Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Last week, it was time to bid El Porvenir farewell. Finally, it was time for me to put away my frumpy khaki volunteering shorts and pick up a camera. I headed to Guatemala, the neighboring country known for it's vibrant culture and coffee! It felt good to end my journey by starting off on a new one as a tourist/backpacker. I met up with friends in Guatemala City, then stayed in Antigua and Lake Atitlan. I was prepared to hit it up solo, but to my delight the boyfriend managed to join me for a few days! Here are some highlights of my trip:

 The cuisine was fantastic and always made fresh, where ever we went and whatever we ordered! There was no shortage of highly recommended restaurants and cafes, we never left disappointed! (above: We discovered Rincon Tipico-$5 a plate-hole in the wall!)

 We hiked an active volcano, Pacaya. Tours leave in the morning and in the afternoon, we went in the morning at 6am! 2 hours away by shuttle, $10 included everything but the marshmellows.
 It was like walking on the moon! Great views, but didn't get close enough to the top to see lava. 

The shopping! GAH! So many quality handicrafts were being sold at every corner. Bracelets, hammocks, bags, ughhhh I had to control myself from buying things I wouldn't normally use or wear once I settle back into the city...

 The buildings in Antigua. It was easy to spend entire days just walking around the city to marvel at their gloriousness. Guides hang out at Central Park to offer walking tours, but I preferred to stumble around getting lost. 

 Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America, surrounded by volcanoes it's also one of the most beautiful lakes as well! 3.5-4 hours by shuttle (easily booked at any travel agency-I recommend Atitrans for professionalism and honest prices) it's best to spend a night. Warning-it's not a smooth journey! 
 Villages are scattered around the take, clustered around docks. We stayed in San Pedro, and spent a day in Panachel before heading back. It costs about $3 to get from dock to dock. 

 Making chocolate at the Choco Museum. 2 hour classes, great history lesson w/ Pablo, 3 hot chocolates, take home chocolate you make (70% available!) $24 so worth it! 

There's so much more to do in Antigua-taking Spanish classes being one of the most popular options for people with more time! I loved my time here, and in the future I plan to return to a Spanish-speaking country solely for the purpose to learn the language properly. Until then, hasta luego! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why I'm Thankful

It's turkey day again! This will be my fourth Thanksgiving overseas, celebrating with the family and friends I've met along the journey. This year, dinner will be with our team of volunteers who come from all over the world-so I was doing some explaining last night on what Thanksgiving is for those who didn't grow up with it...and what happened after the First Thanksgiving. There's a story with some dark history! It's best just to focus on the meaning behind the holiday-a time to give thanks for what we have-and to eat ourselves into a food coma.

My life is full to the brim with blessings. Here are are some things I am especially thankful to the Lord for this year: 

1. My health. I can't really say I risk my life doing dangerous things on a daily basis, but I have done a lot of sports and travel without any injuries. Especially living in Central America, I'm so grateful for not contracting Dengue or yellow fever, for how many insects feast on me daily. I'm thankful for a strong, healthy body because it's the only one I'll have for the rest of my life! 

2. My friends. They light up my world, and remind me who I am when I'm lost. I thank God for bringing all sorts of amazing characters into my life, and I'm thankful for the internet for keeping us connected despite the constant changing distances between us.

3. My passports and citizenships. Many people don't realize how hard it is to travel for people living in countries with complicated visa applications/procedures. In Honduras (and many, many other countries), it is extremely difficult to even visit the United States because the government needs to make sure they will eventually return, and not become illegal residents. Only a tiny percentage of the population can pass the background check in order to apply for a visa. Think about how easy it is for us (US citizens). We just buy a plane ticket online, show up at the airport, and take off. I'm pretty positive I can go anywhere in the world-because for countries where US citizens aren't allowed, BOOM I've got my HK passport ready baby! With the traveling I've done and still want to do, it's something I've grown to really appreciate.

4. My family. Sure, they're not really around, but they're the ones who raised me to be independent enough to figure things out on my own and I am thankful for that. They are the ones that encourage me into going anywhere and doing anything, really-well maybe not encourage, but they've never held me back. They know what I'm made of, cause they're made of it too. The strong-willed Wongs. 

