Some time back, I was talking with my mother and the topic of finding new things came up. When I first moved to Shanghai, everything was new and everyday was an adventure. Then I moved into my apartment, started working, and fell into a routine. New became old, exciting became usual, and the honeymoon phase wore off. I commented on this to my mother and she told me about the book The Forest Unseen about a man named David George Haskell who set out to explore the same small plot of land in the forest for an entire year. Every time he found something new to enjoy and this intrigued me. I decided to tweak it a bit and apply it to what would become my “old” and “usual” life in Panama. I would start to observe all the amazing things that occur within it that I barely give second notice to on a regular basis. These are my observations so far. I hope that you too can find beauty in your old and usual life as well.
· I believe humming birds to have one of the most, if not the most, interesting wing sounds of any animal out there. Every time the humming bird stops to visit the flowers in front of my house, which has become a regular occurrence for the past week or two, I can distinguish its wings which sound as if a tiny little mechanical flying machine is going about.
· Continuing with the humming bird, when I first spotted the bird, I set out to photograph it. Every day it would stop for just a few moments before flying off quickly to the next spot. With each passing day I grew frustrated until I realized that some things are better to enjoy in the moment then wasting that moment trying to photograph it.
· There isn’t much variance in the food that I receive for meals but I stopped to think the other night about each of the individual parts of the meal and where they came from and who worked on that part and it made me appreciate my meal that much more.
· The spot where I usually go is absolutely amazing and I usually get lost in conversation or my screen looking at text messages and never really stop to enjoy the scenery. I realized that other day that the rocks on the ground make rather interesting designs. As rain falls it eats away at the sand around each rock but not the sand underneath, after some time, what remains is many rocks elevated on little plateaus.
· On a grander scale of observing my cell spot, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly where my community is relative to the other towns and cities and eventually gave up on trying to figure it out because all the mountains look the same, until the day I decided to enjoy the scenery and realized one of the mountains looks very distinctly like a sideways face.
· My host family’s dog had puppies a few weeks back and every so often I pass where their bed is and I’ve stopped noticing them so much. One of them barked at me the other day though and it was probably his first bark, it was amazing haha.
· Rubber Bands. Think about all that awesome engineering. Don’t have to tie a knot, hold stuff in place, keeps stuff closed, amazing!