Day Ninety One

My birthday this past week was great!! First off I woke up with the mananitas blasting outside my door, had the internas sing them to me, then sisters, and finally my girls from class. Haha I had never heard the mananitas song so many times in one same day! To celebrate both me and Nicole's birthday the sisters took us out to eat at this little cafe, where they had legit cheesecake! See me and Nicole have been craving this for quite some time now and last time we tried having it were sadly disappointed, the version we had was more like flan. So we were ecstatic at finally having the real thing! Afterwards they took us to this other cafe called Ten Napel Cafe, and can I just state that I am seriously bummed that I'm barely discovering this place so late into my time here, it is literally a little haven spot here in Santa Rosa, they have an awesome patio/garden, BAGELS, PANINI'S and CROISSANTS, and all type of fruit smoothies!! After that me and Nicole got time to go out to our favorite local spot here called MASS and had the most delicious salad! I know, I know all this food probably seems like no big deal, but when all you eat is beans and plantains for practically every meal, everyday, ordinary food like cheesecake and salad become AMAZING!

Suamy and little sister

On Friday I got to go with Suamy one of the internas to her home however it was cut short to one day because I had to teach class on Saturday. Nonetheless she showed me all her (aldea) mini town where all her family lives in. Oh and we prayed the rosary for this couple that passed away about a year ago. So what the town accustoms is to everyday gather and pray the rosary at 7:00 in their former home for an entire year for  their souls to rest, which I thought was amazing! Saturday in the afternoon I finally got to visit the sisters of Calcutta orphanage home, where they had about 50 little ones ranging anywhere from newborn to about 5 years old. They were all adorable, wanted to bring one back home with me!! Anyway that was my eventful weekend, it was great couldn't have wished anything more for my 24th birthday.


Day Eighty Six

Yesi and her boyfriend (right), mom, sister and her boyfriend (left)
I have only nine days left here at my mission site, I still find it hard to believe that my time here is almost to an end. I'm definitely trying to do as much as I can in the little time that's left. This past weekend I visited, one of my favorite internas, Yesikarina's house about two hours away in San Perdro, Copan. One of her cousins was getting married Saturday so they gave her special permission to go home. The trip started well, we had gone out shopping to find her  an outfit and stuff when all of a sudden I see her crying. Her boyfriend, who she's practically engaged to, called to let her know that his brother had just minutes past shot and killed himself in front of their house. She was devastated. We headed towards his house, and it was amazing to see just how many people from the community were there to support the family during their loss. I asked Yesi's mom if that was accustomed, and she told me that's just what people do here, they're always there for one another helping out in any way possible whether it be financially and/or emotionally. The following day we went to his funeral, again many people showed up in support. While we waited neighbors opened their home to us, offered us coffee, food, a seat inside out of the sun, I was really in awe to see just how hospitable everyone was towards us. Through all of this Yesi's boyfriend seemed surprisingly relaxed. We weren't sure if he was even up to join us for the wedding that night, the poor thing hadn't slept one wink, but he wanted to be with Yesi as much as he could, so he did. The wedding reception was held at two houses one was were the food was served and the other was were the dancing and partying went on. Oh I also got to meet Yesi's grandmother, the sweetest little lady you could imagine, in the cutest little home. Anyway because of the loss Yesi asked special permission to stay one more day and miss the kermese, an outdoor type festival were food, music and games are held in order to raise money for the school (kind of a big deal here.) I was sort of bummed about missing it but didn't want to be a burden in them having to find me a ride back so I agreed to stay. Well somehow there was a miscommunication in them giving both of us permission to stay and the sisters ended up worried about us. So last minute at like 9 o'clock in the morning we rode back to school to try and catch my modeling/pageant thing that started at 10! I ended missing out on about half of it but still participated and had a blast doing it. The girls really get into it! The rest of the kermese I spent in the bank selling tickets so I really didn't get to see much of the festivities. A lot of people showed up though and from what I hear it was a success compared to years passed. Oh and apparently Nicole got hitched and kissed in the morning while I was gone!! Totally upset at the fact that I missed it! But yesterday was her birthday and the girls and the sisters blasted the mananitas song all morning long, made her birthday cards and decorated the kitchen really nice. We celebrated by baking a jello cake, it was delicious! Since tomorrow is my birthday we're going to see if we can go out and treat ourselves to a nice dinner. Well that's all for now, I'll try and post again pretty soon, so stay tuned folks ;)
Me and Yesse at the kermese


