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.