Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sad News

I´m going to discontinue writing in my blog. The thing is, I started a Livejournal first, and I have the blogs I read come up on the friends page there. So I will continue to read the blogs here, and I hope that you all will keep reading my Livejournal. I always posted exactly the same thing anyway, and the people from the States read the LJ and not the blog. I just don´t have the time to post to both even though I post the same things, and my goal is to post significantly more often.

If I am on your sidebar as a blog, please switch the link to the following.

http://katrina038.livejournal.com


Hope to see you all at my LJ!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Copan Ruinas

So, I did eventually make it back to Honduras after my week in the States. Kate and I ended up going to the beach in Ocean City for a few days which was very nice.

I then was in Honduras for about a week before I left for Belize. I ended up going to Copan Ruinas for the first time with my neighbor, Melanie, who was updating the Honduras chapter of the Fodor´s Central America travel guide. It was definitely an experience just getting there.

We left Ceiba a little late, not until like 11:30, and thus missed the last direct bus from San Pedro Sula to the town of Copan Ruinas. We were convinced by the ayudante of one of the buses, that all we have to do is get on the bus to La Entrada, and then we can catch a bus to Copan. So we get on the bus and off we go, arriving in La Entrada during an aguacero, aka torential downpour. As we get off the bus, the ayudante tells us, ¨oh, looks like you missed the bus to Copan.¨ How nice. We hide under a gas station roof for awhile and make our way over to the little bus stop (it´s still raining), and get a taxista (the taxi was little more than a tin box on wheels), to take us to Copan for L.200 each, about $10. It took a good hour a half or so in the dark, pouring rain, and more than once, I thought that we were just going to topple off of the mountain side and never be heard from again. About half way up, we hit a bit of a traffic jam. There was a little landslide blocking most of the road. Our taxista said that it´s been there for 10 or 15 years. Since it had been raining, it was pure mud. I thought that we were going to have to turn around since other cars were getting stuck, but the taxista said, Este carro anda! (This car goes!) and off we went.


When we finally got there, it wasn´t raining, but soon started. It was about 7:00 or so, and we wandered around town for a bit until finding a hostel that had beds available, called En la manzana verde. Very clean, quite nice, and only $4 a bed. We changed out of our soppy wet clothes, and went to treat ourselves to dinner at Twisted Tanya´s, a restaurant that does 3 course meals. The food was amazing, but pricey. The drinks were huge, strong, and quite cheap. It is a cute place, and I would highly recommend it if you are not penny pinching.

The next morning Melanie found us a free room in a hotel called Don Udo´s (since she is doing the tour guide thing.) It is immensely cute, moderately priced, and very comfortable. I went to the see the ruins in the afternoon. I didn´t get a tour guide, just took a nice 2 hours or so to wander around them by myself and went into the sculpture museum too. The ruins aren´t impressive because of their height; they are impressive for the sculpture and hieroglyphics. The stellae are so detailed and intricate, but the most impressive part of the whole site is the hieroglyphics wall/staircase. I overheard some other guides who were by the staircase, and they said that the bottom 15 steps are thought to be in the original positions, while the rest of the 70 some stairs are still being placed in the correct spots. It tells the history of the site and of the kings, and one guide even went as far as to compare it to the Bible.


We ate dinner at Cafe Via Via, which I would highly recommend. It´s a friendly place, with good music, and a nice atmosphere. The owners are awesome. There are inexpensive rooms there in addition to the bar and restaurant. The next day, we went home, and luckily the trip back was much less eventful than the trip there.

That is enough for today, but I promise to talk about my Belize trip soon. It was Unbelizeable! haha.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Michelle and Bobby's Wedding

So I'm here in the good ole USA. I got here on Friday and got to see my sister, Liz, Lindsey, Brooke, Jackie, and of course, Katie all in the same night! We had dinner at Applebees. Saturday, Katie, Jess, and I went to Bob Evans for breakfast and then went shopping and got ready for the wedding. The wedding was wonderful, and Michelle looked beautiful! If I do say myself, the four of us hot, sexy ladies looked pretty damn good ourselves.



Right? I'm in Carlisle tomorrow, Monday, and then going back to Westminster tomorrow night to spend Tuesday and Wednesday there. Then I head back balls early on Thursday to Honduras.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random Market Photos

I was just going to apologize for the lack of Honduras related content or of, well, anything of importance on my blog lately. However, being that this is MINE, I can write about whatever I damn well please, whether that is my boy troubles or school troubles or what I ate for breakfast. (I do have a good boy story to tell though.) That said, to keep my faithful readers entertained, I am going to post a few random pictures that I have taken over the past 8 months I have lived here (can you believe it´s been 8 months??).



In el centro, they sell just about everything on these little carts. This is a very large, very clean and neat fruit cart. Bananas, apples, oranges, and grapes are pretty easy to find. Melon too. I have not, however, seen strawberries or any other kind of berry. But I haven´t exactly gone out searching for it either. This one below is a smaller cart near my apartment that also sells candies and churros (chips).









Would you like some rice and beans?













How about some shoes?






And of course no market tour would be completely without the tortilla-donut ladies.








Saturday, July 07, 2007

Summer and what not

Well, classes have been out for a week and I only have 2 more busy days of work ahead of me until my 2 months of summer vacation. Thank goodness. It has been a stressful year, professionally and personally, and I am so thankful to get some time off to travel, sleep, and just generally be lazy. This past week was full of doing absolutely nothing Monday to Thursday, only to be told on Friday that the papers we have to fill out finally arrived and now I have a lot of crap to fill out. Irritating, since I could have been doing it all Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Oh well. Monday someone from the Dept of Education Distric office (or something) is coming to look at all of these papers, and Tuesday is clausura (we give out the grades to the parents and present achievement certificates and what not), followed by a little party and then we are done! I will be free until September 10th.

I think it's only fair to let everyone know that the though has crossed my mind to come home for good in September, after my sister leaves from her visit. That would work well, actually, since she could help me haul my stuff home. I change my mind every 20 minutes, but right now, I think I'm going to stay. I haven't said anything to the school, because I want to wait until I'm only changing my mind every hour or so.

Thanks to a wonderful friend, I am going to going back to the States, to Maryland, for about a week from Friday the 13th to Thursday the 19th, to attend Michelle Runaldue's wedding on the 14th. I bought a really cute dress and damn do I look good in it! I am looking forward to seeing lots of college friends, plus my sister, and of course my BFF who is missing me extremely and seems to be having her own personal issues. *iloveyou*

My trip to Belize with Liz is getting planned and even though I will have to sell my body on the streets of Ceiba to pay for it, I am very excited. When we are on Ambergris Caye, we are going to stay where I stayed for free when I went on my border run trip. We will not be staying in the expensive condos, but another small room they have with fan, TV, bathroom, small kitchen. It's a good price, and we get the beautiful hammocks, dock, beach chairs, bikes, and kayaks too! She arrives in Belize on the 28th of July, but I will be going on the 27th, because of the crappy airline schedules that only fly Mon-Wed-Fri. That also means I have to stay an extra day too in Belize City, and leave on the 6th. Oh well.

Things have been going pretty well down here otherwise. Nothing terribly exciting to report, I guess. I am very much looking forward to my trips, and if anyone is feeling particularly philanthropic, you just let me know.

Last night, I was tired and was not going to go out, but went out dancing with some friends anyway. I ended up having a wonderful time, and while all of them drank a ridiculous amount of alcohol, I was very happy with my bottles of agua. It really was one of the best nights I've had out dancing at the disco I think.T

o be continued ...

Friday, June 15, 2007

TGIF

All I can say is that I am so freakin glad that it is Friday. I am so sick of Miss F and not getting any respect from her. I swear, I do not see any love in that woman´s heart. Okay, that´s a little harsh, but if you knew her - you would know what I mean.

I am going to have an awesome weekend. No plans yet, but I will have a good weekend.

I met this guy last week ... he´s nice, he´s cute, he´s smart ... But he´s really striking out. I don´t really think he´s going to get it together. It´s a shame too, seems like a really good guy. But he doesn´t call when he says he will, and he´s playing games with me. Acting like he wants to see me, and then not calling. But then getting upset because he wanted to see me and I didn´t call him. Or acting like he doesn´t really care if he sees me when I call. Honestly, how old are we and how long do these games go on? Because I am really over them already. Guess it´s time to go out this weekend and conseguirme otro novio. :)

Speaking of which, I have not talked to him for a week and a half. I called once but he didn´t answer. He said he needed some space. Okay, if Tegus isn´t far enough away for you, I just will stop calling. It breaks my heart when I think about it, so I try not to. I am pretty good at distracting myself from all the bad stuff in life. Right now, if I didn´t push it away and pretend everything is great (I don´t know if I´ve mentioned it before, but I´m really really really good at that), well I´d probably be a bit of a wreck. So, I keep myself busy and distracted and well, maybe it´s not all in entirely appropriate ways, but I´m not doing anything too inappropriate either. Just going out a lot. Oh well.

That´s all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vacation

The rectora said to me the other day, ¨By law, I am required to give you 2 months of vacation.¨

I love being a teacher.

Now, before you get on your soap box and start telling me that teachers have it sooo good, that they get paid for working 12 months and only work 10, blah blah blah ... I am going to get on MY soap box and tell you all the ways that I have earned my vacation. Just today. And I bet that you don´t have to put up with any of them at your job.

