Thursday, October 30, 2008

embassy experience

Today I had my first experience at the US Embassy in Honduras. I had to go to get notarized paperwork so Jose and I can get married in November. First of all, I felt like a rockstar going inside. There were probably almost 100 Hondurans lined up outside waiting to get in, but I got to pass the line. All I had to do was wave my US passport and they let me in!! I think the Hondurans waiting for their visa appointments kind of resented that. :)

Once inside, I checked my cell phone (you aren't allowed to take your phone in, for some reason) and made my way to the US citizen services department. I told the woman at the window what I needed, and I was shocked at how nice she was to me! Most Hondurans don't know the meaning of customer service and act annoyed and bothered by customers. But these people in the embassy, they are polite and very helpful. :)

My only complaint was that they didn't post on their website that there is a fee for this notarized paperwork. AND they don't accept credit cards. So, I had to walk 2 blocks away to the closest ATM and get cash. When I got back to the window, I paid, waited about 15 minutes, got my paper, and I was outta there!!

Now, all we have to do is get our medical exams and we're set to get married! Hooray!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

15 de septiembre

(This is an old post I never finished...whoops!)

The Honduran Independence Day is September 15. I was shocked to learn that people here don't celebrate like we celebrate July 4th in the US. No one buys sparklers and there are no cookouts. There is a parade...but no one seemed to know where it started or who/what marched in it.
So, being the little party planner that I am, I announced that we (meaning Jose and I and our friends) would be celebrating Sept 15 MY way. :) I planned a cookout at the country house in Valle de Angeles.
I planned on having a strawberry/feta salad, burgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, and a flag cake (of the Honduran flag, of course). The day before, Jose and I made a trip to the supermarket to buy our supplies. They didn't have any of the supplies that we needed. They did have hamburger meat and buns, and sweet corn. And I should I have know this was going to happen. I have been able to avoid a lot of mistakes here in Honduras so far by learning from my fellow ex-pat bloggers. They always write about how they can never find what they need here. And so far, this has been true for me. If I'm craving bagels, Pais won't be selling them that week. What I consider a good find one week (like whipped Philly cream cheese!), they will probably never sell again. So, like I said, I should have known and planned for this.

There was no feta, no raspberry vineaggrete, no pre-made frozen pie shells (and I mean, really, who knows how to make homemade pie crust??), and the biggest blueberries (for the flag cake). I decided to drop the salad off the "menu," attempt a homemade pie crust, and get creative with the cake. I bought regular cake mix, white frosting, and after searching for 30 minutes, found food coloring. I should mention quickly, just so you understand my frustration, that none of these things were where they "should be" in a normal grocery. The cake mix was not with the frosting. In fact, I think it was with the canned goods. The food coloring was hidden behind boxes of other things (not baking supplies!). And they did not have blue coloring. All they had were green and yellow. Me being the genius that I am, remembered that green and yellow make blue, so we bought both bottles (at 100 lempiras $5 each!!!)

We took our groceries and packed up the car and headed to Valle. That night, we prepared all of the food. And I made my cake....with green icing...because yellow and green don't make and yellow make green!
Are you laughing? It gets better. :)

The next day, our guests arrived, and we decided it was time to get the grill ready and cook the burgers up. We waited until they got there because, as you know, it only takes like 15 minutes to cook burgers on a grill. Well, not this grill! It uses wood, not charcoal. And evidently, I'm not very good at starting fires in these types of grills. We had to get the guard's wife to come and help us. She taught us to fan the flames. It turns out she cooks on a stove like this for every meal. HELLO - this is 2008. I want to buy this woman an electric stove. I mean, this is obviously why women here in rural areas don't work. They spend all day fanning the fire so they can cook 3 meals...they don't have time to work!
So we all took turns fanning the fire...for FOUR HOURS! After about 20 minutes, it would go out, and we'd have to call her back to help us again.

After suffering from burns on our hands, burning eyes from the smoke, and very tired arms, we decided to let the "men" take over. They did, after a little begging, and they got it going and cooked up all the food. They said they had more skills than us. I'm pretty sure it was so easy for them because we spent so much time getting the fire going before they got there!
In the end, the food was good. And even if it wasn't, no one noticed because we were all so hungry from waiting so long to eat! :) Haha!

Monday, October 27, 2008

tropical depression #16

These are the "official" numbers of people affected by tropical depression 16, released by the Honduran government on Friday, Oct 24.

Affected: 257,023
Evacuated: 41,215
Homeless: 53,709
in shelters: 19,505
Homes affected: 9,870
Deaths: 25
Missing: 8

227 roads and 106 bridges damaged
222,300 acres of crops destroyed

I found out last week that the Honduran government created temporary shelters in the city and through out the rest of the country. They are set up in high school gyms, etc.

