Panama City, from an Outpost in Japan
Greetings from snowy, not-yet-cherry-blossoming, ever-polite Japan- more specifically its northernmost island, Hokkaido (yes, we can see Russia from here!). Panama seems like a languid dream now, as I zip up my windbreaker and drive cautiously on the left hand side of the road with Japanese GPS. We may be in the Eastern Hemisphere now but our hearts are still west, in Latin America's most cosmo city. I know I keep talking about the Panama Canal, but I think it is one of the truest vestibules of our human accomplishments. That, and the fact that one hectare of Panamanian forest has more species than in all of North America combined. And the Panama Papers scandal was breaking A thrilling coincidence. Indeed, Panama had my heart.
But we are whipping around the planet, trying to keep up with our own preordained pace but having parental freak-outs ranging from "can she eat oregano?!" to "can she have miso?!" In a distant memory, Michael and I were singing Bohemian Rhapsody down the windy Carr Las Uvas from El Valle, belting out the high notes around the turns to distract Sia from the carsick-inducing ride. She thought it was hilarious and we first-pumped at our parenting win. I constructed some ingenious sunshade around her car seat out of scarves and the daily El Siglo and we pulled our rental in for some Peruvian-style ceviche at a roadside bodega. That was then. In real-time, we're about to jump into an onsen with group of business men from Tokyo.
As Michael loves to say, "Live each day as if it's your last." We are making the most out of this experience, that thanks to Germany's parental leave system, both of us get to spend 24/7 with her for an entire year. We are savoring the small moments, the challenges, and yes, the exhaustion of both traveling and learning to be a parent in different time zones. I think I'll get the hang of it, eventually.