1. Whining 6 year olds.
2. Getting little Alejandra to eat her breakfast and lunch. She doesn´t want to eat, because she thinks she´s fat. (She´s 6!)
3. Making my kids have timeout with their heads down, and then write me apology notes when they BROKE the bottom out of the wardrode-closet thing in our classroom. (Literally, there is now no bottom.)
4. Getting stabbed with a pencil while attempting to keep two of my second graders from stabbing each other with pencils. However, it was effective. They stopped.
5. Giving two girls zeros for cheating on their spelling quizzes AGAIN.
6. Being used as a human punching bag while trying to keep 175 screaming children inside the school gate at the end of the day since it was raining and we didn´t want them to get soaked.
7. Eating my lunch standing up, because if I sit down, they might break something again like they did at recess.
8. Comforting a crying Angel because she got pushed over.9. Convincing Angel that she didn´t want to go to another school just because Alexandra was bothering her.


I think you get the picture. However, this makes it look like I don´t like my job. On the contrary, this is just all part of my normal day as a first and second grade teacher. Nothing out of the ordinary. At least I don´t get bored.

But I earn my vacation!

Speaking of: I will be in Maryland from July 13-19. Belize from July 28-Aug 4 or 5. And with my sister in El Salvador/Honduras the last week in August. I will be in Ceiba the rest of the time. School starts on Sept 10th.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

waiting to be saved

So, I´m a little frustrated, but feeling much more tranquila. I really think that Saul is scared of what could happen between us, and I understand that ... but the whole ¨si Dios quiere¨ thing is soooo frustrating. I strongly believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason, that he gives us certain gifts so that we can help other people, and that he gives us opportunities that we need to take advantage of. He does not, however, live our life for us. Life is not passive, we need to take what God gives us and work with it. It´s not magic. He puts people in our lives at certain times, and gives us certain opporunities for things, but the opportunities that he gives us are not unlimited. You need to fight through life for what you believe in and what you are passionate about. God can only do so much for us. And it is his will that things happen, he will direct our paths accordingly, (that is if we listen to him). Yes, he gives us obstacles, and the obstacles between Saul and I are many, but this is like a second chance for us. If it is his will tat we are together, he will provide us with the opportunities to see each other and the strength and patience to get through the times when we are not able to. But just to sit back and be like, ¨well, if God brings us back together again and we are still in love, then we know it is destiny.¨ I am all for doing what God wants in my life, and I really feel like at this point in time, this is it. I cannot think of any other reason he would have put Saul in my life (two times!). I´m not saying this is forever, but right now ... I think this is the right path. Maybe there are too many obstacles, and if we are not meant to be together, those obstacles will overcome us. But dammit, you still have to fight and live life!

It reminds me of a story that someone told me once about a guy whose house was flooded really bad, and he was waiting on his roof. He prayed to God to save him, and a little while later, a boat passed. He refused to get in, saying that he was waiting for God to save him. The boat moved on, and a little more time had passed when a helicopter came. Again, the guy refused to get in, saying that he was waiting for God to save him. After the helicopter left, the guy drowned, and appeared in Heaven in front of God. He asked him why he didn´t come to save him, and God told him ¨I sent a boat and a helicopter for you! What more did you want!?¨ The answers that God gives us and the opportunities he presents are not always crystal clear, but when he does present them, it is up to us to aprovecharlos. He sends us in the right direction, guides us (with obstacles, opportunities, etc), but in the end ... we live our lives, not him.

Whats more is that we cannot choose who we love. Only God knows why we fall in love with who we do. I honestly think that I fell in love with Saul because of God. I didn´t choose Saul, God did. You have to be willing to fight for things in life, and if he doesn´t love me enough to fight for me, well ... I´d rather know now so I could move on with my life.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Saul

So I didn´t think I´d writing about him again, but here I am. He was here in Ceiba this weekend.

I have a lot of thoughts on what happened this weekend with Saul, but not a lot to write about. I´m still working things out in my own head, I guess .. trying to figure out why I feel so sad that he left today (well I already know why, but you know). I told him today that maybe it would have been better if he hadn´t come back, but now that I´ve thought about it a little more, that´s not true. I am glad that I was able to see him and talk to him and spend the weekend with him, even if it´s the last time. Practically speaking, he´s right in saying that the distance between Ceiba and Tegus is a lot, that he is busy and I am busy, and that someday - I will go back to the US. But as a lot of you know, I generally don´t tend to think practically - with my head, instead, I think with my heart. So trying to resign myself to the practicality of life is very hard for me. But the plus side of it is that I generally do not regret things. I act impulsively and for that, rarely regret not doing something. And because of my nature of only doing things that I really want to, I rarely regret doing things either. I have done things that I now look back on and think, ¨Maybe that wasn´t such a good idea,¨ but I don´t regret doing them.

So one day, one weekend, is better than never. It´s better to know where you stand with someone than to be forever left wondering. But where I´m struggling is the practical and logical part of Saul that says, ¨I just don´t know how it would work. Only God knows what is supposed to happen, and we just have to trust him that if we are meant to be together, we will be.¨ Maybe it´s more of my struggle with letting God take care of things in my life, when I would rather take care of them. It´s hard for me to sit back and just say ¨Ok, if it´s meant to be, it will be.¨ How long do you have to wait for something like that?

We´re going to keep talking and I am going to try and go to Tegus during vacation to visit him, and he will make it back to Ceiba eventually, but it´s hard. It´s hard knowing that I love him and he loves me but practically speaking, there isn´t a whole lot we can do about it, except wait to see what might happen next week, next month, in 3 months, etc. And I love him differently than I loved Marcos. I can´t explain it, but it´s just a very different interaction and relationship.

So maybe it would have been better if he never would have come back, but if I´m supposed to let God handle things, then isn´t it also true that God brought us back together for a reason? And if that reason was only for me to spend a little more time with him, understand waht happened the past few months, and be loved ... then okay.

It kind of reminds me of the Pirates movie, where the captain has ¨One day on land, ten years at sea.¨ At the end, a crew member says ¨you made an awfully big sacrifice, and he responds, ¨It depends on that one day.¨ I´d rather have one day, then never. Dont get me wrong, I am not going to wait 10 years. I´m just saying that even if it can never work out between us, that I´d rather have had the time we have had.

Love is a tricky and unexplainable thing. You can´t choose who you love or who loves you. Wouldn´t life be easier if we could? You learn from events that happen in your life, you learn how to love others by how others love you, and you as a friend told me not to long ago, From each person that you are in relationship with or fall in love with, you learn something, you grow, and you will not lower your standards for the next person. I´m not sure if I said it very well, but she was just trying to assure me that no time is wasted. In everything that happens, you move ahead learning and growing and expecting more from people, expecting the best.


I thought I had given up, that I had moved on. Apparently, I am ready to fight for it a little more.


DISCLOSURE: As it appears, I had plenty to say really, but I also realize that I connected very little of it directly to Saul. But this is what I´m feeling, what I´m thinking, and this is what matters ... not the little details that I may or may not share at some later date. I will say this, for inquiring minds, that he had surgery, was bed ridden in a ¨casa de los enfermos¨ for a month, had lost his cell phone in that time, got a new one a few weeks ago, didn´t have my number (I was in the States anyway) ... didn´t get in touch with the Reverenda at the church until the beginning of this past week, and he came this weekend. Things were just the same as they were before (even though I did actually try to distance myself at first and pull away). Someone here (who doesnt know me very well) said that I´m just weak, but I actually am a very strong minded and strong willed person. But well, love does funny things to you. That´s all you get.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mis niños

I think it is time for some pictures of the beautiful children that I am so excited to be going back to. I really do love teaching, even though they drive me crazy. They are so worth a little mental instability now and then. :)

Alejandra, Katherine, and Pamela. How cute are we? This was taken on Valentine's Day. Alejandra is a hot mess. She comes to school everyday looking super cute with her uniform clean and pressed and her hair pulled back and neat. By the end of the day, the zipper on her skirt is never closed and her hair looks like a hurricane hit it. This, incidentally carries over to her school work, and she hasn't really been doing so well, but had started to come around with her reading in the last couple of weeks before I came home. Katherine spent the past 2 years in New Orleans, so she can read pretty well. She speaks English fine and understands every word I say, but she really does not like to speak English. I have to almost force it out of her by saying "English! English! Only English!" 49380942 times a day. Pamela tries so hard, and she does very well in school. However, her second grade sister is a genius. So even though Pamela is doing very well and not behind even the slightest bit, her mom is always pushing her and asking me how she is doing. Pobrecita.

Fernando and Jose Carlos. Fernando provides an endless amount of happiness. He always calls me "teacheeeerrrr," and he tends to cry a lot. He is so smart though! He reads, writes, and speaks English with more ease than a lot of the older kids in our school. He reads much better than some of my second graders. And his parents do not speak English! He knows he's smart too, and sometimes he runs around saying "Soy genio!!" (I'm a genious!) Jose Carlos is also a cutie. He really struggled with reading and English at first, but he has since been learning to read in Spanish and that has really helped in reading English. When I left, he had started to read much better, 4 and 5 letter words even! He was also getting really excited about reading which makes it so much easier. That is half the battle. Once they really want to learn, they will. I really hope that he has been practicing since I've been gone.


