Sarah's Adventures in Honduras

Friday, June 22, 2007

I rewarded myself for ending up in the right part of town by treating myself to a Moccachino Supreme—the closest thing Honduras can manage to an Iced Caramel Mocha Frappucino ;) I think that my expectations have been forever skewed by the generous employee who served me my first, with surprising whole cookie chunks in the bottom of the cup. Haven’t run into those dang cookie chunks since.

I headed to the bank and hoped my odds for getting money were good (you never really know). The security guard made me squish my duffel between storage containers and the glass bank window (no large security containers available—I guess most people don’t take their travel luggage to the bank…) After the common (minor) frisking before entering, I headed into the revolving door. At this point the revolving door stopped revolving and a voice came over the loud speaker. Uh oh. Everyone is looking at me pushing at the revolving door. This must have to do with me and my moccaccino. I glance and the bank security guard and he is signaling me to back-track. Dang. No Mocaccinos allowed.

It struck me as not a good sign that my bus station was in the middle of a road flanked by funeral parlors…

Contrary to the assurance I received that half an hour before was a terrific time to arrive at the bus station. I arrived to find the line out the door. An hour and a half later I buy a ticket for a bus leaving 2 hours later than my original plan. No problem. I’m in no hurry. I’m on vacation.

There is a little boy riding a bike with training wheels in circles through the line. One training wheel is slightly higher than the other so he balances slightly perilously. He has crashed into and ran over several understanding people.

On the bus

I’m sitting next to an angel. Grey ringlets escaping from her tight bun, deep creases in her face showing the years of laughter and tears. She offers me one of her packs of tajadas, which I politely decline. She burps grape soda and hocks loogies out of the window. I think she is beautiful.
I think about her four daughters. Again, childbirth blows me away. I try to imagine the powerful effect it must have on a person to share their body—house a growing, living being for nine months. Incredible.

I splurged on a taxi—the $2.50 was well worth it—me not having to make out heads from tails in this crazy un-navegable-to-an-outsider city built into the hills.

The weather has put me into a terrific mood.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

maiden voyage

There is something about getting in a car and driving for the first time, all by yourself, with your freshly non-restricted (silly MI) license.

Similarly, there is something about packing your bag and going on your first cross-foreign country trip (the kind of trip you don´t tell your mother about until you´ve safely reached your destination. Sorry mom ;))

So I find myself in Tegucigalpa, my first home in Honduras. I keep kicking myself for being at the internet and not having my little notebook of all of the funny adventures along the way. But I wanted to write you a little something anyway.

I will ask for disculpe in advance from all those San Pedro lovers, but I just have to say that Tegucigalpa is the FAR superior Honduran city. It would win, hands down, even if the only comparison made was the weather. It is beautiful. It is reminiscent of a perfect May day to hit West Michigan--the kind of day that can´t help but lift your spirits and make you walk a little lighter. It is the first time in a long time that I have stood in the sun and not wanted to run for shelter or scream. Instead, I produced an involuntary sigh of contentment.

I´ve finally been able to relax. Lots of telenovelas, porch sitting, and trying my very best to communicate in Spanish.

A week from tomorrow I will be in Chicago. That is such a strange strange thought.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Marilyn made me light the gas stove tonight. Our NEW gas stove. The one that made us dance for joy in the candlelight when we lost power during massive house dinner preparation. Yes, that would be the one. The one that I was terrified to light. Correction: I AM terrified to light. But Marilyn was there to help me conquer my fear. Ahem—force me to face my fear. I singed all all the hair off of my ring finger. And the fear remains.

There have been hard moments of saying goodbye. Saying goodbye to Elvis was one of those moments. We held hands all day. More for me than for him.

I won’t miss washing my clothes.
The other day I realized that I didn’t really have any clothes left that I hadn’t sweat profusely in. So I spent over an hour at the pila takin’ care of business. Later that night I gathered all of the dry clothes from the line, brought them in, and folded them up to put away when I noticed that over half of them were covered in bird poop. Back in the laundry bag they went.

I won’t miss itching anywhere on my dirty, sweaty body and breaking out into a rash.

But there are a lot of things I will miss about my home here in Honduras. I will miss all of the people playing and talking outside. The soft breeze that blows through the back porch in the late afternoon. The mountains behind the palm trees filling my whole view as I do the to school loop run.

10 more days.

Another slightly terrifying thought.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

School is officially over.

It is hard to believe. In many ways it feels like I had just gotten started. But I can smile and think of reasons why it was also a very long year. It wasn’t as sad or hard on our last day altogether—mainly because I am having small groups of them come in next week to hang out with me and play with me as we do all the games and activities that are hard in a big group. There will be a small group each morning until 11:15 when I’ll spend time cleaning my room and working on paperwork. So much paperwork. Also helping alleviate the hard, sad part of the end of the year is that I’m ready to hand them over to another capable teacher with fresh energy and enthusiasm. I can leave knowing that I put all my energy into doing the best at my job, confident that someone else will continue it.

Maybe you remember how gullible I am. Yesterday was another one of those times that I was completely in the dark. Apparently Jasmine and Thiago had been telling fibs all week, leading us to believe that we were to have an end of the year teacher’s meeting. At our weekly Thursday staff meeting this week, Thiago announced that it would be at 5pm on Friday—our last day of school. You can imagine how that went over—not too popular of an idea at all. Miss Kenya even wrote on the whiteboard at school that we should ser puntuales (be punctual). And they said they would even have it at our house for convenience. I thought that was a nice gesture on their part, saving us an evening walk to school (on the LAST day of school!) So around 4:50 I went out to clean off the back table and organize the porch. Marilyn swept and I set up chairs. At 5:10 still no one had arrived. I was sitting in one of the chairs I set up, feeling a little ticked that we were asked to be punctual when no one else was going to be punctual...
Around 5:15 Thiago showed up to tell us that the meeting was moved to the other house. You’ve got to be kidding, we thought, but maybe this means that there will be a cake...

There was more than a cake. We arrived at our own personal party—first happy hour and appetizers, music, and posters filled with pictures from throughout the year exclaiming “You Did It!” and “Felicitaciones!” Jasmine dressed up in black and white to serve us. Later we were instructed to return back to our own house and were surprised by a huge dinner feast. They had gone to the special grocery store in San Pedro to score boneless, skinless chicken breasts (imagine that!) and made both chicken and eggplant parmigiana, and all kinds of other deliciousness. We weren’t allowed to help, wash, move anything. Stuffed, we played a rousing game of Fishbowl (also called “The Game” or Celebrity), one round being Charades—in Spanish—which made it a lot harder. Except for the Charades round ;)

It was a good night.

Monday, June 04, 2007


today it was around 100 degrees in my classroom--in the shade--with both fans blasting. That doesn't even include humidity! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!