Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Is The Best Holiday...

... No presents are required, all you have to do is eat, and you're expected to take a nap at the end of it.
While being here is everything I could have hoped for and more, I frequently miss people, events, and activities at home. Especially Thanksgiving. This year there were no days off from school, no Macy's Day Parade, and no Black Friday commercials. On the Honduran homefront, it was just another week.
Luckily the Hagler's stepped up and hosted an American style Thanksgiving at their house. Filled with lots and lots of food, great company, and some intense card games. And football, of course. Sarah and I tried our hand at cooking and prepared four traditional dishes-- corn casserole, scalloped potatoes, apple pie, and cupcakes. All delicious, if I do say so myself.
Afte gorging ourselves with a disgusting amount of food, we settled in to play some Uno and then Hand and Foot. Standard Thanksgiving festivities.

We had our fair share of Thanksgiving talk in Grade One and Two as well. We made turkeys a couple different times for Reading Buddies. Of course, I had to introduce my Honduran lovies to making handprint turkeys. They may not be Americans, but they have an American teacher. We talked and talked and talked about what we were thankful for and prayed to God many times thanking Him for all of the wonderful things in our lives. 

So, what is Mees Clatelin thankful for this holiday season? In no particular order-- my Top Five Things To Be Thankful For In 2012.

1. My family. Standard, right? But in all seriousness, Momma, Daddio, Seester, and Broski have been more than supportive in my international endeavors and I cannot even begin to express how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family.
2. My friends. Another standard. But the more I travel, the more wonderful people I meet. And in turn, the more I appreciate all of my crazy, wild friends back home. It would be a lie to say that I'm not counting down the days to see them again.
3. The opportunity to travel the world, meet new people, and experience new places. 2012 has been filled to the brim with adventures. From my time in Brazil to a brief pit stop in the States, and finally my new Honduran life-- my life has been abundantly blessed.
4. Getting to see Vilma each and every week. Four years was too long to wait. Though it's only ten minutes a week, it's easily the best ten minutes of my life.
5. Technology that allows me to stay in contact with everyone who is important to me. It may sound shallow, but having such easy and instant access to the Internet allows me to still feel like I am involved in the lives of everyone back home. I can reach someone in an instant if I am feeling homesick, my friends and family are only a call away. There have been times in my life where this has proved to be invaluable to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm In Love All Right...