Day Sixty Eight

Hey everybody it's been a while, but man has this past week been eventful! I missed Easter back at home with my loved one's so much, nonetheless I am so grateful for having holy week off and gotten the opportunity to visit the places I did. Ok so last Friday most of the girls were uber excited to get to go home, few stayed the weekend but by Sunday all had left. So one of them Guendy Lorena invited both me and Nicole back to her home in Santa Barbara for the weekend, it was so interesting to me to see how different "real" life (outside of the institute) is compared to life back in the US. It was an eye opener to me to see that the girls living at the school really do live in necessity, yet they open their home to two guests. And we were truly treated as guests, her mom would always offer us drinks and food making sure we were comfortable. We watched spanish soaps the entire two days we were there, which I don't mind I can personally sit and watch spanish soaps with the best of them, I don't know if I can say the same for Nicole though lol. But anyway yeah lifestyles are much slower paced, everyone kind of just hangs out. The neighbors all would come to the house, sit, and watch the soaps with us, it was like the thing to do. I'm really glad me and Nicole got to share our first visit to one of the girls home together.
Guendy Lorena's
Ok so once we came back to Santa Rosa we packed and got everything ready for the next morning to leave at 5:30am to catch our bus to San Pedro where we would have to catch a second bus to Puerto Cortes, where we would then catch the ferry to Belize. We had it all planned and figured out, or so we thought. Turns out the so called prestigious bus we had just bought tickets to like three days prior cancelled without any type of notification or anything! The ferry left at 11am only traveled out of Honduras on Mondays so if we missed it we were pretty much deserted. Against all odds, because there is no slower system as to getting anywhere from point A to B than the Honduran bus system that stops every 10 minutes to pick up people, we took a regular bus to San Pedro. From there the Puerto Cortes bus took forever and a half to get to the port and dropped off us like 5 blocks away from the dock, so with our luggage and all we ran to the dock racing against time to catch the ferry, because God knows we were determined to make that ferry! And thank the Lord we did!! :)
After a two hour bumpy ferry ride and unnecessary immigration wait alas we had arrived in Placencia. But oh boy was it all worth it. It is such a beautiful undiscovered gem I feel, there were hardly any tourists around, yet so many friendly locals waiting to greet us and make our visit the best possible. There was so much to do and see, 4 days just didn't seem like enough time. A couple of hours after our arrival, Nicole's mom and sister arrived, and oh my goodness they were the sweetest people! I seriously felt a part of family around them, it was awesome meeting them! We went to the monkey river saw an abundance of nature's beauty, went snorkeling on beautiful island beaches where we saw ginormous turtles and sting rays, ate flavorful delicious foods, and met a bunch of down to earth, good people in Placencia. I honestly HAVE TO go back there sometime in my lifetime, it was just a great place to be, not only because it's naturally beautiful but the people, the culture, and the relaxation one feels there truly makes it a blissful experience. 
Island we snorkeled off
After all that when we came back home we still made another trip to El Salvador the following day! It was really nice though all the sisters went which is a first, one usually stays behind. But this time all seven came and we enjoyed a nice day at the park, ate way too much food, and laid out on hammocks! Oh and saw a "mini" zoo, and I'm not using the term mini lightly here. There were literally like 4 animals, it was totally pleasant though and I'm really thankful for the sisters inviting me and Nicole to go. 
Nicole's amazing family
The sisters!!

Now it's back to school time, and lesson planning. I love teaching though it's a lot of fun surprisingly. I only have a little over three weeks to go, I can't believe how fast time has passed! I will try and make the most of my time left here god willing :) thank you all for your prayers and best wishes!


Day Fifty One

I just got back from Copan and am exhausted!! But aside from that had the best time ever, and got two items of my bucket list crossed off, horseback riding and zip lining! So we took a rapidito bus to get there oh man what an experience, for one it isn't that fast so why they call it a rapidito I'm not sure, oh and you literally are in a sardine can, a mini van type car that is supposed to seat 12 got crammed with like 22! So anyway after finally getting there we had no idea where our hotel was so we were kind of going all over town when we ended up at this really nice hotel "San Lucas" that looked amazing unfortunately cost an arm and a leg so we decided not to stay there but we were blessed to meet this awesome taxi guy named Cesar. He was our saviour, thanks to him and the fact that he knew practically everyone in town we did everything we wanted to do. He had friends at "El Sapo" where they give canopy tours, they have the longest zip line in Central America, so of course we had to go. It was so beautiful, I love zip lining!! Ok so after we did that Cesar also knew the guy that did the horseback riding tours, so we got to travel on a horse!! My horse was named "Princesa" and I officially want a horse now! I loved her I know it sounds cheesy and what not but I totally felt at one with the horse. Anyway we went riding for about two hours up to "Los Sapos" site. A mayan rock carved in the form of a frog with a woman giving birth beneath it. We were told Mayan women believed the frog gave them fertility. Oh and above the frog was a bed and a circle were they would sacrifice the last baby born in December, crazy stuff! We finally finished the day off by going to the main archaeological park of the Mayan Ruins and the Sepulturas after. It was a beautiful site to see, there was so much nature all around us and the sculptures had so much detail and history it was quite impressive. Copan itself is the most adorable little town, everyone we met was super friendly and very helpful. Definitely wouldn't mind going back there someday. 