Michael. My little one from Niños de la luz, an orphanage project behind the airport in Ceiba. He is a cute kid, and he is actually pretty smart, but he does not work in class. He causes so much trouble, but has this little innocent smile that just makes you want to hug him instead of punish him. He really does disrupt class though like woah. He failed first grade last year in a public school, so the project people decided to put him in our school this year, but he entered half way through the year, in February. Right before I came back to the States, they had decided to put Michael back in kindgergarten to socialize him a little more and have him start from the basics, learning his letters and everything. He'll start first grade again in September. I'm hoping it's working well for him. He really is a good kid, just likes to show off. I want to see him grow up into a responsible young man.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What a downer!!

Man, these past few entries have been such a downer!

Let's lighten things up a bit. Today I primer-ed with Jaime. The bigger bedroom is about finished, and my room just needs another coat of primer. It really didn't take us long at all. Then, we met Vi and Ingela at Subway, and we all went to the park for a picnic. We ate, played some soccer, and then went home. It was a lot of fun, and the weather was perfect! For my last night in the area (Wednesday), we decided to go old school. We are going to the Sports Emporium to ride go-karts and play laser tag. I am so excited I just can't express it. :)

Tomorrow, I have an eye exam at 1:00. I am going to finish primer-ing and work on packing. My stuff is pretty strewn about the apartment. Darcie is coming for dinner (all the way from Maryland!) so that should be nice.

I'm going to get back in to Ceiba just in time to catch the grand finale of Carnaval. I am so excited! I'm missing a couple of the good carnavalitos, but I'll be there Friday night to par-tay and Saturday is the BIG carnaval. I'm really excited. It should be a crazy time.

Now, that's a little better, now isn't it? :)

Sadness, Weakness, and Feelings

I was talking about my dad yesterday with my sister, and I said "Well, you know how dad is." We stopped a second, looked at each other and I quietly added "was." Overall, I'm doing okay. I'm a strong person who can move on with my life even if I am hurting inside. Life will move on without me if I don't. So, I keep on living. I get up in the morning. I keep going. It doesn't make sense to do anything other than that. I don't shut down. Internally, maybe a little. But externally, if I don't tell you that I'm sad or hurting or whatever, you would probably never know. The "Oh, it's fine!" thing, again.

I don't open up to people easily. I don't like showing my weaknesses to people. I have gotten better; I mean, I now write these things down in a blog that other people actually read. But it's still not face to face. It's hard for me to express my feelings to people. Again though, I have come a LONG way in the past couple of years. At one point, it was hard for me to express ANY of my feelings out loud. Now, I just have trouble showing the part of me that isn't happy and optimistic to other people. I think I connect sadness with weakness. But that's not necessarily a weakness, being sad, is it?

Oh, and someone asked if my father's death was expected or unexpected. My dad had heart disease for as long as I can remember. He had several minor heart attacks throughout my childhood, but he was always fine immediately afterwards. But, as it is with heart disease, you are fine until you aren't. I got a phone call on Wednesday that he was in the hospital. I flew home on Friday. It was bad from the beginning, and I really just can't get into the details ... but he was without oxygen for about 20-30 minutes because they couldn't get his heart stabilized and beating regularly. So, there was brain damage but he was still alive. They could not stabilize him medically and Monday we decided to disconnect him from the respirator. 34 hours later he died, seemingly peaceful, from respiratory failure. It was the hardest thing I've had to do in my entire life, being there with him through all of that, through him dying. Okay, that was more details than I really wanted to give, but well .. there you go. In my opinion, he died on Tuesday, the doctors just intervened and kept him breathing and his heart beating for another week.


But really, I'm doing okay. I'm fine. I'm going back to Honduras on Friday. I cannot wait.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Going Back

Thanks to my sister's girlfriend Candie, and many others, I bought my ticket to return to La Ceiba, Honduras. I go back on Friday, leaving from Philly. I am beyond excited to go back, and it's not just because I want to run away.

It's hard to explain my emotional rollercoaster the past couple of weeks. The past few days, I feel much calmer. I haven't felt terribly overwhelmed or anxious. I haven't felt like I just want to run away. I do, however, miss Honduras. I miss my friends there. I miss my kids A LOT even though they can drive me completely crazy. I miss my easy life. Believe it or not, I miss the routine. I miss going to the gym, to dance class, eating tortillas all the time, going just a little bit crazy on the weekends. Life is different there, and while I really thought that maybe I wouldn't go back - my story in Honduras isn't finished. There's still space left in that chapter of my life. By not going back now, I would be cheating myself from everything I have yet to experience down there.

The annoying question of the month has been, "What is Honduras like?!?" How do you answer that question?? I have started asking them to narrow it down a bit. I at least need a category: school, nightlife, friends, men, food, shopping, my apartment, SOMETHING. Everyone is excited and I get it that they just want to know about everything and how I like it, etc. I also understand that they are partially asking just to be nice. But if you're just trying to be nice, you are more than welcome to ask, "So do you like it?" And I will then say, "I love it! My kids are great! The weather is great! I have great friends!" And everyone will be happy.

Also, what do you say when someone says, "I'm really sorry to hear about your dad." Thanks? Yeah? I'm sorry too? OR do you just kind of smile and nod and then say something trite along the lines of "He's in a better place now." (Disclaimer: I have not and will not ever say those words. Not that they aren't true, but I just would never say them quite like that.)

Tomorrow To-Do List: Run, Lunch, Primer the walls in both bedrooms, start to pack, eye exam, maybe try and get the rest of the furniture to their respective locations, dinner @ Ingela's. I'm not sure that I can feasibly do all of that, and I definitely will not get it all done if I continue to waste valuable sleeping time on the internet. I need to get an early start. Maybe I can do run, eye exam, and start to pack before lunch. Mall opens at 10, so that leaves time to get up around 8:30 to run and shower, then go to the eye exam, and come back and should have some time left. We'll see how that all goes

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Running Away

Okay then. Several things are jumping around my head. First things are first.

My dad passed away last Wednesday. It was very painful to watch. We disconnected him from the ventilator, and he stayed alive for almost 36 hours. When he finally let ago, it seemed peaceful. (There was serious brain injury due to lack of oxygen which is why we made the decision we did.)

It's very weird being here without him. Here meaning this apartment, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, the United States. It's weird to think about going back to Honduras and not having him take me to the airport. It's weird to get his truck and trailer appraised so we know the value of his assets. It's weird to meet with the lawyer and talk about his will and executors and his estate. It's weird cleaning out the apartment without him here. It's weird to think about a having a yard sale, because the last one was with Dad when we moved out of the old house. It's weird that when I talk about him, I have to remind myself to talk in past tense. It's weird that I have stopped myself from talking about him more than a few times, because I don't want to make the people around me uncomfortable. It's weird. And it's painful. And I don't like it. And I want it to stop.

Maybe that's why I want to go back to Honduras so badly. When I first came home, I wasn't sure if I would even go back, but now I just want to jump on the plane tomorrow and get back to my life there that had become so normal and simple. [Up. School. Tutor. Home. Eat. Gym. Bed.] Weekends were even more simple. [Up. Eat. Nap. Eat. Go out.] Life is easier. My problems focus around my kids at school and boys. No money problems. No lawyer or executor fees to speak of. No yard sale to be had. No addresses to change. No deaths. Only school. dance class. horny honduran guys. (My biggest problem in Honduras is that the new guy I'm kind of dating seems to have some kind of ex-wifey/baby's momma on the sidelines but more about that later.) But being here, surrounded by friends and family who are so concerned and worried about me and wanting to help ... I know that they love me and are just trying to be supportive, but all of their attention just makes me feel worse. It's hard to explain, but just being here is hard because it means that something is wrong (which it clearly is). I'm supposed to be in Honduras. Being here isn't normal, not right now. It's like going through mini-culture shock and dealing with tragedy all at the same time. Life in Honduras isn't suppose to include him so I won't feel his absence so strongly. It will be easier. Less painful.

It sounds I want to want to run away. And I do. My sister was able to go back to a semi-normal life this week, going back to Philly, going back to work. I was here - meeting with the lawyer, getting appraisals, cleaning the apartment, putting in yard sale ads. I don't blame her for going. I would have run away already if I could have. And I am strong. I have learned how to keep going through life with your head up when the world is falling apart around you. I have learned how to be independent, support myself, and stay strong when I want to cry. And my dad taught me all of it.

Unfortunately, too often I smiled instead of crying, said "Everything is fine" when it wasn't, and was strong when I shouldn't have been. I'm independent to a fault. I like to do things on my own and am confident that I am able to. I don't like asking for help, I get that from my dad. But in the end, I will ask if I see no other option. My dad was the only person I could ask without feeling bad. Even asking my sister for things like money still makes me feel guilty. And Candie collected enough money to buy my plane ticket back to Honduras, which makes me very happy and grateful, but makes me feel a little bad as well, taking money from a bunch of people that I dont know or barely know. All of this comes from my father as well. That's a parents duty I guess. They can't give you just good things, they have to throw in a few to "screw you up" as Ingela would say.

