The Sounds of Panama

WorldTeach volunteer Ali Philbrick brings you straight into Panama by painting a great picture of the sounds and views from her third floor apartment balcony. Taking the pulse of the new city she calls her home, Ali provides a window into her everyday life as a volunteer teacher in Panama! Read her great description below!

City Melody 

This blog comes to you from the balcony of my third floor apartment. I am sitting here overlooking the city and listening to the unyielding traffic that I have become so familiar with. The rumbling of the air conditioner hard at work in my room has absolutely no effect as it fails to drown out city noises. I am listening to dogs bark out in the distance. I can hear rusty garage doors opening their squeaky gates. I can both hear and feel the occasional car that drives by blasting Reggaeton so loud that the base actually makes my computer vibrate from 3 stories up. I am watching the lights of the apartment building next door switch on and off in no apparent pattern. Some of the rooms flicker with the light from a TV while others have a steady vibration of light that could only be caused by a rotating ceiling fan. It’s not so late yet and I imagine it must be dinner time because I can hear families talking, dishing clinking, and silverware chiming. I jealously take a bite into my thrown-together peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I do miss home cooking.

The sun is getting lower in the sky. It is one of those nights where if I wasn’t in a big metropolitan city, the stars would be at my disposal. The clouds have drifted off and left nothing but the empty light blue that is slowly fading to black. There is no sign of rain. I have become accustomed to the soothing sound of rumbling thunder and the consistent flashes of lighting have become a sort of night-light for me. The slight breeze is even making it a bit chilly which is rare here. You will almost never hear me utter the words “I need a jacket,” but tonight is an infrequent possibility. My barefoot toes however, remain toasty from the still sun-touched tile on the balcony. The sound of giggling comes distinctly from my room. No surprise that my friends are over cooking and watching movies. I’m pretty sure one of them thinks she lives with us. She has slept over for the last two nights and yesterday I noticed she brought her laundry. The more the merrier I guess. Thank god for my new area of solitude- the balcony. What a savior it can be.

The now solid black sky is lit up with city lights. Not a star can be seen but I know they are there. For now the city lights and passing airplanes are my stars. The pounding base from a passing car is my thunder, the flickering lights from neighboring apartments are my lighting, and the unremitting car horns are my… unremitting car horns. There’s really nothing soothing about them…

But the night is still young… and I think I’ll put aside the city melody and join my friends for a movie and some popcorn.

A city melody indeed. Thanks for sharing, Ali! If you're interested in volunteering with WorldTeach in Panama, then visit our website at www.worldteach.org. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at info@worldteach.org or give us a call at 857.259.6646. 

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