A Travellerspoint blog

Mi vida en photos

sunny 100 °F

This was my morning ;) And it's about time I got some pictures up of the reason why I'm here.

Before church, just hanging out.
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Ok, I know you're not supposed to say these sort of things.....but this girl is one of my favorite students. Katherine, a 6th grader, was one of my "problems" at the onset of the year but we've learned to work together....but she's still the class clown. She is also VERY bright.
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Its 97 degrees today. And there is no air conditioning on that bus.
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Ok.....I know I'm still not supposed to say these sort of things.....but this is another favorite. Ana Ruth, 5th grade. You should see this girl's smile, it would bring you to your knees. This is also a candid of Hannah, who looks lovely.
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And here are a string of pictures of the girls doing one of their group photos that I assume they send to their sponsors and use for the promotional stuff.

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And as I said in my previous post, there are two new additions to the home.
That's her in the center, with the flower dress.
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And her younger, biological sister.......the screaming one.
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The school has its big parade tomorrow! We're going to march five blocks in our nice clothes and with our band and twirlers and dancers all of primary and secondary and the scary 2nd graders. Also, it will be very hot. We've been practicing our marching around the school and one early Saturday morning in the neighborhood to make sure we get it just right. The first time, I couldn't tell if I should laugh at how ridiculous it felt, like little marching Nazis. Or if I should take pride in the fact these kids can actually do this. I'll let you know how things go tomorrow. And then there's a pool party for the teachers....and then TELA on Tuesday!

Also, its 100 degrees outside right now. Insanity. I love it.

Posted by buscarme 13:26 Archived in Honduras Tagged volunteer Comments (1)

New Additions to the Home Today

82 °F

I want to write about this while this is still fresh on my mind.

I know that as I express myself here, I could feel completely on the flip side tomorrow. But I want to catch this moment as it is now, it gives me hope.

I can't tell you how many days I've heard my alarm go off at 5:15 and think, "There is no way I can do this for a year."
The door to the fourth grade classroom is like a door to hell. But I have to face it and walk in there twice a day, five days a week. And then Diana came and said we also have an obligation to tutor three times a week at the home. And ug. After 8 hours in the school the last thing I want to do is sit and teach more. Things are getting better but its by no means easy. I already know nothing worth doing is, so leave me alone and you go in there and teach everyday while I get a massage.

THE POINT is I realized my attitude is a choice. I know I'm not invincible or that I'm the energizer bunny and I need breaks and need to take care of myself but....I am 23. I can work for 8 hours. Then I can go tutor for awhile, then go home, take a little break, then go for a run. Then I feel like I've earned my hour of 2 and 1/2 Men. You know what I mean?

I've been making excuses not to hang out with the girls, not to practice my Spanish.
I'm scared. I've been walking on egg shells around them. A good majority of them are suspicious. And why shouldn't they be? Americans come and go here all the time and they HAVE been abandoned for crying out loud.

As I was running today, with the mountains bobbing with my strides, I felt God. He's always been more accessible to me through nature than other things....like say the bible, because I have the attention span of a three year old. And I know that's my fault. But he doesn't make me feel guilty for it, he just wants to communicate with me so desperately he uses whatever he can. And you cannot escape the mountains in San Pedro Sula.

Anyway, he said, "Love them fiercely, Emily. And love them without apology." And I realized the only thing holding me back in my life here, is me. Jesus never apologized for loving people, he just did. No questions asked. And I'm not saying my love will save anyone, after all, as proved over and over in these posts, I'm only human.

Two new girls were welcomed into the home today. It was magical to see all the girls crowd around and welcome these new sisters. All of them. The ones that scare me, the ones that openly accept me, the ones that are doing well in my classes, the ones that aren't, the trouble makers, the loners, the ones with learning disabilities and behavioral problems....all of them were ready to extend their family, no questions asked.

If only we all knew how to do that. Keep learning though, that's what I charge you to do. I find myself challenged by that on a daily basis here.

So....I'm learning, learning, learning. And God is working, which is what I was kind of hoping for. Gotta keep giving him space though. That's the hard part.

