Monday, September 18, 2006

A weekend away...

From the journal…

I’m still dealing with the whole being an adult thing. That this is the beginning of my life post-student—that I can make the decision to go wherever I want next year. I can’t believe that part of my journey includes this very moment seeing this view, being completely surrounded by mountains on every side, and watching the clouds float by at nearly eye level. It is strangely surreal. And I am shivering! The breeze is chilly, blowing my hair, and sending a chill down my back. To complete the dream-esque vista, there is a white stallion neighing on a hill in the distance. It is a very peaceful place to be. We are staying at an eco lodge in the mountains—I don’t really know what an eco lodge is—what makes something an eco lodge, but I’ll describe the place where we are staying. It is almost completely made out of wood. Probably wood found near the premises since there is no way at all that these wood planks made it here the same way that we did-which was on foot down a steep trail-maybe about a mile hike—probably not a mile. I just say a mile because I have no idea :) But we walked for what seemed like a very long time down a path no vehicles could maneuver (I love the chacos!). We were wary the whole way down anticipating the walk back up tomorrow. I’m not anticipating (but dreading if I think about it) the entire ride home. I thought I would thoroughly enjoy the hour long ride in the back of a pick-up truck while we climbed the 9000 feet to get here. But the very large truck to accommodate 11 passengers and their brimming backpacks (who really knows what to pack for mountains/hiking/swimming?!?) that was promised turned out to be a giant Twister-fest with layered sweaty arms and legs. Jon B. had to tell Emily to close her mouth because he was sweating from his perch above her—he actually stood for the whole ride. The twisty turny, sharp blind corners, drive through the middle of small creeks, drive perilously close to the side of a giant mountain left me so nauseous that I ended up having to close my eyes for the majority of the trip—missing any beautiful view that might have been—and deciding whether or not to vomit over the side of the moving truck. Anyway, the whole lodge is wooden. Hehe. The furniture is solid. Dinner was served family style on the giant wooden table—it was so nice to have people cook for us this weekend. We talked about food too much this weekend. I forgot to tell you that I fell asleep instantly after arriving at the eco lodge and woke up listening to my housemates on the giant front porch talking about their favorite meals…nachos, cheese, Italian food. We have big plans to make chocolate chip cookies as soon as we can track down some chocolate chips in this country.

After dinner we played a rousing game of fishbowl—where you put the names of people into a big bowl and then have three rounds where you first do taboo style to have everyone guess the person, then can only say one word, and then say nothing. Dewey Decimal was a hard one to act out! It was good to spend some time as a group doing something not school related. It is interesting to have this group of people that I not only live with, but work with, and hang out with in my free time. I am looking for ways to get involved in the community to not only improve my Spanish, but ensure that we don’t all drive each other bonkers after a few months of this ;)

After the game we went outside to look at the stars. There were only a few lights in some of the surrounding valleys (we could actually see our town of Cofradia and could tell that our house didn’t have power. Go figure. With only 10 seconds of looking at the sky I saw a shooting star. It is the first one that I have seen in years. I didn’t make a wish though. I’m not sure what I would wish these days. Maybe for chocolate chips, but that seems like a silly wish.

And some more (not from the journal)…

The next two days we spent doing activities away from the eco lodge. On Saturday we took a pickup truck up to Cusuco National Park where we did a four mile-ish hike. It was beautiful. I am just going to post a bunch of pictures because they will do a better job explaining than me. On the way home it started to get misty. It was like driving though a cloud (which makes sense because Cusuco is a cloud forest!). Soon it started to downpour cold rain—we couldn’t really complain—any chance to be cold is welcomed in our lives. We started singing every song we could think of that mentions the word rain. As you can imagine, everyone we passed laughed at us as they waved at the crazy gringos. It felt so wonderful to get back to the lodge, change into long sleeved clothes and eat the soup they prepared for us. Yum! We spent a lot of the evening reading, but also played Two Truths and a Lie. Of course I forgot to lie and told them all truths, but in the end it was a fun way to learn more about the people that I spend all my time with. We sure bring a diverse wealth of experiences to one room.

