finally to spend it on materialistic things and vacations. Education there is a priority which they take very seriously.

The biggest culture shock to me was their sense of getting along with one another, how friendly they are to everyone and how patient with those of us who didn't speak their language very well. I never expected that. I rarely saw anyone lose their temper. I was out of my comfort zone in Panama but it became less and less after awhile. There are large numbers of foreigners living there, some retired, some opening businesses. Many are Americans.

It's great being back in Los Angeles and my improved Spanish is a plus in this city.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience in Costa Rica for 2 months... I loved it, but 2 or 3 months a year would be perfect, not permanent residency. --Warren Z