I also want to give a shout out to Asher H. R., Hannah's new baby nephew, born today! Welcome to the world, love!

Also, Honduras plays Mexico tonight. VAYA HONDURAS!!!!

Posted by buscarme 17:19 Archived in Honduras Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

Vaya Honduras!

0 °F

Very charged and interesting couple days.

Lets break it down.

1. I got the hotel I wanted! We will be staying in Tela on September 15-18th. In a hotel one block from the beach. And we will also be going on a guided tour THROUGH THE RAIN FOREST. You know that list you make of things you want to do before you die? That was definitely on there. And there will be monkeys. I really want to hold one. But my father reminded me they might bite but I hope the tour guide can lead us to tame bunch. Also, there will be snorkeling. (And I am very proud of all this because I found it and am in the process of booking it--with the help of Spanish speaking Hannah. So you see mom, I am capable of caring and putting effort into planning a trip and next time, I'll help.)

Here is the link to the hotel we'll be staying at.
http://www.hotelgrancentral.com/uk/location.html

2. Open House. I had to stand in front of all the parents of the children I teach. I did not enjoy this. These parents expect a lot. And this is a problem seeing as I have no experience. But I just smiled and said yes to their demands, which were few. I'm feeling pretty good about the school thing. Aside from the lack of communication from the administration, the politics of the staff, and the complete disarray of the students. The little piece that is mine at the school is manageable and I can do it.

3. So remember when I told you I rode in the back of Diana's truck and drove through San Pedro Sula with out a camera? Well, different truck, it was day time and I had my camera.
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The giant KFC is a little too much I think.......
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This Amy. Daughter of Erica. She is pretty rocking. This is another case of Yo no hablo espanol y ella no habla ingleis but we make it work.
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ok......this is my Diva shot. I'm allowed a couple of these thank you very much.
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4. Honduras vs. Trinidad. 4-1. Hondurans knows how to celebrate.......(still figuring out the camera, so some of these aren't great)

We started out at Uno's to watch the game with Dirian (another teacher) and her boyfriend, Haraldo.
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We got hats.
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Then decided to go for a drive down the middle of the city.
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Hannah and I weren't the only ones hanging out of our car
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This would've been awesome if it was in focus!
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I love these pictures of Hannah, so that's why there are so many of them. (Hannah, tell me if you want me to take them down and I will;))
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My turn!
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And finally, the perpetually sweaty sweaty me at the end of our evening!
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Hannah took a video on her camera, if I am able to post that on here in the future I will.
Glorious, glorious weekend.

Posted by buscarme 14:35 Archived in Honduras Tagged volunteer Comments (2)

And here's the rub.....

21 °F

So, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been fuddling on the road to San Pedro for quite some time. I've felt kind of like a migratory animal. It's time to head south. Don't really have a good reason (unlike migratory animals), but I just knew I needed to go. And I left the states with no expectations other than this was going to be difficult.

After the interview in Miami, I had prepared myself for extreme culture shock. And the way I usually deal with overload or unhappiness is to hibernate. Lock myself away. Watch movies. Be anti-social.

But.....nothing, nada. I feel at home in the city, in my house, in the culture. So I thought the hard part was over. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed. I'm here to grow, am I not? How am I to grow if every thing's pretty easy?

Well, that truck's been hitting me over and over the past couple weeks. I about to begin my THIRD week of teaching this coming Monday. I did the theatre thing. Its exhausting, parents are scary when they're upset, I run out of creative stuff. 6 hours a day with around 30-40 kids. I did this for nearly two months straight, starting a new show practically every week. New set of kids, new set of challenges. I had kids with behavior problems, kids with physical disabilities, kids with learning disabilities....lice.

I thought teaching would be a breeze.

Lord oh Lord, forgive me of my ignorance.

We were told we would receive training. Well, our 'training' was the orientation with all the other teachers who have their education degrees. So we had to learn fast. As I've said, I'm teaching 4-6th. And within my first couple days, I had found my problem kid in each grade. (Interestingly enough, each was a girl from the home.) I have made peace with two of the three. I had to send the one to the principle today because she flatly refused to take a test I was giving.

