September 22, 2009
Because I have some free time today I feel like I can finally catch up on some of the blog entries I have wanted to write but haven’t had the time.
This past Sunday I had a little bit of a break down. I was too tired, nervous about going back to school after going on vacation for a whole week, and trying to talk to my mom on skype and it wasn’t working. Skype can be my best friend or my worst enemy depending on the day. Anyway, my mom gave me her great mom advice, sleep! I did get some sleep and started to feel much better. My housemates also suggested we go out to dinner so we went to Applebees and I got my favorite zesty ranch chicken sandwich. Things were looking up for me.
But nonetheless I feel as if I need to acknowledge for myself a little bit more about why this year is difficult. If I can write about them and understand them maybe I wont feel negatively about this experience but more proud of the fact that I am here doing it. So bare with me while I talk about why this is hard, if it doesn’t interest you as always no harm no foul.
Where to begin, the first and most difficult thing I have encountered is that I am not in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I knew my ticket said San Pedro Sula, Honduras, but I think deep down I was hoping to just replicate my wonderful experience in Argentina. The truth is though, that if Chicago is BsAs then I’m living in a much more dangerous Hickory Corners . This continues to be a shock to me. The city infrastructure is terrible, there is trash everywhere, I have to take a taxi to get anywhere other than the school and the bus system seems unapproachable for foreigners. I am in a city that does not feel like a city but has all the possible dangers of a big city.
Its HOT! And HUMID! I’m constantly sweaty around here. I’m realizing how much I love seasons as everyone writes about cross country meets, football games, and cooler windy weather. I never thought I would be homesick for apple orchards and crunchy leaves but wow am I. I am a believer in a four seasons lifestyle. This brings me to another thing that is hard about this year that I have signed up for…
I miss college! I like to think that the transition from college to work would be hard whether I was in another country or not. I miss going to the library, I miss waking up to meet my friend for breakfast, I miss lectures and learning things I had never though of before. I miss living in a huge community. For all the times I was irritated with Rockford College I sure do miss it now! I’ve started looking at graduate schools but it seems like it may be hard to get that process going while I’m away. Plus how does one know whether its worth the application fees and such. Ugh.
I apologize to any Hondurans who read this, but another think I struggle with is that the culture is lazy! Everything I have observed, from the teachers at my school, to the people working at the grocery store proves that people do the least bit that their job requires of them. Maybe they have a better sense of what is important in life and have less stress than Americans about being the best at their job and getting a raise, but when you are used to American ways this change is hard to understand.
I am reminded over and over again that this is a year of service. A big reminder recently though was that a man who comes to the home a couple times a year showed up while we were there eating lunch. He was very friendly and asked if he could take us out to dinner. We are always up for some activity outside the home so we all said yes, but the truth was that I was tired from our vacation and needing to get back into the groove at home. I felt as if I had to go though because I am “representing” the home. Later that day he showed up to move in for a couple days into our house. I’m not giving this situation the credit it deserves; I guess I had moved on from it. But anyway in the end he wasn’t actually given permission to live with us and the administration apologized for not warning us ahead of time. It felt so weird to have someone come into my home and make themselves comfortable without me even knowing they were coming. But as a volunteer I felt as if I had to just go with the flow. From now on we will always tell whoever shows up at our door wanting to come in that we must first hear from the administration that they are to stay here.
I had expected to be immersed into Spanish again but am certainly not here. My housemates don’t speak Spanish so it’s only English in the home, and at school I teach in English, and then most of the teachers want to practice their English with me. I have quickly become the token practice your English girl. I’ve gotten better at letting this go but its still something I struggle with. My favorite times are when we, Emily and I, go out with our coworkers on Saturday nights and meet their friends. Many of whom don’t speak English, then I can get my Spanish practice in!
I thought I was coming here with no expectations ready to embrace whatever it would be. Clearly, I did have some expectations that were eating away at me. It feels good to get them off my chest and express them. Thanks for listening.
Disclaimer: Family and friends, the hardest part of this whole deal is of course missing you all so badly. Please don’t think that because I did not write about that being hard I do not struggle with it I miss you all so much but I knew I would!