Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Buena Vista (Round 2)

Driving to Tuesday's village Remmie mentioned he thought we'd visited the same village on our 2011 trip. I thought there was just no way, but he was absolutely right! We were greeted by the same, smiling teacher, and her students lined up in the same neat little rows to give us an incredible welcome.

Leading the morning prayer. They said a few different prayers, all of which were beautiful, but hearing such tiny voices recite the Catholic Morning Prayer brings tears to my eyes every time. Well, twice so far, but the odds are good I'd well up given a third opportunity.

The name, Buena Vista, means "good view"--proof they come by it honestly!

I translated Tonia's morning greetings in each village, and Tuesday Nury surprised me with a microphone. We are cracking up here because as I was trying to act all shy about the microphone I was having no problem using it to call the team over for the welcome. Silly girl

Clinic! I am almost positive our station is back right.

Getting in a manicure on her lunch break!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A year already...

I can't believe I've been home for about 10 months now, and still miss Honduras like it's been my home for years. I'm not sure how you can spend more than 25 years in one country, in one state, then suddenly after only a year my "normal" isn't my life in the States anymore. There are so many things I miss about Honduras, but also so many things I'm enjoying now that I'm back in the US. I finished my first semester back in school with a 4.0. Four A's and I was so darn proud of myself! I also got certified in a dynamic body balancing technique, craniosacral therapy and myofascial release. I feel like the world has opened her arms to embrace me in the most wonderful way. Things keep happening in the most "perfect-timing" only His timing can create, and I love it. I'm trying to take my dad's advice and learn to write shorter posts, so I won't drown you in all the details, but things are great. It's like I'll be thinking about something, and then an opportunity will present itself. And that really makes me smile.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.
-Joseph Campbell

So things are great, but I do miss my kiddos! The sister of one of my students found me on Facebook, and I was able to chat with her for a bit--in ENGLISH! So proud of all 49 of my smarties :) School is out for summer, and it's crazy to me that my little second graders are going to be big fourth graders. A year already?! I recently received a care package from my Honduran family, and that was amazing. The man I called abuelito has a son who lives in Manassas. He called me and said he had a gift from my abuelito and other people from his church! Apparently he hadn't been home in seven years, and just went for a two week visit. While he was there they asked how close he lived to Falls Church, and he offered to get me a package. It was so nice getting all their letters, and they even sent coffee and treats.

My sillies from 2A on the last day of school
I'm almost done with my summer semester. Hoping to finish all the drafts that never got posted, and looking forward to reminiscing on the trips and events with my students I didn't get a chance to share on here last year.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
--Denis Waitley

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pushing That Comfort Zone!

So it has been five months since my last post. Which is absolutely ridiculous. Let's blame it on change. For those who aren't in the know, I'm back from Honduras, which was quite the change but so great to be with friends and family again. It seems my adjustment phase is over, and it's back to work for this girl! I had a few (too many?) months of 'down time' after getting back, and it was good to have the time to get settled, catch up with people and try to figure out the next step...

 I started training in Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release, which I find fascinating. The body and all its inner-workings...just incredible. I'm about to begin level 3 of 5, and more excited with each training session. I won't go into too much detail here, but CST/MFR is an energetic form of healing, hands on and excellent in pain relief. I thoroughly enjoy my training, and hands-on experience with patients and willing (brave) friends has been great. Looking forward to all that training will bring! I've been offered to be part of a pain clinic this weekend, which should make me available to a larger number of patients for hands-on and observation experience. My dream of living on a healing farm is becoming more detailed and more exciting!

Work started once again, and it is honestly nice to be back into a routine. I've always had a job, ever since I was about fourteen, so being 'unemployed' for so many months was just strange! But a blessing, I know. I was fortunate enough to be offered a position with my old company, which was pretty exciting. I'll be working there part-time, MWF, and so far it has been great to see everyone again. My supervisor is new to the company, and seems like he will be a great boss. He says my days will fly by and we'll keep me nice and busy--sounds good to me!

