We arrived to Copán on Sunday afternoon and got settled in. I stayed with a host family, Lorena and Luis, who were lovely. Staying with a host family was excellent because if I wanted to communicate, I had to use my Spanish. Lorena and Luis were incredibly accommodating and patient with my unavoidable Spanish errors ;)
We had class Monday through Friday for four hours in afternoon. It was one-on-one tutoring and my teacher, Orbely, was a fantastic woman. I feel much more secure in my Spanish now. In the mornings, we experienced what Copán had to offer. We had so many outdoor adventures!! We visited the Aguas Termales, or hot springs, up in the mountains surrounding Copán. In some places the water was 90 degrees Centigrade. Yes I touched it (only for a second), and yes it was very hot. We visited Macaw Mountain, a bird park, just outside of Copán, which housed some incredibly beautiful birds, and the mayan ruins, which is the big attraction in Copán. We had a really fantastic guide who spent three hours walking us through the ruins and explaining the intricacies and meaning behind the carvings and specific building. We also went kayaking down the Río Copán.
We had spiritual adventures as well. We attended a prayer and song service at El Espíritu Santo Iglesia Episcopal in Santa Rita which is a small town just outside of Copán. We were invited by Concepción, who will be ordained as the priest of Espíritu Santo in the coming year. This was a very different spiritual experience for me. The songs were very upbeat, and between each song there would be a prayer. But unlike the prayers that I'm familiar with, these appeared to spontaneous. A different person would lead each prayer, and then everyone in the congregation would join in. But they would join in with prayers of their own, and the room was filled with voices saying individual prayers out loud. There was something really beautiful about hearing the words that people needed to say in that moment all out loud, overlapping each other.
On Sunday, we returned to Espíritu Santo for church, and that day Lura made history. She not only celebrated the Eucharist IN SPANISH (which is hard. lots of long words), she was the first woman to celebrate the Eucharist in this church.
We met so many people in Copán who were fascinating and so kind. Concepción, who was so welcoming at his church, and took us to see the Aguas Termales. Lorena's niece, Fernanda, took the time out of her morning to show Becky and I around Copán. We met a young man named José, who is 17. He moved to Copán at the age of 11 BY HIMSELF to work and he's been in Copán ever since. That's courage that I can't even fathom.
It was a really wonderful way to begin my time here in Honduras. We're back in San Pedro Sula now and I'm all moved into my apartment. My roommate is still wonderful. We moved Becky into her apartment in Tela yesterday. She's got a really nice beach about three blocks down from her house. I will definitely be visiting. And I start school on Thursday. It turns out that, in addition to my college counseling duties, I will be teaching a few sections of Social Studies. I've been looking over the textbooks and it's pretty interesting stuff. Wish me luck!
Note: I'm trying to figure out how to put photos on here. When I figure it out, there will be photos. Promise.