Last night after dinner I got a phone call from Dave. “Can we come over tonight and talk?” Sure. “Will Maria be there?” Yes. “Good.” Weird. I knew, even though David sounded cheerful, that heavy news was on the way. He and Maria haven’t gotten along well in the past and he would usually avoid her whenever possible. Also the “we” part worried me. If he was coming to talk about computers he wouldn’t be dragging his family along with him. It was going to be a serious family discussion of some kind. But as it turned out it was the best news of my life. Ikuyo was pregnant, to everyone’s surprise most of all her own. She was 3 months pregnant because even though all the signs were there the possibility of ever having another baby was so remote that it had not occurred to her to check even though all the signs were there. They had found out from the doctor only that afternoon and their first thought was of us.
Maria was pleased but less than thrilled. She wants to straighten out Papa’s situation and had even been thinking about whether to accept a child from Steve and Kimiko Cox until things were more organized. But now here it comes ready or not. I must tell Steve and Kimiko we’re okay now so we don’t leave them in the lurch. But I was totally thrilled. It’s literarily a dream come true. And from my brother next door. What could be better? We’ve made a 40 day prayer condition. I didn’t say it out loud but I was thinking especially of 40 days as a separation from Satan since Maria has always had a hard time appreciating David and Ikuyo. And I know it’ll be a long six months as far as building unity is concerned and all too short as a foundation of faith and substance. If I ever needed God’s help it will be from now. But thank you God. I have almost forgotten the bitter spiritual struggles we have gone through to get to this point. I hope a new door will be opening for us now.
Depressed and sorry for myself today. We all went to downtown Panama to visit Chaguin. I looked at the people around me and I found it hard to identify with any of them. They all seem so physical and simple. No philosophers. No book readers or computer hobbyists. No intellectuals. Just dancers, housewives, and babies’ all salsaing their way through life. Ignorant. I know it’s wrong to feel this way towards others, but if I break through there, I just want to record where I came from at this moment.
Beans and rice.
Anthony and I got haircuts. Anthony cried all the way through his. He looks like a little marine now.
I miss terribly the creature comforts of American life. The good quality which is so easily available. Even this notebook, so common – where will I find another like it? I never thought of myself as materialistic, but I find in this moment when my “heart of restoration” has lapsed, that I miss material things.
Next week is our last week. We leave next Sunday. Monday and Tuesday they’ll pick up our stuff. The last couple of days I’ve been getting the Audi fixed up so we can get it shipped without a fight. Today we went to Casa Del Carne for what is probably our last grocery shopping in this country. I was reading over my diary of when we first arrived here. I had forgotten what a hard and lonely time that was.
Today, Sunday, will be our last halfway normal day here. We’re going to begin organizing what will be picked up tomorrow. Then Tuesday they’ll pick up what little furniture we have. Wednesday we’ll be out processing. And ship out the car. We leave early next Sunday morning and that’s that. But this time (8:30am) I’ll be on my way to another life.
I find myself beginning to believe in reincarnation because I see the parallels of it in my own life. I seem to have been many people already in my lifetime. I have had friendships with people I have not seen again. All gone now. I’m keenly aware of this. My life in New York was like another incarnation, another life time. Then time in this country which is coming to an end now with its myriad memories.
This morning traveling here to work on one of the Diablo Rojos it was such a sentimental journey through the past for me. I’m leaving the way I came in when I was a poor man, grateful for a break. I had prayed for a fighting chance and God gave it to me.
I got up this morning still feeling a few traces of the illness which wrecked my health for the last few days. I had coffee and packed this diary and my networking book and Maria walked me out to the bus stop just like when I first began. These things she does make her unique. Other women wouldn’t do that. Riding the Diablos, surrounded by working people and school kids, not isolated in my car, my attention not distracted by traffic I had the luxury of seeing the old places go by. Riding through downtown I remembered my lean days trying to wade through the paperwork, the bureaucracy of getting a work permit and a cedula. The walking from the Registry Civil, the disappointments and setbacks, trying to connect with people and the Fidonet BBS because there was no Internet here at the time. Some days were successful and some days were painful. Papa was living with us and we were trying to get his checks set up so we could survive. Chaguin had died and people still grieved over him. We walked the dirty streets of Caledonia and picked up some bags of beans and fruit for dinner. That was what we could afford and it kept us lean and young. When I got my job it changed my life and eventually even my religion. Riding through Balboa on the bus I thought of these things and my heart swelled with joy of my life. My life has been so varied and so rich with feeling and memories how will I ever remember it all? My life on the streets of downtown seems like another incarnation. I have had many lives in this one life. I am not the same person I was when I came here.
The 1990's were probably the most important and dynamic decade of my life. I hadn't thought of things that way until this topic came along and I started to list some of the stuff that had happened. I started out as a part of a fundamentalist fringe of Christianity, worrying about God and Satan. Then over time I lost my faith and became spiritually adrift and angry at God for years. In the early part of the decade my brother and his wife offered us a baby to adopt so that we could be parents too. What greater or more genuinely sacred offering than that? Then we moved to Panama and I experienced life as a genuine immigrant in a foreign country, without language, without citizenship, without means except my own wits to get by on. Then things became better, fairly prosperous. Then we left Panama and made our way back to America.
As I wrote then, I have been many people in this one life.