5. My man. My favorite person in the world, and the one I want to share everything with. Words can't explain how thankful I am to have him in my life. To be loved is nothing, to love someone is something, but to be loved by the one you love is everything. <3 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week Eleven in Honduras

Working as a volunteer with the Honduras Child Alliance in El Porvenir has been a roller coaster, physically, mentally and emotionally. To be fair, this experience was almost exactly what I had expected, and looked forward to! Check out out what I wrote on June 16th:

"I'm going to volunteer teach beautiful little children, and play at the beaches after school, and sleep in a bunk bed with a fan and eat lots of fruit, learn Spanish, and fall in love with a new place. I am going to backpack around Central America and build bathrooms on weekends, and I will be happy. I've always wanted to do this, ever since university days it has been a dream of mine."

The only things different was that there were no bathrooms being built, and I can't say I've exactly

fallen in love with the place. Love is a very strong word-maybe 'adapted to my best of ability' would be more suitable. But I did it, I came with an open mind and offered all I had and worked hard to make my stay worthwhile. But was it worthwhile? Can volunteering anywhere for a few months be worthwhile?

To be honest, I am leaving soon with a note of disappointment. The reason why I had chosen to help power an organization dedicated to empowering others in extreme poverty was because it was my passion. I thought that's what I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to, so I graduated with a degree in Public Health, worked at the Red Cross, and moved overseas for international experience. I had hoped to one day work for the WHO, Unicef, etc. do crazy stuff, like educating children at refuge camps, write articles to promote awareness of needed aid, you know. Now that I've gotten first-hand experience I'm thinking...maybe it's not what I want to pursue after all. It's been a slow, crushing realization. WHY do I feel this way? Many factors go into it, but the bottom line is that this work may not be for me-and that's okay. I'll reflect and revisit this. Perhaps I just need a break from this sector-I am definitely looking forward to moving back to state side. I've tentatively begun my job search knowing I have much to offer, my challenge is where to start looking. Oh, the adventures that await.

On the bright side, I've learned more than I expected to about how a non-profit runs. I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of what it takes to change a community for the better. I've met incredibly inspirational people who have worked alongside us. I've lived together with some strong characters from all over the world and managed. I've witnessed how the cycle of poverty works, and I've loved the children who hope to break out of it. I've learned to be grateful for the simple things, like hot showers, mosquito nets, and clean air. I'm excited to be reunited with the one I love and to see where life will take us next.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week Ten in Honduras

Yesterday was my last day at kindergarten class. It wasn't too hard to say goodbye since I'll still be in town and I can drop by whenever. But still. If I could have done anything differently, I would have taken Spanish classes for a year beforehand so I could have taught them things that really matter. For instance; how to share, take turns, how to respect themselves and each other. Also WHY it's important to brush their teeth. I still can't tell if they're telling me they'll miss me, or if they want toilet paper for the restroom. I wish I could have understood them when they tried to share their feelings and opinions-I just wish I could have gotten to know them on a deeper level! I'll always remember their precious faces and big eyes! We drew self-portraits for a memory book and then had a dance party! Oh my, some of these kids have moves. You can tell which ones have TV in their homes for sure!

My time had to end at Kinder because this week we started our Vacation Activities Program. Lots of kids from our normal English classes showed up, plus lots of new faces. Most of the games, crafts and activities we do are in Spanish since it's not an English-focused camp. My Spanish is getting put to the test-I had to read "If You Give a Mouse A Cookie" in Spanish..it's going to be quite an interesting few weeks. On Friday we all went down to the beach and made a Slip N Slide-it was fun despite having to use baby oil and shampoo instead of dishwashing soap!

The firemen took their exams this week for the lessons we've been doing. They did an excellent job-an average of A-! They were so excited we took pictures afterwards and had a little fiesta! I really admire all that they do for their community. On Monday they were carving wooden airplanes for the children in the community. On Tuesday they were supervising the repainting of the local high school to cover up graffiti. On Wednesday and Thursday they were constructing new desks for schools in need (100 new desks) !!