I will only be working a part-time schedule, because I'm back in school! I have class Tuesday/Thursday and a couple online, and am so happy to be back in the classroom. Let's be clear--it has been pretty intense so far, but exciting. Deciding to make a nutritionist dream my reality meant going back to school, so I am beyond happy to be getting my studies rolling. My anatomy and physiology class is going to be a LOT of work, but so far I find it interesting, and couldn't have asked for a better professor. There's also a student study center in the science building, and the professors there are super helpful. It's going to be a great semester! And today was my first speech for public speaking. A speech already! It was just an introductory speech, 3-4minutes introducing some aspect of our lives to our classmates. So as I was fretting over my topic and the prospect of giving a speech, shamefully questioning if returning to school was such a good idea, I reminded myself that these feelings are common when I'm presented with an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone... a couple years ago I would have said "No, thank you." But now I've seen just how much I can grow when I really push my comfort zone. And there birthed my topic. Pushing my comfort zone! I was pretty pleased when I finished within the time limit today, because all of my practices were a few seconds over four minutes. I think I talk faster when I'm nervous :)

...I can't seem to load the video, so here is a link!

Won't know my grade until Thursday at the latest, but I am proud of how hard I worked on it, and that I didn't have to look at my note cards! My posture could have been a lot better, but that's something to work on for my next speech. We had this list of seven criteria, and I think (hope!) I met them all...preparing the speech left me thinking about this blog, and how even starting it was such a push for me. My darn comfort zone! I'm always sooo nervous in the beginning, and then so pleased I've pushed myself. I wonder if I'll make time to post stories from Honduras last year, and little updates as this year's hoping!

Now go do something that scares you...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mom's Hammock Hour(s)

When we left La Casa Rosada we left our hammocks for the next year's teachers. It was a tough decision, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I also don't have much of a hammock hanging space at Pastor Alfonso's, so it wasn't entirely an act of social service. Every now and then I get this major urge to take a nap, and though I can't remember the last time I actually took one, this hammock provided some of the best naps you'll ever have. So great in fact, my mom enjoyed a post-school nap every afternoon while she was here! Except for the few days we were in Copan, I didn't give her a chance for much napping then, but the first few days she was here I let her get nice and cozy. It is almost embarrassing to share, but I found something soothing about how tired she was after her first day teaching with me. And second and third days too. Not that I mean that in a terrible way or anything, it was just comforting to know that it wasn't just me!

It can actually get a little chilly with the perfectly chilled breeze that flows on the porch there, so i was kind enough to cover her with my Aunt Di quilt. I was also hateful enough to snap a picture of her all adorable and comfy conked out after a long day at school!

Catching up!

HOLA! It has been so long. And so much has changed! I also no longer have steady internet, so posts will be even more sporadic, but who doesn't love a good surprise now and then? So let's see...

Irene and Maryann are no longer Peña Blanca residents, I don't spend all week with 2nd graders, I have four younger brothers and a house filled with love, although I'm no longer a teacher I am working my little butt off  as a translating missionary, and loving the flow of spiritual peace and guidance. School ended in June, and there were papers to grade, report cards to fill out and visas to extend. Right after final exams we had to rush through grading so that we could leave the country to extend our visas in time. We spent a lovely time in Antigua, Guatemala, but I'll let that story tell itself in another post, with lots of fun picutres! After the brief trip to Antigua we had about a week of remedial school, followed by report card finalizing and house packing/cleaning. It has been a fantastic whirlwind ever since! The girls and I moved in with Pastor Alfonso and his family, and they make us (now just me) feel right at home. Everyone in the house keeps pretty busy during the day, but there is so much going on around there I can almost always find an ear to burn. Wow. That feels like such a Sue Harris quote. Aww I miss my mom :)

So I translated with some Barnabas teams, and even got to help an art team paint murals in the foundation rooms. There have been many opportunities to translate for mission teams at church, and that's been great because my Spanish to English translating has gotten really strong. English into Spanish doesn't flow so easily, but all in due time I suppose. And I was able to get quite a lot of practice for a few weeks in July--

I travelled with a family of missionaries who did a sort of crusade for two weeks. I can safely say it was a most intense translating experience, but one that taught many lessons and left a mark on my heart. Comfort zones seem to have lost their fashion. I never dreamed I'd be in front of a church translating an english sermon into Spanish, in front of a table of principals presenting an agricultural education project, translating a pastoral conference (again, into Spanish!!!) getting interviewd by local TV to talk about the agriculture project we presented to the mayor and head of department of education or meeting the secretary of agriculture and one of the Honduran Vice Presidents to share a presentation about said ag project.

Like I said, it has been a whirlwind, and I'm enjoying every second. Sending big I miss you hugs to everyone back home!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

April Fool's Day

I love my Honduran family! Was blessed with a serenade phone call from Mari, then a serenade at church with lots of clapping and bright, beautiful smiles. There's this song all about giving thanks to God for such a wonderful life and blessing said wonderful life, and you can´t listen to it and not feel wonderful. Especially when the crowd is singing it to you!