I don't know how to control a classroom. The worst part of my day is walking into that 4th grade classroom. My job is my life. I have to be at the school at 6:30am and leave around 3:30. I start tutoring girls at the home 3 days a week starting next Monday. And the social aspect of the school, which started off so awesome.....is quickly becoming more caddy than any theatre company or room of Wives of Orange county or whatever. Its sad. And its pretty bad. I'm just trying to stay out of everything. Its difficult though, its my nature to add my two cents and fix things. But I've got to let that stuff go.

SO. What started out pretty scary, didn't seem so scary, until I realized what I have to do here. I'm going to grow, that's for sure. Not in the way I thought. But I guess that's the key to the whole 'growing' thing. Its not the stuff you expect to be difficult. Its the stuff that sneaks up on you or what you expect to be easy.

One thing I wanted to do in this post, since I am the end of a particularly difficult week was make a list of the things which make me believe God has not abandoned me here.

1. Baleadas---a homemade tortilla with black beans, sharp white cheese and sour cream. A staple honduran snack.
2. Rosa Marie, Katherine, my entire 6th grade class, Kevin, Ana Cecilia---students who get me through the day
3. Erica---a teacher who has taken pity on the friendless gringas and is quickly becoming one of my favorite people on the planet. She also cooks for us. ;) You will see a picture of her below.
4. Dogs procreating outside our house---um.....I didn't know they actually got stuck together like that. Hannah and I had a 10 minute conversation about it until we looked it up on the internet.
5. 2 and a Half Men---This is one American import I really appreciate.
6. My Spanish Class---fun and is giving me confidence in little bite sized pieces and is free!
7. Chocolate.
8. The HEAT---I love it. I love being sweaty all day. I love feeling the sun on my skin. I love it. I love it. And I'm not being sarcastic.
9. Big Booty---I'm glad kids are kids everywhere and kids love 'Big Booty.'
10. The sounds of my neighborhood---I love the tinkle of the bell of the 'policemen' who ride by and tinkle their bells to let you know they're watching things, the church worship rehearsals behind our house, the millions of dogs, little blasts of American music coming from cars driving through our alley, our neighbors out and about, the swing of the gates, the tortilla guy "TORTILLAS!" (I wish you could hear me say it---its funny), the water guy "Agua!" with his truck, the trash guy with his horse and buggy "Basura, Basura"

Our first vacation time for school is coming up....we're looking at Tela, Honduras. A small costal town. I'm praying for any availability from any hotel there. But I really want the one that provides hikes through the rain forest.

Here are some recent shots.......
This is the mess that is Hannah and I's workspace. Our lesson planing for the week and day happens here. This is also the home of our massive teacher editions.
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This is Hannah and Carmen, Holy Family's secretaria. She doesn't speak any English. And I don't speak Spanish but miraculously we are friends. And converse daily. Not sure how this happens.......
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Me and Carmen (She looks scared here, but I promise she is anything but)
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And this is our pedicure party!!! Erica's husband's cousin does house visit pedicures. So we had her over and Brenda, Hannah, Erica and I got our nails did.
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Its a little blurry but I had a butterfly painted on my big toe! (the pink ones) This girl is an artist. For only 150 lempieras, you too can have a one of a kind pedicure.
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Good night dear friends and family. Keep me in your prayers, you will remain in mine. Until next time, the migratory Honduran red head.

Posted by buscarme 16:32 Archived in Honduras Tagged volunteer Comments (4)

Aun Necesito Tachuelas

(I still need thumb tacks)

all seasons in one day 69 °F

Random Ramblings of a Lazy Domingo.

