Tuesday, January 21, 2014


So I had a good weekend. It was great for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that I got to hang out in a swanky hotel in Costa Rica, but it was mostly great because I finally realized... I speak Spanish.

Puedo hablar en espaƱol. Puedo comunicar. Entiendo todo, y por lo general, todas las personas me entienden.

I can speak in Spanish. I can communicate. I mostly understand everything and everyone can mostly understand me.

Some background: When I arrived in Honduras, I had taken three years of Spanish in college. I felt pretty confident that communication wouldn't be a problem. Then I arrived and I realized the only conversations in Spanish I had had during my three years were with teachers who spoke slowly and clearly to facilitate my understanding. Which is fantastic, and I learned a lot... but then I met the Hondurans.

Hondurans speak fast. Very fast. This is, in fact, very reasonable. I speak English, and when I speak English, I speak pretty fast. Most people do in their first language.

Communication is one of the biggest struggles I've faced since arriving here. I luckily have a fantastic roommate who speaks to me only in Spanish, even though her English is impeccable. I notice the difference in the weeks that we don't speak any English with each other and the weeks that a few English conversations get thrown in here and there. When we speak only Spanish, I feel more confident; I feel more grounded; I feel like I have a place here in this country.

I know my Spanish has improved since I've arrived, but it's a difficult thing to quantify. How much have I improved? Have I improved as much as I should have? How is everyone else doing with their communication?

Well, here's how much I've improved. I've improved enough that I can talk on the phone without having to give myself a pep talk beforehand. I can now walk by people having a conversation and I know what they're talking about. Becky and I navigated the confusion of a cancelled flight in the San Jose airport! IN SPANISH! I may not understand everything, but I'm realizing that's ok. I don't need to understand everything, as long as I continue to try.

Communication was the biggest struggle I faced when I arrived, but it's no longer my biggest struggle. I can communicate. And I can communicate well. And I luckily have 6 more months to continue to improve.

P.S. I went to San Jose, Costa Rica to renew my visa. Becky and I traveled together, hung out in La Fortuna, Costa Rica in a super nice hotel, got an extra night when our flight was cancelled, and now are allowed to stay in Honduras another 3 months. Further blog post to come with pictures etc.

Love love love

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas and things!

Hello friends,

Not surprisingly, my blogging fell to the wayside during the holidays, so apologies for the silence. I had an awesome time though! We finished with school on the 20th and I immediately left San Pedro Sula with my fellow YASCer Becky. We traveled about an hour and half south to a small hotel, D&D Brewery, near Lago de Yojoa. We only spent about 36 hours here, but they were really fun. The brewery, as you might expect, makes its own beers, so of course we had to try all the offerings. None were disappointing.

We spent our one full day hiking and tubing down a small river that meets the lake. We saw bats, giant spiders, and interesting birds. We jumped off the edge of a rock that juts out over the lake, and in my normal fashion I took a very awkward jumping photo. I despair that I will never be successful at such things as jumping pictures...

This hotel is kind of a backpackers' haven. There were people there from all over, and it was really quite bizarre to see so many people from all around the world. I don't often see tourists in San Pedro Sula. I'm sure they are there, it's just such a large city that I don't encounter them. As it is now, I spend the majority of my time really concentrating to understand what's going on around me. It was a whole new ballgame to be hanging out with people who were speaking French.

We returned to Tela on the 23rd to celebrate Christmas. In Honduras, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th, so we exchanged gifts and went to church, and as is the custom for teachers on vacation, went to sleep before 10pm. The 25th we made dinner and had a few people from the community join us. It was a super time, and while it was a bit strange not being with my family, I felt so lucky to be where I was. And I watched The Polar Express for the first time =)

THEN MY FAMILY CAME. Minus Ian, sadly... but the rest arrived safe and sound on the 27th, and the 28th we flew to Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off the north coast of Honduras. The water was unreal, and we had the most amazing time. My roommate, Rosella, was able to join us, and so continues my AWESOME plan of intertwining my Honduran and Mississippian family.

The week was so wonderful. New Year's Eve, again, as is the custom of teacher's on vacation, I went to sleep at 10pm... Most people I talked to were horrified, but I don't care =)

My family has safely returned to Mississippi, and I have started back at school. I'm excited to see what my life in Honduras is like for 2014. Much love!

Disclaimer: The majority of the photos below are shamelessly stolen from Becky. Thank you for being better about taking photos than I am.


My weird jumping picture

My new friend William

Becky and I being AWESOME