Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My 2009 marathon

Well, it’s not that kind of marathon. Although I went to the kickoff meeting for Marathon Makeover, I didn’t sign up for training this year. I was tempted but the next time I do it, I want to do give it all and that requires time I don’t have right now. I want to be one of the fast people and run with Mandy, Cindy, Carey, and Kim.

Instead of training for Chicago, this year I’m preparing for my own kind of marathon. My first trip to Panama in 10 years.

10 years. I can’t believe I have not been home in 10 years. Last time, my mom and I went together. We spent Christmas there. I have to admit, it was a stressful trip. Flight had a connection in Miami and the flight from there to Panama was overbooked so mom and I spent the night at the airport.
I rented a car while I was there (so I could take my grandparents on day trips) and someone stole a headlight from the car. It wouldn’t be a big deal, except the rental car agency (a local one) tried to charge me $200 for a headlight. Now, this was a Nissan and these cars are very popular in Panama, so they could easily find one at a reasonable price. I ended up getting pretty mad and having them call a manager because I knew they were trying to overcharge me for the light. I was ready to come back by the time the trip was over.

Aside from the normal travel inconveniences, it was a good trip. This was the last time I saw my cousin Jose. He died in August of 2000, he was just 33. It won’t be the same to go home and not see him. And Abuelo is no longer there. Some of you remember, he died in Feb 07, while I was training for Chicago. He won’t be there either.

I’m still excited to go home. Claude has never been out of the country, so this is my chance to show him where I came from. I get to share this part of me with him, and that means the world. I also get to share it with Candace, who has seen pictures and heard stories about this “familia” she has back home. I finally get to share this wonderful girl who calls me Mami with the rest of my family. And even though the twins are young and probably won’t remember this trip, I’m happy they’ll get to meet their family.

Traveling home takes a lot of planning, even when it’s just one person going. Imagine how much more work it is to travel with 3 kids! There is passports to get, bags to pack, where will we stay, do we need a rental car, itinerary to plan, etc.

But I’m excited. I think this will bring Candace and I closer together. She will have a rare opportunity to see how blessed she is. My family back home is not wealthy. They have very little when it comes to material possessions. I want her to see how lucky she is to have her own room, her own TV, her own toys. I had none of that growing up. I want her to appreciate how hard Claude and I work to provide a nice living for her and her brothers. I think at her age, she’ll be able to grasp and understand this.

I also think this glimpse into my past will help Claude understand better who I am. It is not that he doesn’t know me, but one thing is to hear someone tell about their life, and another to see exactly where they came from.

So I will be blogging more about travel plans as the months go by. I’d like to go sometime between mid May and mid July but we haven’t picked the exact days yet.