Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Estand Up! Estand Up!

One of the many perks of working at CEE is the fact that we have to leave Honduras to renew our visas every 90 days. Let me reiteratre, we receive a check every 90 days whose sole purpose is to fund our travels. Not educational/ professional travels. Relaxing, fun vacations.
For this trip, we decided to pack up and head on over to Playa El Tunco, El Salvador for some surf, sand, and sun. All of which we received. Josh Vega and Daniel picked us up around 8:30 on Saturday morning and we began the 10 hour trek over to El Salvador. Erika, Sarah, and I pretty much slept the entire time, so the whole day was pretty uneventful. After rolling in to El Salvador around 6:30pm, we set off for "downtown" to find some good eats. And by "downtown" I mean one of the two main roads in the town. We were looking for a relaxing beach town and we had certainly stumbled into one.
Might've had a photo shoot. Might've loved it.
Sunday morning called for some swimming and preparing for our 4:30pm surf lesson. I was NERVOUS! I envisioned a lot of this happening:
Miraculously, I did make it to the standing position on more than one occassion. Enough times that it couldn't even be considered a coincidence. Not to say that I didn't have my fair share of sitting around on the surfboard or riding the waves in on my knees because that certainly happened as well.
Ready? Ready!
Monday rolls around and we had a NINE AM surf lesson. Good grief, I could barely get out of bed. I had muscles hurt that I didn't even know existed. But I pushed through (sort of) and made it through another morning of surfing. Despite the fact that I was one on one with my instructor this time, depsite having the same instructor as Erika the night before, I did exponentially more sitting on the board this time than the night before. My instructor told me to paddle, I looked at him like he was out of his mind. He told me to get ready for the next wave, I just laid down on the board. I'd just like to stay out here and chat, if that's okay with you, bro.
I have to give my instructor credit though. I'm not a natural surfer, nor was I super inclined to work hard to enhance my abilites, but he was very encouraging and seemed more than willing to just let me hang around. He got paid either way, so I don't think he minded too much. I did frequently hear the same phrases from him over and over throughout our two days of surfing together. One: estand up, estand up! Clearly, when I was riding a wave and needed to stand up. Two: muy fuerte, muy fuerte! When we were taking the board under a wave and I had to hold on tightly. This came about when I didn't hold on and was propelled backwards due to the strength of the wave. And three: ees okay, ees okay. When I was coming back from yet another failed attempt to stand on the board. Or when I could sit on the board. Or when I could relax and lay day. Basically any time the language barrier came between us, he started saying "ees okay, ees okay".

My surf instructor and myself.
 Monday after our surf lesson was spent in the ocean and napping. That was all. Swim a little, nap a little, eat a little, and repeat. Not a bad life, if you ask me. Unfortunately, our weekend in paradise had to end on Tuesday when we packed up the car and headed back to Siguatepeque.

Surfing at sunset, eating delicious food, relaxing with friends, and not being required to wear anything more than a bathing suit all weekend? Not bad for the end of October.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ten Months Ago.

Ten months ago I was preparing myself for the "journey of a lifetime", ironically not my first journey of a lifetime this year. I was packing my bags in preparation for my three month stint in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Here I am, ten months later, living and working in yet another foreign country. And here I am, ten months later, with a completed (slash almost completed) photo book. I still have the finishing touches-- making sure that the fonts are the same size and style, checking for spelling mistakes, etc. And I have mementos that I collected throughout my trip at home that I want to scan in to add to the "Week One, Week Two, etc" pages, as well as hand-writing a little something something each week. But I'm in the homestretch.

                                             Click here to view this photo book larger

And here it is, for your viewing pleasure, $87 of awesome. (The password is my name, by the way. Capital C.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Honduran Life.

I feel like I haven't crossed a ton of things of my Honduran bucket list, yet at the same time, feel like I am always doing something. Usually those somethings are meetings or teaching or tutoring which is the real reason I'm here, but isn't much to write home about.

So here goes; my Honduran, child wrangling, baleada eating life. In no particular order.

I saw Vilma yesterday, my heart is super, super happy when I see her. We only spend about five to ten minutes together each week, but its the best five to ten minutes of my week. We hang out, chat about life, hug a lot, and tell each other how much we love each other. She's told me that I'm her best friend and her older sister and that she misses me on the weeks when I don't get to see her. Be still my Honduran lovin' heart.

