Today was my second trip to the children’s home here in Panama City. We have coordinated a twice-a-week plan for me to spend time with the kids and help them with their English homework in the mornings before they leave for school. (they go in the afternoons)
I paused because this genuine question was so matter-of-fact and it caught me off guard. I smiled and said, “Yeah. I love Jesus.”
“Me too,” he said and we went on talking about his favorite sports teams and which states in the U.S. he had heard of before.
On my visit today I had a little more time to hang out, so those who still had homework to finish brought it out and we all practiced saying animal names together in English. They laughed at me trying to pronounce crocodile in Spanish and laughed again at the absurdity that an insect would be called a butter-fly. We talked about how it is difficult for me to roll my r‘s and how difficult it is for them NOT to roll theirs. They asked about the U.S., about our seasons, if snow fell from the sky like rain, what scarves were for. I got excited talking about how beautiful the fall is in the southeast with the trees brightly colored (and how much I miss it this very second) and they just listened intently.
And just like every group of kids outside the U.S. that I have met, they asked the two most expected questions. The two things that one would assume would be required of every American citizen:
- Have you been to the White House?
- Have you met Hannah Montana?
To which the answer was no. Times two. But that gave me the chance to tell my Jonas Brothers story about the time I ran into them in Nashville before they were really famous. That seemed to partially satisfy their doubt that I really was from the land of the free and home of the brave.