Friday, February 27, 2009

Los Barrenderos

I have something good to say about Tegucigalpa *gasp*!

I have started to notice more and more street sweepers, or barrenderos, in this city. And they are doing a fantastic job. Yesterday, for an entire block on the Blvd. Morazan I only saw one water bottle. I've also noticed workers planting more trees/plants and watering the grass in the parks/medians.

They have a not-so-glamorous job, but are doing really great at it. And I'm impressed. Kudos to the barrenderos and whoever is running for re-election and therefore putting more on the streets. ;) (There are over 700 of these workers cleaning our streets everyday. Photo above is from this article at

If you live here/come here often, you have probably seen this park and monument. It's located on the Blv. Suyapa next to Burger King and across from the Clarion. It turns out it was erected in honor of a previous mayor that started this street sweeping initiative. His name was Cesar Castellanos and was affectionately referred to as El Gordito. He was so loved by all of the people in the capital, that they pleaded with him to run for president. Just a few months after he announced his intent to run, he was killed in a helicopter crash. I think he would be proud if he were here to see the improvements. :)

So that's who started the street sweepers, and we have him to thank for our *almost* litter-free streets today. As Paul Harvey would say, and now you know...the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

25 random facts about me

Everyone has been passing this around on Facebook. I liked writing it so much that I thought I would post a new one for my blogging friends. If you have a blog, you should post one with your own answers too. :)

1. Katy Perry's song Hot N Cold was written about me. Seriously, "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes." I am the most indecisive person I know.
2. I obsessively check Google Analytics every day to learn about the visits/traffic to my blog.
3. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life...or what I want to be "when I grow up."
4. My husband is my best friend, and I feel blessed to have him in my life.
5. I have a love/hate relationship with Honduras. Okay, honestly, it's mostly hate, but I'm coming to love it more and more. ;)
6. I love blogging, and "blog-stalking" other people that I don't even know. I laugh when I catch myself bringing up other bloggers in conversations. Like, "Oh yeah! LG just talked about that last week in her blog!" or "Jennifer posted the funniest thing on hers yesterday," blah blah blah. Hello, I don't even know these people, LOL!
7. I would really like to write a book some day.
8. I HATE mayonaise. Even the sight of it makes me sick.
9. I love fashion, but don't feel like I dress fashionably enough.
10. I am overly critical. Of everything/everyone. But mostly myself.
11. If you come to me and tell me something but say, "Don't tell anyone, I wasn't supposed to tell," I will never tell you anything in confidence again.
12. It really bothers me when people use your/you're and their/there/they're incorrectly.
13. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in 2003.
14. I despise the classicism/power distance in Honduras.
15. Despite #14, I still buy and read Estilo and Cromos (the Honduran "society" magazines) on a regular basis. :/
16. I am attracted to the weird/different. If you are a lot different from me, I want to be your friend. :)
17. I hate my husband's job. It stresses him out a lot. And it requires a lot of travel.
18. I respect individuality, and dislike the fact that it's not really encouraged in Honduras.
19. I am from the wonderful Commonwealth of Kentucky. And I miss it desperately.
20. I love my God, but I am fascinated by other religions and their Gods.
21. I want to travel the world. But mostly, I want to go to Israel.
22. I must swim in the Dead Sea before I die.
23. I make really excellent oatmeal raisin cookies. (Thank you!) I've been told by several people that they're so good I should sell them. :)
24. I am so much like my mother it's scary. I look like her, talk like her, and act like her. We even have the same own father can't tell the difference between our voices on the phone!
25. I have never been good about following through with my ideas/projects. But I am actually going through with this invitation store thing and am really proud of myself for it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

i learned my lesson this time

I am a very stubborn woman. (I know everyone out there that knows me is saying out loud, DUH we knew that!!)

And I like to learn from my own mistakes. Over the years, I have learned that people are usually right when they give me advice, yet I still continue to ignore it (much to my husband's annoyance). But that's just the way I am.