...with my crazy, beautiful life.
Well, we did it again. Two weekends in a row we've had what could be called the "best weekend ever." Not unlike last week, nothing incredibly monumental happened. But when you spent the first 9 weekends of your time here sitting in your house working on school work, anything is an improvement.
Friday night consisted of more fireworks. Of course. Cristian took us to the fireworks market (seriously, that's what it is) and I took a particular liking to one booth. All of the fireworks sold are pretty much the same, so it doesn't really matter which booth you buy them from. I just happened to really like the lady and kids at one booth. So now she's my firework dealer. She's pretty much the only lady that I'll buy fireworks from.
It was at my fireworks dealer that we got to witness Cristian's awesome translating abilities. The lady shows us a firework and says "Pew! Pew! Pew!" Okay, got it. Cristian looks at us and goes "She just said 'Pew! Pew! Pew!'" Yeah, thanks, sound effects are pretty universal.
8:30am Saturday morning rolls around and my phone is ringing. No one calls anyone before 9am unless it's an emergency, so something had to be going on. Right? Wrong! "Hello?" "What are you doing?" "Umm, I was sleeping...?" "Oh, want to go to the Lake today?" Really?! Luckily our conversation still followed the standard pattern, but 8:30am?! Cristian, you're killing me. Despite the 8:30 wake up call, we didn't leave until about 1pm. Standard.
Pick a fish, any fish.
So Cristian, Hector, Jorge, Daniel, Sarah, and I all pile into Cristian's car and drive on up to the lake. 45 minutes later, we're hanging out at the restaurant waiting for our freshly caught tilapa to be brought out to us. We actually got to chose the fish that we wanted to eat, which kind of grossed me out a little bit. In typical Honduran fashion, we had our share of vendors coming up to us trying to sell us various things. Which included Kenny Rogers CDs because that was the only CDs they had in English. Nahh. I'll pass. Jorge did end up buying some weird magnetic bird things that we included in a litle science experiment the other day. Our fish come out and we chow down. Including eating the eyeballs. Disgusting. I actually only ate half and it was sandwiched in between two pieces of plantains. It was just so slimy. That isn't to say that I didn't take the eyeballs out of everyone's fish and pile them on my plate. Because that definitely happened.
Love is blind.
Back into the car for the drive back home to Sigua and we find ourselves completing a little
science experiement. Can we stick the magentic bird on the hood of the car and have it stay all the way to Sigua? The answer is no, we cannot. Well, yes, we can stick the bird on the hood of the car. No, it cannot stay on the hood all the way to Sigua.
We also stopped to pick up some fruit. Like licha, but bigger and better. One of the many things that I love about Honduras is that everything is so relaxed and chill. For example, as we're eating these licha on steroids, we're just throwing the skins and pits out the window. And that's totally normal. It wasn't even a big thing, just a very small drop in the bucket that is my time here in Honduras, but it caused me to have one of those "Oh my gosh, I am living in Honduras. This is my life right now." moments.
We stopped at some random house that I THINK is Hector's property, but he doesn't actually live there. I'm not exactly sure why we stopped, I missed that part of the conversation, but I ended up chopping down a banana tree while I was there. With a machete. Yepp, that happened.
Upon returning to Sigua, we decided that we were going to go to the movies. What was playing, you ask? Tinkerbell. Yepp. Two girls and three guys all over the age of 22 went to see Tinkerbell. Don't even worry, we did have Hector's niece and nephew with us, so that softened the blow a little bit. That doesn't change the fact that Sarah and I were super into the movie because we could actually understand what was going on. Yes, the movie was in Spanish.
Post-movie included fireworks and a trip to Wendy's. Not a huge excitement, but Sarah and I got to drive. Cristian graciously handed over the keys and let us take the wheel. So let's check that one of the bucket list-- driving in a foreign country.
And there you have it. Yet another play by play of an unexciting, yet completely wonderful weekend in Honduras. It truly is the people who I meet who make or break this experience. And I have met some fantastic people who are fun and spontaneous and who have become huge aspects of my life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer... singing loud for all to hear.
Well, Halloween has passed and Honduras doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (obviously), so the next big holiday is Christmas. After hearing Cristian sing the praises of the new grocery store Maxi Dispensa ("It's soooo cheap! Cheaper than La Colonia. You have to go! It's sooooo cheap!) all day long on Saturday, we hopped in a taxi and spent a pretty penny on Christmas decorations. As in... $60.
Our purchases included:
-4 Christmas plates
-4 Christmas cups
-4 Christmas candle holders
-candles for an advent wreath
-4 tubes of ornaments
-a house ornament
-4 clay ornaments
-2 strings of lights
-3 rolls of ribbon
-4 Christmas signs to hang on our bedroom doors
-1 star
...and a partridge in a pear tree.
A (slightly expsinve considering our salary) shopping trip and a couple hours later and the teacher's house is officially ready for Christmas. Complete with non-stop Christmas music playing 24/7 and a fire blazing in the fireplace. You're welcome. And Merry Christmas.

Or should I say Feliz Navidad?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Best Weekend Ever?

I can make friends. I can hold my own and meet new people. That being said, I am not great at it. I'm not naturally inclined to be extroverted and come across as super awkward when I'm with a crowd of people that I don't know. That being said, I have made some truly WONDERFUL friends down here in Honduras. God has blessed my life is numerous ways-- the least of which includes filling my life with incredible people.

