un dia en la vida de mi: my typical day in bocas

Curious about how I spend my days here?  I thought I’d run through a typical day for me.  It’s been nearly three weeks and it has FLOWN by.  My last class is tomorrow 😦  I was supposed to leave on Sunday for Costa Rica, but I extended my stay here in Bocas 3 more days so I had time to explore while I wasn’t in class.  I’d prefer 3 more months!

I have class Mon-Friday from 8 am- 12 pm.  I get up at 5:45 or 6 and meditate, journal, and do yoga.  I have breakfast with my host family and now 2 other roommates (from Germany) at 7 am.  It’s usually something like toast and cheese and fruit.  Then I get ready and walk to school; a part of the day I always love- rain or shine.

Here is a typical house in the neighborhood.


I walk past the church and the park (where I exercise).

There aren’t any big stores in Bocas, just many small markets to buy food- like this one.


For some reason, all of the markets are owned by Chinese people.  All of them.  So, instead of saying you are going to the market, people say they are going to the “chino”.  It sound rude to me, so I just say the market!

I love my walk to school because I see the same people every day and everyone is so friendly!  Strangers always look at you and say hello or “Buenas”.  I see tropical birds, cats, dogs, chickens, caterpillars, and crabs along my way.  There are lots of children in uniforms on their way to school and parents on bicycles with one kid on the handle bars and another on their back.  There aren’t many cars.

It only takes about 7 minutes to get to school.  I fill up my water bottle with filtered rain water and get right to class!  I absolutely love my teacher and the other students and I really look forward to going every day.  We are always having fun during class and we laugh the whole time.  It feels like a little family there.

At noon I get a one hour break before I have a one on one lesson so I usually just do my homework at a restaurant and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I’m good if I don’t have another PB&J for like a year now).  The majority of the restaurants are on the water and it’s so nice to just enjoy the sea air and take in the view.

At 1, I have a one on one lesson with my teacher, Nicole, and I like to just have a conversation since that is what is most difficult for me.  It gives me an hour to talk really really slowly without feeling stupid or guilty for taking up someone’s time  with my bad Spanish 🙂  She has conversation cards with great questions and we talk about things like philosophy, consumerism, alternative medicine, education, and spirituality.  Sometimes it is painful for me because there is so much I want to say in English about these topics but I am really limited with my Spanish.  The hour always goes by really quickly.

Then, from 2 pm on I explore!  Every day is different and it usually depends on the weather.  It has rained here A LOT so when the sun is out- straight to a beach or another island!  Another picture perfect beach.  Dogs laying in the sand, kids and families playing in the water, the sun shining.

My friends and I had fun swimming around in the water and jumping off the pier.

If it’s raining, there are plenty of other things to do; like pool and darts at our favorite spot, Mamallena (where I got the bucket of ice water poured on my head).


Or, the other day we went to the “movie theater” which is a very very small room with 8 bean bags.  $7 for a movie, popcorn and a drink.  We played Connect 4 while we were waiting for them to get the movie started; which was about Pablo Escobar.  Halfway through the air conditioner stopped working and then the movie theater turned into a sauna/steam room.

Last Friday after school we went to a place called Aqua Lounge which is basically a huge playground and I had the best time!  Things to balance on, swing on, jump off of…..I felt like a kid!  I was in the water for about 4 hours straight.

Another day, my friend Val and I rented a kayak and headed over to the nearest island.  We found a beautiful sandbar along the way with cool rocks so of course we got out and took some photos 🙂

We made it to our final destination- a gay bar (Bocas Beach Club) we went to the week before that we absolutely loved because well…..it looks like this!  And everyone there was so incredibly nice.

When we kayaked up to their pier they told us that they were closed for cleaning that day, but that we could still come in and have a beer with them.  They helped us with the kayak and we sat with the owners (2 men from South Africa) and looked out at the sea.  At one point we randomly saw 2 flip flops floating by a little ways out and we laughed….  Where did those come from?  Ooops!  Those were mine.  I have no idea how they got off my feet and into the ocean, but they did.  They are the only ones I brought so I was about to jump in and swim off to get them, but one of the guys working there beat me to it.

Oz saving my shoes

We stayed a bit more, made friends, and they put a picture of me with the Pride flag on their Instagram page!  haha

Yesterday was my last Spanish class 😦  The whole school took a field trip to Isla Bastimentos and played games all morning.

In the afternoon I usually have a private lesson but instead, my teacher and a couple other students had lessons outside for 4 hours.  It was the best.

So really, every afternoon is a different adventure.  I am usually home by 6 pm to have dinner with host family.  Then VERY OCCASIONALLY I’ll go out with my classmates but usually I watch a little Netflix, read, write and go to bed early.  The young kids are always afraid to miss out on fun at the bar and I’m afraid to miss out on enough sleep and my morning meditation 🙂  They call me “the adult”…..it’s funny- I don’t feel any older than them in a lot of ways.

In class yesterday we were talking about what differences we see in Bocas from our own culture.  Some things I have noticed the most is the amount of eye contact people make in the streets and when they meet you, their level of engagement in a conversation, how it is NOT normal to have cell phones out at the dinner table, restaurants, or out at a bar (a lot of people don’t have cell phones at all), and how stress-free they are.  It’s easy to feel a part of the community here and since it’s so small, everywhere I go- I run into someone I know.  I’ve never felt so at home so quickly.  So, I’m super sad to be leaving this Wednesday!


6 thoughts on “un dia en la vida de mi: my typical day in bocas

  1. Oh, Kelster…what an awesome day, every day!! So many smiling faces to pass along the way…fun, sun, connection, inspiration, education…I can see why it will be hard to leave there. I think the people there will miss you as much as you will miss them. ❤
    The story about your flip flops floating by made me giggle 🙂 The part about the movie "theater" that turned into a steam room was pretty funny, too!
    Thanks for sharing your day with us, and enjoy every moment from now until Wednesday ( I know you will).


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