Friday, July 31, 2009


I don’t know how to say this. I am realizing the beauty of being here. The blessing of this all. And it’s only been a week. I've never been really excited to go places. I've trained myself to not get too excited because something could go wrong. Don't expect just live. I'm doing all right with my philosophy. But, now i'm feeling the weight of this opportunity. When we went to Cuernavaca with FW and we were there for 3 weeks I didn’t feel this comfortable. There’s something about this place. I’m telling you. I feel alright, being. Just being, here. I think I see how Philly studied here, fell in love, found his wife, and couldn’t leave. I’m not looking for no husband now, but I wouldn’t mind falling in love, with being.

Today we had school, as usual. Then after we hopped on a 25 cent bus and went to another part of the campus. We got to see the facultades de arte, teatro, danza, y música. Cecilia fell in love. I almost changed my major. There was an art exhibition throughout the hallways. We almost had to buy a piece. After today I realized I’m not scared to take clases en español or without FWers. I want to come back fluent.

And I will.

This decorated the outside walls of a building.

The Domo.

We saw the DOMO today. The dome theatre they have on campus. You will not believe how perfect it is. We started spitting old poems from shows and ran back and forth across the stage too many times. We found a back passage way and projected our voices.

Look @ that. Brand new seats.

Covered by someones grandma said We.

We admit.

We're a little rusty @ our distillations.


So the other day Danez and I made a hook and wrote some verses. My first time ever. I had Adam look over it and help me revise it. I love my fam. So you know, look out for that coming soon to some ears near you.

Today after school and tour we came back to the crib. Rested. Then we went out to the movies. Well, not all of us but Sofia, Kelsey, Cecilia, Adam, Blaire, Danez, Dominique, and myself. We saw Ice Age 3. Or rather, Edad de Hielo 3. It was in Spanish with voiceovers. I leaned over to Adam during the movie and said that people who have to listen to voiceovers are deprived of what the real actors’ voices sound like. Whatchu think? That movie is ill by the way. Cómica. Y cute también. So, go see it. But en español. After the movie on the way out the mall we saw a bat. A freakin bat just chillin flying in the mall by Blaire shoulder and stuff.

Currently jus kickin it.

And cakin it.

And sleepin it.


Mira que WOW.
Look how far we’ve come. From freshmen in SCE; meeting each other less than 24 hours before the rest of SCE arrived and having people not believe us when they asked us how long we’d known each other. To plane rides to other countries like México or Panamá. We done wrote poems about not liking each other and got too many to count about being family. We are living in a house, in another country, together. We’ve already had our arguments and reconciliations and it’s only been a week. I cannot, literally can not, imagine where I would be at this exact moment if I had never joined First Wave. I am in the perfect moment. Constantly. You can’t ask for more than that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is the post for HOY
meaning yesterday
like Thursday.

Today we didn't have school.
But we do tomorrow
Meaning hoy


We woke up late.
Watched a movie all together in the living room.

I went grocery shopping with Ceci.
She owes me $9.
Dont let me forget.
I prolly will,
the tight part is that's okay. I slept some more on the couch while there was another movie going.

Philly brought a barber.
The boys got they hairs cut.
Danez cut some FRO! Lil cute fade going on.

We had a house meeting about buying food together.
Like a co-op.
Awww big happy family.
Hope this brings more ease than argument.

AND this is where i mention ADAM because he said I don't mention him enough.
Adam think he cute now that he got his hairs cutted.
He is big.
And cool.
And cute
I guess.
There you go ADAM.
Love ya.

Tell ME this isn't the CUTEST lil Philly ever.
Philly son.

BIG Philly

LIL Philly


AND THIS is how Jair feels about life.

And how Kelsey feels about him feeling like that

Wednesday was crazy

Today in the Univeristy I saw a sign advertising:

in spanish of course
are you up for a challenge
do you like to overcome things
are you a hard worker


During Spanish class we had a discussion about poverty.
Our profe said:

poor is poor
one poor is not more than another
there are different demands and stresses in different countries
so one can't say
Panama poor is worse than U.S. poor
poor is poor

During brake we went outside
Empanadas 35 cent
Agua 65 cent
Recycle the glass soda botellas
bring them back to the counter when you're done


Today during class we took a mini tour of the campus. It was nice. We got to see the biblioteca. Its big, like ours.