Before I moved here, I tried to prepare myself for this new world. I did my research, joined a Yahoo group (Honduras Living) and subscribed to several blogs of other Gringas living in Honduras. One of the most frequent pieces of advice posted on the group/blogs was this: Do not trust anyone in Honduras.

So, I came to Honduras knowing that I couldn't trust people. I guess it just took a while to sink in, like uh, 8 months.

When the cable technicians were here installing the cable a few weeks ago, I was friendly with them. I let them work in my bedroom installing the cable, just checking on them every 5-10 minutes. I offered them glasses of water and cookies. We chatted about things, about life in Honduras. Remember my post gunshots and gangs? They even taught me all about the Revolocos. Well, it turns out that the whole time I was being friendly, one of them had something of mine in his pocket. I didn't realize until last week that when he was in my room working, he had gone through the cabinet in my room and stolen my US cell phone.

Since it's my cell phone from the US, I don't use it here. It's just for when I go to visit, so I keep it stored in the cabinet in my room. Well, one of the guys stole it, and not knowing it was a US phone (meaning very high international roaming charges), used it as his phone for several weeks. I didn't even realize it was missing until last week. When I realized this, I called my parents to let them know that I might have misplaced it. When my mom called AT&T, she discovered that it had, in fact, been stolen and that the thief had racked up a $500 phone bill. That's in US dollars!

So, what did we do? We printed out the bill, and started calling the phone numbers that the thief had dialed to figure out who stole it. That's how we learned that it was one of the guys from the cable company.

After we determined that we had enough proof as to who stole it, we sat down with Jose's parents for advice and figured out that we have 3 options:
1. We could involve the police. And if the police actually take the time and catch the person...the person could get mad and come back for revenge later on (remember, they know where we live). And we'll probably still never get the money.
2. Call the cable company and ask for the money. If they say no, we will threaten to put an ad in the paper exposing them for having thieves as employees. (The cable companies here are VERY competetive, and will (hopefully) do anything to prevent bad publicity.) We still risk the thief coming back for revenge if he gets fired.
3. Do nothing, be out $500, but be safe and not have to worry about an angry thief.

None of the options are ideal. But we'll probably end up going with number 2.

And I can't help but feel that all of this is my fault. If I hadn't given these guys the benefit of the doubt, and if I had watched them like a hawk like I should have, they wouldn't have stolen the cell phone.

But that's not all! In the same day, I learned my lesson, again.

Last week I asked my assistant to come to work out of my apartment instead of coming to my in-law's office. I gave her some money to take a taxi because it's farther than she usually comes. And because she takes a taxi collectivo (she can't ask to go to a direct's cheaper this way) she has to walk several blocks to get to my apartment. So I gave her some money, and made her promise she would use it for a direct taxi.

She arrived Friday morning, and I asked her how she got there. She said she took a direct taxi. What she didn't know, is that my husband had been driving to work and saw her walking to the apartment 3 blocks away. I asked her again twice how she got to the apartment, and each time, her story changed. I was furious. Not because she kept the money, but because she lied. Yes, what she did was financially smart...she pocketed a few lempiras and walked instead of taking the taxi. But she lied to me. You see, I warned her during her first interview that I would be nice as long as she didn't steal from me or lie to me. I told her she would regret it if she did. She said she understood. And then last week she lied.

My whole life I've defined myself as a good person, and to me that means that I should treat everyone as equal and that I should give everyone a chance. So it is devastating to learn that I have to change that way of thinking. But I've finally learned: don't trust anyone. But not just that. In Honduras, don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Assume that everyone is going to lie to you, or steal from you. Because they probably will. It's a game of survival here in Honduras, and the only person you can worry about is yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009


One of my fellow gringa-bloggers here in Honduras needs your help. Please read her post at

Anything you can do, even a prayer, is greatly appreciated.

Friday, February 13, 2009

my bodega find

I found this handmade, antique cabinet in the bodega (storage) at my in-law's house last week. It was full of old rotting books and magazines (from the 70's, ha!). I had the workers drag it out for me (it was under piles and piles of junk) and clean it up. I was thrilled to find out it hadn't even been touched by termites.

