Monthly Archives: November 2012

This morning I was reading a blog that I often visit. I loved this entry. Loved what it said so I thought i would share. Enjoy what she wrote below:

I’m just beginning to learn— that to fear God we women must deliberately ignore the disapproval of our sisters and mothers and magazines and friends.

We must choose instead to think long and hard, to ponder all alone just what it is that the LORD is asking of us.
To wear the clothes that fit, and toss out those wishful thinking styles that bind our souls too tight.

But how? Other than letting ourselves get all hard and cold and defiant, how in the world can we act on this?
Here’s my list for me…
  1. To not try to do it all.
  2. To tell the truth.
  3. To be satisfied with who we are and then be free to enjoy our sisters who aren’t like us at all.
  4. To do what only I can do and not try to do more.
  5. To smile and have fun and hole up in quiet corners all by myself just because I crave that.
  6. To wear glitter when grey is more the style.
I am learning… slowly.
As well a picture on my birthday, with my birthday cake, laughing not sure at what….. 


My kids have been gems this week. Reminding me of their gentle hearts, creative minds, innocent spirits and the greatest gift of all forgiveness. (kids are so good at those things). Hope yall have a great week. My blog posts and updates are coming a bit random. It has been a bit busy here. Have a good day!

movember is almost over. happy rainy wednesday from honduras. 18 days till I am home. one incredible deck the halls christmas performance by my kids. lots to laugh and soak up before the holidays. warmest to you today.

Rio Dulce weekend last weekend for our visas. three days of school and then we were off to Guatemala again. This time to stay with my best friend since middle school. Kate and Alison went to the island of Utila, Matt and Philip went to the Pacific coast of Honduras and the three of us girls went to Guatemala City and then on to Antiqua. Guatemala stole my heart once again.

I was grinning and happy the whole weekend. In brief summary we ate. drank. shopped. ate. drank. looked a beautiful things on repeat for three days. 
Our journey began early Thursday morning. After learning that the only available bus tickets were quite expensive on a fancy bus we paid and made our way to the executive plus ticket waiting room for coffee and cookies. We boarded the bus only to find that our seats nearly reclined completely. (Funny story, on the first leg of the trip to Copan there were only two expensive seats available. I sat in coach :)) See picture here:


All in all our long journey that departed San pedro at 10:30 did not arrive to Gautemala City until 8:00. It was long. Three movies, served drinks. Lunches served. Boarder crossing. and we arrived. 
Our phones did not work on the journey so we trusted that Stephanie knew when we would arrive. She got us at the bus stop and immediately drove to a Steak Restaurant. We walked in and instantly forgot that we lived in our little town in Honduras. With a shared bottle of Malbec with Faye and eating incredible food. It was a long way but come dinner time we were on holiday officially.


Add caption

Stephanie lives in a fabulous apartment with charming features. She has a door man who opens the gate when we drive in, delivers water jugs, cleans her car. She has an adorable puppy and her school was incredible. Faye, Molly and I did not want to leave.
Friday morning we woke, had homemade pumpkin pie for breakfast, drank coffee and were giddy for our day ahead. I took her puppy Lola on a walk in the neighborhood. Lola and I had to fend off a few barking dogs while on our walk. Stephanie gave us a tour of her schools campus complete with the swimming pool, ipad locker for her kids, gardens and full campus. (nicer than any school I have ever seen in the states, yes including all those private fancy dancy schools).

After stopping at the Taj Mahal of outdoor shopping places in Guatemala city, for an oh so necessary latte. We were off to Antiqua. (no not the island) 

This beautiful colonial city is surrounded by volcano’s and consists of cobblestone streets, lined with resturants, small coffee shops, artisans, gardens leading to old ruins, and churches. We got lost on the streets, admired the blue sky, the sun and the city. We shopped, laughed, sat on roof tops and browsed the market.



We had lunch, with wine, gin and tonic for faye, beer for Stephanie and a long island for molly. Our yummy food was our fuel for our hike scheduled at 2 pm for the volcano. The volcano hike up took around an hour and half. children in the nearby village insisted that it was “necsesario” to buy a stick (walking stick) from them. I kindly looked a boy in the eyes and said “no nesesario”. ( I bought him skittles instead). With a guide leading, we hiked as locals rode by horseback alongside offered a ride on their horse for a small fee. Determined to get to the top and enjoy our roasted marshmallows from the heat of the volcanic rock we pressed on. What awaited was a sunsetting on the volcanos that lured over the city of Guatemala City. It felt a bit strange, it was dark with rock and we overlooked for miles. This volcano last erupted in 2010. (Prior it was more cone shaped but is now wide mouthed). It was beautiful yet freezing cold. We roasted our marshmallows, took a bunch of pictures and were ready to run down the trail racing against the sunset and the dropping temperature. The sun had gone behind the volcano before the end of the trail. By the end of the trail we were in darkness…. a bit scary down, and tricky with no light but so worth it.