I also take back what I said about loving the rainy season here. Because with the rain, came the mosquitos, and now I'm counting the days til I can escape. Isn't that awful? All these kids running up to hug us every day, the devoted bomberos, chill roommates-and I'm itching to leave. But seriously, I'm literally ITCHING TO DEATH. My body is covered in welts and splotches like you wouldn't believe-the insects love me more than any of the other volunteers. Sigh. Being Asian has become exotic again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week Nine in Honduras

The rainy season has begun, and I love it. To my surprise and delight, the rain doesn't bring in humidity-it just cools the temperature down and spoils us with comfortable breezes. I'm sitting next to the balcony screen door now so I can type with ocean waves as my background noise, oh yeah and the bachata music bumpin' from the pulperia next door.

More new volunteers arrived this week and last week, diversifying our ever-changing little familia. The director of HCA came this Monday, and all our classes ended as we trained and prepared for the vacation program (VAP) all week. It's like throwing on a summer camp-we're the counselors and together, after the kids are released for their winter break, we play. This week was registration so we made posters and set up tables at each of our locations. My team set out candy and stickers to lure children into signing up. It's a free program, and although we're not focused on teaching English during VAP, kids come to learn songs, do crafts, play games, and receive love and mentorship from people who care. Our group is the Wolves, we're gonna have a howling chant and face our faces every morning. Having been practically raised in summer camps, being in girl scouts and counseling for outdoor school camps, I can't wait to have fun with these kids!!

The bomberos (firefighters) class continues on. I love those guys, even though we almost never start class on time. They'll be taking their first exam next week-they looked so scared when I announced it!

This morning I went to help out at a local soup kitchen-I had no idea it would exist here. Rosa, the kindergarten teacher, runs it and invited us to come. I didn't know if I should bring a camera or not, so I didn't. It's at this building made of tin shedding and wooden planks, with a dirt floor and almost no furniture except for steel folding chairs and a few tables. Turns out it's used as a church! Only little children were there to be served food-some of the kids attend the kindergarten we volunteer at and others I've never met before. The ones I knew ran up to hug me, big smiles n all. Children are always just so happy to have people to play with and tasty food-just like me!

I've impressed myself with how quickly I adjusted back to the flow of life here after taking a short break, worlds away. It's entered a nervous excitement in me for the future, which is only a month away now. One more month, no more biking around flooded dirt roads, no more baleadas, no more espanol. One more month, and I'll be with the boyfriend, finding my place in the job market, starting life from scratch again in a new big city. I need to find a church there, wherever it'll be. "Worry fades away when we know for sure our future is secure in God's hands."

 At our little friend's 4th grade graduation at her bilingual school
Making signs for VAP registration! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


A few months ago, or what feels like galaxies ago in February, my boyfriend and I were laid out on colorful flat bohemian cushions on the sand, enjoying an evening of fruity booze buckets and watching fire dancers mesmerise the crowd with their fiery chains cutting through the calm beachside darkness. This was Ko Tao, Thailand-one of the best places in the world to scuba dive. 

Last weekend, I found myself on Utila- the other best place in the world to scuba dive. It's also the cheapest-for $250 you can get your Open Water, or so I hear. This island attracted the same crowd as Ko Tao-20-something backpackers from all over the world, laid back and party-loving. When we got off the ferry it was hard to believe we were only 45 mins away from mainland Honduras-it was a different world. Like Roatan, everyone spoke English and USD was accepted everywhere. Unlike Roatan, all the bars were packed, every night, and it was hard to resist the inviting crowds of new friends (made quickly)-to go to the next bar, join the rest at the other joint, meet the next day to dive, join their sailboat, drink rum, drink more rum, and enjoy the freedom of youth and adventure. I was told by a bartender the Three Golden Lies of Utila on my first night: 

1. I love you.
2. I'm not drinking tonight. 
3. I'm leaving tomorrow. 

So now you know, and if you're ever in Honduras-you have to check this place out cause there's nowhere in the place like this place. (Besides maybe Ko Tao, lots of people we met here have also been there!) 

 Not a lot of beaches, a whole lot of docks! 
 You get the idea. 

