My daughter Keka (Angelica) just graduated from high school. In this part of Panama, at least, graduation is serious business. Three major social events are involved. Keka went to the first on Wednesday night – a dinner with all the students in her year and all the teachers. The parents paid for the teacher’s food and drinks as well as those of the students.

Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony itself. Keka will wear a gown and a mortar board, while the rest of the family are required to dress formally. I’ve had to resort to renting a jacket and buying trousers, shirts and shoes, as I don’t possess any clothes that would be suitable. The school warned the students that anyone who gets rowdy (i.e., throws their mortar board in the air!) will not receive their diploma.

The third event, a dinner-dance for students, parents and friends, involves evening dresses and hours spent with the hairdresser and make-up artists. It is to be held at an exclusive (usually members-only) private club.  I hope I survive to enjoy Christmas…