This past weekend doesn't hold stories of anything incredible. We didn't do anything notable and we don't have pictures to document our time. (It figures that the one day that's ideal for pictures, I leave my camera at home, right?) But this weekend was spent hanging out with friends, laughing, and making memories. Cliche? Yes. True? Also, yes.

So here you go. A play-by-play breakdown of what has the potential to be the best weekend in Honduras to date.

Friday night Sarah and I went to the grocery store and then headed over to the steakhouse next door. Here we are ringing the doorbell to be let into to this fancy restaurant, carrying our bags of groceries. Definition of class right there. The restaurant was all decorated for Christmas and the food was divine. After dinner, Sarah, Jorge, and I came back to the house to bake cupcakes, watch a movie, and hang out with Nelsy. The cupcakes were a success, the fire in the fireplace was a raging success, the movie wasn't such a success. So we filled the night with countless games of 20 Questions.

The other week Sarah and I went to the movies with Ricky and Cristian. While hanging out after the movies, Cristian mentioned that he had been down in Comayagua during the weekend, but had to return the next weekend. Sarah had only been to Comayagua once and I have never been there, so we pretty much invited ourselves and told Cristian that we were tagging along. That was awesome. Until we realized that Cristian wanted to leave at 8am. We stumbled out of bed and into the car at promptly 8am. Which is what led to the forgotten camera. And forgetting to turn the water off in the washing machine and flooding the laundry room. Mornings are rough at the teacher's house.

We pulled in to Comayagua around 8:45 and Cristian was finished with his errands around 9am. Soooo, what to do? There's a famous church in Comayagua with the oldest clock in Central America, so naturally we had to go. There was a tour guide milling around so Cristian asked him if he could let us in to the clock tour so we could head on up. The man said yes, found the guy with the key, and let us in. We climbed up the narrowest, scariest staircase I have ever encountered in my life to the top of this belltower. The tour guide told us that he was waiting for his actual tour group outside, so we could look around until he came back, but not to touch the bells. Not bells. Got it. So we're looking around. A bell- mmhmm. The views-- mmhmm. Hey, can you see me if I stand down there and look through the hole in the ceiling-- mmhmm. Oh, look at this wooden thing with a crank that the tour guide didn't say we could touch. Cristian turned the crank, made some noise, we carried on looking out the windows. A few minutes later we heard the tour guide huffing and puffing back up the stairs. Apparently said wooden contraption was only spun ONCE A YEAR and the priest of the church had heard the noise and called the tour guide in a panic asking what was wrong. Oh, oops. Worst tourists ever, we're sorry. We hung out in the bell tower a little bit longer, then decided we were bored. We make the trek back down the sketchy staircase and go to pay the guide. But wait, on our way out, we closed the door behind us. The door that locked. And there was only a small handful of people in Comayagua who have the key. All of which were otherwise occupied at the time. Oops, we're sorry, I suppose we really are the worst tourists ever.

Not my picture. The cathdral.
After having to ask for directions because we couldn't figure out the map between the three of us, we made it to the Archeological Museum. Since we're gringas, Sarah and I had to pay 40 lemps more than Cristian for admission. We were also followed around by one of the museum people who gave us the whole rundown of everything. I don't know if she was following us because we were white or just to give us the whole museum schpeel. We were able to see a lot about Comayagua and see the original clock face from the cathedral. Like I said, nothing monumental, but kind of cool.

Not my picture. But a picture of the original clockface.
At approximately 10:30am we rolled into Burger King for some healthy eating which was promptly followed by a trip to Baskin Robbins. We are the picture of health down here. And wouldn't you know it? The circus was in town. So we meandered across the street to see some African animals. The actual show wasn't for another 6 hours, so we just looked at all the animals and left. Sarah and I also touched a lion, no big deal.

