The College of Saint Rose and UDELAS in Panama

A partnership about education, culture and the exchange of ideas

What Does “In a Hurry” Mean?

-Liv Alvarado

The venom of the Panamanian lifestyle has finally saturated my veins and I have begun to relax for the first time in years.  Not just the relaxation that you feel after an afternoon in the backyard or at the salon. No.  This type of relaxation comes from a lifestyle that can only be found here.  No one is on time.  People run at their own pace and if you are early, you get strange looks.  I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to leave early to try and arrive at my destination early or on time and the locals have told me to “relax”,  that I am too high strung and that there is “no hurry”.  This concept is so hard for people from the US to understand; especially after five years in the Marines, there is not taking your time on anything.  From “hurry up and wait” to “wait and go when you feel like it” is so foreign that it feels wrong and unnatural.

Arrivals are not the only things that the locals take their time at.  The process of traveling from point A to point B can take twice as long as we are accustomed to.  Taxis, buses, walking and friends giving you a ride all are at a comfortable pace and there is no need to speed in any mode of transportation.  The customers and clerks in the local grocery stores as well move at what we in the states would consider an unacceptable rate of mobility and would be offended at.  We all know what it’s like to be in the grocery store after a long day at work and all we want to do is get in and get out.  That will never happen here.  The entire flow of the human body in Boquete is relaxed and at ease and anyone demanding more rapid service would offend the entire population.

As strange or as frustrating this molasses in January pace of living my sound, it has created a people who are kind, courteous, respectful and are less likely to be offended or try to offend others.  This in my opinion is far more important than being on time to everything.  In the US we have lost track of what is really important to us and we have lost touch with how to be kind to others and not be selfish.  If we can learn from this lifestyle and adapt it to fit ours in the states, our own lives will greatly improve and perhaps all of our priorities will align and we can learn how to be kinder to our fellow man once again.

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1 Comment»

  George Lorang wrote @

Hey Liv!

My class misses you and says “HOLA!” Sounds like you are having an exciting time. We will keep checking on you. When will you be returning? I’m sure you will have a lot of pictures, please come and share them with the class.

George


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