So I'm ready to run away, back to Honduras. I really hope that we can get everything sorted out, and I will be able to go back next Friday. I need my simple life back. I need my life back that is far away from here and all the places and memories and people that remind me of my father. Not that I will be able to forget about him there. He will always be on my mind, espcially when I'm in bed at night, since that is when I think about my friends and family that I miss so much. I will think about calling him, before reminding myself that I can't. I will never stop missing him or thinking about him, but living life without him will get easier. He prepared me well.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Post-Semana Santa Update

So, I've been MIA recently, and even though I just posted several things about recent traveling, the rest of my life is still a mystery to all but the select few. So here goes.

1. Saul is officially out of my life. He completely disappeared, never again contacted me. I'm fine now, but I wasn't so fine before. Part of me says that it serves me right for putting myself out there like that. For those who don't know me so well, I am generally a pretty guarded person about my feelings. For example, I always say that things are fine, even when they clearly are not. It's the same the other way around. I don't open myself up to love very easily (only ever have one time in my life before Saul.) With Saul, for the first time in my life, I opened myself up completely. So, while part of me says, that's what I deserve, the other part says, it's about damn time. So, regardless of how it turned out with him, I'd rather open myself to love, and be able to say "I've loved and have been loved."

2. Liz is coming to visit July 28-August 5th! Well, she's not exactly coming HERE. She's flying in and out of Belize City, and we are going to be in Belize and Guatemala. I'm really excited, even though this trip will cost me more than I have. Don't worry though, they just upped my credit limit. Again. Like I really needed that $2,000 raise. Thanks.

3. School is going fine. When I got back after Semana Santa, my kids were SOOO excited to see me. They really do make going to school everyday worth it. I didn't wake up today until 7:30. Yep, school starts at 7:00. I got there at 7:45, and the directora was happy to see me! She wasn't upset at all that I was late. But yeah. I was invited to go out dancing tonight, and I shouldn't ... because I have school tomorrow. But I might anyway. I haven't been irresponsible lately, and as long as I show up tomorrow ... it's Friday. Noone expects the kids to learn all that much on Fridays, if we are going to be honest. One of my kids asked me today if I would be there next year. They are already thinking about next year! Wow.

4. When Ingela was here, we went out to that Zona Salva Vida place by the beach that was set up just for Semana Santa. We met some of my friends there. Well, my friends are friends with two super cute brothers, Henry and Leo. They are 20 and 21, I think. They live right near Cynthia, the 2nd grade teacher, and apparently asked about me. So cute. I'm trying to make it so that we all go out this weekend. I need her to hook me up with one of them. But honestly, they were both cute, both nice, and I don't remember the difference between the two of them. haha.

I think that is all for now. My sister is coming in August, and I might be going to El Salvador with her too. I miss her sooo much. My dad finally got a job, yay! I miss the States, but am happy enough here. Just need to get over my little homesick stretch. I think going out tonight and being irresponsible will help with that.

Semana Santa, Roatan

For Semana Santa, Ingela and I spent most of the week in Roatan. Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras, considered part of Honduras. It is, well ... gorgeous. This is a picture of Half Moon Bay, in West End. (Where most of the bars, restaurants, hotels, etc are.)






This is where we stayed. Despite a minor cockroach freakout, and the TINY room, and the mysterious price change (from $30 to $42), it worked out okay for us.








This was taken on our first full day there at Half Moon Bay in West End. We´re pretty. The beach is pretty. What else could we possibly want?





I'd post more pictures, but the internet is being hopelessly uncooperative.

Anyway, we had a great time. We took a water taxi (Read: Boat) to the West End to go to the beach and snorkeling the same day as the above picture was taken. We went sea kayaking in West End and got stuck in coral (yikes) until we opted for smoother waters on the other side of the Bay. We went out a couple of nights and got friendly with some Roatan locals (who were really nice actually), and we also met a whole bunch of US Army guys stationed at a Honduras airforce base near Comayagua. I didn't know there were US troops stationed here, did you? They were nice though. What else? We went to eat at a restaurant on a dock over the water and had about 4 cockroaches skittering under our feet, not fun at all.



Oh, we went hiking too! I wish I could get the pictures working. We went to the Botanical Gardens in Sandy Bay. It cost $5 to get in, and it was very pretty. There were trails, and we hiked to the top of Carambola Mountain. From the top, you get a view of Anthony's Key Resort (a little resort on a tiny island, you can swim with the dolphins at the resort here. I met a guy named Roger that works with the dolphins there. Not such a good conversationist though, so it didn't exactly work out between us.) It was very pretty and a nice break from being at the beach all the time. (I did burn, yes.)

Anyway, I loved everything about Roatan except the boat ride over. Incidentally, in the few moments of weakness after the boat ride when I was still recovering, we decided to fly back to Ceiba. A much more pleasant, albeit $20 more expensive, experience. It was also quite a bit faster. I really can honestly say that on the boat ride over, I was sick enough to make it one of the worst experiences of my entire life. They say it isn't always like that, but I'm not quite sure I believe them. Will I take the ferry again? Well, I can't afford to fly, and Roatan really is worth it.

Since pictures aren't working properly, it only seems appropriate to mention here that we took the Sambo Creek Canopy Tour and Hot Springs when we got back to Ceiba. It was so much, and I will post pcitures, some day. Eventually, I might even get them up onto my yahoo website! :) The guides were young, and super fun, they took our cameras and took tons of pictures. The rainforest it was through was gorgeous, and you could see the ocean from some of the platforms. To get to the top where the tour started, you rode horses. Ingela almost fell off of hers! It was really steep, and I was honestly afraid that my horse, George, would tumble back down to the bottom of the mountain, but, lucky for me, he didn't.

Basically, it was a wonderful vacation, and I was pretty freakin depressed when I had to go back and teach school the following Monday. Having Ingela here was awesome. But, it made me realize that I really do miss home. It's easy to forget about home (not forget persay, but forget how much you miss it and your friends and family) when everyone else is there and you are here. My life here seems so 100% separate from my life in the States. For example, when I forget someone's birthday in the States, I feel that it is unacceptable. Here though, well ... it's different. My life is different. My friends are different. Another thing with her being here, was that I had forgotten how much I missed having someone around who just GOT me. We just so completely understand each other. I laughed so much in the first 5 hours that she was here that my abs hurt. So, I'm a little homesick now, but I'll be okay.






Semana Santa, Ingela arrived and travel woes!

My Semana Santa (Holy Week) adventures will be in several installments.


Some of you may be asking, "What IS Semana Santa exactly?"
Well, lucky for you, I am going to tell you.

Semana Santa is the week preceding Easter Sunday. Each day is a Holy Day, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are the big ones. Offices and schools are generally closed all week. Banks are only open Monday and Tuesday. On Friday, most everything (stores, salons, etc.) closes down. For example, the salon I go to closed on Friday, but was open Thursday and Saturday. On Friday, almost all the stores in the mall were closed too. La Ceiba is where a lot of people go to get out of the cities, to party and go to the beach, so restaurants, bars, and the like normally stay open all week long. While some cities have a lot of traditional religious processions and activities for Semana Santa, Ceibeños typically prefer to party. In the Zona Viva (the area of Ceiba where most of the bars and clubs are located, down by the beach), a huge area was set up for Semana Santa outside on the sand. Hundreds of tables and chairs were set up, with several bar areas, and a big stage, and this was apparently THE place to be at night during Semana Santa. Ingela and I went Thursday and Friday with my friends. Beer there was also ridiculously cheap. Generally, a beer in Ceiba goes for about 20 Lempiras, about a dollar. In order to get in, you had to buy a L. 12 beer. Then, once inside, you could buy buckets of beer (6 total) for L. 65 ($3) and L. 85 ($4). Since the whole area was sponsored by one of the local brands of beer, Salva Vida, those buckets were cheaper. But, wow, right?! I have a few pictures that I will post later.

So that, for Ceiba, at least - is Semana Santa. Now onto the travel woes.

Despite some minor bag delays, both us and her bags made it safely to Roatan on Saturday (her bags arriving a mere 6 or 7 hours after she landed in Ceiba). Roatan is the island we went to off the coast of Honduras, on Saturday. But barely. The ferry-yacht-boat that runs between Ceiba and Roatan is a very nice, but the waters were very rough on Saturday afternoon, and I was very sick. I didn't think ahead to take any medicine to help prevent motion sickness, and the boat was rocking left and right pretty badly. Therefore, I got very sick. Ingela managed to keep all of her lunch inside her stomach, but well, let's just say that she was the lucky one. Don't worry though, they give out little bags and paper towels pretty generously.

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize

I pretty much already filled you in on the basic info of my Belize trip about where I stayed and everything, but here is the picture of the main building where the condos are at Coral Bay Villas. I stayed in a condo on the second floor on the right hand side of the building. There are 8 condos in all: full kitchen, full bathroom, bedroom with AC and a queen sized bed, living room with cable TV, and a patio. It was amazing, and just what I needed to escape for a few days.



This is the first thing I saw when I walked around the building when I first got there. There were 8 or so of those beach chairs and hammocks in the shade on both sides. I got to RELAX and get some sun and lay in hammocks. It was the first time I was really able to relax in a couple of weeks. Looks like a postcard, doesn´t it?










