Monday, November 27, 2006

We are back after 5 days away from the Cof.

It is strange because most of my time away didn’t even feel like it was spent in Honduras. We stayed with Doreen’s family in Nueva Suyapa (after a ridiculous Dutch bingo connection that I won’t even get into right now). You must know that Nueva Suyapa is considered a slum. Calvin Profs Kurt and JoAnn Verbeek (who lead Calvin’s Development Semester) live there, so I had previously visited, and was wondering what my housemate’s reaction would be. Doreen’s aunt and uncles’ house was under construction. We actually had to walk on piles of rubble and rusty sheet metal to get to our room. None of the rooms had doors (not even the bathroom), but flowing cotton sheets or curtains providing a small sense of privacy. Five of us shared two double beds, which we pushed together and made us feel like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Shrieking ensued when a big cockroach was found on our giant bed. To turn the light on in our room we had to plug a plug into an outlet in the hallway. The vote was then that our accommodations reminded everyone of what they picture Afghanistan to be like. So this is where we stayed…drumroll…while we were attending a conference for bilingual school teachers downtown at the Marriot Hotel. Super giant (no strong enough words) choque. Luxurious, extravagant, excessive. I couldn't have felt more out of place. I felt like everyone could look at us and tell that we were the RURAL bilingual school teachers. I was so glad I didn't wear the chacos! So many people in fancy clothes, suits, highlighted, blow-dried, curled hair, make-up, bling bling, heels. None of us even showered before putting on our wrinkly clothes. There was ice water in a pitcher in every room. There were appetizers, fresh watermelon and pineapple juice between sessions! And at the end of the day we went back to Nueva Suyapa. A few of my housemates went to the bar one night and their ride back refused to drive them back to Nueva Suyapa saying that he wouldn't go there at that time of night without tinted windows and a big gun. A lot to think about.

There could be a whole other blog about first time back in Tegucigalpa since I studied there back in the day--stay tuned...but it was terrific and too short. I met up with some Calvin friends doing the same thing I did only three years before them.

It was hard to leave the Calvin folk. I wanted to cling to them since they are heading back so soon to something so safe and familiar. In fact, I know from experience, that no matter how much their time in Honduras has impacted or changed them, life will return very much to what it was like before. Things will more or less go back to “normal.” There will be new close relationships, affirmed or ignited interests or passions, but they will slip back into the rhythms of college life with perhaps only a toe momentarily dragging in the mud. I was jealous of them for having a rhythm of life to return to. I realized that for me there isn’t a normal to go back to. That this, what my life looks like right now, is normal. And that is a very strange thought.

It hit me on the bus—the Zamorano school bus—riding to Tegucigalpa with the school children to meet up with our busito to take us the rest of the 4ish hours back to our house, how much the other teachers and my administrator have become my family. We’ve passed through the initial stages and have reached a point where we have seen each other through all emotions. We’ve seen each other in the great joy that comes from receiving mail or a phone call from a loved one, to the other side of the spectrum—the frustration and sadness that comes from feeling like we have failed. We’ve passed through the phase where we begin to see each other’s quirks that can quickly become annoying. We’ve acknowledged the ways we peeve each other and work on them.

“Marilyn, can you please not leave half avocados in the refrigerator.”

“Yeah, no problem.”

5 minutes later…

“Hey guys, if I only eat half an avocado…what do I do with the other half…?”

“Yeah, that is what I was wondering too…”

“It’s not that you eat half that is the problem, it is that there are already 4 avocado halves in the refigerator!”

“Oooooohhh.”

The thought that hit me so hard in the bus was that we are all broken people. A giant dysfunctional family. We all bring our own weaknesses and quirks along with our strengths. We might drive each other up the wall sometimes, but we are all in this together. We are united in our vision for our school and for our kids, we are doing our best, and we are doing it together. It was and is a nice feeling to be hit with.

Tonight we (meaning the housemates and myself) finally broke into the chocolate chips that Marilyn’s mother brought us (mom, I definitely already chowed down the ones you sent me). Why the heck does this country not sell this food product?!? I want to tell them that if they did, people—like us—would buy them. We made some yummy chocolate chip cookies. Anna and I only made half a batch—which turned out to be 3 cookies per person. Hilary voted a whole batch, but we tried to tell her that we were trying to prevent gorging since it is certain that we would eat all of the cookies we made. But the after making stir fry tonight and having a candlelight housemate dinner on the back porch, we are itching for more cookies. I keep hearing the opening and closing of the refrigerator, a sure sign of housemates eating the leftover chocolate chips (I thought I was the only one to sneak another handful!) After dinner, Hilary (organized game woman) proposed that we should play something. We agreed to a game called Essences—a game where a person is chosen to leave while the rest decide on a person. The first person comes back to ask questions which the rest of the people answer based on the essence of the chosen person. Sounds more complicated than it really is. When I left and had to come back to guess which person’s essence they were trying to portray, it turned out that they had chosen me and were describing my essence to me! It was so interesting to think back on their answers to questions such as: If this person were a type of transportation what would they be? If this person were a color, a beverage, a music genre, an animal, etc! How interesting to know what my essence says to my housemates :) Here is what they decided—I think they did a pretty good job, but I’ll let you decide for yourself :)

If I were a hairstyle I would be a braid—a long, thick braid. If I were a color I would be a soft royal blue. As a music genre I would be folk, as an article of clothing I would be sweatpants. If I were an animal I would be a bear or lion cub—or perhaps a one-year-old lion since it would be less defenseless—though it was argued that a lion cub is not all that defenseless. If I were a type of transportation I would be an affordable, efficient car—like a Toyota. If I were an occupation (other than teacher) I would be a nurse or pediatrician. If I were a beverage I would be a root beer float or a licuado with ice cream, which we then decided is a milkshake. If I were a body piercing, I would not be a piercing, but rather a hidden tattoo. Intriguing.

ok, I'll peace out on that lighter note.

I'm listening to Christmas jams... :D

much love.

2 Comments:

Blogger hooshotjr said...

I miss you Sarah! I LOVE your updates! I'm listening to some Steven Delopoulos...it's enjoyable. Remember Burlap to Cashmere? It's that guy.

6:53 PM  
Blogger alissa (now) edwards said...

Hey Sarah,
Miss you, sounds like Tegucigalpa was quiet the time! Happy late Thanksgiving! Enjoy those chocolate chips!

7:04 AM  

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