Day Forty Seven

I think I'm really starting to grow a liking to this whole teaching experience. I officially started my english class this past Monday and although I had heard some scary things about the year I was teaching "segundo bachillerato" girls, which is the pretty much the equivalent to junior year girls in high school, they are really good. They pay attention, participate in class, and know a lot more english than I thought. Plus, I really like the fact that we are in total control of how we want to run the class, it really gives me a chance to be creative in my lesson planning. Lesson planning me and Nicole like to try and do at the plaza/park in front of the cathedral, where locals go have coffee at and just sit and people watch, so we kind of go and do the same. Oh on another completely different note, so the rooster that would wake me up every day is no longer with us...that's right they killed and ate him!! Safe to say that was not one of the foods I was eager to eat. However I did make a new discovery, there's this fruit called sapote and although it doesn't really look too appetizing it is one of the most delicious fruits I've ever tried! If you by chance see it at the grocery store please do try.
Yesterday and today a bunch of psychologist came from out of town they will be staying here with us a couple of days, so me and Nicole had to pack all of our things and move to a college dorm size room minus the bathroom and closet space. So we're basically living out of our suitcases, I like it though it feels cozier than the other huge room we had, plus showers are nice and hot in the new bathroom :) I had a long chat with Sor Che during lunch today. She has literally traveled all over the world, and has lived many years in Italy and Argentina, hence the nickname Che. I love talking to her and Sor Virma, they both grew up in the 60's/70's so although they are older than the other sister's they are much more liberal. They are very feminist and passionate about one standing up for ones rights, true revolutionists in spirit. Very inspiring women who I try to gain a little wisdom from everyday. 


Day Thirty Seven

Today was a very productive day for me and Nicole. We had an all out cleaning session all morning, started lesson planning for our english classes coming up and bought essential toiletries. We didn't get to go to the ruins today though, our tour guide had to work, but watched "Eat, Pray, Love" instead and enjoyed the sweetness of doing nothing in the evening. The ruins will have to wait for this coming weekend.
This week seemed to go by slower than past, not sure what the difference was. Maybe the fact that we didn't have running water for four days could've had something to do with it...it was interesting though. I washed my hair in the sink for the first time, thanks Nicole for helping me out on that one! It really beats doing it by yourself, standing while pouring water down with a bucket can get awfully cold. Anyway something interesting I noticed about the "internas" this past week, is that they have many ambitions but one most of them have in common is to travel or live in the states. One of them told me she wanted to volunteer in the U.S. she wants to have a good career and all but told me that she really had a desire to give back, because a life without philanthropy just seemed empty and meaningless. I learn from these girls each and every single day, they are so full of dreams and life, it is truly inspiring to me. As I am learning about myself and my relationship with God I feel at peace with myself and my surroundings. I want my family and parents to know that I love and miss them very much and to not worry about me so much, to just trust and pray for me please. Tomorrow is our adult class' first exam, hopefully we have taught them well. Well that is all for now, peace and love to all goodnight.


Day Thirty One

So today I met El Salvador, it was beautiful I love it, wished I could've stayed longer. I almost didn't get to get in though. Apparently the people at the San Pedro airport stamped my passport but didn't fill out the time I had to stay in the country, they did on my customs form though. So I went back and forth through Honduras immigration and El Salvador immigration for about an hour trying to get that settled, luckily I did without having to pay the $114 fee El Salvador immigration was trying to make me pay, plus I got another 90 day extension to be able to stay in Honduras if it is I wanted to, yayy for me!! Ok so once we finally made it into El Salvador we stopped at this pupuseria that had the most AMAZING pupusas, official new favorite central american food besides the bananas :) we then went to go pick up Sor Mirna at the Maria Auxiliadora School in San Salvador, there are about 20 sisters that live there and were all incredibly nice. However since she wasn't there yet, me and Sor Xiomara went to the market, grocery store, and the Don Bosco church which was huge compared to all the other churches I've seen in Honduras so far. El Salvador differs from Honduras in 3 major ways that I noticed at least; one, there are political banners and posters literally every which way you turn, two, the roads are significantly better no holes or bumps at all, and three, it is very busy and Americanized, kind of reminded me of a cross between Houston and Honduras. Anyway Sor Xiomara is so awesome she is always happy and loves to laugh, she made the trip that much more fun for me. After our little venture of getting to know El Salvador we went to go pick up Sor Mirna at the cemetery and then went to her home and met her mom, her sister and niece, they were all so welcoming and sweet. My condolences go out to them for I know they're being incredibly strong through these tough times.
Maria Auxiliadora School in San Salvador

Don Bosco Church
As we were driving back I looked out the window and saw the the trees, the flowers, and mountains it hit me, I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to get to see all these beautiful countries. God is truly good and I am truly thankful to him to have blessed me with this experience.