12 Things I’ve Learned for the 12 Weeks I’ve Been Here
Linden – October 2016
So as of today (October 24th) I have officially been in this country for 12 weeks. To mark the 12 weeks of being here I thought I’d share 12 different things I have learned so far. Some more serious than others.
- Homesickness is a real thing. I thought I would last a lot longer, but I have come to realize how real being homesick is and that it is something I am going to have to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it here, but sometimes it is hard to realize how much I am missing out on back home. At the same time though, I know God has a plan for me and he wouldn’t have palced me in Honduras if this wasn’t where I was meant to be. Also I know with help from my family, my friends (here and back home), prayer, Skype calls, Disney movies, and the occasional glass of wine I can beat the homesick blues.
- Never wear a white shirt on a motorcycle. I have come to realize that I will probably be riding motorcycles more than I thought in this country. I also learned the hard way that you should never wear a white shirt on a motorcycle. I’ll just let the picture do the explaining.
Not to toot my own horn, but that shirt is probably about 80% clean and anyone who knows me knows that I suck at doing laundry so that’s a pretty big accomplishment.
- Never take for granted the amount of food options we have in America. I don’t think I realized exactly how many options we have in America for food until I came here and was presented with the same foods over and over again. The food is really good, but it’s a lot of rice, beans, and tortillas. I have learned though that I now like beans, but I definitely miss having the convenience of being able to run to Sheetz or Chick-FIl-A whenever I want. I already put in an order with my grandma for home made mac & cheese for Christmas though because I miss it.
- Figure out when the power goes out and get all work, showering, and cooking done before hand. During a typical week the power goes out on Monday, Thursday, and sometimes Saturday. Monday and Thursday it is usually pretty typical. It’ll go out around 6 and usually stays out for about 2 hours. When it goes out on Saturdays it is a little less predictable. A couple weeks ago the power was out for almost 6 hours on a Saturday. The biggest struggle with the power going out is that there’s no fans so its hot as ever, we can’t cook, we can’t shower, and we can’t charge any electronics. Therefor on power outage days you have to be prepared. When the power goes out some of us in the house usually watch a movie or I attempt to work on stuff for school in the dark. If it goes out on Saturday I often take that as an excuse to nap and catch up on sleep.
- I really like Honduran music. Even though I may not know what the songs are saying 90% of the time I really enjoy the music. It’s just really catchy and puts me in a good mood. Honduran music is definitely something I will be bringing back to the states with me whether my friends like it or not.
- Don’t let people get you down. If you know you are good at something and someone says something negative about you don’t let it ruin your day. I recently read something and it really stuck with me so I’m going to share it with you.
You have $86,400 in your bank account and someone stole $10 from you, would you be upset and throw all of the $86,390 away in hopes of getting back at the person that took your $10? Or move on and live? Right, move on and life. See, we have 86,400 seconds in every day so don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the rest of the 86,390. Don’t sweat the small stuff, life is bigger than that.
So yes I may have difficult days here, but I have realized that life is much bigger than the negative days you have. You can’t let the small things get you down. There is so much greatness in this world and you have to soak it up as much as possible.
- Don’t forget to laugh. Sometime in the craziness of this life you can forget how happy you really are. As crazy as my students are and as much as they drive me insane, they definitely make me laugh everyday and I am forever grateful for that. Two quick stoires. One day while my students were having math class with their math teacher I was just sitting at my desk doing some work. One of my girls casually stands up, does the hokey pokey, and sits back down. No one around her or the math teacher even noticed. I just laughed to myself and let her do her thing. Recently Ms. Weiss one of the other volunteers was in my classroom and I had my headphones in so I couldn’t hear her, but she started waving at me to get my attention. One of the boys had taken scotch tape and put it all over his entire nose. We both just laughed and enjoyed the moment. So even though they may drive me crazy sometimes, I love my students and they add so much to my life.
- Never take for granted the little things in life. Being in Honduras the past 12 weeks has made me realize how blessed I am in America. Something as simple as being able to drink water from the tap is something you never think about until you don’t have access to it. Along with that also being careful not to open your mouth in the shower because that’s the same water and it can make us sick. On a grosser note having plumbing that isn’t an issue. Here in Honduras the plumbing system isn’t the greatest so you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet. Instead you have to throw it in the trashcan next to the toilet. Both of these things are something I have experienced before from going on service trips in college, but you never realize how much you appreciate those little things until you are without them for an extended period of time.
- My body is going to go into shock when I come home at Christmas. So as most people know it’s HOT in Honduras basically all the time. Before coming here I was so excited to have a year of no cold and no snow but as it is slowly getting cold back home I am getting jealous of my friends who are wearing cute fall clothes while I am still here sweating all day everyday. On a side note though it gets a little chilly on Honduran standards at night. The other night it went down to a chilly 70 degrees. I woke up in the middle of the night and was absolutely freezing. I got up and put sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt on. Needless to say when I come home at Christmas time I am going to freeze for those two weeks.
- Something as simple as wearing shorts out in public is seen much differently than back home. Going from being in college/summer mode and coming here was a little bit of a shock. During student teaching I was obviously forced to dress nice everyday. However in the summer I enjoy wearing shorts, dresses, and rompers all the time. Coming here though I have had to change that mindset. In their culture people dress modestly than we do in America. Most people here do not leave the house in shorts. People here take a lot of pride in their appearance. We were told that teachers here are often judged on how well of a teacher they are by how they present themselves and how they look. Where as back home that is not the biggest concern. As much as I enjoy dressing like a bum in athletic shorts and yoga pants I am getting used to their cultural norms.
- Time does not stand still. For some crazy reason before coming here I had this idea that all my family and friends lives back home was going to freeze while I was gone. Obviously since I couldn’t experience life with them time would just freeze. However I am coming to realize that is not the truth and it will never happen. I’ve also realized though that if I focus on everything I am missing back home than I am also missing out on the experiences I am having here. By being so focused on what I’m missing back home I’m not being fully present and giving the people around me 100% of myself. As much as I want to experience life with my family and friends back home I am in Honduras for the year and I need to make the most of this amazing once in a life time experience I have been blessed with.
- I love Honduras. Even though life may get hard here and I miss my family and friends a lot I do love my life here in Honduras. Before coming here I was super nervous for what this year would hold. It has already proved it is going to be harder than I ever imagined it would be, but I am excited for what this year will hold. The experiences I have are going to make me a stronger individual and a better teacher in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve learned and I hope it’s given you a little insight into my life here in Honduras.
Peace & Love