Early on the morning of June 12th I stepped into a long line to check in for my flight with the Panamanian airline COPA. I was surprised the flight was so full. The only business COPA does out of LAX is a daily back-and-forth between Los Angeles and Panama City, so I was fairly puzzled as to why there were so many people and so few of them were Latin Americans. I mean, it’s not the holidays, it’s not tourist season, in fact, it’s rainy season! What I failed to realize was that June 12, 2014 was the first day of something that’s kind of a BFD in every other country in the world, the FIFA World Cup. I quickly learned the three guys in front of me and the two guys in back of me, and many of the other passengers, were headed to Brazil via Panama. Continue reading
I don’t have tons of memories of my first couple of trips to Panama at the young ages of 4 and 5, but there are certain things that stick out. Eggs being served at some event related to Tia Ilka’s wedding. Swiping a fingerful of frosting from the wedding cake as soon as Tia Mirna had turned away to attend to something else. The matching dresses Tia Mirna had made for me and my primas. Lying in a beach hammock at Gorgona with my mother and my brother.
I also remember being cranky one night, wanting all of the people (a.k.a. relatives) partying late into the night at my nana’s house in the neighborhood of Rio Abajo to go home so I could go to sleep. For whatever complicated reason, based on stubborn kindergartener logic, I had decided that even though I was exhausted I was simply too inconvenienced by their presence to allow myself to give in to the sleep. My mom says I even asked her in desperation, “Why don’t all these people go home?!”
Anyhow, back in the days of the house in Rio Abajo, my mom, my brother and I would sleep in my mother’s old room – the one she had occupied before she married my father and migrated to the U.S. I think all three of us may have even slept in one single twin bed (I was only 4 or 5 and Igmar was a toddler…but still!). From what I remember the room was quite bare and plain, but something about the memories of it evokes feelings of home, comfort, coziness. When I came across this picture of my mother, taken long before she knew she’d end up with children with crazy names like Anulkah and Igmar, I knew instantly it was that room – not so much from sight but from that feeling. The feeling of nana’s house.
A couple of months ago my mom gave me an old album of hers. It was filled with pictures that had been taken before she ever moved to the United States. I’m thankful for this priceless and timeless gift.
Out of all the pictures, the one I was most excited to come across was this one. It’s all of the Vallee-Colombs in one picture, looking quite groovy if I don’t say so myself.
Months ago I purchased my first ever Groupon. For just $40 I was entitled to $100 worth of digitized pictures. Though I didn’t have any old family pictures at the time , I knew this was a great deal worth buying into. Plus, I figured that once I had spent the money I would actually get myself to work on obtaining old photos to have scanned. And that’s just what happened.
As the June 15 deadline to use the Groupon neared I remembered having looked at an album full of old family pictures at Tito’s house last Thanksgiving. These pictures originally belonged to his mother, Lydia, who is first cousins with my mother (on the Colomb-Mondesi St. Lucia side). Mere days before the groupon expired I borrowed the album and sent some of the pictures away for digitizing (I didn’t thinking I would have enough on my account to have the entire album). Continue reading
Report #1 on my 2011 genealogy research trip to Panama
Last month, in just a matter of days, I went from having no idea when my next trip to Panama would take place to having a ticket booked for a ten day trip in June. The main purpose of this trip was to do genealogical research. This and my next several postings will report on what I accomplished. Continue reading
Though this post focuses on one special mother it is dedicated to all moms, especially my other grandmother, Daisy, and my own mother.
In honor of Mother’s Day I dug up a beautiful piece my Tio Lucho wrote a few years ago about my maternal grandmother. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with the world and that my attempt to translate it into English does it some justice. If I remember correctly, the family portraits I chose to showcase just how cute my Nana was were taken at the urging of my Tia Ilka, the youngest and most photo-obsessed of my mom’s siblings. Given that we lost Ilka in 1997 and Nana in 2000, we are truly blessed to have these professional photos of my grandmother with all of her children as adults.