Friday, August 28, 2009

Exhausted but good...

I am 4 full-days and 3 half-days deep into the school year. I have been working my tail off trying to get things in order all week. Today was open house. The students left at 11:30 and Open House was from 2:00-5:00. I got to meet some of the Tegucigalpa elite and tell them how great their children are doing (which, after only a week, they really are). My class is sweet and young (in Mexico, my third graders had a year of pre-first before first grade, so they were actually fourth-grade ages). It is taking some getting used to just knowing what their ability levels and emotional levels are. Some of them are really just babies. :) In a good way, usually.

This place is such a mix of cultures and lifestyles. Last weekend I got to help out at the feeding center Macayla is involved with. It is through an organization called Manos Extendidas (check them out: They have child-sponsorship programs and we participated in their bible lesson and food distribution (of an interesting rice-milk-mush). It was so humbling, and kind of crazy, to descend off of our mountain where some of the homes are mansions with full-time armed guards, into a part of town that only receives water once a week or so and has homes made of scrap materials and dirt floors.

I have visited a few churches so far and am trying to find a fit. Pray that I can get involved in a church here. That was something I never successfully did in Mexico.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Much needed weekend!

Every weekend the school provides transportation down the mountain on Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday trips alternate between an outdoor market trip and a mall/grocery store/Sams Club kind of trip. This past Saturday was the latter trip. Now, I tend to be more of a market kind of girl, but this mall trip was necessary for us to stock up on essentials (including the typical essentials we Gringas must have: Raid and a wireless internet router.)
After the long and exhausting shopping trip, instead of heading back up our mountain I stayed in the city with Macayla (my friend who is going on her 4th year here in Teguc.) until Sunday afternoon. I must admit, it felt delightfully liberating to spend a couple days down in the city instead of up on our fairly isolated hill. Macayla lives in a great, super old, Colonial style neighborhood not too far from El Centro. AND she has a car, which is another amazingly freeing bonus!
I got to check out Macayla’s church this Sunday, which was in a pretty poor and supposedly sketchy part of town (another great reason to have a car!). It is the kind of place where orphans attend and addicts fall in from the street, but the pastor who preached was a tall black man from South Carolina and a decent number of Americans are involved as well. All in all, an exciting place to worship! ☺ I’ve been hearing about so many churches in the city and I’m looking forward to experiencing more!
In work-related news, school starts on Thursday and I have more to do than I would have liked. But, in my defense, Hannah (the other 3rd grade teacher) and I could only do so much because our grade-level team leader was stuck in the states unexpectedly after losing her passport. Since Academia los Pinares is very big on grade-level cooperation, we needed her input before we could create our rules, behavior management plans, or lessons. Thankfully she arrived on Friday so we can now get seriously to work!
Please pray that I can do a great job and not be anxious or stressed about starting this new year!

I will post pictures as soon as I find a way. ☺

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Honduras Email

This is an email I sent. If you read this blog, you probably received the e-mail, too... but I wanted to just stick it here for preservation. More will come soon!

I am so happy to finally have some internet access and feel like I am somewhat connected to all of you who are far away!! I had a couple of opportunities to make phone calls, but I never had anyone pick up, and our house has no internet for the time being. We're hoping to get hooked up soon! I'm sorry for this mass email.. but it's all I have time for right now!

Well, I only arrived Saturday, not four days ago, but it feels like forever! We have had a pretty regimented schedule since we arrived, including communal meals (necessary due to our empty houses and kitchens and no stores nearby) and meetings. Several of the school families, including the director and his wife, and the elementary principal and high school principal, have hosted some of our meals the first few days. There are 17 new teachers this year, so there have been lots of new people to meet! Four of us met in Houston and were on the same flight in to Honduras and it was fun getting to know them. One of them was my roommate, Hannah. She's also teaching third grade with me and she's so sweet! My other roommate, Twana, is the elementary art teacher and she's super great, too. (And she's white, fyi).

Most of the teachers live in the school apartments, which are enclosed within the school walls and off to one side. However, we live across the street from the school's back gate. We live in a big house that is on the same 'compound' as a family of 8! They were also on our flight, and the six kids and even the mother with a 5 month old arrived excited and stress-free! They have lived here before (for 3 years) and they are helpful in letting us know how certain things are done around here. Plus the baby is fun to have around! In the house right next to our compound there are four guys who teach at Pinares. I've only met the two new teachers and the returning guys come sometime this week. Other Pinares teachers live in other adjoining houses as well. We hosted a game night at our house the second night becase our house is the best! It's got a big, open living/dining/kitchen area and lots of seating!

The school is only 7 miles outside of the city, but because it is 7 miles up a winding hill, it takes a long time to get to the city or back up. We drove into town yesterday afternoon to do our first big shopping trip. We had to hit a plastics store for any kind of plastic household item we'll need. Then we went to a mall that had a wal-mart style store, and a department store, where we bought cleaning supplies/groceries.. even a toaster oven. Our house was pretty much empty, which is a little frustrating because so many of the apartments are nearly fully stocked from past teachers.
The shopping trip was so exhausting and we spent a lot of money to get set up.. but it's nice to have our house semi-stocked.Macayla (my friend who teaches here) met up with us and helped me shop. I was also glad to get in and see the city a little bit.

That's one of the only hesitations I've found so far--the location of the school in relation to the city. While there are definite advantages to being up here (cooler climate, calmer atmosphere) it's also quite a commute into the city and there aren't any grocery stores or markets up here (aside from a hole in the wall kind of store that has a few essentials). It's going to require some effort to not isolate myself up here on the mountain.

Ok, I'm trying not to make this a novel right now.. but I'll add that this school is like night and day from Lincoln school. Oh my gosh it is huge and gorgeous and my classroom is a REAL classroom!! I have an overhead projector and a microwave (the kids eat lunch in the room) and regular desks and lots of supplies. AND, the school personell and administrators are really amazing. They are all so supportive and yet firm in their goals and beliefs for the school. They are really encouraging us spiritually as well as with basic things like our health and safety.

So, I think this e-mail is just a random collection of paragraphs, but at least it's something. I left my camera/computer cord at home.. so pictures may not be posted or sent any time soon unless I find a cord to borrow. I'm still in a weird transition phase.. it hasn't quite sunk in yet, but I am sure it will soon, especially when I spend some more time in the city. I'll try to continue updating my blog instead of sending more mass e-mails, so check it out in the future! ( I am missing everyone, but having fun!! Send me some love! (and for those who might want to get a phone card or some Skype credit, my house phone # is 011-504-211-9091)


One of my roommates and I have already staked out a place for our compost pile :)

AND, we are getting our MAID soon! ( All teachers are expected to have one.) She'll probably come 3 days per week. For the whopping salary of about $7 a day--a fair wage here! :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

August 8

I've always liked my birthday. No, not simply because it's my day to eat cake and open presents... I have actually always just loved that it is on the eighth day of the eighth month. It's a good time of the year.
Well, this year, my birthday is a big deal for three Important Reasons. First and foremost, I will turn 25 years old. Let's not dwell too much on that fact, it's pretty straightforward. The second Important Reason that this August 8th is great is that it is my graduation day! In just two days I will officially be finished with grad school and in possession of my M.Ed degree in Language Arts and Children's Literature. I won't be going to my graduation ceremony, however, because of the Important Reason #3: I am moving to Tegucigalpa, Honduras on the same day. That's where I'll be teaching next year, at Academia los Pinares.

So, this Saturday, when you may think it's neat to write 8/8/2009 if you happen to be writing the date somewhere... just remember that it's a huge day for lots of reasons--in my world, anyway.
As my mother would say, Peace Out.