In the morning on my birthday Maryann and I walked into town laughing and chatting all along the way. We saw my student Eric, his little sister Ericka and their nanny waiting for the bus. I didn't even have a chance to say hello before Eric was yelling, "Happy Birthday!!!" It was such a great birthday present :) Then I treated myself to some of Chevo's fresh-sliced mango, and un fresco de tamarindo to enjoy during our walk. When we got to Marvin and Doris' they surprised me with a birthday canteloupe. This birthday was full of sweet little surprises :) And when we got home Irene whipped up some pancakes!
cute little flower-shaped pancakes!

Our friend Natalie's birthday is April 2nd and Lisa and Gordon planned a surprise for her on the 1st. They were super sweet and had us both blow the candles out  on the yummy Queen's cake they had for us. They even had a few presents for me! It was a really great day.

In one of the shirts Mrs. Cessna sent down with one of the teams--she sent a great birthday package!
Later in the week Eric's mom and dad had a party for me over at their house. It started early evening and went late into the night--almost 10pm is what Eric was claiming to the students on Monday! We had a great time chatting and relaxing. Eric and Rosemery (mom and dad) really went all out. They had a grill full of meat, avocados with chimol (yum yum yummy), a table FULL of all kinds of delicious fruit and the cutest little cupcakes. After dinner, cake and coffee we went inside and I had a great time talking with Rosemery for what turned into hours. We talked about favorite movies, different places we've traveled, hopes and dreams--all the fun stuff! I love seeing how my children interact with their family, and seeing how they are outside the classroom. And I really appreciate Rosemery's friendship. We have grown quite close this year, and plan to keep in touch over the years to come. I need to know the man their son grows to be!
Ericka runs up to give me hugs almost every morning at school, and she didn't want to leave my side during the party. She is way too cute.

She was definitely the most excited about the quequitos. She ran inside to show me the little cupcakes, and then Rosemery reminded her they were a surprise. I said, "Don't worry I didn't see anything!" and Ericka scolded me for lying!!!

El Castillo en Omoa

The last day with the team was so much fun. We went to a town called Omoa, toured a famous castle and swam in the ocean all before lunch! It was quite the day. I think a lot of us were used to teams going shopping at the market in San Pedro Sula for their Saturday hoorah, but this was just so much better. 
They used coral as some of the stone in the castle. This feels silly to admit, but I had no idea you could use coral to help build a structure! Of course I would later learn that the mayans used coral in their architecture as well, and it is really just something I should have known. But it was a fun new fact. And adds a very pretty element to the side of the old structure!

I learned that they exported all sorts of things from this castle, but he had me at chocolate :)  I wonder what their kind of chocolate tasted like. I have enjoyed the fruit of a cacao tree, and the seed is so bitter most people just can't stand it. I know there is a drying and grinding process with the seeds, but then I assumed said powder is mixed with all sorts of things to create even the darkest of dark chocolates sold these days. Back then would they just sell it as powder?

Cool view from the top!

Birthday Surprises

The day before my birthday kicked off a stretch of special celebration for me. I know I'm "far away from home" and all, but I have really found family here, and they worked hard to make me feel incredibly special for my birthday! I kicked the day off with a trip to a nearby town to visit a student and her grandmother. They suffered some pretty difficult deaths in the family due to a fatal car crash, and my student missed a few weeks of school. Pastor Alfonso, Mari and I went to visit and pray with them, and we had a great visit. It was of course difficult, but a blessing for everyone involved. The following week my girl was back at class, and just today she was singing me different worship songs she'd learned from her cousin. We talked about practicing some more tomorrow, and you should have seen her skipping to her bus singing her new favorite song. Precious :) Ok so that was the morning of March 31, and a great way to start my birthday weekend!

Once we got back I stayed and visited with Mari for a while. Zenaida had invited the girls and I over for coffee and sweets, so Irene met me at Pastor Alfonso's to walk over together. I washed some clothes at Mari's, but hadn't had time to hang them to dry, so I toted a bag of wet clothes to put on the line at Zenaida's. Once we got to Zenaida's I walked down into the yard rather than climbing the steps to go into her house, and Irene was all perplexed about what I was doing. I reminded her about my laundry and said I was going to hang the clothes before going in...I remember she looked at me confused, but then said she'd see me inside. My response was that she could help me before we went in, but she pushed for me to just come in with her. Then I heard Zenaida calling out and telling me to come in for a minute. So in I go, laundry in tow, and I hear a great big SURPRISE!!! from my friends inside. They threw me a surprise birthday party! And got a great picture of me all kinds of surprised (sporting my laundry bag!)
surprises are SO fun!!!