Week Seven in Honduras

I have reached the half-way mark of my time in Honduras. I feel strange typing this from San Francisco, on an unexpected trip back to highways, coffee shops, beanies, and autumn weather. I love it but I'm culture-shocked...there is too much talking, too many signs, too many choices of beer. Okay, maybe the beer choices aren't too bad. Suddenly I hear everyone's conversations and I can read every menu, I'm excited to have chai lattes but I feel so shy ordering, using ENGLISH...has it really been over three years? It's like a double-whammy culture shock: how many people go from speaking Chinese and living in Taiwan, straight to speaking Spanish and living in Honduras?

The culture shock just goes to show how El Porvenir has grown on me. I wake up when the sun rises, and I like feeling like I haven't wasted a minute of sunlight. I always have either pineapples or bananas with granola or oatmeal for breakfast, and hardly think about coffee. I think about lesson plans for the day, and if I need to bring money for the student's milk or need to make photocopies of worksheets. I allow myself to wear the same pair of shorts for up to a week, just cause no one cares and neither do I anymore. Locals shout "BUENAS!" as I ride by to work and I nod back every morning. I play with the kinder kids-we have all gotten quite familiar with each other now and I calm daily wars over who gets the pencils with the most eraser bits, etc. I also have to palliate uproars over turns on the playground swings. I drink liters upon liters of water every day!

In the afternoons our bomberos (firefighters) class is going on full swing. I have to admit, at first I was a bit intimidated by the task of standing in front of a group of community heroes with the intent of teaching them conversational English and grammar. But it turns out that these guys are the most easy-going, diligent and sometimes even bashful handful of men in the town. It's my favorite class to teach, by far. This week we went through present continuous verbs: I AM eatING, you ARE sleepING, and so on. Everything I teach them, I learn it in Spanish from them also. It's efficient and beautiful.

I get home each day just as the sun is setting. Unless we have plans to watch a futbol game at the local patio bar, most of the volunteers and I spend our evenings cooking and uncoiling into our own quarters.   On Tuesday I learned how to make tortillas-it's a lot of patting and slapping dough. I take about three showers a day-to wash off the dirt, bug repellent, mud and sweat. Oh, the one thing I hate above all else in Honduras-the insectos. My legs are eaten up and my back is covered in dark blemishes, it's not sexy. This past week I was kept up a few nights, itching in my sleep...even within the drapes of my mosquito net! Even so, if bug bites are my biggest compliant I feel like I'm doing pretty well. There is a purity about El Porvenir, where no one has any money so no one judges and everyone just enjoys what they can out of every day. Last week I really wanted a pineapple. On Tuesday I got one, and I was happy for the rest of the week.

When I get back, I'll be taking it easy on the weekends. There is only one more place in Honduras I want to check out that I haven't yet-the Copas Ruinas. Until then, Rosa-the local kinder teacher, has invited the volunteers and I to help out at a soup kitchen every Saturday. It's a wonderful excuse to stay in town and maybe even check out different churches on Sunday! I've been to one service so far...it was quite an experience that I won't be returning to anytime soon.

Sigh. The days are long, but the weeks are fast. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week Six in Honduras

"Tell us, if there were one thing we could do for your village, what would it be?" 
"With all respect, Sahib, you have little to teach us in strength and toughness. And we don't envy your restless spirits. Perhaps we are happier than you? But we would like our children to go to school. Of all the things you have, learning is the one we most desire for our children." -Schoolhouse in the Clouds 

It's good to get inspired to do something you're already doing. 

Sometimes on a day-to-day basis it doesn't seem so special or heroic-sometimes it doesn't even feel like it matters. This past week I've been contemplating the actual need for me to stay in this village, if the work we're doing is efficient enough to even stick around for. It just seems like education is so overlooked in El Porvenir, the parents don't seem to care if their kids go to school or not, learning English seems silly when no one speaks it here, and the kids are frustratingly academically behind. But I believe that education is so important that I can't leave yet. Learning is never a waste of time or money-investing in an education is a smart thing to do. Or better yet, invest in the education of others. That's what teachers do. I don't think a single teacher exists out there who doesn't believe in the power of education. I suppose that's what I really enjoy teaching, whenever I feel discouraged I stumble across a quote like the one above and feel a swell of emotion. We learned COLORS this week BTW-they all knew 'yellow' really well, not sure why! 

