Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas in Panama, or, What the Heck Am I Doing Here?

Susanna Perkins
My husband and I really detest the cold weather. Back in the early fall of 1988, we looked at each other one blustery morning and asked, “do we really want to go through another winter?”

The answer was an unequivocal No!, so we put our house on the market and moved with our (then) four kids to Central Florida.

Contrary to popular belief, it can get cold in the Orlando area and even freeze (although nothing like the bone-chilling temperatures of the Northeast). Every winter my husband would say to me, “I don’t think we moved far enough south.”

Now we’re coming up against our second Christmas in Panama. We’ve definitely moved far enough south – average daytime temperature here year-round is 90 degrees (that’s 32 for those of you who measure in Celsius). It never freezes and it certainly never snows.

But then come those holidays and traditions that we always associate with cold weather – in our case, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Last year, we enjoyed a Thanksgiving-style dinner with lots of friends at one of the local restaurants. Then a few weeks later, our youngest daughter, a junior in college at the time, flew down to spend Christmas with us.

We were delighted to spend Christmas Eve with local friends, where we enjoyed their traditional Christmas foods and festivities. On Christmas day itself, we brought dessert to a North American friend’s house where we dove into a feast of dishes that were part of several different family’s Christmas traditions.

It was altogether satisfactory.

This year? Not so much. …

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