Monday, January 30, 2012

And we're back!!

I was blessed with the chance to go home for Christmas. Two weeks back in the States was great. I got a much needed refresher. But all good things come to an end. So at the end of 2 weeks it was back to Honduras for my last 6 months. 

I should have known that getting back to Gracias wasn't going to be any easy task. But I never expected it to go in the direction it did.

Saturday morning obviously came too fast. I left A.J at the entrance to security in such a fog. I had such a long travel day ahead of me that the idea of leaving him didn't really hit me at that moment.

However, I got on the plane and right as we took off, the sadness hit me. I became "that girl" sobbing on the plane. Luckily I had the window seat and just looked out as we took off. But I literally couldn't control the crying until I started to smell something. I glance over and the girl on the aisle is throwing up. So the woman in the middle of us is sandwiched between a cryer and a vomiter. That was enough to pull me out of my sadness.  

Good thing I was 20 minutes into my 12 hour trip home and it was starting just how I imagined it, interesting!

I got to Houston, grabbed my last Starbucks and met Jenna and Kristin for our plane ride to San Pedro Sula
Adios U.S., hello Honduras.... or so we thought

10 minutes before we were supposed to land, the pilot comes on the loud speaker and informs us that a plane has broken down on the runway (there is only one runway) so we will circle the area for 15 minutes, if the plane isn't moved we will have to fly to El Salvador to  refuel.


Yep, you guessed it, we had to fly to El Salvador for gas. We end up sitting on the plane in El Salvador for 2 hours waiting for word on the runway situation in Honduras. Good thing it was 85 degrees outside and our plane was sitting in the El Salvadorian sun, roasting.

Jenna, Kristin and I are unfortunately not sitting together. So we are talking over rows about the rest of our travels to Gracias. Since we are in the middle of coffee season, buses are more likely to get robbed because people are carrying more cash. We have been warned to stay off the 4 o'clock bus back to Gracias because it has been consistently been getting robbed.

So Jenna and her seat neighbor start chatting and she realizes they are going to Santa Rosa Copan, town 45 km from Gracias for some missionary work. They offer to help us once we get our luggage and speak to their contact in Honduras.

Well God was watching over us that day because the cutest nun I have ever seen, inquires about our situation. Once she realizes we are stranded here in San Pedro Sula, she is ademant about helping us. No matter what it took she said she wanted to help us.

After chatting with this missionary group for a while, they inform us there is enough room in their van for the three of us. 


They even bough us dinner on our way to Santa Rosa Copan. This group of Catholic missionaries took us in and helped us out even more than we could have ever asked for. It was an amazing jester of humanity.

They did offer to give us a room in the orphanage where they were working, but it had been a long day. We needed to relax.
View from the room. Hey beggers can't be choosers.

Our room. 

The next morning we took a taxi to the bus stop.

 Lesson learned that day: be aware of YOUR bag at all times. 

As we approach the bus terminal our taxi is surrounded by about 5-8 men yelling for us for different destinations. The taxi driver tells them we are going to Gracias, but half of them are still not listening.

We get out of the taxi and these men won't leave us alone. They are insistent we get on their bus, even though it isn't going where we want to go. 

It then becomes almost like a tug-a-war with our bags. One guy takes off with two of our backpacks. He crosses the street, headed for who knows where!!

I am sprinting after him, dodging cars and yelling to bring our bags back. He finally turns around looks at me as if I have messed up his plan of putting my luggage on another bus.

I escort those backpacks onto a different bus and then panic sets in with Jenna. Where is her roller bag? I looked at her and told her I had not clue. My goal was to stay with MY backpack. I wasn't watching her bag. She sprints across the street and stands in front of th,e bus that she believes her bag has been put on. 

I was thinking her bag was a gonner!! But in true Jenna fashion she stops the bus, and gets her bag,while causing a huge scene. But she got her bag back, that's was most important part of it. We all just sit down and look at each other with this huge sigh of relief. But Jenna then decides to run and get some food, in which the bus almost leaves without her. 

We spent the next 45 minutes shaking out heads. We couldn't believe how the last day had played out. 

We finally gotten home. 32 hours after I had left San Antonio, I was finally able to set my bag down on my bed. What a relief that was! 