This week our trial program with the local firemen started and it's been great. I really enjoyed getting to know these 15-20-something-year-old team of workers and volunteers. Yes, they aren't children-but lots of them are young men that are yearning to learn English. I think it's wonderful what the firemen do-there are only four actual firefighters, but the rest are volunteers from the local high school. These boys get taken in and trained, they get mentored, have a safe and positive place to hang out, and stay out of trouble because they all want to finish school and go to fireman school. For me, it's a huge relief to have such a captive audience and I feel like I'm really getting to know the community as well. They never want to class to end! When we finish a unit, they beg to go on to the next one-they always go, "No mas?! Mas por favor!" Next week I'll put up a photo of us. I have one now but I'm all slouching funny and looks weird. Haha!

Oh and the past weekend, five of us volunteers hopped onto a ferry for Utila. It was the most fun I might have ever had-partying on dock bars and the beach with a constant flow of new friends-wise. I just got home earlier and I still can't put into words all that went
down. Uh. Our not-to-be-envied 'restless spirits' get the better of us sometimes..a veces...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week Five in Honduras

I've fallen in love with bachata music. Look up 'Prince Royce' for an example. You can not help but to feel happy if you hear songs like that on a sunny day. I'll lip-sync along til I know the lyrics, and hopefully someday I'll know what they mean as well! 

This week I finally mastered saying "I must exercise every day", "Are you married?" and stuff like "I like your hair."It's still a struggle to carry a conversation, and a few days this week I felt pretty discouraged but then Honduras won the game over Costa Rica and ALL IS WELL. Tickets were sold out, so we watched it at a bar-it's so fun quenching our excitement with Salvavidas (the national beer here-it means 'lifesaver' in Spanish...genius.) and high-fiving bellowing locals!

I burned a CD for the Kinder kids this week, just basic English kids songs plus the Macarena and the kids went crazy over it. We learned farm animals this week, but it was chaos because their teacher was gone a few times and these kids love to destroy the classroom. Ever since I gave up trying to manage this class up to Taiwanese standards, I've been much happier. It's just not going to work here, but as long as the kids love coming to school still, that's okay. Every day there is so much I wish I could say to them, but even now my Spanish just results in cute puzzled faces. 

On Friday night some volunteers and I went 'camping' and then on to a reservoir lake area (Cuero y Salado) the next day to search for crocodiles and manatees. At least that's what I was told! But we only saw monkeys, birds, and lizards instead. It's alright though-manatees kind of scare me. They are so big and float around in murky water like shadowy monsters...lakdjf;ladfjadls. Later on we hiked Pico Bonito up to a waterfall. There are lots of snakes and we had a close encounter with a jaguar (apparently everyone heard it and froze in place while I continued to climb up the trail) and our guide had us eat termites! They taste like carrots, really-just a POP and a burst of carrot flavor in your mouth. 

There is never a dull moment living in La Casa de La Playa (volunteer house). Even though I've only been here a month and a half I'm practically a veteran now since every week people arrive and people leave. Over the course of a week my roommates have changed from two american girls to two european girls, one from Norway and one from Germany. Everyone gets along more or less-it's like Big Brother or Friends. I'm whichever one who tries to get everyone to join my workouts (Day 26 of Insanity now!) and then later to have beers. And you know how I know I'm American? Cause Americans talk about themselves a lot, and often, and basically the three Americans in the house (including me) speak the whole time for everyone...so. I'm going to work on that. It wasn't as obvious in Taipei-I don't know why, but living here it IS. Why do we do that?! Anyways, my two teaching partners from Spain left yesterday, and a guy from Australia arrived, so we went out to party again in La Ceiba. Let me tell you, there isn't a lot of variation in their club music-it's basically dirty Spanish grinding music for hours on end, and the men standing around the bars look greeeeesssayyy. I had hoped it would be more fun my second time around, but now I'm pretty sure my clubbing days in Honduras are over. 