This is my view from my hammock. Yeah.



This is the view right out front of the Villas on the beach. In San Pedro, the main pedestrian walkway is on the beach. There is a road that the cars and golf carts use, but the people walk on the beach. This is the dock where I got picked up to go snorkeling!

Snorkeling was amazing! I have only gone a few times in different places, but it was by far the best I've done. The water is so clear. I got to touch these nurse sharks, saw and touched some different sting rays, saw two big green eels, part of an octopus (it was hiding), a TON of fish and schools of fish, a barracuda, and a bunch of other stuff. The sharks scared me though.



Look how happy I am! I was very sad to leave Belize though!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Yep, it really does look like this ...


Exactly like this.

Alas, I do not really have time to completely update you on my too-short 3 day trip to Belize. I did not take this picture, but it really does look exactly like this. I will post some of my own pictures soon. I mean, seriously. But not until after Easter. My bestest friend, Ingela, arrives tomorrow to spend Semana Santa with me, and I am beside myself in excitement. Not only will I get to spend time with the wonderful person she is, she is bringing about an entire suitcase full of goodies. Woohoo! Here are some quick bullet points to tell you just HOW fabulous my trip to Belize was.

1. I met a fabulous older couple in the Ceiba airport who manages condos, and got to stay in a condo in San Pedro (that normally go for $150/night or so), absolutely free.
2. If that isn't enough to make a girl happy, they also got me 20% off my flight from the Belize International Airport to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). Believe it or not, even without the discount they got for me, it would have been cheaper for me to fly anyway, since taxis to the city cost an outrageous $35 each way, plus the $20 for the water taxi to the island. That's not even mentioning the time and stress I saved myself.
3. I got to relax. I didn't have to do anything except relax. I went snorkeling. Laid in the sun. Laid in the hammock. Read a wonderful book. Took myself out to a nice Mexican place for dinner. Had eggs, and toast, and hashbrowns, and bacon (my favorite breakfast) for the first time since I came to Honduras. It was wonderful.
4. My stress from the past few weeks at school, being sick, not hearing from Saul in 2 weeks (what is with that anyway?), all of it just melted away by Thursday morning (I got there Wednesday afternoon).

About Saul, I would like to talk to him (I have called and sent texts, I just haven't heard anything from him in return), and I really want to know what the hell is going on, but I'm not stressing about it anymore, and well, if I don't talk to him - Life moves on. What kind of guy doesn't call for 2 weeks anyway?

I will post pictures soon. I'm going to get something to eat now, I believe. I will probably not be around all of Semana Santa (not that it's a terribly large surprise to any of you), but I promise to bombard you with posts afterwards.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm in Belize,.

So I'm in Belize until Friday. Jealous? Because you probably should be.

It's a long story that I will update you all on later (I always say that don't I?), but the lawyer couldn't get my Visa fixed in time, so here I am in Belize renewing my 90 days. It's costing me the equivalent of my salary for the month of March, but well .. who needs to eat in April? (We only get paid once a month).

It's gorgeous here. I'm on Ambergris Caye in San Pedro Town. I am staying for FREE in a beachfront condo, by the grace of God and a very nice older American couple I met in the airport in La Ceiba. And I'm going snorkeling tomorrow.

Wooo!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Yes, I´m a slacker.

So it sure has been awhile. And, unfortunately, I haven´t written anything that I can just easily upload onto my livejournal, either. For those of you who actually read this in attempts to keep up to date with my life, I apologize.

The last week I wrote, I had just met Saul. Things with him are great, even though I have not seen him yet and the chances of seeing him before Easter seem slim. His grandmother has been very sick, but is starting to recuperate slowly. Keep her in your prayers, if you do that. Plus, he is the worship leader in the Episcopal church in Tegus, and is super busy until Cuaresma (Lent) is over. Ah well, I´ve waited before, right?

Things at school have been crazy lately, but I will do a quick bullet list just to catch you up on the conflict:
1. The Honduran teachers won't sign contracts. I think they are finally starting to sign them, like 2 months later. Most of them have worked at this school for at least 4 years if not longer.
2. The Directora (principal), as it turned out, was giving unauthorized discounts to certain families. Of course, now that we have an Admistrator, it was just time until this came out into the open. She got fired, along with the secretary. There was a lot of tension on the whole bilingual school thing between her and Veronica, since well, the old Directora did not speak English.
3. As of last week, we have a new Directora and secretary. They are both bilingual. Thank goodness. I really like both of them, and I think that the directora will actually help make my job easier instead of making it more difficult.
4. A week before the secretary lost her job, she pulled her two kids out of school (my devil child in 1st grade and her daughter in 2nd grade). While they were both unbearably cute, not having them does make the day go more smoothly, and are 2 less kids that I have to give failing grades to.
5. I'm not sure if I have written about Michael. He is a first grader who comes to Holy Trinity on a scholarship, from an orphanage. He is most definitey ADHD and is completely lost in class, since he doesn't really know any English. He needs way more attention than I can give him. He came for about a month, and then the organization pulled him out since they thought he was too much of a burden, and not trying hard enough to behave well and learn. Veronica really wants him in school, so he left for a week, and then came back this past Monday. She's been so busy, that he just kind of came back into my class and that was that. We are having the same problems as before and now I just don't know what to do, since parents are starting to complain about him again. Well, the new director knows the story now, and I'm really hoping that next week we can figure out how to handle him. You cannot just dump this kind of kid into my classroom! He can't sit still for more than 3 minutes at a time, doesn't even know the letter A in English, and just fights with the kids. He is pretty cute though.
So, that's the low down.

Today is my birthday, and so far, it's been wonderful. Thursday, I went to visit a family I know, who are missionaries here in Ceiba. I will write about them soon. (I know, I always say that). They made me a cake. Then, on Friday at school, the teachers had a surprise after school "meeting" and had Tres Leches (only the best dessert in the whole WORLD). And then today, I was awoken to yet ANOTHER cake being delivered to my door by Isabel and her daughter Nicolle. For lunch, I was invited to go eat Chinese food with Wendy and Luis from church. Tonight, I'm going to Arreciffe's (the best restaurant in Ceiba, with La Gringa and her husband), and I am going to hang out with some friends later on.

Yay for birthdays. 23. I'm almost in my mid twenties, or is 23 already technically in the mid twenties? Regardless, I am apparently almost past my marrying age (according to about everyone in Honduras), so I guess I better get hitched soon.

I'm starting to put some pictures back up on my website. Slowly. There's some of Saul up there. http://new.photos.yahoo.com/pollitatica/albumsI'll write more soon. I promise.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Saul (Sa-ool)

I'm not going to say too much about this, but it is definitely something going on in my life right now, and I'm sure all of my wonderful readers are anxious to know.

Last week, when the missionaries were at the school, this guy came from Tegucigalpa to help out with the church and the music. I had no idea who he was, but I noticed him last week, because he's a cute guy. Anyway, he came on Thursday I think, but finally on Sunday after church I managed to introduce myself and we started talking a good bit. He teaches music at Saint Mary's Episcopal School in Tegucigalpa and is the worship leader in the church. He is in a Christian rock band too. He's a very passionate person about everything he does and believes in, and I really appreciate that about him. He has a lot going for him and has things in life he wants to accomplish. He's even taking some classes at seminary (but he doesn't want to be a priest.) I admire passionate people, and even though I never thought I would fall for someone like him, every minute I talk to him, he seems like the more perfect guy.

But well, to make a long story short - I fell hard, really quickly. He left last Saturday, and we decided to try and make it work between us. Teguc is about an 8 hour away bus ride away, but it's in the same country! (Big bonus if you know me well enough to know what I'm talking about). He told me today that he was going to come visit me the first weekend in March, only two weeks away!

And save your breath of the typical warnings, cross cultural differences, and what not - because I know it all. However, he is wonderful and well ... there are 2 Episcopal schools in Tegucigalpa. I thought about moving somewhere else teach in a different area (a fleeting thought before last week, but still a thought). It's still VERY new, but love conquers all. :)

Don't worry Daddy. I'll come home eventually. I promise.

The Episcopal Church

This is a short little blurb until I have time to sit down and actually think about what I want to write about the Episcopal Church, but I just wanted to say that I never thought I would like attending a church that was anything like the Catholic church. The Episcopal church is different in a lot of ways, but they use a common book of prayer, and have a lot of similarities with the Catholic church. I actually really like it. It's not super traditional, and we do sing some more contemporary songs, but even so - I like all of the prayers and Psalms that we do every Sunday. I like that communion is every Sunday, and I like that you just have to be baptized to take part. I like how small my church is, and how they are so welcoming of new comers.

I like it.

The Missionaries

The missionaries from an Episcopal church in Dallas were here last week, almost 40 of them. They came in three different teams: medical, construction, and educational. Each morning from 9-11, they taught in the classrooms. The theme is covenants, or promises. Monday we talked about Noah and the ark, and Tuesday we talked about Abraham, we also talked about David, Jesus, and Moses. The man in our classroom was named Ed, and the kids called him Abuelo Eduardo (Grandpa Ed). They loved him. He's great, and he brought me glitter, tape (masking tape (!), poster tape, and scotch tape), three staplers, about 300 crayons, and glue. Thank goodness. I've been needing masking tape for about as long as I can remember! The seventh graders with some of the little ones are putting on a Noah's Ark play on Friday. One of the people that came with the missions team wrote it. The play was so cute. The seventh graders did a great job, and the little kids were the animals and wore animal masks. Hilarious. It was hot as all get out in the auditorium (just remodeled this year and no money for the AC they plan to put in eventually), but we survived, as we always do. Afterwards, we gave out best student awards. Then, there was a church service and BBQ goodbye dinner for the missions teams and I ate the best BBQ porkchop I've ever had in my life.

