Last night Zoe and I went to an event down the street. The best way to describe it is like a Panamanian Homecoming Court for 4-5 year olds. It was the coronation of some nina for something involving the town. There’s so many queens and Senoritas of this and that it’s hard to keep it all straight.
We were told it started at 7 in the basketball court (a caged multipurpose outdoor area where they hold a lot of events). So we walk down there at 7 and not much is going on, but we run into Zoe’s Spanish teacher. She says to come back later to see the little girls all dressed up in their finest dresses. We went back at 8:30 and there were a lot more people. There was a big crowd outside the court and then some people who had paid to get in and sit on the bleachers. We found out the price of admission was 25 cents so we indulged ourselves and bought tickets.
A sidenote here… I like going to these things to see what’s up but sometimes it is exhausting. We were the only gringas, we stick out like sore thumbs because of our hair and skin coloring and of course we have to walk in front of the entire set of bleachers to get to the spot where we could find a seat. Lots of stares. But we know that a lot of those people know us. They know me, or my kids, or where we live, or all of the above. But we don’t know them. So here they are staring at us, having some knowledge of us, but we don’t know them, but no one is talking to us. I would hope that since maybe they know of us maybe they know I speak Spanish? Or they see Zoe greeting her Panamanian friends so they think we kinda-sorta belong here? I dunno. No one spoke to us. So it feels kinda lonely in a crowd at times. And very awkward. You gotta push through awkward a lot at these events so sometimes you just don’t go if you don’t have the energy.
Anyway, after you pay, the proof of entry is a small piece of paper that they STAPLE to your shirt. Yes, STAPLE! I’ve seen this done before with Zoe and/or Haley coming home from school with something stapled. I didn’t exactly love that my shirt was getting stapled but sometimes you gotta go with the flow. So I chose an unobtrusive spot that hopefully would not tear.
It was clear that there was still some time before the event started so Zoe felt this was a great time to play tag with her friends. In front of the entire crowd. Clearly she does not feel that same awkwardness that I do. There was a lovely stage set up, all decked out with floats including these cool horse legs sticking out. Tag + a delicate float + horse legs sticking out could be a dangerous combination so I shut down the game after a little while. They weren’t the only ones playing, there was a group of boys playing soccer too. But I didn’t want the gringa girl to be the one responsible for ruining the coronation so tag was stopped.
After a while the event started and the little girls started parading into the court. At the same time the older boys were letting off fireworks about 40 feet away just outside the court so it was a little chaotic and the poor little girls looked panicked. Their dresses were so fancy and they were totally made up with hair and makeup. Funny thing was that they could not climb up the steps to the stage, they had to be placed up there. The dresses were a little cumbersome but the girls were adorable.
We watched that for a little while but by now it’s like 9:45. I guess Panamanian ninas can stay up late! We knew there were some dances coming up because we could see the older kids in their traditional clothing, but we saw the dance recently at Pricesmart and decided we could skip it in favor of getting back to Haley’s warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
We made sure to get the staple remover out as soon as we got home.