Sometimes I get excited about cooking and reading. I've started reading half a dozen books (I promise to finish at least one of them) and I'm trying out at least one new recipe every week. It's really weird, and I wonder if it means I'm finally growing up. At 25, I still feel like all I've done so far is travel, play and enjoy life-and it's disgusting and unfair to others whom have toiled away at their office desks all day since university. It's not that I don't want to build up a nice career-I do and I will. And when I do, you can bet I will be working my ass off like crazy cause I like to be busy. But I still don't know what I want to do or become yet, so meanwhile it doesn't hurt to see more of what the world needs, learn more about what I can contribute, and meet people that inspire me. And add on to my personal growth on the side, such as enjoying music that I don't understand.
Hasta lluego! 

 The morning papers after our big game!! WHOO HOO!
 This is Moises, he's gonna be a heartbreaker.
 Just look at the evil on their faces lol
My favorite routine.
A donde esta las crocodiles?!?!?!
 Parking our motorboat to admire arbols. (trees)
 The waterfall at Pico Bonito!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week Four in Honduras

I can't believe a month has passed since I unpacked my bags in El Porvenir.

Things at the Kindergarten are going smoothly, but they have an unusual amount of holidays. I feel like for every week there's been at least a day off. The kids have gotten much better at giving into brushing their teeth, maybe because I enforce it every day and it's finally becoming a routine. I taught about food this week, and we made art with plates of paper food-it was a hit! The more time I spend with these children, the more I witness how much a child's home life affects their behavior in class. One girl doesn't listen to anyone or want to do anything-she is losing both her parents to AIDS. Same with another grumpy little boy-he's losing his mom to cancer. Another boy is quiet and cries a lot, because he gets beaten at home a lot since his dad left the family. Needless to say, some days participation is not good but I can't expect too much. Sometimes I just sit on the stairs of the classroom and watch them, wondering what kind of adults they will grow up to be. Despite everything, most of the students go on every day cheerfully living in the only world known to them. . I'm learning how to chill out and work with a class that is constantly in chaos, to take every day as they come and do the best we can with what we've got.

Next week I will start giving English classes to the local firefighters with my teaching partner. They are a group of good natured men, some are younger boys that volunteer to train with them. I've never really taught English for adults, but I've been a student in adult classes for different languages! They aren't busy here, plus sometimes even if they get a call, they don't have gas in their truck to answer it! Most of their English skills are non-existent, but we've picked out a very basic textbook to start off with. We need to make photocopies week by week for everyone.

This past weekend I took a break from traveling to just hang out. We got three new volunteers, and our project manager organized an International Dinner on Friday where we all cooked food from our countries to share. I felt obligated to make something Asian since I'm the only one here, so I made chow mein! Hahha we had Spanish tortillas, Norwegian crepes, hot dogs (the american dudes of course) grits, sangrias, pina coladas, etc. Yesterday I went to La Ceiba and bought a Honduras jersey cause a bunch of us are planning to go to the Honduras vs. Costa Rica game next Friday, if we can get tickets. It's supposed to be a huge game, cause if we win then Honduras will go on to the World Cup in Brazil!! I also finally went swimming at the beach next to our house! The water was warm, and there are lots of rolling waves that gently float you back to shore. I don't know why I hadn't gone out there before.

Oh, I went out to the club for the first time here last night. We went out in La Ceiba, it was called HIBOU anddddd compared to the laser beam lights at Luxy, or the walls of waterfalls inside Myst, the views out on the balcony of Departure, I was not impressed despite it being the nicest club in La Ceiba. The music was good though-I didn't know any of the songs but they were easy and fun to dance to! They had an outside area, and I was amused to find out we were ON the beach, overlooking the waves. We were out until almost 3am but it never got that crowded, and it didn't feel dangerous.

I'm starting to see the same people all the time here, walking around on the streets or buying things from the pulperias. Every stranger here is my new friend waiting to be made. :) Okay, maybe not EVERYONE. My Spanish has continued to improve to the point where I'm speaking Spanglish! I think it's a good thing, cause I'm generally communicating in Spanish and fill in words I don't know with English. Which is a lot, and it doesn't work here if they don't know the English word either. So maybe not a good thing. I've started to look for the right tutor here.

That's about it for now! One month, check.

Where I finally went swimming yesterday, my backyard beach!