The medical team came and checked out all the kiddies in the school, giving them medicine, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, soap, and vitamins among other things. How wonderful! It's hard to believe the generosity of these people. They are all very happy to be here; it's great. There is also an Episcopal clinic that our church has in Barrio Suyapa, which is a pretty poor area. They are giving lots of free medical care there to the children and their families. Sometimes I wish I had someone else here in the school doing the same thing I am so that I could share all of these experiences with that I personally have, but this will have to do.

The construction team worked on the brand new upstairs, where 7th grade is currently, and all of high school will go as they add on grades each year. They tore down a wall, built two new walls, painted, and finished the bathrooms up there. How nice.

The week was crazy and not a whole lot got done. This week was equally as crazy, really, with Valentine's Day and Miss Fermina coming back, which is a whole other ranting post in itself. Valentine's Day, on the other hand, was a bunch of fun. There was an assembly where each group did something. Most of the grades danced not very correographed dances, and I think a couple of kids sang. My first graders, though, did a wonderful VALENTINES DAY poem that was written by yours truly. Each one said a line, they all remembered everything and they spoke into the microphone and everyone clapped and it was wonderful. The poem is as follows. I have it memorized by now, since I repeated it so many times to them:

This is our first grade Valentine to all of you.

V is for very pretty.
A is for awesome.
L is for lovely.
E is for excellent.
N is for nice.
T is for talented.
I is for interesting.
N is for neat.
E is for extraordinary.
S is for sweet.
D is for daring.
A is for amazing.
Y is for you!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Big words for first graders, huh? I wish I would have recorded it or something. I did get a picture outside with all of them and their letters, but it didn't come out great. And I can't put any pictures up, because yahoo photos is being dumb.
Speaking of 1st graders, I'm up to 14. I got two new students this week. And guess what? They don't know their letters either. Not so easy teaching 7 kids who don't know their letters, 2 who can read well, and 5 who are on their way to reading shortly. But I'm super woman and can do anything.

About the gym ... I got weighed and stuff today. I lost 5 pounds in the past two and a half weeks. And about 1.5% body fat, according to their little hand held device. Not too shabby considering that this week I ate about 3 pieces of cake and had pizza 2 times. And last week, I only made it to the gym once. I've jumped back on the wagon some this week, gym wise though. Tomorrow will be my fourth trip. I worked my butt off today.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

SO, at the beginning of January I wasn´t all that serious about everything. Well, I have since joined a gym down here in Honduras, and let me tell you - my trainer (free of charge, it´s included in the $25-month membership) is working my ass off. I go to the gym 5 days a week, do at least an hour of cardio each time, and on top of that, we usually do weights/abs/etc. I´m generally at the gym for 2 hours at a time. Today, I was there for an hour and just did cardio and felt like a slacker.

As for the diet part, I haven´t been all that concerned with it - partly because its hard to get super healthy things down here, and partly because what you can get is generally out of my price rang on my $300/month salary. I can afford the gym, but not all the good healthy stuff too. I dont eat badly though, and have been eating more corn tortillas than flour, since they´re way healthier. I have almost completely cut out the fried pasteles and the regular coke. When I want soda, I buy Coca light, which is more expensive, because you have to get it in a plastic bottle and not in a glass bottle, but it´s still cheaper than it is in the States. I joined the gym about 3 weeks ago I think, and he didn´t weigh me and start my computer model stuff until this past week, but my weight was 4 pounds down from Xmas and he did my body fat with a hand held thing that doesn´t seem all that accurate, but I´ll go with it. It said a high number. haha. He´s going to redo it every 2 weeks.

Regardless, I have been getting compliments that I am slimming down, which is cool. I can tell a little with how my clothes fit me differently. I´m definitely gaining muscle which is a good thing. The trainer is a little gung ho and I had to tell him that I was comfortable doing an hour and a half of cardio 5 days a week to burn 1000 calories each time. Does that seem a little high to anyone else?Anyway, there´s my update. Things are going well. MY life now consists of teaching, tutoring, gym. And I have some friends too. But, I dont mind. There are a lot of cute guys at the gym. And a lot of cute girls who don´t really do very much while they are there. In the meantime, I´m sweating like crazy. Oh well.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

a new teacher!

1A1 new teacher came today, named Cynthia to take Mr. Anthony´s place and teach math and science for 1st and 2nd grade and computer. She actually went to La Santisima Trinidad, and she speaks English pretty well. No teaching experience, but hopefully she works out. I thought she might kill the 2nd graders today. They were behaving worse than normal. And I must say, as awful as this sounds, it was kind of nice seeing that they actually behave better for me than they do for someone else. Poor woman though, she had no idea what to do to control the chaos. And I will say, they were chaotic. I was trying to have Reading class with my first graders and could barely hear them since the 2nd graders were screaming so loud next door and running around outside.

I told her it would get better. I hope she sticks around long enough to see that happen.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bet it´s never happened to you ...

Some interesting things that have happened over the past couple of weeks that might make you laugh. (And one or two that might horrify you.)

1. Yesterday, on my way to the gym, a horse blocked my way on the sidewalk. I had to walk in the street to get around it. It was tied up in an empty lot. By whom? I have no idea. Keep in mind that this was only a couple of houses down from the gym, and the gym is in one of the nicer neighborhoods here in Ceiba.

2. At the end of last week, near the end of the day, the secretary frantically ran into my classroom and told me to lock the children in, because there was a sheep on the loose. Now, our school is surrounded by a big cement wall with gates and everything, but just in case it knocked the gate down or jumped the wall, we would be prepared with rulers and scissors.

3. On the bus, on the way home from Tela, some old guy told me that it would be better if I was ¨acompañada¨ by him (like if he was my boyfriend or something). Then, we could have sex. (No joke.)

4. I have been in charge of two classrooms because of the chicken pox outbreak at my school (and in the city in general I think). Mr. Anthony left before Christmas, Miss Fermina who was teaching some of his classes left for LA for 3 weeks and the teacher they hired to replace her? She has chicken pox. I´m told that someone will be coming on Monday. Since Wednesday, I have been in charge and the principal and rector have been covering some classes.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tela

So I did go to Tela this weekend, and I also forgot to take my camera. Oh well, I'll be back. I wasn't going to go since Saturday morning I woke up and it was cloudy here in Ceiba. I made some pancakes and watched some Gilmore Girls and then finally around 11am the clouds starting breaking. So, I packed my stuff up really quick, took my dirty laundry to the Lavanderia and caught a taxi over to the bus terminal. I got a non stop bus to Tela which took about an hour and 45 minutes, and was in a nice Greyhound type bus. It cost L60, about $3.

I got there around 1:30PM and walked around lost for awhile before I broke out my travel guide and found a place to stay. I stayed at a little place called the Mini Hotel Posada del Sol. It was a cute little cabina type place ran by a lady named Doña Berta. It cost L160, about $8. I think that it would have been the same price if there would have been 2 people and not just one. It was a cute little place with an outdoor covered patio with a TV and about 8 rooms. The bed was comfortable and the pillows were amazing.

That afternoon, I went to the beach for a couple of hours. I came back and ended up watching King Kong with someone who was watching it on TV. Then, I went to eat dinner at Pizzeria Bambino that I heard was good. It was really tasty! The small pizza cost me L66, and it was more than enough food for me. The word on the menu that they used for mushrooms was not "hongos" though, and that threw me off. Then, I went back, watched about half of The Matrix 2 with someone else and went to bed early.The next morning, I got up around 9:30 and had breakfast at Merendero Frank. It cost L55 including fresh squeezed orange juice. It's interesting here, because in Costa Rica all the little restaurants are called sodas. Here, they are called cosetas, comedores, or merenderos.

Anyway, then I went to a different beach, a little walk across the bridge in "New Tela," which was apparently built for the US people that ran the United Fruit Company (now called Dole). Nice, right. Well, there's a resort over there and the beach in front of it is better than the beach in town. I burnt my upperback to a crisp, of course. More because of the walk over where I wasn't wearing sun screen on my back. Oh well, the rest of me is fine, and my back is feeling much better today.I was at the beach for about 2 hours and then went back to get my back from Doña Berta, which she so nicely kept for me. I caught a 2:00 chicken bus back to Ceiba. It was an old school bus, and stopped a million times. I got back to Ceiba around 2:20 or so. It took longer, but cost less in comparison, only L30.That was my trip. It was a nice, relaxing time.

Next time I go, I'll take pictures!

