2014 was an important year for me. I was 16 and had just moved halfway across the World. Panama was a lot hotter than Germany (no surprise there), but that was probably not the biggest difference.
No, the biggest difference for me personally was that my brother and I switched to a private Catholic school for the 6 month we spend there. Colegio Internacional de la Maria Inmaculada (or short: CIDMI) was a whole new world. Suddenly I was required to wear a school uniform (Skirts at least three finger sunder the knee), was not allowed to wear make-up or jewelry and not to mention what happened on the day that I DARED to have any kind of contact with a BOY!
Now, some things were good some things not so much.
Let’s start with the latter.
As you can expect, the rules could be quite strict and while I had expected that, I was still surprised by the almost backwards way I was sometimes treated by the teachers. Two particular incidents come to mind for this.
The first happened just a few weeks after we arrived. It was Lunchtime and we were sitting on the big steps on the courtyard. My brother was sitting two steps below me and was leaning against my knee and I can’t even try to describe the Look of pure horror on that woman’s face when she saw that. “He can’t touch your knee”, she said. It’s so promiscuous, she said. We don’t allow that here!
I was so confused, not only was it a completely innocent contact, but even more IT WAS MY BROTHER. Nevertheless, I moved up some stairs and I still believe that that was the day I made an enemy, because that Lady kept an eye on me.
The second incident happened further into the school year. By then I had found a cute Boyfriend and we, together with some friends of ours were having a nice talk when I made the mistake of putting my hand on his shoulder ( I mean, that’s just scandalous, right?) and was promptly sent to the principal’s office with my mother.
My mum however (and God bless her soul) didn’t take any of that and till today it is a funny little anecdote that we can reminisce about.
All in all, I still believe that it represents a very outdated view on women, personal freedom and judgement and I just know that if it was the me now in that situation, that Lady would have to listen to a Tirade on feminism and equality.
Now to the good stuff.
Not only was I able to really connect with parts of my family that I often only see every few years, but I was also able to make some AMAZING friends and memories.
Maybe it is the culture, but the boys and girls I befriended are to this day some of the funniest, kindest and most positive people I have ever met. While I was nervous at the beginning ( I was new in the country after all) they took me in so quickly and I woke up every morning happy to go to school and see them again.
I still miss them and I really regret not having stayed in contact with many of them. But if you are someone I knew while in Panama, please know that I miss you and I still have that signed shirt in my closet!
Now, let’s get to a typical day:
wake up and get ready. Usually in a Zombie-like state cause it’s so freaking early.
(to this I gotta mention the Lady I saw every morning at that time in the Gym. Respect, Girl!)
The Bus picked us up in front of our building and we arrived in school around 06.40
School starts with either reciting the Ave Maria in the classroom, or meeting with the whole school in the Gym (every two weeks I think it was) where we would sing the national anthem and get the news for the next 2 weeks.
Honestly, I don’t remember 100% if that was the time, but lets pretend that this is right.
The whole school finished at the same time, so this was another time you could hang out with your friends from other classes (just like in the Lunch break and sometimes before school), waiting for the bus to pick us up again.
I hope you found this interesting, and I would love if you could leave a comment 😀