The first sight of our future host families came as we arrived at the Spanish language school. Everyone had been ravenously practicing and learning the most important sentences like „can I go on the toilet? “or „when do I have to come home? “which I now know are „puedo ir el baño? “and „cuando tengo que venir a casa? “. The great part of learning was done in the last few minutes as if it were a Latin vocab test. We were all nervous, well maybe not everyone, for example Max M. However, I think everyone was excited to explore Boquete and also get a direct insight to the culture, enjoy some time alone and have a little space from the KUSis.
After we had taken a small but nerve-wracking Spanish test we got split up into our different families. Everyone was looking at our potential new parents or siblings and vice versa. Name after name was called out and greeted by a warm Spanish welcome and suddenly after a short goodbye we were alone with no friends and in a completely different language. For many the journey was very short, even in walking distance whereas others had a maximum journey time of 15 minutes. We experienced all kinds of families and households as a group. Some had families that were well off with a nice bed, warm water, a shower, even a pool table and very important: WIFI for google-translate. On the other side, there were families who had no warm water (the majority), no proper bed, no WIFI and no showers. For most of us it was a bit of a shock to the system but an eye-opening experience. Wherever we were though we were taken care of, had food and a roof over our heads.
As the days and nights passed and we learned more and more Spanish most of the people began being able to have proper conversations and started growing much fonder of their sweet, talkative and caring nature. The KUSis however were not as lonely as we thought, being able to meet up every day and even stay at the other family houses and eat with them. Thus we met even more new people and practiced our Spanish skills with them. We all showed our families to our hosts with a lot of pride and a hint of sadness as we missed them very much and we told them about our lives at home and the differences between the German and the Panamanian lifestyle.
But sadly, we couldn’t stay forever and as the weekend and the Barú went by, we realised that our time in Boquete was almost over. Hurriedly we gave our family the presents that we had brought with us 3 months ago and tried to explain them as good as possible. Suddenly we already had to say goodbye and start packing in order to be at the square at 6:45 am. I think for many our stay with the host families has been a highlight of the trip and that a few might come back some time and visit them again.