Indigenous Islands of San Blas, Panama

My trip to the San Blas Islands, Panama was planned last minute when the owner of my hostel in Panama City expressed the importance of visiting the islands. So I went, with the consideration of it being a day trip and a cheap travel opportunity.

The San Blas Islands consist of 378 tiny islands clustered close together in the Caribbean Sea.  Panama’s indigenous tribe, called the Kuna, live on these islands and welcome tourists to stay and experience their culture. Each islands has white sand and palm trees and, of course, the ocean water is pure blue.

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Me on one of the islands. (See the other two islands in the background?)

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Forest of palm trees.

Since I was only there for a day the Kuna people cooked me breakfast and lunch. They had an assortment of tea and made pancakes, bacon and delicious homemade coconut rice!

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My yummy breakfast made by the Kuna People

Just off the shore of Isla Perro there was a small sunken ship that tropical sea life now inhabits. The best part was I was able to to go snorkeling around it!

Also, the Kuna sold their homemade crafts. My favorite handicrafts were the molas, which are cloths with colorful stitching of designs and symbols.

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My picture of the beautiful molas.

The Kuna people were welcoming and, fortunately  shared a part of their unique culture with me.  To have a once in a life time opportunity like this is why I love traveling.

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Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival

The Hanami festival is an old tradition in Japan stemming back to the feudal period. During this period aristocrats wrote poetry about the beauty of cherry blossoms and the flower was a representation for the samurais of the code they lived by.

I had a friend who visited Japan during the Hanami festival. (NOTE: Here is audio of my friend’s description about the beauty of the cherry blossoms.) He told me that the Japanese word Hanami means cherry blossoms: hana = blossoms and mi = see. The beautiful cherry trees are planted everywhere around Japan’s cities and buidings, temples and neighborhoods. Here is a photo of the light pink cherry blossom trees.

The Japanese celebrate Hanami by hosting viewing parties or picnics. At these picnics the people bring food and drinks, enjoy eachother’s comany, write potry and sing songs.  In the U.S. there are Hanami festivals such as the one in Washington D.C.

Snowfall in Paris

Paris is the place where girls dream of finding French lovers, where couples go to heighten their romance and where travelers come from all over the world to experience the magic of the city. Traveling to Paris, France is a to-do on many people’s bucket lists. However, visiting the the City of Love  during a white snowfall is, no doubt, magical.

My friend Ashley traveled to Paris, France this past January of 2013. The day she arrived in Paris it was snowing and continued for the next few days. In this linked sound clip, Ashley expresses the excitement and magic she felt from her experience.

Ashley during white snowfall in Paris, France in front of the Eiffel Tower

Photo taken with Ashley’s camera of Ashley during white snowfall in Paris, France in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I have always wondered what it was about Paris that make the city so magical.  My professor who has been to France various times explained that one has to visit Paris in order to experience the indescribable feelings of magic and romance the city holds.

Photography pf Eiffel Tower by Ashley Kimi

Photography of Eiffel Tower by Ashley Kimi

The Love of Langauge and Words

I enjoy playing with words. While I cook I use Magnetic Poetry, the tiny word magnets used on refrigerators, to create sentences, phrases and poetry.

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Mostly, I enjoy learning new languages. I am in the process of improving my Spanish fluency.

I could sit and study the Spanish language for hours. The words role of the tongue like a lullaby.  But mimicking the accent is too difficult.

I have realized that I can, at times, express myself better in Spanish. For example, the word love in Englsih holds different meanings. People say they love a lot of things, and sometimes the term is only meant to describe a strong liking for a certain person or thing. And who wants to actually say, “I strongly like you.” Weird…

But in Spanish there are many verbs used to clarify the how much one likes or loves a person or thing:

• Agradar (to like it ok)
• Gustar (to like)
• Interesar (to have interest)
• Importar (to have importance)
• Encantar  (to be enchanted)
• Fascinar (to be fasinated )
• Querer (to care for or to want)
• Amar  (to love)

(Note: the verb amar is only used if one truly loves or is passionate about someone or something.  It’s not a commonly used word like love. )

There are thousands words and phrases within a language that can be used to express oneself in writing and conversation. Studying two or more languages also enables one to communicate with others and experience a distinct and separate culture outside of one’s own.