Freezing cold but yummy marshmallow
Unreal view of Fuego. (Volcano)

 After arriving back in town we got ready quickly to go out for dinner and drinks. We shared a plate of nachos with margaritas. Friday night did not disappoint, Stephanie took us to an Irish bar called “rileys” where we danced and stayed for the rest of the night….. Around 4:00 am we made our way home and were ready for some sleep. Here are some pictures 🙂

Doing the Kristina dance. Apparently I snap my fingers and shrug my shoulders. 
Saturday morning I woke up around 8:00 am. Feeling rested Stephanie and I decided to go to have brunch. (I attempted at getting Molly and Faye to join but Faye kindly yelled from her slumber “Go away, go do some yoga or something!”Not arguing with her I simply told her we would be back before 11.  I must say Stephanie had bragged about multiple things that we would do on the trip and I thought for sure some would not live up to all their hype. But i was wrong. The brunch place, was incredible. A former monastery is now home to a beautiful hotel with courtyards, fountains, gardens and ruins. We ate what was probably my favorite meal since moving here. Everything from traditional guatemalan breakfast (eggs, beans, meat, tortillas) to omelette’s  fresh breads, fruit, bacon, oatmeal, pupusas (corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, vegetables, meat etc.)
We finished breakfast and walked back to meet Molly and Faye. Our day was spent sightseeing, wedding watching (we saw four different weddings happening around town), food and drink eating, and wine tasting. All of us bought things to take back home with us… Antiqua this day made me officially love you. Every corner, every shop, every secret garden behind walls.. you were magical.
After sharing what we thought would be a cheese platter (in all reality it was four small tiny pieces of cheese with toast for four people, we were starving and it was ridiculous). We headed back to Guatemala City. (on our way home we saw someone exiting a chicken bus, yellow school bus from the states that is now a public transport bus, out of the back on the highway. This man had his backpack, opened the latch, held on to the ladder next to the door and closed the door. The bus was most likely going to slow down to drop him off but at the time it was still going regular speed, crazy crazy crazy)

In town.

The flowers were so pretty.

Wine shop. So nice.
Colored walls, cobblestone, blue sky.

Market.

Cheers everyone.. here is your fancy cheese plate 🙂

Our night was intended to continue in Guatemala City but what was a long day, and what had been an even longer night kept us at home. We went to dinner, and then found ourselves freezing cold back at Stephanie’s apartment. (Side note, when it is 55 degrees or 50 outside in the States you have heat inside, but in central America there is no heat, so it is that cold in your house, and our now central American adapted skin does not appreciate it. We were so chilly). Our bus was set to leave at 6 am so watching Harry Potter in spanish on Stephanies tv and relaxing before our long bus journey was the perfect end to an incredible weekend.

Our bus journey was well, interesting  In short we rode the cheap bus home, that just so happens to sell more tickets than seats which left people sitting on paint buckets and or standing in the middle aisle for the 7.8 hour journey. Upon arriving at the border we realized that we had come all the way North and were at the same border crossing we had made just the weekend before on my birthday(not to confuse you, but on Thursday going to Guatemala City we crossed the border in Copan, middle of Honduras, and this border is on the coast up North.) We made it to San Pedro, got on our second bus to our town and just as I spoke about how quick this journey was we hit a pot hole and the tire busted. A quick change and a few photos later,…. we were home.


Why yes of course it is appropriate to pull up your collared shirt to change the tire.

Please see Molly in the window, posing 🙂

A bit behind on updates… will try and play catch up this weekend.

