March 9, 2012
Our first day in Honduras is almost over. Even now, sitting in Trish and Marlon’s house in Danli, I still don’t feel like I’m in Honduras. Obviously we landed safe and sound! The runway is ridiculously small. The landing in a downward spiral and a rough slam on the brakes after touching the ground, but it was fun! From the moment I stepped off the plane, I could immediatly feel the difference. All workers spoke Spanish, and ONLY Spanish. People here don’t understand a bit of English. This is the first time I have ever felt so vulnerable and alone. I am the minority here. It’s a scary feeling. I have a much greater respect for people who move to the U.S. without knowing any English. It’s very frustrating to do anything when you can’t read or communicate effectively. We met up with Trish, Marlon, Gio, and Kelsey just outside of the terminal. Stepping out of the airport was a different experience all together. The first thing I noticed was the breathtaking mountains all around, but as I focused around me, I realized I knew all of the businesses. Sherman Williams, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, and many more common U.S. joints. Why are bits and pieces from our culture overflowing in Honduras? What happened to the local shops? Do the people here like having U.S. culture take over in the city? How far does our culture influence theirs? I have so many questions and no answers… YET! While driving the hour and a half it took to get to Danli, I saw less and less of the American’s influence around me. It’s very difficult to describe the beauty and simplicity of Honduras. It is a common sight to see children outside, laughing and holding hands. Many groups of men are gathered together talking. You occasionally see a woman walking to/from the clothes line to hang laundry. After we arrived at Trish and Marlon’s house, we all went to a local restaurant to eat. I’m not exactly sure what I ordered, but it was some sort of a fried burrito/taco thingy that was extra tomato-y. The food here is very plain with few spices. I guess I expected it to be more like the Mexican food I’m used to? A few kids were hanging around the restaurant begging people eating for food. Much to my dismay, many customers treated them with kindness and respect. People even offered their own food to kids, who turned and split everything evenly with all the other children. How can a starving and hungry kid be more generous with food than the chubby chunks back in the States? Seeing the generous behavior of small children feels like a slap in the face. I’m such a selfish person. And it really bothers me. Though I frequently share my snacks, sometimes my first thought is “No. Why don’t you get your own.” I wish I could figure out a way to erase that automatic selfish thought from even entering my mind. Maybe this trip will change that.. I sure hope it does.
The adventure begins tomorrow! Unfortunately we have to fly to Houston and stay there for one night, but Friday morning we leave for Honduras. I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to get more than an hour of sleep in Houston because I will be so ridiculously pumped up for Honduras. I’m so excited and anxious about this new amazing experience. The only thing missing on this trip is going to be Zinzan. I wish he had been able to get an updated visa to go with us. His humor would have been such a relief during the emotionally tough times on the trip. Just because he may not be with us in person, he will definitely be there with us in spirit. Plus we will have Zinzan-on-a-stick and Hope’s lovely voice-0ver to talk in place of him! I don’t expect this trip to give me all the answers to life, but I hope it helps shape me into a better person. I feel like I’m going to find myself during this readership journey!! My excitement has built to the point where I can’t even express myself in actual words. I just make strange noises and jump around with an awkward smile on my face. SO READY TO DO THIS! WOOOOOOO! YEAH YEAHHH!
One week! ONE WEEK!!!! As in only SEVEN DAYS! I am sooooo excited! I’m literally so happy I could skip everywhere. Brit, Clara, Sarah, and I all ate dinner together last night. We each shared a few worries and concerns and I feel pretty comforted now. Even though I love each and every person going on this trip, there are times when I feel like I don’t click with people. I know this feeling will pass as I have time to talk to a few people more, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels that way sometimes. This whole experience is so surreal and incredible. Did I mention we leave in one week? Because we do. I’m pretty pumped. :]
So the second trip to the canyon was AMAZING! I feel like I bonded with a few more people on this trip. The hiking part was great, but my favorite part of that day would have to be going to the soda shop after. With each new group get-together we all grow closer! You can tell we all feel much more comfortable around each other because we are starting to joke around and make fun of one another. Sarah, Clara, Hope, and I even made plans to go to church together! Too bad Hope and I became sicklings and weren’t able to go, but maybe next week! I’m so grateful for being chosen to go on this trip. If it wasn’t for readership, I would never have become friends with many of these incredible people. Honduras aside, the bonds formed between us already have been life changing for me. LET’S DO THIS GUYS!
The hiking trip was a blast! Unfortunately a few of the girls couldn’t be there, but I’m sure they have already heard all about it. I’m not trying to start a rivalry or anything, but I’m pretty sure Kendra’s car had the most fun driving out to the canyon! We follow orders. Fellow ambassadors, we faced the bitter cold, many pairs of abandoned boxers, really pokey plants, and at time steep sketchy terrain, yet we prevailed! The hike gave me an idea of how tough this trip to Honduras is going to be. At least I’ll have great company along the way! As we all sat in the coffee shop after the hike, I realized we are officially one group, rather than separate individuals. I know no matter what we face, we will always have each other to depend on. Only a few more weeks guys. I’M SO READY!
After meeting Aaron in class today, I think he will be a perfect fit with our little readership gang. He’s been to Honduras multiple times and had amazing stories and pictures from his trips. I didn’t even realize I had never seen a picture of Honduras until he showed us his slide show. Honduras is a lot more beautiful than I had imagined it in my head! The more I learn about the trip, the more excited I get! And not just about the trip, but also about the people I’ll be going with. I love my fellow Hondurans :] Everyone in the group seems to get along and have a great sense of humor. I feel like my excitement builds each time we all get together. We’re slowly becoming a family! I love all of you guys! (Even though you laugh at my totally reasonable fear of a deadly creature!)
Hey guys! Sorry it took me so long to get all of these posted. I can talk for hours, but for some reason when I try to put my thoughts on paper my mind goes blank. Anyway, here goes!
My emotions are stuck somewhere between disbelief and complete excitement. The moment I heard I was chosen to go to Honduras, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m pretty sure I had been holding my breath for a good two weeks because I was so nervous. Throughout the whole essay/interview process, I kept telling myself I wouldn’t be picked because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I knew this was going to be a life changing experience, but the magnitude of how much I would change really showed after hearing the previous ambassadors speak. Seeing the passion and emotion they still hold (some many years later) is a little bit overwhelming, but at the same time really inspiring. I don’t know when this trip will seem real, but I sure can’t wait to go!