Tutoria and Grades

I'm back to tutoring. This time, less because I really want to, and more because I really have to. A lot of parents have asked though, and I am going to have to tell a few of the parents who have really smart 2nd graders, that I just don't have the time to tutor the ones that are behind and the ones that are ahead. So, I'm focusing my time and energy on the ones that are atrasados. I sent home 10 notes today with various 2nd graders, mostly the newest ones, to tell their parents that tutoring would start on Wednesday, and I think their child should attend. It's going to be Monday and Wednesday until 3:30, and then I will probably be staying until 4:00 with a little girl who is in 2nd grade but knows NO English. Guess what we're going to start with? That's right kids, the alphabet. Is Elisa going to pass 2nd grade? Depends on how quick she is. All I have to say is that some of my 1st graders know English better than some of these new 2nd graders. "But she came from a bilingual school," one parent said of her daughter, Kissy. Honestly, I don't give a rats ass where she came from, her English is not up to par. But I don't mind. Just think, at L 30 a session, 2 sessions a week, if all 10 kids come - I'll be loaded! Haha. Not that I'm tutoring for the money. If I was in any of this for the money, I wouldn't be in Honduras. As La Gringa said, "You took a 90% pay cut to come teach at that school." I'm not sure if it was quite 90%, but you get the picture.

So, I started on Wednesday, and I have about 8 kids coming. So far, so good. Yesterday we reviewed for the spelling quiz they had today and the grammar quiz they have tomorrow. Last week we worked on the alphabet and basic sounds and phonics stuff. It's hard to learn to read, etc when you don't know the basics. The parents have been paying me too, which is good. I turned in grades today for 2nd grade. I have 3 kids failing. All 3 kids are failing all 3 classes I gave grades in. 9 kids didn't get grades since they started so late. It's too bad though, really. 2 that are failing are almost passing, and the other one is just hopeless. I feel bad saying this, but his parents are kind of wasting their money since their son just doesn't do anything in school. He's really behind, but it's because he doesn't pay attention and do his work. But ah well. My 1st graders don't get grades this first quarter, just report type things like from kindergarten. I have to fill them out tomorrow.

Nautilus

I made a pretty big deal of not wanting to join the gym here in Ceiba. When I was home for Christmas, I tracked down my old tae bo and pilates DVD's, and bought an exercise ball, and a resistance band. I have used the ball and band some, but I have decided that I actually am going to join the gym after all.
It all started from an ad that showed the one gym has dance classes. If you aren't a member of the gym, the classes are about $17/month. If you were a member of the gym, the classes are only $7. Well, I went over to the gym to check it out. I looked at the price packages ($30 sign up fee, $25 a month plus the $7 dance class fee), and took a tour of the gym. I asked about the dance classes, saw the pool, etc. It's actually a really nice gym, and only about 6 or 7 blocks away from where I live. I figured that dance classes would give me something else to do. They are one hour a night from Monday to Friday. While I wouldn't go every night, it's nice to have the options of when I do want to go. In the end, I figured that the gym would also give me something to do, and maybe I would even be able to meet some people there. If nothing else, at least I will have something to keep me busy. It's really nice weather now, and I am walking a good bit, but when it gets really hot - I'm not going to want to move. Even now, I don't really want to go run outside, and I haven't yet as a result. I like the gym, and I miss belonging to one. There are also aerobics classes and a spinning class at Nautilus too. So yeah, this week I'm going to go join.

The Token White Girl

As the Token White Girl in my school, I was made an example of during assembly this morning. As you should know, January 15th is the day that the United States celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. Well, Veronica was explaining about what MLK did in the US and how he spurred a lot of change that happened some 50 years ago. You all know the story, but these kids don't. She apologized as she brought me up front saying, "I'm sorry, but I need them to understand that they are not white. You are white. Growing up here is different, because there is less diversity. They think they're white." Of course, it doesn't matter if these kids are white, brown or purple, but for the sake of the explanation, they did need to understand that they too would have been sitting in the back of the bus and going to separate restaurants and movie theaters. As I was standing up there in front of the school, I realized that I really was the only "white girl" in the school. All of the students are Honduran, at least as far as I know. All of the teachers, except me (now that Mr. Anthony left) are Honduran too. Well, Chanel is from the US, but both of her parents are from the Bay Islands (so they're lighter skinned, but still Honduran), and she looks, well, like she is too.
Therefore, I, single-handedly, represent the US. It is assumed that I have a lot of money. It is assumed that my family can afford to fly me back and forth to the States. It is assumed that will want to buy the expensive jewelry the girl who stops in after school is selling. A lot of things are assumed.
But not by everyone. I think I probably make it sound like all of the teachers are mean to me. Let me get this straight. None of them are mean to me. However, that does not mean that they all like me. And honestly, the couple of teachers that I think don't like me - well, it doesn't really have anything to do with me. It has everything to do with the fact that I represent the US. I represent change. And I represent them losing their jobs. I did not take their job, and I might be gone by the time they lose it, but in their minds - I represent the change that will eventually cost them their teaching positions in this school. (Because they don't speak English).
I am actually quite friendly with most of the Honduran teachers at the school. I thought that the Estudios Sociales teacher and I would end up being friends, but with all the rumors that were flying through the school last month and all the warnings from other teachers, and the principal, and Veronica not to get too friendly and comfortable with them (because I'll tell them things that they will use against me later) - well, I decided to not pursue any of that, and she hasn't been too forthcoming since either. But yeah, I'm the Token White Girl. Never thought that would happen.

Monday, January 22, 2007

TV

Mini update.

I got a TV! It´s tiny, maybe 11 inches, but I got to watch Grey´s Anatomy on Thursday and it made my whole crappy week 1000% better! Yay! I´m glad that I´m excited about such little things.

Went to the beach, to Tela. Didnt take my camera. I will post more about my trip tomorrow. A flood of entries will come tomorrow when I finally take my laptop to the bar that has wireless internet.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

La Playa

I'm going to go the beach this weekend as long as the weather holds out, which it should. I think I'm going to go to Tela on Saturday and stay the night. It should be a nice time to veg on the beach and relax. I've heard some not so safe things about Tela, but most of them center around stupid tourists who walk on the beach at night. Don't worry dad, I'm not a stupid tourist. That said, I also will not be frequenting the disco alone either, because, as I said - I'm not stupid. I think it will be a nice little vacation though. I came to Honduras alone, lets see if I can go to the beach alone. (I need to start practicing traveling alone since I plan on spending a couple of weeks in Guatemala over the summer, and I would like to go back to Costa Rica in the summer too, which may be with someone else, but probably not). This will also be a new experience since I have never ridden a bus in Honduras. I don't expect it to be all that different from riding a bus in Costa Rica, except well, more crowded and rugged and yellow. (They use old yellow school buses here.) I will say though that the buses in La Ceiba are a little scary, so hopefully the one to Tela is less so. Let's just take baby steps.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

12 hour day

I thought I should throw an update on here for those who actually read it, since it´s been a week. I have several entries on my computer to put up, but that won´t happen until Friday probably, since I have to go to the bar where I use the free wireless internet.

Anyway, I worked for 12 hours today. No joke. I got there at 630AM, had tutoring until 4PM, and there was a parents meeting at 5PM, so I just stayed (I mean, I only live 4 blocks away, but why bother going home?) The kiddies have been alright this week. Fernando, in 1st grade, hasn´t been crying nearly as much, and the 2nd graders, well they still talk too much. I got a new girl today, Daphney, and I think I´m getting another one tomorrow. We´re pushing 30 here folks. There is no more room in the classroom. Time to cut them off. NO MORE STUDENTS! The thing is, I think that almost ALL of the new students who have entered in the past 2 weeks have been 2nd graders. I mean, seriously?

I´m in Grey´s Anatomy withdrawl. If I don´t get a TV with cable soon that has ABC, I´m going to have to be a dork that goes to Expats and watches it on her laptop. I guess I can always go at like 4PM. Not likely to be many people around then.

I joined the gym, Nautilus. I made such a big deal about not joining it, but in the end ... I think it´ll be good. I joined yesterday, and am not going to today since it´s already almost 7. Tomorrow I¨ll go though. I´m good at going to gyms when I belong to them. There are also all of these little trainer guys running around to help anyone! They start your cardio machines for you even. That´s kind of strange, yeah. I´ve been a little lonely lately, but I do have lunch plans for after school on Friday with a girl who I´ve gone out with once before who works at Expatriates, the place I go for free internet. Hopefully that´ll be fun. I really don´t know anything about her, but we shall see how that goes.

I think I´m going to go to Tela this weekend. It´s a pretty beach (or so I´ve heard) about 2 hours north of La Ceiba. I think I´ll spend the night on Saturday. I´ll post pictures and such.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Marcos

So, I don't write much about my personal life on my blog. If you aren't interested, it may be better to just pass over this entry. I won't give TMI or anything, but just a disclaimer that this has nothing to do with teaching.


Background info: I studied abroad in Costa Rica for 4 months. While there, I started to date a Costa Rican guy, and we were together for a year and 3 months. I was completely in love with him, but we ended up breaking up for the circumstances. (He was in CR, I was in the US.) I called him on his birthday in July, but he never called back. I hadn't talked to him since May when he called me 2 days before I moved to Honduras in November. I talked to him for awhile, and he told me that when I got to Honduras to call him and give him my cell phone number. He also said that I should visit, and maybe he would even be able to save up money, get a passport, and come to Honduras to visit me. *ahem*

So, I went home for Christmas and hadn't called him back. I struggled with idea, and got conflicting advice from those who I asked. Saturday, two hours before I left for the airport to come back to the US, I called him. He actually answered (which is not entirely common), and we talked a bit. He was out with his friends, but he said he was glad to hear from me. He apparently thought that I was mad at him or that something was wrong because I hadn't called. I gave him my number, and I don't really plan on calling him again unless he calls me first. I don't think I love him anymore, but if I were to see him that might change. He said that I should go visit, if only for a weekend. It's probably a good thing that plane tickets to CR from Honduras are so damn expensive right now. That's the only way I could go for a weekend. Otherwise, a bus trip will take a little more planning.

