Saturday, January 13, 2007

Back in the Hond.

That is what I have been telling people. Though you haven’t gotten the full story. I’ve been putting off writing—call it a mix of business, laziness, and intimidation, but here goes nothing, prompted by the list of 13 people I wanted to respond to last night. Hopefully a little blog will help keep people informed as I plow through the emailing.

It was a harder, longer process getting back to Honduras than traveling to the States. After three hours of sleep two dedicated friends (one old, one new) helped my load up the weighty bags and head to O’ Hare to head out. I must say that the rest of my time in the States continued to be very dream like and smooth up to this point. My new friend pulled up with coffee waiting for me in the front seat, my (previously unweighed) bags weighed in at 50.5 and 51.5 which made my mouth drop open. I made it quickly and safely through all security measures, a tearful (on my part, of course) goodbye, and here is where I can say that things took a turn for the crazy. I boarded my plane and got all cozy to fall asleep immediately, but then the pilot came over the intercom, "The sensor thingys on one wing flap aren’t talking to the sensor thingys on the other wing flap (at least this is what it sounded like to me)." He said that they would just turn the plane off and see if that would correct the problem because apparently that is supposed to work. It was the most eerie experience. Everything went pitch black and silent. Children started to cry. The darkness lasted a minute before the plane was turned back on and the plane fixin’ was determined unsuccessful. They said they would call some mechanics, but that it would take them 20 minutes to get to the airport. Don’t ask ME why they don’t KEEP some mechanics at the airport in case something like THIS happens. Whatever. So they had us get off the plane. I’ll fast forward ahead to keep you reading. Three hours later I was back on the plane. When they went in to fix the silly common problem, they found that the hydraulic pump was busted. Yeah, that means nothing to me either, but the pilot told us that had we taken off with the silly problem, because of the hydraulic pump problem, we would have had to figure out how to land the plane without gears…which sounds like a bad idea to me…so I am thankful that we didn’t take off that morning. When I was on the plane there was still an itsy bitsy tiny chance that I would be able to make my connecting flight in Atlanta—only because the pilot agreed with all the other pilots on the radio that we would fly at a lower altitude "through the weather" which would just make for a bumpier ride. They didn’t know that "the weather" would include a tornado. We ended up circling over Roanoke, Virginia for an hour waiting for things to clear up. I didn’t know until after we landed at 12:15 that a tornado had touched down in Atlanta around noon. SO, missed the connection. (I must add that they tried to make up for everything by serving unlimited snacks and beverages. That was pretty cool :) )At first I was bummed that there was no way that I could get back to Honduras by the end of the day…

but Delta treated me well. They put me up in a hotel, gave me a shuttle there, and food vouchers. I’ve never felt more adult in my life than checking into that hotel. Isn’t that weird? But it is true. To get a room key and go up to my room. It was big pimpin’. I’ve never slept in a bed that big before :) It ended up being such a blessing to be alone and unwind, journal, nap, and read. It is a time I am thankful for. I was able to sleep in the next morning a little—I mean, anything is sleeping in the day after getting up at 2:30am! The Atlanta airport was nutso, but by 2pm I was back in the Hond.
And a little on that…

It has been harder than I thought it would be to be back in Honduras. Probably because I didn’t think that it would be very hard at all. I mean, after 4 months, I thought I had this down. I envisioned coming back and just picking up where I left off, in all aspects of life. Everything was so routine and normal before I left that I thought I would come back and everything would fall back into place. But it hasn’t been that easy. Call it culture shock, but the little inconveniences of life are rubbing me more than I want them to. Somehow I managed to get 20 mosquito bites my first day back—wearing bug spray. That night I had nightmares about being attacked by ants in my bed and I actually woke up and had to check because it isn’t all that improbable. I had forgotten how dirty not only I am all the time, but everything in my life is all the time. And I was spoiled by a variety of foods in the States that I don’t eat while I’m here (ironically, I picked beans and homemade tortillas for my birthday dinner haha). Somehow instead of feeling good to be back with my housemates, our differences seemed magnified. Maybe because before Christmas I just had a general fuzzy ache of "homesickness" while not longing for any specific home or place. But since returning from the States, the ache comes bringing specific people, places, and hugs to mind. And once again I feel very far away from them. But each day gets easier. Yesterday helped…

There was a downpour when school was letting out. Anna and I decided to pack up quickly and try to hitch a ride with one of the students. I grabbed my poncho that one of my students half ripped the hat off, (during one of the worse weeks) so now I have a giant gaping hole around the neck region. I put it on anyway, which ended up being a good decision not because of the protection it provided from the rain, but because of the looks on peoples’ faces and laughter that came when seeing me wearing it! It might have helped if we were walking home, but the minute we climbed into the back of the truck and started off for home, it billowed out behind me like a giant bright yellow cape, whipping water all over everyone nearby. I peeled it off carefully and stuck it under one foot while gripping for dear life onto the slippery truck top. We arrived home to find no electricity. It didn’t return until around 7pm so that meant lesson planning by candlelight and cornflakes for dinner. That was the kind of experience that bonded me and my housemates together in the beginning, so it was good to have one of those again.

so, that’s life folks.


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