There was a Sala de Estudios Latinoamerica. A whole sala! In Madison we have an ethnic studies SECTION!

We also saw the oudoor theater that is BEAUTIFUL! They said we can perform there! Hype!

Look at that.
The biblioteca is dedicated to this dude.


Look at that quote from Gandhi.

Like our Bascom Hill. Cervantes.

This beautiful mural is on campus.

This is the mural I was talking about with Arturo's dad in it. The man in the white shirt in the center of the mural.

today the sky broke
one moment dry
the next pouring
Emerita smelled it
grabbed the toallas from the clothesline


i wonder if Jesus
would use a Blackberry
or an iPhone
or a payphone
for free
with a calling card
God gave him

- Ben and Alida

Some palabras nuevas
juegavivo - hustler
parpadeo - blink
taparse los oidos - to cover ears
silbido - whistle
aplomo - serenidad
coraje - courageous




know nothing about your Panama

And yet

you cheer for U.S. playing against Mexico in soccer

follow our beisbol

we think knowing what happened in Cali

is being up-to-date

on current issues

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My mom and sister! Skype foto. YAY!
I miss you two.
its raining
real hard
like sounds like candies falling from the machine
sometimes louder
than others

We had school today. Our profe didn't give us any tarea. Well, the other group got some but mine didn't. I wish I could've had some. I know, sounds strange. I want homework. But I want to practice.

Lunch was amazing today.
cabage salad that Kim said they eat in Vietnam too
and a vanilla tasting platano maduro]
I think I like tostones best.
Thin ones.
The [juice] today was good too.
What does that mean?

We met another important dude today. Head of another big ole thing at our school. He had a painting of a woman in a swimsuit all up on a tree on the beach, in his oficina. He asked us if he liked it, it was from Cuba. My mouth slipped, whisper, now imma have to write a poem about misogyny. I didnt get what our response was supposed to be. He is the head of a department that fights for the rights of workers and students and etc como asi. I don't all the way understand it right now but he made it a point to show us fotos of his marches that closed streets and etc. It was tight. Another man asked us what we do to fight for rights. Asked if we close streets, like them. I thought, do we have the same passion.

we fight
like pride on the move
and holding change accountable
for people to notice us
and keep their promises
we are a tired peoples
sometimes sleeping
they tell me here they close streets
like they are always in la lucha
we are too
but wheres
the passion

He had us take a picture with him in front of the mural of a march. Arturo is our school director. He knows everyone on campus, a popular faculty member. He showed us his dad in the mural. This is my father.

Arturo had us try this thing called a pigby (pig-bee)
It was a strange cross between a potato, squash, and tomatoe
Or a really dry sweet potato said Dom
or just nasty lil ball of
trying new things is easy
hard to finish them tho
Did i tell you the bus costs a lil 25 cents.
A freaking quarter.
That's encouraging.
The cars here are aaaallllll expensive.
Used cars like new cars prices.
Does this mean there is less pollution.
On my way home a car had smoke coming from the muffler.

Our directors are coming over to have dinner with us. They are going to be like our Chris Walkers abroad. Heard they were amazing. By the way for anyone who doesn't know who Chris Walker is he is First Wave's artist director. Tall, dancer dude with dreds, eats steam and magic for meals.

time has passed

They just left. They are soooooooooooooo beautiful and soooooooooooo FLY! Carrie has crazy dreds; like tighter than Chris', didn't think that was possible (don't tell him i said that). And Genine ( I don't know how to spell her name) is amazingly funny. She left and brought her 2 yr. old lil girl back. BB. Shes is too adorable.
**I couldn't hear my mom and sister when we were on Skype because their mic didn't work. It was cute though. I could see their faces and smiles and laughes. I don't think we know it now...but soon...we will miss our families. A lot.
A lot.

Monday, July 27, 2009

primer dia en la universidad

This is the art on the building I was telling you about. The place that sells music stuff.
Yeaaaaaa you see that HIP HOP!

Just wanted you to see what the fish Blaire and Ben got at that restaurant the other noche looked like.
MMM mmmmmmmm. Good.
It actually was though.
They said.

