Letter to Ellen
The following is excerpted from a letter to my friend . . .
May 13, 2005
I hope this letter finds you well. It´s hard to believe I have been here in Honduras for over 4 months now and that I have been teaching for over 3. I actually am pretty settled in my routine, so settled, actually, that it is hard to imagine my friends and family in their routines back home. It seems like time has just stopped and I am here while the rest of the world stands still and waits for me.
I still have a long way to go: 9 months. Many of the volunteers are counting down already. Some admit this, some don´t, but I am convinced we all do it. We´ve been warned that 4 months is a dangerous time--a time when we feel comfortable in our routines, but inadequate and homesick. I think this is true. I am frustrated that my Spanish isn´t as good as it should be and that my kids don´t always respond as I want them to. I am embarrased that I dream about shopping, eating sushi, and all the comforts of my former life: hot showers, washing machines, clean water, dishwashers, cars, not sleeping with mosquito nets, etc. It is hard to admit that I miss Target and going to the gym and eating yummy expensive food, food that costs more that most people here make in a month. I feel guilty for knowing I will eventually go back to all this. And I will go back. I wish I could tell you that I want to stay and give my life to these kids, but I don´t want to stay. I am looking forward to going back to a life full of privileges and opportunities. As much as I hate to admit it.
I am happy that I am here, of course, but I wonder if some of my happiness is premature, that I am happy knowing I will accomplish something with this year, that I have challenged myself and met my goal. Don´t I sound terrible?
My experience in teaching has its endless ups and downs. Some days my kids are wonderful and then the next, for no apparent reason, they are unmotivated and behave badly. It can be so frustrating. Yet, overall, I have to love them for their graciousness. They put up with my bad Spanish seeming to understand me most of the time. That´s good.
Thanks again for the books you gave me. They have long since been read--and enjoyed! I read a lot--I just finished my 22nd book since I´ve been here. I´ve read more in the past few months than in the past few years, I think. It´s not that I have a lot of free time, I really don´t. I think it is just that the entertainment options (no TV, limited computer time, nowhere to go, limited people to hang out with) and need to escape a little. What a good habit though! I feel lucky to be able to read so much.
I miss you and hope to hear from you soon,
P.S. Did I tell you I bribe my kids with stickers? And candy?
P.P.S. Bribery works.