A reopening plan announcement after five and a half months of an intense lockdown. Observations from a young expat.

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Panama has reached five and a half months of strict lockdown measures. My last update was at the five-month mark, and I had intentions of updating once a month. I’m updating earlier than planned because there have been recent announcements about changes in restrictions. This was a huge deal for the people who go week after week with no official talks of dates or changes.

The nightly news segment about the virus provided its daily stats and numbers, and then they announced and explained the “reopening plan”. …


A cheatsheet of useful and frequently used words in the world of publishing.

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Every arena has its own list of terms and definitions. The world of publishing is no different. When you take the traditional route of a publishing house, literary agent, or a mix, then they take care of the dirty work for you. You can sail on through the process without learning the language.

It’s different when you are self-publishing your work. You’re in the trenches. Even more so if you are attempting to wear most or all of the hats (editor, graphic designer, illustrator, marketing agent, publisher, etc.). You can pick and choose what roles you fill and which you may want to invest in for outside help (depends on your preference, but mainly your budget). For example, illustrations are vital in a children’s book. …


The importance of just being when society is telling us to do more.

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Photo: Luis Villasmil/Unsplash

I’ve written before about the terror of toxic positivity. It’s the dangers that come with an attempt to force a “good vibes only!” mentality on ourselves or others. It’s not healthy to ignore the full range of our emotions and try to live in a mindset that only the desired feelings are welcome or beneficial. Instead, it’s essential to give every emotion that pops up the attention and reflection they deserve.

During the quarantine, I’ve seen an off-shoot of the toxic positivity way of thinking developing — toxic productivity. …


Monthly check-in from an intense lockdown in Central America. Observations from a young expat.

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A month has passed since I explained more in-depth the lockdown measures the country of Panama has been under since about March 15, 2020. This marks now five months of very strict regulations.

I’ll provide a refresher before I add some notes on this one month update. Feel free to read the original article found below.

General lockdown measures

Majority of the population for most of these five months are living under the following:

  • Permitted to leave home three times a week during an assigned two-hour time slot which is based on the last number of one’s ID card.

For example, my permissible times to go out…


The benefits of a change of perspective when it comes to failing.

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Photo by Joseph Gruenthal on Unsplash

We’ve been asked to share our favorite successes or accomplishments we’re most proud of. But, have you ever been asked, or even considered, your favorite failure? Probably never. So allow me to do the honors.

What is your favorite failure?

We’ve probably all thought of our biggest failure, but maybe it isn’t the same answer for our favorite.

Unnecessary vs. Productive Failures

When we think of it in the way as our biggest failure, we usually look into our box of ‘unnecessary failures’. The unnecessary failures are those mistakes that most likely could have been avoided with better research or planning. Maybe they’re the things we kept trying instead of recognizing the benefits and timing of when to quit (hint: “quitting” is something you should come to respect and appreciate). …


Critical feedback is the key to personal and professional growth, but many of us suck at receiving it and are too uncomfortable to provide it.

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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

I’m nervous when I don’t receive critical feedback. I’m not sitting around waiting for it to come to me. I’m pretty proactive in asking for it, but I’m usually left feeling that it’s lacking. I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong…with both the work I wanted feedback on and how I was trying to get that feedback.

When I only hear positives, these just lead me to solidify my mistakes and they don’t allow me to come to recognize the errors (and then change them). …


Perspectives and experiences from an educator in a country with one of the strictest lockdown in the world.

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Photo by Julien Mussard on Unsplash

It’s been tough to watch the newest battle in the US from countries away: a new school year in Co-Vid times. Any decision about how to deliver classes comes with a long list of pros and cons.

Teachers have gone from selfless to selfish, heroes to enemies and everything in between. At the end of the day, though, there is no fool-proof path, and a time like this calls for flexibility, understanding, and a willingness to adapt how best needed for the greater of the whole.

It’s been interesting since I’m observing the decision-making processes while reaching the middle of the virtual school year here in Panama City, Panama. Our school year begins in March, which meant we had just two full days with our students before the country closed all schools.


From hating it to embracing it, learn to use FOMO to your advantage.

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Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

The fear of missing out. There are so many things we could be doing with our time, but deciding how to use it can be stress-inducing. Having a multitude of options isn’t a new thing, but the public sharing of these options makes us experience this anxiety of “missing out” on another level.

Remember, most people only share the “good” with the public. Even then, it’s slapped with a pretty filter and an inspiring caption. Also, successful marketing and advertising make you want to have or experience whatever it is they’re offering. …


How changing your negative perception toward ‘throwing in the towel’ will lead to a more fulfilling life.

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Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

“Quitting is not an option.”

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

“Losers quit when they’re tired, winners quit when they’ve won.”

Just like the concept of toxic positivity, we are flooded with the idea that quitting is a negative option. We’re brainwashed into thinking that if we give up a dream, walk away from a relationship, drop a class (or college in general), or quit a job, then we’ve failed.

Quitting isn’t about effort, but awareness. Quitting needs context to understand, not some blanket quote from Pinterest that guilts us into staying in places we no longer fit in. …


Lockdown in Central America compared to the United States. Observations from a young expat.

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I can’t go to the beach, but I can still enjoy it.

Social media is always a strange place. It’s even stranger during a global pandemic in which I’m riding out in one of the countries with the strictest lockdowns and my family and friends are in the U.S.

I’m not going to touch on the protests or political issues that are also dominating the U.S. news, nor am I going to dive deep into cultural differences. This is to share some personal observations and comparisons. No talk on what’s better or worse, just something to possibly encourage you to re-evaluate your own situation and open your eyes to a different perspective.

A country under full lockdown

Panama has been under an intense lockdown for about four months now. …

About

Stewart Dunn

A Kentucky girl living the tropical life in Central America. A teacher and student. Kids lit author “Nico’s New Necklace” https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734098104

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