Real contentment has nothing to do with either prosperity or poverty. Contentment is an inside job, the result of knowing God and living life against the backdrop of eternity.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Probably one of the best international weekends I've had thus far on my journey. Honduran Independence Day was last Wednesday and the kids at school have been practicing for the parade for weeks. We marched around French Harbour with the band, baton twirlers, flag holders and Miss Honduras. We left on the ferry to La Ceiba later in the afternoon and arrived at Michael and Sarah's house to stay the night. We had an amazing spaghetti dinner with fresh avocados, cucumbers, bean soup, chocolate cake and horchata. We decided to hit the town and ended up at a karaoke bar filled with discoballs and a sweet dance floor. Harry sang some Enrique Inglesias, the girlies sang Beyonce and Zach sang Coolio. Very typical. Slept on some yoga mats until our alarms rang at 4am.

We walked through some sketchy woods to the highway and then to the bus station. Boarded our bus to Copan. Layover in San Pedro Sula. Decided to check out the city. Language barriers and misunderstanding lead our taxi driver to believe that we wanted to go to the "supermercado" instead of the market downtown. We ended up grocery shopping and drinking coffee and eating smoothies during our time in San Pedro. I couldn't stop laughing. Arrived to Copan around 5 and checked into our hostel, Carrillo, located about 2 blocks from central park. For $5 a day, it was very nice with HOT SHOWERS. WHATTTT!!! We ordered 4 pizzas at a place called Milo's between the 7 of us and finished every last piece. We found a nice coffee shop/book exchange and then meandered over to a wine bar down the street. We met some travelers, played hacky sack, and invited them along for the ride. We ended up dancing the night away and learning how to "punta" from some of the local Hondurans. We chatted on the roof of our hostel with candles since the power was out.

Woke up on Friday morning and headed over to the Mayan Ruins where we hiked around for a few hours and of course, played hacky sack in the casa court. The ruins were phenomenal, some dating back to 300 BC. John decided to feed the parrots out of his mouth; he provided most of the entertainment for our trip. We were starving and found a cheap local place called Tipicos where we ordered like kings for about $1 each. Nachos, HUGE burritos, quesadillas, fried plantains with beans and queso, and strawberry juice. We immediately decided to take a 3 hour horse riding tour of Copan which, was not the best idea after indulging in copious amounts of comida. Trekked up the mountain to a mud hut village where we were swarmed by children selling corn husk flower bouquets and dolls.

The guides Margarito and Juan Carlos were in extremely good shape; they ran beside the horses with us for the entirety of our trip. We headed back to shower before the power went out again, made our way to central park to eat dessert and tacos for dinner. We found a restaurant and bar called ViaVia, mostly with gringos and a bartender from Oregon. We wandered to another place down the street, listened to some guitar playing, some of us went home, some of us decided to keep exploring the beautiful quaint city of Copan.

The discoteca we found, was not so quaint. It was phenomenal and loud and full of lights and dancing Hondurans. We had a blast in the fog machine, jumping into the pool at the end of the night and walking back to our hostel, making it in time to catch the bus at 4am back to La Ceiba.

We made it to Ceiba around 1pm on Saturday, jumped off some cliffs and took it easy playing spanish catch phrase and meeting fellow travelers who were there to hike waterfalls and white water raft at Jungle River. All 7 of us slept in one room, it was fabulous. I woke up around 6am to find an ant who had crawled into my ear canal. It was the weirdest craziest sound/feeling and I wasn't sure what to do, I didn't want him to lay eggs or something crazy like that. He finally came out around 7am. Started the rafting trip around 9:30, took a midway hike to a gorgeous waterfall and jumped into it's surrounding pool.

We took the ferry back to Roatan and got back on Sunday around 6:30, utterly exhausted yet feeling so accomplished and cultured after the fun filled and adventurous weekend. Can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

fresh feeling

This past week has been amazing. Crazy hair competitions, moon-walking mullet wearing children, bonfires on the beach and Garifuna festival dancing. We celebrated Amber's birthday on Friday night and caught the poppin' action of the West End of the island. Saturday we took a hike in Los Fuertes and saw the beautiful view of the island from both sides. John snorkeled so far out he saw barracudas and sting rays. Sunday we trekked to Punta Gorda for the Garifuna festival. We ate a delicious traditional fish stew with mashed plantains and coconut bread.
We came back to our apartment to find Harrison and his Los Fuertes boys cooking their fish they caught from the backyard. It is beautiful to see the relationships that he has built with these boys. They have agreed that if they can go fishing once a week, Harrison can work with them on English and some tutoring opportunities.

Pablo eating his fried catch of the day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

be bold

T.G.I.F. This week has been absolutely wonderful and absolutely exhausting. I'm learning more about my students and how they work and I'm pretty sure next week will look completely different, from a teaching perspective.

My 7th graders are HILARIOUS.

Marlon: "Heyyyy Ms. Jessica! Notice anything different about me?"
Me: "Hmm... Did you get taller?"
Marlon: "Nooooo! I got my braces off!" (HUGE SMILE to show me)
Me: "Ohhhh, wonderful!"
Marlon: "I mean, sometimes I just look in the mirror and can't help but to notice how good looking I really am."

I introduced some icebreakers and team building activities to most of my classes this week, involving debates over controversial issues, creating masks and the human knot. OH THE HUMAN KNOT. What a wonderful idea. I was barreled over in laughter after watching the 13 year olds try to untangle themselves for 5 solid minutes. We talked about the importance of listening, communication and teamwork.

Casey prays for us every morning during our devotional time. It usually goes something like this: "Dear Lord, please help us learn and help us pass our quizzes. Please throw some breeze our way so we don't get so sweaty and let the power stay on today. Thank you for recess and our teachers and our friends and our families. And lunch. Amen."

After school we walked over to Los Fuertes to watch the high school boys play some futbol. Harry took us to his favorite burger joint where I proceeded to accidentally rub my eyes with extremely hot sauce from my papusa (Honduran chicken/queso/cabbage/onion/wrap) FAIL. Thank you Zach for the homemade water flush eye drop from my straw.
We decided to take a late night dip in the mangrove lagoon behind our house when we got home. Hello glory. Heat lightning glowing up the sky, bioluminescent dinoflagellates shimmering in the warm water, stars so bright they twinkled and singing songs with the gang. In love with this place.

You know you are in Honduras when:
1. You see signs like this:
2. Your communion bread at church is a tortilla
3. You can catch a lobster in your backyard and eat it for dinner