Unfortunately it wasn't left untouched by the roaches. Roaches like to eat book bindings and glue, so they have been feeding on the treasures inside for who knows how long. I was terrified to bring it home and infest my house with roach eggs or anything that might be inside of it. So I left it outside for a whole week to "air out" and sprayed it with bug spray everyday. (I am a little paranoid about the roaches, ok?)

I took it home yesterday to our apartment, and it is just perfect! (And so far, no roaches!) It looks great with the other furniture, and has so much character.

Jose and his parents are appalled that I would want this "old piece of trash" in our house. Why don't people here appreciate the beauty of antiques?!?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Honduran Paparazzi

Today I was in a not-so-great part of town (down near the stadium in Tegus) visiting a paper wholesaler for my business. Don Ruben, an employee of my in-laws, dropped me and my assistant at the door of the store.

When we came out of the store about 2 minutes later (it turns out they're not a paper wholesaler like they said on the phone yesterday), Don Ruben wasn't there with the car. The guard outside the store said that he had seen him drive down the street to park. We walked in the direction that the guard pointed us. I was a little nervous, because it's not a safe place to be walking down the street for anyone, but especially not for me. And especially not when I'm carrying an oversized purse that I'm sure the people on the street think is filled with dollars (I always want to scream...just because I'm white doesn't mean I'm rich! My husband earns lempiras just like you! Haha!)

So anyway, as we rounded the corner, there was a group of 4-5 guys just standing around. When they saw us, they immediately started taking pictures of us with their phones!


I was so overwhelmed and confused that I didn't know how to react! So picture me there...a little white girl all dressed up (for work) in heels, clutching my purse against my chest so no one can steal it, almost in tears with my hands over my face so no one can take pictures of me, yelling over and over "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod." I'm sure it was hilarious for them.

Finally, Don Ruben appeared with the car, and we dashed off away from the photogs.

Haha! I guess now I know how Britney feels. Okay, not really, but kind of...right? :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

When the slicer attacks!

I cut the *enter explicative here* out of my finger last night. (I was going to post a picture of the nasty cut but decided to spare you the gore.)

I was making homemade chicken noodle soup and needed to slice carrots. I remembered that I still had an unused wedding gift in one of the drawers. Enter the mandoline slicer.

You lay this gadget over a bowl, and slide the bar on the right to whatever depth of cut you would like. Then you take the food that you want to slice, and use the safety cover to move it back and forth over the blade. It slices everything perfectly and is much faster than slicing with a knife. Fabulous invention, but beware! The blade is SUPER sharp. Like I said, it comes with a safety cover that you can hold the vegetable with against the blade. I didn't think I needed it. I did a few slices and called Jose in from the living room to marvel at the wonder of my kitchen gadget.

As the carrot shrunk, I didn't realize how close my finger was getting to the blade. And swipe there goes my finger right into the blade. It tried to slice it like a carrot. I lost a big hunk of skin...which is somewhere in the trash can with the rest of the blood spattered veggies. Sorry, that was gross. Ha!

I screamed and started crying like a baby. I almost fainted twice (evidently I can't stand the sight of my own blood). I had to lay down in the bathroom floor (so I wouldn't faint) with my hand up in the air and a towel wrapped around my finger. If we had been in the states, I would have gone to the ER. That's not so easy here. I examined the cut myself, and decided that there was no way it could be fixed with stitches. So I applied pressure and held my hand above my head for about an hour until it stopped bleeding and started to clot.

This morning I noticed it had bled a little during the night, but not gushing or anything. And even today, if I use my hand too much it bleeds a little. So now my right hand is out of commission. That means no washing dishes (the water here isn't so great for an open wound) or cleaning with chemicals, or doing anything that puts too much pressure on my right hand.

And yes, I typed this whole blog with my left hand. I'm such a dedicated blogger. ;)