Our thoughts about what we might do on this trip have changed and will most likely continue to do so throughout our time in Panama. Our main purpose is simply to experience a new place and culture, and enjoy time together as a family. The ways to accomplish this are endless.
We have entertained several of the following ideas for activities, in no particular order:
In my excitement to learn Spanish, I was eager to take Spanish classes, and looked into places like Spanish by the Sea and El Paraiso. These places also offer accommodations, activities, other classes like dance and cooking, volunteer opportunities and more. They seemed willing to accommodate families, and can even teach children’s classes. This would also give us a break from each other as a family, if needed, since the kids would be in their own class, and Jen and I would be in separate classes because of our different experience levels.
However, these classes aren’t free, and require a commitment of at least 2 hours per day for at least one week, depending on how intensive we want our study to get. And since we won’t be in any place, except Panama City, for more than a week (and usually much less), we wondered if it might be better to handle Spanish study at our own pace this trip. One thing that I don’t like about classroom learning is that you’re often forced to go at the pace of the slowest student, and follow a curriculum that doesn’t necessarily suit what you want to learn. I realized that I already know how to study languages, and have plenty of free material available on-line and elsewhere, so maybe I’d be better off on my own for now. But I don’t know.
We still may check these classes out once we get there. It might be fun for the girls, who will be missing out on pre-school at home for six weeks, and give Jen and I a break from them. :) We’ll see how it goes.
Finding volunteer work is also a bit more difficult for a family our size, without some help from schools like these, but we’ll see what we can find. 3-year olds are a bit limited when it comes to service, but litter clean-up or singing for old people are some options we’ve considered.
Most of the other items on the list above are things you’d typically do on a vacation, except maybe “look for cheap real estate”. I don’t think we’ll buy anything, but it’s fun to dream.
For exercise, besides all the walking and playing we’ll be doing, I plan on continuing my daily morning ritual of 20-30 minutes of Yoga and Tai Chi. I always feel so rejuvenated after exercising and it gives me energy to enjoy the day to its fullest.
What won’t we do?
Scuba. We hear that Panama has some of the best scuba diving in the world (you can actually dive in the Atlantic and the Pacific in the same day!), but since neither of us are trained or licensed, we won’t be doing this.
We’re also obviously not interested in the city’s night life, dance clubs, bars, or casinos.
We also won’t be doing a lot of things that will be hard to do with young children. Some of our hotels provide nanny services, which we may take advantage of, such as when we go to the Temple. But most of the time, we’ll do everything together.
What would you do with 6 weeks in Panama?