We went up to Lago de Yojoa on Saturday for a little weekend getaway. I ate a fish. And I liked it. I did not appreciate the cold temperatures or the motion sickness however.

Skyped with some of my sister friends this weekend. Google+ was created for long distance friendships. I can see this becoming a weekly habit, for sure. Like I've always said, I love being here, but I love catching up with everyone from home. Things haven't changed on the homefront either. All of us trying to talk over each other about something super dramatic and life altering.

High School Cultural Day was last Friday. I ate my weight in tradition Honduran food. And didn't regret a bite of it. They also had some animals in cages that were attracting the students attention. Like the SQUIRRELS. This is not a joke. They had squirrels in cages and they were the biggest hit with all the kids. Squirrels. Not even joking. These children would have a field day on Ashland's campus.

I was harassed by my Grade Twos for about twenty minutes about not having a boyfriend. Which resulted in them drawing pictures of me with random male teachers at the school. Of which there about 5. Most of whom are married. Awesome. No wonder you guys are failing spelling. In the midst of their harassment, they asked me why I had my hair braided and if it was "to make me more beautiful for my boyfriend." I wasn't aware that was how it worked, but had I known, I would have saved myself a lot of heartbreak in high school.

In Grade One we were practicing words that begin with B. I was taking some suggestions from the students as to which words would be written on the board and then copied into their final projects. I received the usuals-- boy, bear, book. And then I got booty and boobie. Unfortunately, those two words just didn't make the cut.

And there you have it folks. A day in my life. What a life it is.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 6-- Let's Go To A Water Park.

Cristian offered to take us to Otoro on Saturday to go to a water park. While we love our little house/ school complex, we jump at any chance to get away. So we packed up the car and headed up the mountain (and then back down the mountain again) to go to Otoro.
As a side note, it's always great to have a Honduran to take you places because we've frequently been going somewhere and the last stretch of the trip seems a little sketchy. And it's sketchy just long enough that we'd turn around if we were alone. But while having our own personal Honduran tour guides, we push through the sketchy parts and end up eating delicious pupusas or hanging out at a gorgeous water park or riding horses at some hidden Honduran restaurant resort.
Anyways. We get to this water park and pay 50 lemps a piece (about $3). The place was empty. We had the entire park to ourselves. And it was in the 80s. Let me remind you that it was October 6. I can't say that I hate any part of being here.

We stayed for the afternoon-- jumping off pirate ships, chowing on some Honduran food, enjoying the company of each other, and going down the waterslides. Some were faster than others. As in, the one made us feel like we were bullets coming out of a gun and on the other we came to a standstill.

I also had a few minutes of panic when preparing to jump off the top off the pirate ship into the pool. Which is ridiculous because I've jumped off the rock at Headlands. The five year perspective came into play here. Again. And it worked. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

En Honduras, En Honduras.

My most heard song since being here in Honduras. Band concerts, school assemblies, Independence Day parades. Anywhere, really. Cultural Day was no exception.

We had normal classes for the first three periods of the day and then the rest of the day was spent immersing ourselves in and embracing the Honduran culture. Activities included typical dance, singing some Honduran songs (definitely including the one linked above), and tasting some typical Honduran food-- which was fine by me. The kids also came dressed in their traditional Honduran clothing which was so stinkin' cute.
Days like Children's Day and Cultural Day are so fun for the kids because they're learning, but they aren't confined to a classroom. They're running around and being kids and just having a great time together. And it's great for me, as a teacher, because I get to form different sort of relationships with my students. Yes, I still have to be the teacher. But I'm not up in front of the classroom telling them to stop running around or to sit in their chair. We're able to hang out on more friendly terms and get to know each other differently.

Being in Honduras has given me such a glimpse into the history and culture of another country. I'm immersing myself as much as I can into the culture of this beautiful, wonderful country. It's also given me a greater appreciation for the culture of my own country. For apple pie and baseball games, for Lake Erie and life in the snow belt. I'm in love with my Honduran life, but I can never stray too far from the life that I have been given in the States.
Oh hey world, this is Rafael. You'll be hearing a lot more about this little stinker. Because the things he does and the words that come out of his mouth are funny enough to land a book on the New York Times best-seller list.