Last night was a good night. I slept sounder than I have since I've been here. Perhaps it had to do with a very welcomed visit from a teacher at school. She brought her baby, Adler and home cooked food. Yummy shrimp. Or perhaps it was watching The Hangover with the roommates, that we got for three dollars from a guy outside this restaurant in the trees (with really great meat) we went to two nights ago. OR reading 'Water for Elephants.' (Jury's still out on it though)

Got up, and dad skyped me! Thank the lord for skype. It makes me feel not so far from home. I feel like I'm bracing myself for extreme culture shock and/or massive waves of homesickness. Still waiting. Skype is definitely a great shield against that. But I keep waiting to wake up, shaking with dread and anxiety about the fact that I'm in another country where few people speak my language, and no one looks like me and I stick out like a sore thumb everywhere I go.

But it hasn't. Which puts me on edge a bit. I feel like its going to be hard later. However, can't worry about that now.

So I talked to Dad and Van for a bit till Dad had to work (producing the Sunday church service for Mark Jeske at St. Marcus in Milwaukee) and we fixed a time to talk after he finished. I was then supposed to be warrior girl and go the church behind my house. But I chickened out. I don't know why I got so scared. But I CANNOT do that again. Necesito ir el domingo que viene.

But at least I got to hear their worship service.

So I tweadled away the hours looking at fantasy wallpapers for a new desktop (I found an awesome one that I'm going to use as a starter point for a creative writing assignment for my reading classes) and cleaning my room and getting a jump on the coming week.

(This is the link to that awesome desktop.)
http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?p=Fantasy-Mystical-19396.jpg&i=19396

I went to the home to meet the girls back from their service and have lunch with them. But they weren't back yet, so I tried to kill some time reading a book in the library. It was weird being on campus and no one being there (with the exception of the guard and the cook.) The cook was good enough to give me lunch (chicken, yuka, rice, and pickled salad) so I could keep my appointment with dad.

Then I talked to dad. Which was great. Then hit the books again. I gave three tests on Friday: 2 reading and 1 spelling. So I finished grading those and started recording. Its sad to see some of these kids really struggling. A lot of them are doing well, but there are a few.....I just don't know. We'll see. I really hope to see some improvement.

Brenda and Hannah came back. Then we went grocery shopping. Walked to our taxi stand, and went to a new grocery store. I swear there is some secret code of conduct in Honduran grocery stores that I am not privy to. So far, all the grocery stores are much narrower than in the states, so maneuvering is an art form. And you don't have to apologize for a thing, or you rarely do. And somehow you're supposed to load up your loot onto the line and put your cart away or something....I don't understand. Someone took mine for me because, apparently, I'm an idiot and don't get it. And I'm a GIGANTIC AMERICAN FOREIGNER who doesn't dress as cute as all the Honduran women so the cashiers always look at me like "I really don't want to humor you and try to speak spanish with you so I'm just not going to say anything and do this as quick as possible."

I just don't know how to 'play' the people here. I know that's a terrible word choice. But I don't know if its socially permissible for me to be myself, loud and obnoxious and cracking jokes being obvious about the fact I know very little Spanish but just humor me. This works at the school, but I haven't quite figured it out outside of the OLR walls. Time will tell I guess. In the meantime, I'm caught between keeping my head down but wanting to goof around. So I look like a twitching dog wanting approval but kinda not sure if I should just keep to myself.

Here are some pictures of a project I have my fourth graders doing. We are reading a series of stories about growing up. So I had them bring in a picture of themselves when they were younger, for a little nostalgia.
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They're cute. I know they're cute. I just wish they weren't so obnoxious. Or that they would just stay in their seats. Whoever told me that latino children were better behaved than kids via stateside was a big fat liar. But I haven't had class time in the states, so maybe they're all just perpetually obnoxious.

But I will say. In one week, I HAVE seen improvement. I felt hated, I felt feared by these kids. Which was the original intention but I don't want to walk in that way with them. Its a hard line to find. But I think I'm in a good place. I had one kid in each class I was teaching that I thought would be a problem. With two, I have found peace. We understand each other. Now there is only one I'm worried about. I'll let you know how it goes.

Now. I'm going to make a tomato-avocado sandwich. yum.

Posted by buscarme 16:21 Archived in Honduras Tagged volunteer Comments (4)

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