On Sunday we left the lodge early to hike to a waterfall. Sounds easy, but no. It was the hardest hike I’ve ever been on—two hours of steep inclines and uh declines (?). Halfway there I was ready to turn around and walk home thinking that there was no sight that could be worth finishing this hike. But we pressed on and when we got there I decided that it was worth it to swim in the cold (colder than Lake Superior!) water that only one of the other teachers would bravely enter in with me. After the refreshing swim, we laid on giant rocks to dry off some and to enjoy the mist of the cascading water. The hike back seemed shorter (it always seems to do that, doesn’t it), but we did stop a lot less to get introductions to different plants from our guide Carlos, and to eat the different kinds of fruits growing along the side of the trail. We went back to the lodge to eat lunch and quickly pack up for the ride home. It ended up raining the entire way back—and not just drizzling. The rain came down so hard that we could barely keep our eyes open. We were sitting in an inch-ish of water (me sitting on my sopping duffle bag that held my digital camera that I worried about for most of the trip home) with towels and other clothing draped over us to keep us warm from the cold rain. About halfway home it stopped raining so hard and we decided to sing once again to take our mind off the fact that we were so wet and cold. It is amazing how Disney classics can bring a group of similar aged people together. Everyone knows the songs up to the Lion King! Finally we reached home sweet home. I was barely able to hop out of the truck with my sore muscles and water logged bag. Our clothes went straight from our bodies to our clothes line and the comfy clothes went on. We soon sat down to brainstorm food options realizing that we had absolutely nothing. We had just decided on pancakes and then realized that we didn’t have any milk when there was a knock on the gate. The hilarity of what happened next is just another example of the craziness of my life. At the gate was our friend Don Wilfredo who came to tell us that his birthday party was going on and that they were waiting for us. We quickly put on our party clothes and laughed at the good news that this was for our dinner. Walking up to the house we looked through the window and saw that their living room was full of…NUNS! We kind of chuckled as we walked to the door at the fact that you never know what to expect. It was a fun party. After eating some good food, the nuns broke out a guitar and started singing patriotic songs about Honduras. They asked us to sing, but no one in our group plays guitar very well, so Sister Martina played all of the songs that she knows in English which included Yesterday, B-I-N-G-O, and Old MacDonald. Can you imagine 10 Americans singing B-I-N-G-O with a room full of nuns clapping along? I hope so, because then you will have your laugh for the day! :) It was quite something. We came back around 9 and went to bed shortly after.

This morning when I woke up I thought to myself—there is no point getting up because we have no food. It was such a discouraging thought. But I knew I had to get up! Now comes the beauty of living in a community. One of my housemates had already gone grocery shopping, one had already made coffee and saved enough for me, and another housemate was at the stove cooking up pancakes. It was a beautiful sight. As for today, it is Día de los Maestros—Teacher’s Day :) and we don’t have school. I’ll spend the day planning for this week, trying to upload all kinds of pictures for you, and washing my laundry. I hope your weekend was a good one!

Love, Sarah

p.s. Because of all of the holidays in September, we never have school! We had a day off for Children’s Day and for Independence Day which was this past Friday when we marched in a parade! Some of the kids were asked to dress up as different departments (and it seems…natural resources) of Honduras. Some of the parents went all out…here are some pictures!

p.p.s. It took so long for Cusuco pictures to upload that the parade and Children´s Day pictures will have to wait for another time. But here are some for you to look at for now!


Blogger alissa (now) edwards said...

Oh yeah for adventures Sarah. Sounds like it was a really great weekend. Climbs with views that are worth it, how great, we had one when we went to British Columbia. I can just imagine the nuns! You keep on laughing

3:02 PM  

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