I understood this sense of alienness and fragility well when I was in a small restaurant in Volcán that caters not to gringos but Panamanians. I was with a few friends, speaking in Spanish. I think at one point I said something in French, and a man seated alone at a table behind me came up babbling joyfully in Italian at me. He had mistakenly thought I had spoken in Italian, his own native tongue. As it happens, I do speak a little Italian, and he was overjoyed to hear the language on someone's lips other than his own. He embraced me and kissed me on both cheeks. He called me friend and brother, and went out into the night almost dancing with his joy.
But this land in which now I live is warm and welcoming in ways I have never experienced before.
One cannot imagine walking down the street in a typical American community, and walking up to the door of some stranger's house at suppertime, and being immediately ushered in and asked to partake of the evening meal. But here one can. One does not abuse this generosity of course, and one extends it as well. Yet here it happens.
* * *
As they come to me to be written, new chapters will be added to this blog, so stay tuned! But the blogs up to a certain point are now chapters are now in a book.
So, to read more, you need the book A WRITER IN PANAMÁ.
The book is available in three formats:
HARDCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (large-size edition, photographs on nearly every page)
SOFTCOVER (smaller size edition, no interior photographs)
E-BOOK (all versions available, including Kindle and Nook, no photographs)
To browse or order, CLICK HERE!
The book is also available through Amazon (USA, Great Britain, and continental Europe) and other major book retailers.