Today's story starts a couple of weeks ago when I read that there is a library (a REAL library!) in San Pedro Sula, with a section full of children's books in English. It's part of the Centro Cultural Sampedrano, located in el centro.
So, this morning Nicholas and I headed thataway... We found it easily, found parking right in front!, and didn't get mugged on the way in...so I was already feeling confident as we walked through the front door. The guard was very friendly. Another small success! He pointed us in the direction of the library, and when I turned around and saw it my heart skipped a beat. A giant library (and by giant I mean a big room of books) behind a wall of glass with the words BIBLIOTECA printed above. And I could just see it....Nicholas and I reading books on the floor, and oh, what's this? Another mom and toddler also there reading books! And, oh, you don't have any friends either? Let's be best friends and have play dates and, OH, our husbands can be best friends too!
And then I heard records screeching and my dreams were crushed when the guard said, "Wait! I don't think you can go in there with a baby!"
-"What do you mean? He's seriously not allowed in?"
-"Well, you can go in and ask, but I don't think they'll accept you with a baby."
So in we went. In the corner I spotted a shelf of children's books - in English! - PETER FREAKING RABBIT. And then the librarian (who was not very librarian-like and much more witch-like) glared at my unwelcome toddler.
-I whispered, "someone told me you have children's books here in English."
-"Yes, we do, but he can't come in. Only children 6 and older are allowed," cackled the library witch.
-"Not ever? You don't have story time or anything?" And the library witch just shook her head.
And before I started crying, I turned around and walked out. Tears were streaming down my face before I made it to the car. I put Nicholas in his car seat and got in my own seat and cried and cried as I stared out the front window. I was angry that I'd gotten my hopes up so much over a library, and angry that everyone in the building had looked at me so strangely entering a library with a toddler, and sad that whoever makes the library rules was so ignorant! And sad, of course, that I don't know a single soul in this whole city!
I felt sorry for myself for a few minutes, wiped my face, and headed out of el centro. We made our way out of the city towards a children's museum I had noticed a few days earlier. We parked and walked towards the building. The employees outside the "ticket office" glared at us and made us feel just as unwelcome as the library-witch. We went in anyway.
-"Good morning, I came to see what you have at the museum!" I said cheerfully.
-"We have a something-room and a something-exhibit and a something something something. The entrance is so many lempiras. But you can't come in. We only accept groups of 10 people or more."
And I thought, "What is this? An attempt to make me feel even worse that I know NO ONE here?!"
-"Well, that's ok. Do you have any workshops or classes that I could enroll my son in?" "No," said the museum witch.
And so I left.
And I got in the car and cried and cried again. I drove home and called my husband and cried and cried some more. Then I called my mom, crying, and she said, "well, I understand why you're upset. But you know what? Take charge of this, Hannah. Start a group of moms. Go out and find friends - just MAKE IT HAPPEN! Open your own darn library!"
And that was all it took to empower me. No more crying and feeling sorry for myself...I'm starting a group for expat/Honduran mommies in San Pedro Sula that want to make friends. How will I find members if I don't know anyone? I'm not sure yet. hahaha If you are my friend on Facebook, look for it soon.
Oh, and no witches allowed.