Ps: Two weeks from Sunday I am home. CANNOT WAIT

Things always look the same when you come back after being gone from some place for a while. They tend to do that. We change but things often stay the same. 
With much anticipation I look forward to December. Coming home. Nothing like coming home for Christmas.  I have gone longer without seeing my family but something about being here. living here. doing this. makes me believe the embrace and reuniting at Christmas will be one of the most sweet moments. Living in a country such a this makes you realize more clearly the many things that you have. the life you got. without even trying you compare. you see what children have here. you look at the homes they live in and wonder why it is you are one to get so lucky…. suppose this may be question number 2 when i get to heaven. (first one being how is there still water in the sky after it has been raining for days and days)
Before jumping on a flight home though first I will celebrate Thanksgiving. I will be spending it in Guatemala City with Stephanie Riley. The first part of the day will be spent on a bus between Pena Blanca, Honduras and Guatemala City but upon our arrival we will be having Thanksgiving in the city at a hotel that hosts Thanksgiving. Molly and Faye are coming as well (English first timers for Thanksgiving). (my family will be having Thanksgiving in Texas, my sister, Josh, my grandma, my parents and some friends, I will be the missing person, but rest assured I will be missing them more)
I so look forward to spending the holiday with one of my oldest friends. From the same middle school, to the same high school, to Costa Rica, to younglife camp, to college (Alabama to Colorado), to Alabama Auburn game in Tuscaloosa, to post college jobs, to a summer visit in Estes Park Colorado, to celebrating friends wedding in Georgia, to now being Central American Neighbors, to her visit a month ago in Pena Blanca to now me visiting her in Guatemala. Stephanie I cannot wait to celebrate with you all that I am grateful for, especially in a new country. (well technically we went to Guatemala last weekend :))
In my class yesterday we made a list of the things we are grateful for. My kids listed everything from chocolate, to their families, to their dog, to jesus, to baleadas (honduran tortilla with cheese and beans). I explained to my kids that Thursday is Dia de Gracias in Estadios Unidos.  With  a bit of wonder and confusion in their eyes they smiled and said “OOO”. (they are so cute)
I am without words far to often to describe how good I have it. 
  • Grateful that my kids call me “Miss”. What is often annoying and sometimes wears me out is the sweet voice of kids that love and hug regardless of how much I yelled minutes before.
  • Grateful for the warm weather in Honduras. For being sun kissed in November. (although it has been unseasonably cold recently)
  • Grateful for having a place to be excited to come home too. (Texas and Kentucky will be seeing you soon)
  • Grateful for parents that support and love me well even when their crazy daughter decides to move more than a few times, move to Colorado, go to grad school, move to kentucky, quit grad school, move back to Colorado, move to central america. 
  • Grateful for the promises that God has a plan. Plans that far exceed my imagination, and my dreams. Plans that will both challenge, grow and stretch me. Plans that are good. Grateful for the hope in that.
  • Grateful for yummie food in Honduras. For eating and drinking too much on my birthday so I now feel like I should only eat vegetables for the next week or two. (kidding)
  • Grateful for people that were once strangers who to me are now family. We work together, live together, travel together,  complain together, laugh together and teach kids in this place together.  
  • Grateful for kids humor. For them telling me that my dragon looks like a duck. For asking them how to spell the number six and ready with a pen in hand as I am writing on the board he stands up and spells “S—E—-X”. Goodness I had to laugh.
  • Grateful for Yoga. A place that is my escape. To sweat out some of the stress of here and to continue to improve my practice.
  • Grateful for dear friends. Friends that take the time to send messages… desire to send mail but cannot. for those that wished me well. for those that read my blog to make sure i am ok. to make sure i am doing well. grateful for those that though may be distance or it may have been years since i have seen them but yet they are so close still. 
This list as you can imagine could go on and on….. could become really simple as well. Some of the simplest things in life are what I find I am most grateful for. 
Hope you find thanksgiving in the simple pleasures. In the constant. Knowing that there is a God out there someplace that loves you dearly. That you are dear to him. Greatest gift and greatest thing to say thanksgiving for…

25th birthday in Guatemala is by far the most memorable Birthday to date….. (a close second would be my 21st pizza party in Louisville). I will attempt to recap but I will warn you, its not going to sound good as good it was… Some things just need to be experienced…. 
Friday morningI woke up and our kitchen table was decorated by the girls. A sign saying “Happy Birthday Early” Empty wine bottles were painted and crafted by Faye.  Friday we only had three exams with our kids and then we were set to leave around 1:00 pm to Guatemala. 
I brought a chocolate cake to school for my kids, in honor of my birthday and decided to suprise them during Recess. My kids all full of cake and sugar went outside for recess just as I saw one of the boys and his moms walking towards me with a huge cake in hand. My kids started jumping up and down. “Dos Pastels! Dos Pastels!” Why not I thought? Two cakes in one day never hurt anyone (Or if you ask the principal she must think 5 are ok, because she easily ate five pieces of pizza on Friday)
My kids gave me more hugs than I can count. They sang to me on their own impromtu. I laughed and smiled as they screamed Happy Birthday across the room….. nothing much better than 22 second graders loving on you on your birthday eve. With a full belly and an in antipation of our weekend away the day went quickly. 
We left in true Honduran fashion around 1:35 pm. We had some pre-trip mimosas to start the weekend off well. Our drive took us through San Pedro Sula, up to the coast to Porte Cortez and then crossing the border up to Rio Dulce. Rio Dulce means Sweet River in Spanish. Border crossing is a bit strange considering it looks like a run down rest stop but the transition was simple. We did however do a very dodgy currency exchange through the window of the bus. Such a strange thing to do, swap currency through the window. It works though.
Rio Dulce lived up to all of the hype. The river flows into the Caribbean at the town of Livingston. The place we stayed was right on the water. Even so that the floor boards under our bed peeked down at the water. As we made our way Friday after school we saw the most incredible sunset on the ocean as we drove on the coast. Our trip included all of us teachers, Chele and Miss Emely. (Director of Pre-School).