Back row: Gisselle, Jen, Sara, Richard, Allan, Maryann
Front row: Zenaida, Yo, Irene
 They had quite the spread with a table full of veggies! Zenaida doesn't believe in broccoli, but she made an exception for my special day :) Then we hung out, drank some coffee, ate a good amount of CAKE and played with a children's puzzle toy. Zenaida and Jen take in children from time to time to try and get their nutrition back in check. We all appreciated Lesy sharing her toys for a couple hours.

Irene made me a sweet birthday hat, that happened to match my outfit perfectly!

We played with one of those puzzle balls. It started with curiosity, and ended with a heated race! Yes, I turned 26 this year.

Maryann made a delicious red velvet cake, from scratch. Red velvet! Mmmmm.

Irene sewed beads to write my name on my card. And she cut the hearts from paper she water-colored!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Las Quebraditas

Friday's village--always a mixed feeling kind of day. You almost can't believe your week is almost over, and you want to pour all you have into this last day of clinic. Friday villages are normally smaller so that we can get home and have inventory started at a decent hour. It was definitely a small village, but of course full of interesting people. Janet and I saw a woman well into her eighties, wearing this beautiful blue dress and a smell that could dry tears. She was full of so much joy; such a great way to start clinic for the day! We normally tried to pray for patients before they left our clinic, but we asked this woman to pray for us. She was bursting with hope, love and happiness, and we wanted her to share some of that with us, so we could share it with the rest of the families that visited us throughout the day. Thinking about the hug she gave me as she left gets my eyes a little tingled. I remember later in the day a little girl looked at me and said, "Hey, you, give me a hairband" pointing to our little pile of ponytail holders. I smiled and said, "Hey, you, be nice and answer some questions!" Janet gets a kick out of this story because I tell it like she offended me with her "hey you!" ... but not much later she was on my lap and I was braiding her hair. I must really be a softy :)
This little thing was just too much.

Sara fell in love :)

Santa Fe de Abajo

Thursday we were all geared up and excited to hold clinic at a new village for the Barnabas Foundation. It was a long, wonderful day. Janet and I were busy all day, and we saw some incredible families. I loved how we worked together, and we enjoyed a special treat that day because MacK had time to join us for a while. Unfortunately, we were too busy to get many pictures, but the kids were cute and the people were many.

I know I've mentioned this before, but a lot of times the people we see come needing more of an ear than a prescription. I remember a lovely woman came through our station and ended up sharing a good bit of her story. Melvin and their community leader (I should really know them by name, and I am a little ashamed that I don't! ... Fausto...quizas/maybe) came over to chat with her for a while. I was fascinated listening to Melvin giving pastoral advice and then helping him pray with her. I am not sure I had ever seen Melvin in that capacity, and I was impressed by his harsh but sound advice, delivered with the perfect amount of cariño. I have a hard time describing what it is like, having no medical training, to be able to play a role in healing someone.

Las Nieves

Wednesday's village was filled with tender faces. The community leader gave me such a warm hug when we arrived. She remembered me from the church, and it was great getting to spend more time with her. We also learned she is quite the baker, as she passed around some homemade cookies and cakes to go along with our afternoon coffee. At the end of the day Janet and I went for a little walk to visit a few of the houses. There was a sweet little girl who sort of glued herself to my side for the afternoon, and I think she wanted to show us where she lived. It is so fun looking back on this trip. All the smiles, tears and stories we shared. I love what I do. I just love it.

 Tonia's braids just looked like they wanted to enjoy some fresh flowers :)

Tuesday night manicures, extra shiny thanks to Papa Joe's sweet glitter polish stash!

The community leader's home she graciously opened for restroom access.

Melvin (black tshirt and sunglasses) and Pete (red tshirt and hat) LOVE to sing, and have lovely voices. Melvin and I taught the team a song that is well known around here--it was fun to get each day started clapping and singing.
"Yooo tengo un amigo que me ama, me ama, me ama..."

those eyes!

Love Janet's expression in this one.

and love Remmie's relaxed smile in this one!