16.05.2010 98 °F
33 more days. 33 more times to awake to beauty of the mountains. 33 more chances to walk into OLR and be surrounded by the paralyzing joy that is the girls. I feel like I’m squinting my eyes to fend off my last days here but every now and then it comes into focus and my heart weighs so heavy that I can barely stand it. Yesterday, when I was getting ready to go the mall with Hannah, I told her I thought I should buy another white shirt for work because my others have all but deteriorated. She looked at me and said, “It’s not worth it, you’d only wear it four more times. “ And I started crying. I can’t truly articulate how this is! It is time for me to come home, and I want to come home but this has been my life for the past 9 months and somehow through all the pain, my ridiculously difficult job, the unrelenting poverty, the thick danger that coats this city, the unabashed sexism, the sting of isolation…..the thought of leaving burns a hole into my chest.
“Eliza knew she would miss this coastline, this sea, when she left. Though she would come to know another, it would be different. Other birds and other plants, waves whispering their stories in foreign tongues. Yet it was time.” The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
I have seen a new face of God in this place. I never realized that God could look different, feel different, than the one I’ve always known. I feel like I’ve discovered a new aspect to his personality, a new curve to his face, the way his hair falls. It is stunning and frightening at the same time. So I give thanks, thanks for this year, for all the pain endured and beauty discovered.
Ok, I'm going to go back into fuzzy vision again. Its safer.
And now for.......
Top Ten “Charming” Ism’s of Honduras
Hannah and I have argued over the use of the word ‘charming’, some of these I would put in ‘obnoxious’ column.
10. Fruit. Fruit vendors on the side of the road. At any given point of the day, there will be men selling bags of fruit on the side of the road. Ok, so apparently there are lots of fruits I don’t know, such as green mangos, which the natives like with salt and chili sauce sauce. Ummm….bleh. I think these are the Honduran apple, some of my students have given me these and I just can’t get them down while smiling and saying "Thank you!".
9. Personal space. When standing in line, at the puleperia or at the grocery store, Hondurans have no problem cutting in front of you. So you literally have to press your body against the people crowding around you to get what you need, even if you were obviously there first. It feels akin to Whack-A-Mole. I just want a big cushy mallet to bop people with.
8. Tying to number nine, grocery carts. The aisles are about half the size of those in the states, where there is the unspoken rule of two lanes and how to conduct yourself accordingly. So in Honduras you have one lane. And people have no qualms about leaving their carts in the middle of the flipping aisle and browsing while you stand there waiting for them to move their cart. So you just move it for them. Once you get over and just play by their rules, its fine. So I just friggin move them.
7. Presentation. Hondurans, in general, are obsessed with presentation. Which is admirable in some ways. But they will spend countless hours on arranging things in order of their color, size, texture…..when its just rubber, glitter dusted ducks sent in bulk from Tokyo.
6. Nails. Honduran women sometimes (a lot of the time) grow their toenails really long because apparently it looks better when they get their nails done. And sometimes men have scarily long thumbnails, which after questioning, is not for drugs, but vanity’s sake.
5. Buen provecho. I really do love this. Rarely do we say ‘bon appetite’ but this is very common here. As new clients come into a restaurant or yesterday, when Hannah and I were eating at the food court at the mall, people say ‘Buen Provecho’ as they pass. Good appetite. Eat well. Enjoy your food. Charment.
4. Cutting the wire. If your electricity bill isn’t paid on time, there is a man who comes in a truck and gets out, takes wire cutters and literally cuts your cord.
3. Mopping. These people are crazy for it. Mopping their homes, work places, restaurants, malls, etc. And when I think of this chore, I think of it being done at night, or in the morning before you open…..no, no, no. It is when the halls at school are packed with kids, there is no room to walk at the mall, when there is an important meeting going on. And if you don’t jump they’ll slosh your feet.
2. Doorbells. There aren’t any. You bang the gate and scream till someone lets you in.
1. The lingo. Here are some of my favorite phrases I’ve learned.
Que pedo?/What fart? (What’s up?)
Mi cielo/My sky (pet name)
Mi amor/My love (people say this to everyone here and I love that, wish we were more like that)
Zappo/Frog (We don’t have a word that really fits but it means like annoying or inappropriate person)
Chancha/Pig (When you burp or do something obnoxious, this is what you’ll get)
Que vaya bien/Go well (A common parting phrase)