It was great to be back to throwing toilet paper in the trash, walking everywhere, cooking without a light in the kitchen, cat calls from every Honduran man in the street and the sound of roosters and dogs barking at all hours of the night. 

Ahhhhh the life in Honduras. 21 more weeks :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas Rush...Honduras style

Every year Minerva puts on a Christmas parade. Different parts of the school are responsible for a float: kindergarten, primary and secondary each has their own float. Primary decided to have our theme be "Santa's workshop". We had a table in the middle with Santa's helpers (apparently the word elf is offensive in Honduras), presents and of course Santa. We thought it would be great to use some of the second graders to be Santa's helpers and get one of the male teachers to be Santa. Unfortunately, none of the male teachers wanted to be Santa. We attempted to ask some of the seniors to do it but once again we were turned down. So through a few discussions, it was settled that I would be Santa on the float. I honestly thought it was going to be great.... Until I saw what I was sitting on. 

I had to sit on a sleigh made by our art teacher and the seniors. It had 1 piece of plywood holding it together. Now put that on top of a truck...driving on cobblestone street, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. I sat in it while it was parked on our school campus and thought to myself "How am I going to stay stationary on this thing???" 

But through my broken Spanish I demanded they tie the sleigh down really well and I knew I would be fine. 

The week of the parade was absolutely crazy. We were finishing up finals and putting together all of our grades. I was overwhelmed with making my students costumes. They were snowflakes and I am the overachiever who decided I could make 19 of them!! Lucky for me, my angel Miss Kristin helped me power through and get them done in time!!
Lisbeth, Deborah and Heylin the night of the parade. 

Along with all this we still had to build our float and practice our song and dance for the Christmas show. So needless to say it was a crazy week. 

But before we knew it the night of the parade was upon us.  

The beginning of the madness. Teachers and students meeting to get costumes on and get ready for the parade.

Miss Kristin and I before the parade.... This is pre-Santa outfit!

A few of the second graders as Santa's helpers

The front of our float...I am barely visible but if you look to the left of the middle snowflake, I am on top of the float in the sleigh!

Here I am as Santa... There is nothing like sitting in a sleigh and yelling "Ho, Ho Ho Feliz Navidad"

There was only one moment where there was cause for concern. I was sitting in the sleigh and waving at people when I hear one of my Honduran teacher friends yelling at me in Spanish to duck my head. I glance behind me and see that I am close to being nailed in the head with telephone wires. For some reason the idea of being decapitated by the low hanging wires never even crossed my mind!!

As we approach Parque Central I see that the band is heading for the stage. So I yell to Miss Kristin and remind her that I am still up in the sleigh and don't forget about me. But you know what happens, of course everyone forgets about me.

Not one person remembered that Santa was still in the sleigh!

I finally get my principals attention and remind her that everyone has forgotten about me. But she can't stop laughing that I am sitting in the sleigh all by myself and everyone on my float has left. They had even turned the lights off!

So I manuever my way down the float and it is a mad dash to the bathroom to change and get ready for my kids performance in the show. 

But that is easier said than done. People are all yelling "Santa Santa" and then doing a double take that I am only 5'5, wearing checkered Vans and I am arm-in-arm with my friend Ana Maria. 

Pretty soon after, my kiddos were up for their Christmas performance. They sang "What Christmas Means to Me" by: Steve Wonder

The performance was a hit! The kids did a great job (I would post the video but the internet is too slow). 

My little "Snowflakes" singing.

YEAH!! Merry Christmas!

We are done!! Colleen, Annie, Ana Maria and I headed back to our house.

Next stop... Utila, Bay Islands!

Colleen, Jenna and I decided to stop off at the Bay Islands, before we made our way back to the U.S for Christmas. Needless to say, we had an amazing time.

Amazing view from our tanning spot.


Just doing a little meditation on our snorkeling adventure.

Great friends!

Beautiful sunset with Colleen.

The rays of sunlight, breathtaking 

The girls and I after dinner at a really cool hostel. 
Next morning we were off to the U.S. 

Clean water, fresh laundry, and my amazing family, friends and boyfriend!! WAHOO can't wait!