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!