Panama 2010: Amador Causeway

The Amador Causeway is a roadway and walking/biking path overlooking the entrance to the Panama Canal. It was constructed from the rocks that were removed from the construction of the Panama Canal.

After an hour of biking, Isabella and I shared a yummy chocolate banana split.... refreshing!

Panama 2010

We arrived safely here in Panama yesterday, Saturday, July 24th. We will be here for 2 weeks for Isabella's summer dance intensive under Ms. Yoira Esquivel Brito and Ms. Amparo Brito, mother/daughter ballet masters.

We are staying at a bed and breakfast in Panama City together with 7 other ballet families.

Everything is in Spanish and most of the people we spoke to didn't speak English. Isabella is so thankful for the few Spanish words she learned from Dora the Explorer show. Muchas gracias Dora!

Today we toured around Panama City and visited Mis Pueblitos (My Little Villages) featuring cultural replicas of three villages that represent the main cultural influences of Panama.

Spanish Village

Caribbean Village

Indigenous Village

This place reminds of Nayong Pilipino in the Philippines that also highlights miniature versions of the Philippines and its culture.

After the tour, we went swimming at a public pool.

We headed back to the bed and breakfast around 5pm. After shower, Isabella watched ballet on you tube and started dancing.

We ended the day with a quick trip to the mall with 4 other families (we took 3 taxi cabs).

Museum of Science and Industry

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I woke up early to attend church service while the kids got ready for a day of Museum fun.
After a nice breakfast at the cafe by the John Hancock building, we were off to the Museum of Science and Industry.

clowning around

John Hancock Observatory

Less than a block from our hotel is the renowned John Hancock Observatory. After dinner last Saturday, July 9th, we hopped on one of the fastest elevators to the 94th floor of one of the tallest buildings.

only to wash windows?:)

from Wikipedia: John Hancock Observatory is complete with full 360 degree views of the city, up to four states and over 80 miles. The floor-to-ceiling windows leave nothing between you and the view. The Observatory has Chicago's only open-air SkyWalk, where they took our 80 feet of windows and put in NASA-approved steel casing so you can feel what it's like to be outside more than 1,000 feet up.

I can't believe the kids got me to go with them. Actually, it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. We had a great time having coffee (strawberry milk for Isabella) overlooking a fantastic view and watching fabulous fireworks.

Adler Planetarium

Our 2nd weekend in Chicago was extra special. Phil arrived on Friday, July 9th. The following day, we met up with Russ' brother, Scott, and his family (wife, Danielle, sons, Zachary (19), and Wyatt (14)). They drove from Michigan to spend the day with us. It was a precious moment as it was the first time the cousins saw each other. We had a great time visiting the Adler Planetarium.

Chicago Trip - 2nd week

Highlights of 2nd week Chicago trip

Isabella's Class Schedule

9:30 - 11:00 Ballet
11:15 - 12:15 Character
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Classical Repertoire
2:10 - 3:10 Jazz
3:20 - 4:20 Pre-Pointe/Pointe

9:30 - 11:00 Ballet
11:15 - 12:15 Pre-Pointe/Pointe
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Classical Repertoire
2:10 - 3:10 Modern
3:20 - 4:20 Body Conditioning/Pilates

9:30 - 11:00 Ballet
11:15 - 12:15 Character
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Classical Repertoire
2:10 - 3:10 Jazz
3:20 - 4:20 Pre-Pointe/Pointe

9:30 - 11:00 Ballet
11:15 - 12:15 Body Conditioning/Pilates
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Classical Repertoire
2:10 - 3:10 Modern
3:20 - 4:20 Pre-Pointe/Pointe

9:30 - 11:00 Ballet
11:15 - 12:15 Pre-Pointe/Pointe
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Classical Repertoire
2:10 - 3:10 Music Theory
3:20 - 4:20 Improvisation

Chicago Trip - Day 8

Day 8 - Sunday, July 4, 2010 - Shedd Aquarium

Chicago Trip - Day 7

Day 7 - Saturday - July 3, 2010 - Field Museum

Chicago Trip - Day 4, 5, 6

Isabella is truly enjoying her classes. She is the first one to take a shower in the morning and always rushing us to get ready. She is so thrilled and can't wait to learn and train. After we pick her up, while walking, she is full of excitement and can't wait to tell her stories and show what she learned. As soon as we get to the hotel, she puts on her pointe shoes and shows me what she has learned with total bliss. Then she changes to different shoes from ballet flats, to jazz shoes, to character shoes to show me what she learned in each class. She does this every night....something she has done in the past after every dance class. This reaffirms her passion for this art, putting to rest the bit of worry I had about "burn out" issue I heard regarding young kids taking intensives. She even prays loudly as we walk thanking God for this opportunity. Then she thanks me and calls her dad to thank him....brings tears to my eyes. She also thanks her brother Ian for being with us. Ian has been a great "bodyguard" for us. He is so concerned for us especially his little sister. He always holds her hand and makes sure she is safe all the time. He worries if we might be running late to pick her up. He even watched Twilight for his little sister:) I feel so blessed and I am so grateful.

Day 4 - Wednesday - June 30, 2010

Ian and I stopped at the church beside our hotel.

Then we spent time at Borders with our laptops.

Foodlife at Water Tower

Day 5 - Thursday - July 1, 2010
watched Isabella from Borders across the street from Joffrey.
shopping with Ian at H&M
shopping with Belle at Zara

Day 6 - Friday - July 2, 2010
Finally started feeling better. Still has lingering cough and asthma but thank God back pain almost gone.
Shopping with Ian at Nordstrom Rack and Anne taylor
watched Twilight
pooped when we got to the hotel....ordered room service

more photos to follow. Got to go now....visiting museums today.

Chicago Trip - Day 3

Day 3 - Tuesday - June 29, 2010

Sorry not much pictures of the day. I started having cough and asthma not to mention my back pain still bothering me. But I refuse to allow ailments to stop us from enjoying this experience.

Our normal morning schedule consists of taking the Subway to Joffrey Ballet, breakfast at our hotel room or at McDonald's. Then Ian and I will either take the Subway back or walk back to the hotel. Today we walked back. I was determined to get my exercise (I promised myself before we left for Chicago) despite the ailments. Crashed as soon as we arrived the hotel, of course:)

Our afternoon schedule consists of walking to Joffrey to pick up Isabella at 4:20pm. Then we either stop at Subway for sandwich or at Foodlife at the Water Tower.

After picking up Isabella today we stopped at Russian Pointe dance shop to purchase a new jazz shoes (she thought her old one was ok but started hurting after a while of dancing...too small).

We got the chance to stop at a penny machine for Isabella's collection.

here's some photos from yesterday's escapades...Isabella trying to finish her "treasure hunt" at the Millennium Park.