Another successful day of teeth brushings! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Last week I had a very special visitor-the boyfriend!! After picking him up from the airport, we took a quick tour of El Porvenir and then headed straight to the ferry port for Roatan. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands, an hour ferry ride from La Ceiba. Even though it's so close, Roatan is a galaxy away from El Porvenir, as far as living standards in Honduras goes. It has a reputation for white sandy beaches, beautiful resorts and lots of tourists. We stayed at West End, in a lovely bungalow. Even though I have gotten accustomed to living in a little poverty-stricken village, getting away for a few days was a breath of fresh air. We sprawled out under palm trees, sipped on pineapple rum cocktails, took pictures of sunsets and absorbed the beauty around us. Boyfriend and I absolutely loved every minute of our vacation there, but the best part was, of course, being reunited with each other. Here are some pics, the rest will be on FB soon! xx

The beauty of tandem kayaks. 
 Snorkeling! The waters were transparent and the fish were huge!
 Coconut breaded shrimp was delicious..til I had too many, but still. 
 Sunset at our beach front.
 Water taxi stop!
 Our breezy home <3
 On our way to see dolphins and starfish! 
 One night back in La Ceiba, sunset on the beach. Hot dogs or...? 
 Look who honey found for me! HAHA! 
From our balcony, til next time!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week Two in Honduras

Have you ever heard of a 'plantain'? Neither have I. It looks like a large, green banana and tastes like a potato and they're everywhere in Honduras! Today I bought banana chips for my granola at the 'pulperia' but turns out they were plantains, thus actually potato chips. If I'm lucky, sometimes after class on my walk back home I'll run into Isabel, a local woman who carries fresh homemade pastries in a huge tupperwear bowl above her head to sell. She has banana bread, ginger cookies, coconut buns, cinnamon rolls and sometimes pineapple flatbread/pie for 5 lemps each, about 20 cents. Milk comes in liters of plastic bags, and I'm starting to think that 'leche' sounds tastier than 'milk'.

I love it when it rains here. The heavy clouds block the burning sun all day, and then the rain pours graciously over all the cement houses, the unkept fields, the rocky dirt paths. Sometimes we're outside and there's nothing we can do but embrace it-we're already usually soaked in sweat and coated with dust anyway. When the rain passes, which it never ceases to do so quickly, the air is cool and relieving...and even if for just a few hours, it feels clean.

We got a few more volunteers in this week which really helped liven the beach house up! I've also been making new friends around the village and I'm learning new words and phrases in Spanish everyday, like "I think..." "Should I...?" and things to say to students like "Sit down!" and "Come here!" I even have a language exchange buddy group who meet me by the beach on Mondays, and we get carried away speaking in broken English/Spanish about sushi and robberies.

This week, we started a regular schedule for Kinder which was wonderful to be a part of! The kiddos say a prayer every morning and before snack time, thanking God for the flowers, animals, their homes and their cuteness...?! I question my Spanish comprehension a lot. We also started following a weekly lesson plan I wrote for PEP classes that put me at ease. I have taken teaching into heart more than I had realized during my time in Taiwan. I am growing quite fond of my new students, because they are so expressive and impatient! They don't take themselves too seriously and make funny faces when they don't understand me. And yes, they are cute as well.

Last weekend I hopped on to a local bus and headed for San Pedro Sula on my own to meet up with my old Shida (Chinese school) classmates whom are Honduran! Actually, it was partially because of how much I loved them that I choose to volunteer in their homeland. It was around a 4 hour bus ride from La Ceiba, and the bus had no AC and dirty seats but I made it there alive. I actually went with them to the airport on Sunday to see them off as they went back to Taiwan for more years of school! Weird!

So, I guess I'm adjusting. Things are uncomplicated here. Not that my life was complicated before, but like, I don't even need a key to get my house, we just holler and since all the windows are open screened, someone always hears and lets us in. I wake up when sunlight spreads over my room and I am attempting to make tortillas later on. So like, uncomplicated like that. I'm happier than I was last week, and I will be happier next week.

These, my friends, are plantains-disguised as bananas to forever cause confusion.
 Teaching body parts-I only get them to myself for one English class a day! 
  Typical sight everywhere..laundry day all day every day! 
  My new home is on the right. A 'pulperia' store and restaurant are on the left. The beach is ahead. 
Midday reflections at la playa.