We arrived late and ate dinner by the water. Emely suprised me with chocolate cake. The group sang and we all crashed in bed before 11:00 pm. The long day and long journey made for a incredible nights sleep.
Dinner Friday Night.
Birthday Chocolate Cake.

Saturday, my Birthday I woke up to skype with my Family. My mom even had a candle lit on Skype for me. (She is too funny). We had breakfast, drank coffee and attempted to talk to Emely with my Spanglish. We made a quick trip to town after breakfast to get money.  In town was packed. People selling everything you could imagine. The fruit and vegetable selection near the coast is so much better than our town. We bought mandarin oranges for less than $1.25 for 12, bananas, and lots of strawberry’s. We decided this would be good to take with us on the boat. Everything tasted really good.
The town of Rio Dulce is filled with incredible boats. Large sail boats and yachts people have sailed from all over the Caribbean and central America. We got on a lancha, a water taxi of sorts to take us an hour down the river towards teh Carribean. The moment I stepped on the boat I knew then this was going to be one of the most memorable brithdays yet. 
We drank coconut with rum out of fresh coconuts from the boat owners garden. Danced to music. Swam off the boat. We saw a huge iguana. Watched as women and children rowed down the river to for fishing. The sun was out and there was barely a cloud in the sky. We stopped in town of Livingston on the corner where the river meets the ocean for Pizza. We pulled the boat straight up to the shore and walked out to the pizza place. While the pizza cooked we walked into the town of Livingston. I got my hair impromptu weaved. The pictures are ridiculous. But seeing my hair in person is even more ridiculous. Livingston was a great little town, a lot more markets and toursim than where we live. We ate pizza, and got back on the boat to go back up river. Our tour/ boat ride was all day long. The boat had a hammock on it and Emely swing in the hammock as we flowed down river. We listened to music and all marveled at where we were and how incredibly beautiful it was. Molly and I attempted to drink out of the coconut while treading water. Pictures I think will do this whole day a little better representation. 

Public washing house in Livingston.

Prepping drinks.

After stopping by the hot springs on the lake we got back in the lancha to take us up the river. Two older gentlemen American and English knew that it was my birthday and asked if I wanted to drive the boat. Without hesistation I of course said yes. The boat was huge and standing up on the captains chair it was beautiful  I said to myself, “When in Guatemala? Why not.” I stood up, held the steering and off we went. Looking up river the sun began to set. I was heading straight into the sun, mountains aorund and my heart was full.
A few minutes into the ride, the owner of the boat said to his friend “She has done this before.”  in hesitation I responded to his comment “Yea, I have done this before”. (not that often to be honest). Perhaps he noticed my hesitation and casually replied, “Girl its your story you can tell it however you wish too”.

I love that……I told him I am going to steal this line. I love knowing that we each have a story. A story written just for us to live. This is my story. My story all along has included Honduras. God saw to it I would be in this place. With my kids. With these roommates. In this place. God writes the best stories so I am going to keep trusting in his.


Hotsprings Stop

Captain

As for the rest of our journey. The boat broke down. Yes this happened. After waiting for help we all felt pretty lucky to get to have experienced the sunset from the boat instead of by the dock. Only a few boats passed by and we watched the sun set, in one of the most beautiful settings. Faye and I shared a bonding moment on the back of the boat as we were towed to the dock. (hilarious)….It was an incredible day.

We had dinner that evening and stayed late until the restaurant hosted a party that evening. There was live music, (two singers and one backup dancer) They were entertaining to put it nicely. But we more enjoyed the DJ. I faded quickly as the sun and the day had worn me out and curled up in bed at 1:00 am to then wake at 5:00 am to get back to Honduras. I slept on the bus needless to say….

Love this one so much.
Yesterday was a bit lazy… did some laundry, graded some papers, planned our Thursday departure to Guatemala City and Antiqua. So excited to see my best friend again and do Thanksgiving together! Happy 3 day week at school!

Hope yall are doing well. Thank you for my many many Birthday wishes. They are so appreciated and do not go unnoticed.