So hoy fue nuestro primer dia en la universidad de Panama.
We are going to be taking a Spanish course for three weeks, lunes thru viernes, 8am-noon.
TODAY we got up at 5:30AM
para ducharnos

We left the house at 715
got to the bus stop at 730
school 8am

These are the ILL busses we take here.

well, to be real they are probably actually ill, like sick, like bad, like not good.
Panama gets the jacked up buses from the US that dont pass admissions
so you know
we send em here
away from the golden soil of the states that are united
and pollute other air
to keep them poor

Philly said congratulations to us
our first day on the buses
and we actually got to sit down

We had to wear pants to school
people dont wear shorts and such
but we were on the lookout
and saw 2 ladies with lil short-shorts on.
we still not gon do that though
we'll stick with sweating.
after school we usually change to let our legs breath
the humidity

For this 3 week course we are going to be having 2 groups
one mas mas espanol and the other mas espanol
as Zelma said hoy en clase
she is our profe

Tonites homework is to write an acrostico (poema) with someone elses name
I have Blaire...

Aire puro

Despues de clase we met the head honcho
as Philly put it
of the universidad
he was a G
Everyone thought Arturo was cute
and Mary reminded us of someone from Madison

the three of them are THE important folks to know
and as Philly keeps tellin us
"Its not what you know en Panama, its who you know."

They showed us a hip hop video of the advertisement for the university.
it was a rap
with shots of people singin the hook
and breakdancers
and jazz lookin dancers

I couldn't tell if it was coming from the people that the advertisement was for.
The people.

This was a mural on campus.
Too smooth.

We ate in the cafeteria and had some good food with some watered down grapefruit juice that must have had only one lil scoop of sugar. We stood in line and looked around. There were plenty people who looked like they would have NO problem going to the US and blending in. We keep on being surprised at the numbers of black folks we be seeing.

Food cost us $1.50 but tomorrow we'll have the hook up and get the student price. 50 cents. YEAAAAAA!

We also got our pictures taken for our ID cards hoy.
I think we are all going to be dissapointed at how sweaty we look.

After school we went to the crib.
Stopped by the panaderia.
Hoy Ramon let us try free this melecoton (peach) n milk juice slushie thing.
Fue lo mas rico!
We stopped in to get some empanadas.
Nice lil after school snack.
Ramon told us he had bacalao for lunch but we had just ate.

So some updates for ya:
Jap Jap is now being called JJs chicken and rice.
Also the 99cent Arizonas that are sold back home
are equivalent to these tall similar size carton juices in ALL flavors
so they are our YeYe juice

We also visited LA POLICIA NACIONAL down the street from us. We sat down and got a little what to do/ not do and watnot. They said there is not a lot of violence in our neighborhood but there are these kidnappings where people are taken to an atm and forced to empty their bank accounts.
I'm not trying to see what that's like. I don't have much of a bank account. They'd prolly get made at me.

Last event of the day was getting cell phones.
YO $16 for a pre-paid.
Holleeeerrrr @ us!!
Wait. I mean not for real. We can't talk to yall in the US but you know, just admire our cheap phones. Or not. You don't have to.

Bueno, que tenga una buena noche.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This is a good neighborhood. When will we see the bad ones.

Hoy, Domingo, hacia mucho calor.
Some people went to Sam's club with Philly to get storage units and stuff for the house. Others stayed here because we couldn't fit in the car.

We went to the panaderia across the calle and got desayuno.
Ramon lives near. He owns the place. Makes amazing baked goods and such.
Empanadas = bomb.
Desayuno too!
We introduced ourselves.

We say

He say
China? (not pronounced like the country)
Dominicano? You have familia in Africa?
That's a common name en Panama

After that, Danez, Dom, Kelsey, and I marched to the atm to take out THE biggest amount of money we own. It was about $200...with a $3 service fee and a % fee of what we took out. Basically, they tax crazy if you try to live life in a place you not from. Is this discouraging traveling. On our way there we saw a building all tagged up with artwork. They sell music stuff. We decided we needed to come back and ask where all the tight places are at and where the music hook ups are.

The trash cans here are like metal cross hatched bins standing on poles. We find them out front of the houses and businesses. Garbage on a stick. Try it deep fried.

The ATMs here are in little rooms.