When I saw in the paper how many shelters there were in the city, I wanted to help. I called my friend Mandy who works at the Casa Presidencial, and she told me I could help at the receiving center for donations at the Casa Presidencial. I spent a few hours on Friday sorting through clothes with Mandy and other volunteers. Maybe this week I'll find something a little more exciting to do. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

it´s raining it´s pouring...

When they told me there were really only 2 seasons here, hot season and rainy season, I wasn´t sure what that meant. Well, when they said rainy season, they literally meant it rains. All. Of. The. Time. And It doesn´t just rain a little bit. It´s raining all day, and all night. And not just light showers, but downpours! I can´t believe the house hasn´t washed away. Because this is exactly what´s happening in the rest of the country...

There are massive landslides happening everywhere. Peoples homes have been destroyed, and the roads are covered.

The parts that aren't covered with mud are under water....

This one is in my city, Tegucigalpa...

A LOT of people have been evacuated...
(picture below from Valle de Angeles, about 30 minutes outside of Tegucigalpa)

I'm curious as to where they are being evacuated to...because I know there aren't enough shelters for all of the people that have been evacuated. Hmm...I'll do some research and let you know. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the future is no place to place your better days

I have been such a bad blogger. But I have to admit, I've been avoiding you on purpose. You see, I keep making all of these plans, and blogging about them, and then the plans change and I hate to have to write another blog about the plans changing. For example, I posted that Jose and I were going to open a restaurant. Then the plans changed. Then they changed back. Now, I can say this 100% positively now, there is not going to be a restaurant. And this is why I've been avoiding my blog...because with every post I announce that my life is incredibly indecisive.

But I'm starting to learn that I probably shouldn't be blogging about plans, or even making them. Nothing ever ends up the way we plan...and that's okay (or at least that's what I keep telling myself) why waste time making them? I think it's probably because of our very future-oriented culture in the US that teaches us that we should always be preparing for something... for high school, for college, for a job, for marriage, for retirement....we are always preparing for something in the future. Think about it...I bet before you make decisions about ANYTHING, you think about how it will affect the future. Now, this isn't a bad's always better to be prepared. BUT - is that really the most important thing? Here in Honduras (a present-oriented culture) there is more focus on enjoying the present. This explains why Hondurans (and most latinos) don't feel the need to have schedules and make plans for the weekend on a Monday. It also explains why most people here are late everywhere they go...why does it matter if you're 30 minutes late? ;)

I have found this culture affecting me in a good way. When I was visiting in KY, my mom was always spazzing about something, like being late or not being able to find something she was looking for (it's okay Mom, I was like this too just a few months ago). I found myself saying to her a million times a day..."Calm down! Why are you freaking out?" Now, I have to be honest and tell you that my newfound "calmness" is probably a combination of this new culture AND my anti-anxiety medication. :) But I like to think that Honduras is having at least a small positive effect on me. :)

So what have I been up to for the last 2 weeks? I have been making plans, and changing them, and then making new ones, and then changing those too. But at least someone I know is accomplishing something! Jose got a fantastic job! He is the new Jefe de Recursos Humanos or HR Manager for Gutierrez Logistics ( It's basically his dream job, and I am so proud of him. :) You see, he didn't feel the need to be constantly making plans for the last 3 months, and his patience ended up being worth it!

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift - that is why we call it the present."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

catching up

Sorry that I haven't posted for a while. I'm at home in KY!

I arrived on Tuesday, 9/16. I helped my mom with wedding things that week, and then Saturday was my brother's wedding. I have a new sister-in-law :), Sara.

The next week, I spent painting at my brother's house. I painted the living room and hallway walls, and caulked and painted the trim while they were on their honeymoon. It took 3 days!!!

Then the BG International Festival was on Saturday. I had a wonderful "helper" this year. Monique recruited and scheduled all of the volunteers for me, and all I had to do was show up. In fact, when I showed up, she was doing such a great job managing everyone that I was able to walk around and enjoy the festival for the first time EVER! :) I was even able to leave early. Thank you, made this trip back to KY much more enjoyable and much less stressful!!:)

On Sunday my mom and her friend hosted a bridal shower for me at our church. It was a "journey" themed shower, with decorations and food from Honduras, and pictures around from the places that Jose and I have traveled. It was fun, and it was soo great to see all of my friends/family! Plus, I got a lot of really nice things for our house in Honduras. :)

This week, I am working on cleaning out my old bedroom at my parents house, and I'm planning to have a yard sale this weekend. I'm anxious to get rid of a lot of old junk, and to make some extra dolares $$.

For those of you back in Honduras, I'll be back next week!

And I have a lot of pictures to post, but I'm using my mom's new Mac and I still haven't completely figured it out yet. I'll post them as soon as I learn how. :)