We start to head for home and Cristian decides to take us to an atoleria. Which is a place where they sell atol which is essentially liquid cornbread. Not a fan really, but I tried it. This particular atoleria is also where all unsafe and old American playground equipment goes to die. This is not a joke. We played on some of the jankiest teeter-totters and see-saws. We also walked across the ricketist bridge I have ever encountered in my life. Sarah and I were terrified and hanging on to the edges for dear life whole Cristian was just jumping around behind us having a grand old time. AND THEN! At then of the bridge was a slide. Okay, I can do slides. Nope, think again. This is where American playgrounds go to die, remember? There's a litttttttle tiny bump in the slide, guess who FLIES off the slide? Painful and not enjoyable. We headed to the zoo which was comprised of ducks, raccoons, a wolf, and some rabbits. Yepp, that's also not a joke. And back over the rickety bridge, down another slide. This one had tires at the bottom to stop you. How nice of them, that sounds like the perfect way to sprain an ankle. In all seriousness though, we did spend quite awhile there, so it was clearly enjoyable for all of us.

Typical afternoon at the Teacher's House-- naps, Lifetime movies, and lesson planning. Yepp. Then I get a phone call. "Hello?" "What are you doing?" "Nothing, just les--" "Good, come outside. I ahve fireworks." Perrrrrrfect.

In standard fashion, we proceeded to climb onto the roof and shoot of fireworks. Why? Why not? Because it's Saturday and Saturdays always deserve to be celebrated. But before we were setting the fireworks off the roof, we were standing out on the patio shooting off fireworks. Some of the fireworks just required a flame and were then tossed into the air. But two of them were just a little different. You lit them, they exploded. Lights, loud noises, smoke, ooooh. Fifteen seconds later-- BAM! SUPER LOUD EXPLOSION. Hector, Cristian, Sarah, and I were standing around talking about how cool the firework was and next thing we knew, we were all hiding behind bushes or the flagpole. I was a little worried that I had peed my pants. It was terrifying and awesome all at the same time.

Rounding out the weekend with a little 24/7 and then some Christmas festivities. Like I said, it wasn't a monumental weekend in Siguatepeque. Nothing major happened, but it was spent with some of my favorite friends. Easily the best weekend since my arrival three short months ago.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Missionary Problems.

Now I'm not perfect, I'm not even going to pretend that I am close to perfect, but there are certain things in my life that I excel at and others that need a little bit of work. You are about to witness one of the things that need work.

I have never liked asking people for things which, I think, goes back to my insane fear of rejection. I avoided any activity that involved a tryout or an interview for as long as possible because I couldn't handle being told "no". While my dad totally loved bundling up and trekking around the town to sell Girl Scout Cookies, I absolutely dreaded it because I didn't like people telling me no. Clearly, this has been something that has been an issue in my life for quite some time.

And here I am, having to ask what is easily one of the most difficult questions to ask. As you are all aware, I am completing my first year of teaching at Siguatepeque Bilingual Christian School. I'm here as a missionary teacher and reaping all the benefits of being a missionary in a foreign land. One benefit includes a missionary salary. I am paid on a monthly basis and make more than enough money to eat, to go out to the movies, to chip in for bills, etc. I do not, however, make enough money to save up for anything which includes a plane ticket for my return flight in January.

If you feel led to support me financially, you can do so in a number of way. You can click the link underneath my picture that says "Donate" and donate through PayPal. You could also visit the "Support Me" tab at the top of this page and donate through the "Donate Here" link. Lastly, if you are in contact with my parents at any point, you could give money to them and they would know how to make it avaliable to me.

Whether or not you choose to support me financially, I am always grateful for support through prayer. While I have many general prayer requests, I also have frequent "short term" prayer requests. I plan to keep an ongoing list in the "Support Me" tab, so you are always welcome to check that out and see how things are going.

Regardless of how you choose to support me, please know that I am forever grateful for each one of you and the place you have in my life.

[Phew, that was painful. I'm glad we all survived]