Oh geez.

I like to crayolaing.

Katherine is one of my first graders. She lived in New Orleans and went to kindergarten there. I´m not sure how long she lived there, but her English is good; she can read and write in English. I'm teaching phonics, but I'm really into the idea of whole reading and writing too.

Let me briefly explain, there are two different ways to teach kids how to read. The first is phonics, most likely the way most of you were taught how to read. You teach the sounds of the individual letters and pairs of letters and teach the kids how to put those sounds together to form words. Then there is the whole reading approach. I'm not all that informed on this approach, but basically, you have them reading and writing before they can really read and write. You slowly teach them the different rules, and they pick up spelling and phonics rules by reading.

Anyway, I teach phonics, but like to incorporate some of this other idea into it. So, I was having the kids write sentences, even though only two of them can actually write a sentence. Well, Katherine can write sentences, and she wanted to help some of the girls while I was helping some of the boys. The next thing I know, she was up front with my little dry erase board writing some sentences on it and helping the others to write them too. It was the cutest thing, especially since Katherine doesn't always let on how well she speaks and understands English. The one sentence on the board was, "I like to crayolaing."

Star Cards

With some help from my dad, I am now using a new positive reinforcement technique in my classes. For 2nd grade, I have a "rule of the week;" this week is "Listen when someone is talking." It's going okay. When the kids get on my nerves the most (After lunch time they are the WORST! Luckily, I only have one class with them after lunch. Unfortunately, it's Phonics), I have them read the rule that is posted above the board about 4 times in a row. It gets on their nerves. Too bad.

So, I have these 2 posters in the second grade posted on the wall. Each student has an index card with their name on it, and underneath their name is M-T-W-Th-F. If they follow the rule of the week (which very well may be the rule next week to at the rate they're going), they get a star for that day. If they get 5 stickers for the week, they get a prize on Friday. I plan on buying candy. I have 26 second graders, but don't worry - I don't expect to give out more than 6 or 7 prizes in the 2nd grade. 1st grade is different, but there are only 11 of them. Yes folks, I'm up to 11. I got 2 new ones on Monday.

Speaking of new students, 3 new students arrived to 2nd grade on Monday and 2 more yesterday. Some of these students are coming from public schools (which sucks a big one since they know approx no English and really shouldn't be in the 2nd grade in a bilingual school). The public schools had vacation part of November and through December, and are just starting back sometime around now. I understand that some of them are in that situation, kids do need a break afterall. But, one of my 1st graders, Jose Luis (Pepito), went to kinder at Holy Trinity last year. His parents "didn't realize" that school started again in November, and just sent him back to school in January. WTF??? How on Earth do you "forget" when school starts? Please make my job harder than it already is.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

About 4 of my 2nd graders

Sometimes (okay, like every other day, really) I think that I am not cut out to do this, that I am not a good teacher, that the kids will never learn anything, and that they will run around uncontrollably all year long.

I have a couple of students in 2nd grade that are just complete handfuls. It takes every bit of patience I have everyday (and a lot of patience that I don't have sadly) to not get upset with them. I really need to focus on positive reinforcement. When the kids act up, they just want attention. Unfortunately, they want attention that I am just unable to give them. I have 22 kids in the 2nd grade, and I am not with them all day long. Classes are only 45 minutes long. I just do not have enough time to give individual attention to each student. Regardless of the fact that even if I do TRY to give each one individual attention, the rest of the class will act like the monkeys at the zoo.

In enters Julio.
Julio is one of the brightest kids in the 2nd grade. However, Julio is also failing. He doesn't do his classwork, doesn't copy things from the board, doesn't study, and doesn't listen in class. He sits at his own separate desk, yet is always fighting with the other kids and talking nonstop. He just wants attention. I try to call on him as much as I can, because he very often is very interested in participating. I try to give him incentives to copy the sentences or whatever from the board, try to punish him for fighting with the other students ... I've tried everything I could think of. Two days before school let out for Christmas break, I gave Julio a small stack of about 5 worksheets that he could do over the vacaciones to raise his grade. He returned them to me the next day, finished and 100% correct. His mom does not speak English. His dad does not live with them. He did these all himself. He told me, "I like doing homework."
So what is Miss Katrina going to do with Julio when she goes back next week? Give him lots of work to do.

Julio exits stage right. In enters Keny.
Keny started school a month late for reasons I am unsure of. Probably money. Keny is relatively quiet and doesn't always participate in the games we play without some good convincing by me and the other students. However, he absolultely loves me. Everyday his little face lights up and he says, "HI TEACHER!" He doesn't fight with the other kids. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he hugs me constantly. I usually just feel someone clinging to me and never know who it is until I look down. Oftentimes, it's Keny.

Keny exits stage left. In enters Leana and Orlin.
I've written about Leana before. She was not doing well at all at the beginning, was very behind, and didn't understand a word of English. Her father asked me to tutor her, and she's done a 180. Now, she is doing very well on her quizzes and understands a lot more. I do realize that this does come from the fact that she has a lot of support at home. Orlin is such a cute kid. He's pretty quiet and doesn't cause too much trouble. He is also coming to tutoring, and while his grades have improved some - the bigger thing I see with him is his desire to help the other kids. If someone doesn't understand something, and I'm busy with another student, Orlin will sometimes say, "Le ayudo? (I'll help him?)" It is the cutest thing ever.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Healthy! NYR #1

NYR= New Years Resolution.
I usually don't make them, but I'm going to make this year an exception. This is especially good timing since I will be gone from the States for a year and really want to use this time to form healthier habits.

Eating:
1. More water, less coke.
2. More vegetables.
3. More protein.
4. Eat a healthy breakfast (with protein) and not the fried pasteles that the Hondurans eat.
5. The purpose of food is to make me not hungry and give me energy. Don't stress over each meal. Try to be HEALTHY. This works for me. I get too obsessed with things otherwise and have an extremely unhealthy attitude toward food.
6. Therefore, everything in moderation.

Exercise:
1. Run/Walk at least 3 times a week, working up to 5, for 20-40 minutes.
2. Do strength training activities (with my exercise ball and/or band to start out with) at least 2 times a week, for 20 minutes, working up to 3 times a week.

For me, the exercise thing will be easier, because I've done all of this before. I just have gotten out of the habit of exercising. However, I seriously need it to battle the stress from the screaming 5-7 year olds I teach all day. I have a weird relationship with food which is much healthier than it used to be, so I'm thinking that the switch to really try and be healthier in what I eat won't be too hard. My one main weakness is french fries. Luckily, I am faced with them much less in Honduras. While they are very readily available, my daily life doesn't bring me in contact with them as much. Given that and the fact that the money I do make, I'd rather spend on things other than french fries.

My main focus: I'm not doing this to lose weight, I'm doing this for my health. My father has heart disease, and my cholesterol was higher than it should be at last check. My grandmother and uncle both had/have diabetes. While losing weight will be a nice side effect, it is in no way my main goal.


PS. Someone (in Honduras of course, Americans aren't this candid) told me that I was "unfit but beautiful." This is supposed to be a compliment right? Is that like saying someone saying, "you're a little fat, but attractive." ???

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

10 great things about my school

I feel like all I do on my blog is complain about my kids. So, I’m going to dedicate this article to all the things about the school and my students that I love.

1. While I am given some guidance and a basic English cirriculum (a 1st grade US reading program called Reading Street), I am also given a good deal of freedom in my daily lesson plans. I have no one looking over my shoulder wanting to see my plans everyday. They trust me to educate the children.

2. There was a bit of an issue with accusations that some of the teachers were being a bit too physical with the students earlier in the year. While this was addressed to all of the teachers, Veronica and the principal also took it with a grain of salt, and things have been all quiet since.

3. My kids love me. Everyday, the 1st graders greet me with hugs. The 2nd graders love to hug too, even the boys.

4. They also love English, especially the 2nd graders.

5. The 2nd graders can read in English!! Two of the 1st graders can too! (Actually, they probably read in English better than Spanish, but that is a whole different kettle of fish.)

6. The 1st graders know their alphabet! And the sounds of the letters! (Well, all but one).

7. The school is extremely welcoming to new ideas and new ways of teaching the kids. They are also very accommodating. For example, giving me 2 days off of school this week so that I could spend a few more days at home with my family.

8. While teaching is very challenging, it is also very good experience for me. It is also a relatively low stress environment to have my first year of teaching, in comparison to the US schools with the standardized testing and the like.

9. The kids are talkative! They love to talk! So, there is a never ending supply of energy in my classroom.

10. They want to be tutored. Can you believe it? They are begging me to have after school tutoring sessions, even the really smart ones.


There ya go. That’s ten great things about my students and the school.