Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Coming Home

I am back in the beautiful country of Honduras after 10 days in the U.S. While it was a lovely time at home, I feel calm and blessed being back here. However, the last 48 hours weren’t so calm. Let me tell you about them. But, first a couple pictures from home. First is of College Ave and the second, me and The Boot at Old Bavarian.

Monday, November 25____________________

12:00 a.m. (midnight) Leave via car, Dad driving, for Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Dad always asking us if we are asleep just as we are falling asleep.

2:45 a.m. Arrive at airport. Goodbye to Dad. Try to sleep until 4 a.m. when the employees arrive and we can check in. Lots of people sleeping in baggage carts which is kind of cute. There aren’t any open for us, though.

4:15 a.m. Check in. Find gate. Find McDonald’s, which doesn’t open until 5 a.m.

5:05 a.m. First in line at McDonald’s. Eat our Combo #1s. Wait for plane. Airline employee (who we’ve overheard telling people multiple times that it is her day off) makes periodic sarcastic announcements.

6:25 a.m. Leave Chicago, change planes in Miami. Eat an Italian sandwich in Miami ordered in Spanish.

1:30 p.m. Arrive in Tegucigalpa on one of the shortest runways in the world, miraculously on time.

1:50 p.m. Ditch our illegally transported meat (ham sandwiches) in the Tegus airport bathroom.

2:30 p.m. Finally get our luggage. Dammit, something is missing!

3:10 p.m. Get done waiting in a long line, talking to the airline people about the luggage. Go through customs smoothly. (We could have brought the ham sandwiches. Unless the X-ray machine was on the Ham Sandwich Setting.)

3:15 p.m. Finally outside of the airport amidst the crowd of people trying to get us to change money, take our bags, drive us somewhere, or just bother us. We are scanning the parking lot, looking for one of NPH’s vehicles when a not-so-tall man starts waving his hands in front of our faces. I was about to tell him we didn’t need a taxi when . . . Mauricio! A Ranch employee, there to get us. He says, “I know I am really small, but I am here!” Slightly embarrassed, we follow him to the car. He tells us he needs to run an errand in the center of Tegus and then we’ll head back to the Ranch.

3:40 p.m. After a few random stops, we arrive in the Center. We check email, eat baleadas, go grocery shopping.

4:40 p.m. Meet Mauri back at car. Whew! Finally, we’re heading to the Ranch.

4:41 p.m. Mauri asks us if we don’t mind him running another errand before heading back to the Ranch. Hesitantly, we agree. (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!)

5:00 p.m. Driving around Tegus

6:00 p.m. Driving around Tegus. I crawl to the back of the van, listen to my iPod, and try to remain calm and not say mean things to people (meaning Mauricio).

6:45 p.m. More 5 hours after arriving in Tegucigalpa, we finally start the drive back to the Ranch. Mauri sings and whistles along to the radio, trying to cheer us up. Asks us if we like it. Hannah lies. I am too annoyed to say anything.

7:20 p.m. In record time, with the speedometer reaching 150 (which we hope is kilometers per hour, not miles) we make it back to Rancho Santa Fe.

7:30 p.m. Unloading our things in the balmy night, beneath a clear sky filled with so many stars they become blurry. The air smells clean–it is as if we have fallen asleep on a still, winter night and awoken to spring. Despite the thrill of sweet-smelling air and a romantic sky, we are terribly crabby and say a rushed goodbye to Mauricio, secretly hoping we never see him again.

8:30 p.m. Friends come to say hello, bearing gifts of alcohol. We show pictures, tell stories, listen to stories.

10:30 p.m. This day, unbearably long, is over. After checking for bugs, we crawl into our crappy beds (Hannah’s too soft, mine too hard) and fall asleep.

Tuesday, November 29____________________

10:00 a.m. Graduation in the school. A beautiful event, full of beaming kids in white and blue robes, the principal in a bow tie hissing his s’s, thrown graduation caps, a million pictures.

Dropped diploma. Proud Cindy.


1 p.m. Go to get lunch. The kitchen is almost out of food, so Hannah, Hilary, and I split one portion of some kind of vegetarian stew (there is a chicken shortage here–due to Bird Flu, I suppose–and so our food has been especially dull lately).

3:00 p.m. Unpack. Finally!

4:30 p.m. Crack open one of the 4 bottles of wine that miraculously survived our journey to Honduras. Have a drink before going to hogar. Wonder if that makes us bad volunteers.

5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. In hogar. The kids are happy to see me. We read books and they ask me about the video that they made for my family. I tell them my family loved it. They want specifics–what exactly did my family say? I tell them my family said they are gorgeous, smart kids who speak English really well. That suffices. They nod, smile, and hug me. Everyone behaves. It is a miracle.

Right now, 7:35 p.m. The rain is pouring down on the red tile roof of my little room and the smells of wet grass and night have filled my room. The windows are open and there is a breeze blowing our improvised sarong curtains. I am having a glass of shiraz. It is only Yellowtail, which is cheap and good and doesn’t come in a box. A real treat. I should be making someone a CD of pictures I promised long ago or doing some laundry, but I felt like I needed to write this, to write you all, to tell you I am back and happy and feeling surprisingly at home. Nothing will ever replace being with family and old friends, but it is good and right to feel at home here, with these beautiful children I read books with for the past 2 hours and these amazing friends who left welcome home notes on my door. Home is where you make it and I am glad to be here.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Where have I been lately?

Where have I been? Let me see . . .

Last weekend . . .

  • Hiking across La Tigra National Park (and 2 hours afterward trying to find a ride back to Tegus)
  • Falling down in the mud (twice!) during the hike
  • A "shortcut" straight up the side of a mountain
  • Returning to Tegus and walking into a hotel covered from head to toe in mud, crabby, hungry and tired

Tuesday night . . .

  • My first rock concert in Honduras--Juanes (15,000 people in camisas negras)
  • Getting sent by security to use the men´s bathroom at the concert--men using the urinals while women waited to use the stalls right next to them!

Right now . . .

  • In Tegus, on my way to Valle de Angeles for a volunteer retreat
  • Stopping at the grocery to buy cookies and marshmallows
  • Finishing my graduate school application
  • Planning Christmas shopping
  • Trying to do a little freelance writing for www.sidewalkmystic.com, a great site about Honduras
  • A week from today, I will be home for a visit! So, lately, I´ve been imagining how it will feel to take hot showers for 10 days straight, eat a bagel, drive a car, hug my family and friends, pet the dog, throw all my clothes in a washing machine and dryer, not eat every meal with a spoon, curl my hair with hot rollers, listen to my iPod, hear a phone ring, watch television, be able to order at a restaurant in English, not have to be crammed into the back of a colectivo taxi to get places, not have to check my backpack at the grocery store, sleep under my down comforter, and eat my fill of turkey and cranberry sauce!


Well, I like to think that next week I´ll be seeing some of you! To my friends who´ll be home, please give me a call at my parents or send me an email. I can´t wait to sit and have a Leinie´s with you.

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