Afterwards we sat outside it on the curb. We probably looked like we were about to rob the next person who walked up. Danez said we prolly looked like real panamanians.
We decided we eventually need to find a kick it spot - a place where we can sit outside in a public area and act like fools. Its not as foolish as it sounds.

Unpacking when folks came back with storage was too long. Hours to take ou clothes from a suitcase is not cool.

For dinner we went to JAP JAP. Nice lil Chicken place round the corner. Full lil chicken for $6. Half for 2 something. That, a side or arroz, and corn on a stick for like $5. Dom ate some of Danez mashed papas and white rice but she a lil veggie head tarian so not much for her. The whole time we were there there was this lil black bird prancing around. Must have been Jap Jap.
On the T.V. they were talking about grandparents. Dia de los abuelos? The Chimichurri salsa was good on the chicken. Better here than that Brazilian place off State st. The way it should be.

Then we wandered to the grocery store. Tried to guess the milk colors, find jam, weigh peaches and plums. Buy the off brand cheap cereal like at home, talk in too much english, practice reading foods in spanish. We have a $30-$40 stipend a week for food. But we only have 2 fridges. 12 people. Hungry people. With food that has to fit in 2 fridges.

Right now our cabinet space is filled with toilet paper. From Sams club. We got air freshner too.

Danez, Blaire, and I made a music video recorded by Sofizzle Snow. It was silly dumb. Part of Danezs upcoming album IG'NINT.

When we walk past ppl we say Buena. They say it back. or don't.

Maybe they'll say it first soon.

Got to get up @ 6AM to shower and be ready by 7 to go to class.
Woot Woot!

Alright Panama. Here we go.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Bienvenido a Panama!!

AYER Friday July 24th, 2009

We got in. I arrived with Ben and Allen and Adam around 7pm. We went to a place called Jap Jap. It was like a dope version of KFC. But they told us they were out of chicken. Then Philly told us once he was at the gas station and they told him they were out of gas.

Sofia, Danez, Blaire, Kelsey, Jair came in the next batch.

Last night we were missing three family members. Cecilia, Dominique, and Kim Anh. But they came in hoy.


Might be saying that a lot this year.
We woke: floated across the street to the PANADERIA and had breakfast for $2. Fry bread, salchicha and pina naranja juice. Shoot. That even beats dollar menu @ McDonalds. By the way they also have a McDonalds...with a 99 cent menu. Don't know how i feel about that.

We learned YEYE means boo-shie (I do not know how to spell that).
We gon be using that often.

We kicked it: at the crib.

The last ladies got here: Ceci, Kim, and Dom. They missed the flight with me, Allen, Adam, and Ben ayer. Ceci told us they lost her luggage somehow. Sucks. But she was still looking fly.

We shopped: took 4 taxis to the lil shopping strip. There was a dude selling perfume samples, broke watches, and CDs DVDs. I see Milwaukee up in here. Where the socks and waters at?
Jair looked at the side of the street where there was dark dirt brew and garbage. He said you wanna know how you tell a third world country.

Sofia, Dom, and I bought things for our room. Hamper. Hand towel. The soap dish cost 35 cent. This stuff would have been more than $2 back home. Wonder where it was made.

Cuadernos here cost a lot. Just like home.

At the store today Sofia asked for an extra plastic bad and the lady said she didn't need it. Philly (our Panama program coordinator) told us that was our first lesson in customer assisstance.
We went to eat: had dinner and a show. I ordered the spinach stuffed chicken. It was okay. Blaire and Ben ordered caribbean style fish. They brought out a brown crisp fish on a plate. Blaire and Ben looked crazy at each other. Told us it was good. The show began. Drumming and guitaring and dancing. Folklorico. It was dope. At the end the dancers brought audience members up to dance and of course...Danez acted shy and bashful but hopped up on stage and was the hit of the night. Someone asked afterwards where he was from...hoping for DR or perhaps Cuba...but the Estados Unidos was his dissapointing answer.

After that we came home. Brushed teeth. Crawled in bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

days to go

I'm sitting on my front porch creating this blog for Panama. We'll be traveling out of the freaking country in 11 days. I just realized we only have ELEVEN days! WOW! I could've cussed there but chose not to.

Pretty soon we're going to have to be speaking in SPANISH.

They not ready for all the words we finna make up!
Words we'll need to translate: Boop.