Wednesday, June 26, 2013

it feels like home

recently Allison and I have been spending a lot of time in house 2. this is the house where we started our adventure. Jorge & Olga and their gang of crazy kids have become family to me. we are currently eating in house 3 which, of all the houses, is the most strict. the kids are all very shy and there is no talking at the table. it's not bad, really it works well for their house. but for us it has been very different from the experiences we have had in other houses. there is a very strict schedule in the house; dinner at 5, devotional at 6 and bed at 7, which means we are out of the house around 6:45. previous houses our "leaving time" after dinner has been somewhere between 8 and 9. the first night this happened we were confused. we had never had this much time at night to just, be. instinctively we headed to house two. good choice on our part. we played our nightly game of volleyball and then we watched a movie. fun fact, even if a scary movie is only in Spanish, it's still scary. in conclusion, we had a little sleepover in house 2 that night with all the girls. since then, every night after dinner and devo we head over to house 2. we found out recently that our last full week...which people tell me is apparently next week?...will be spent in house 2 :) I'm thankful for the people Jorge and Olga are in our lives here in Honduras and that they've accepted us as their pseudo-North American-Honduran-daughters. and I'm lucky to call this place home.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

20 days in? No way.

It's probably not long enough to call myself Honduran, but I do it anyways. Today marks the half way point of this journey and it truly is unbelievable for a few reasons. Depending on the hour, if you asked me how long it felt like we've been here, I'd either say 2 days or 2 years. Our first few days here (or first two weeks respectively) were spent getting acclimated to a life that was everything, and nothing, like what we anticipated. We had a lot of ups and our fair share of downs but we've come out 20 days strong & happy.

 I still say, at least every other day if not every day, I'm living in a dream...because I really do feel like that's what this is. Not everything has gone how I predicted it would go and not everything has been perfect. We've had some just plain hard, emotionally exhausting days. But this is still the place that our hearts long for when we're away. This is still the place where everything is so simple. Simple doesn't mean easy, just, simple. It's not everyday that I get to wake up and go to a house where little arms always reach up to wrap around my neck. Or a little one just constantly wants to snuggle in my lap. Do my arms get tired from playing and fall asleep from holding their little bodies in place while they watch tv or drift off to sleep (once), yes. And that's exactly how I prefer my days go. I've been called Honduran, Jorge's daughter, Carolina's aunt, Josella's mom, animals, wrestlers, famous people (okay I just wish for that one, that hasn't happened yet) and everything in between. I've been called some not so nice names too. I've been teased & picked on for saying things wrong or doing things wrong. Do I love that? I mean, no, it's not my favorite. In the moment I want to say something back,but luckily for me, my Spanish is awful. But kids are kids. It doesn't matter where you pick up and travel to, a twelve year old will act like a twelve year old and an eight year old will act like an eight year old. There will be hugs, kicks, tickles, names and everything in between. So yes, some days I want to walk away from every naggy, rude child and find a corner to just sit in by myself. And some days I do just that. But most days there are just a lot of hugs, kisses, tickles and giggles. Those days are what make it seems like we've been here for only 2 days.

Last night Allison and I were discussing how today is the half way mark and she said "how can we make it slow down?" If anyone knows how we can slow time down, please let us know as soon as possible. But for right now, we're doing our best to indulge in every moment.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Honduran confessional

Generally I'm happy to write about the endless supply of baby hugs&kisses and daily experiences I have here. But today something else is weighing on my heart. (I don't normally use that phrase, but here it felt right). Even thousands of miles away from the life I know in the states, I am still flooded with reminders of my life there. I still have access to all forms of internet (that's how I'm writing this) and social media outlets. Most of the time that's great. I get to keep up with the lives of people I know & love back home and they can keep up with mine. But the meat of this post is not about the pros and cons of social media, rather, it's a confessional of sorts.

Harding University is officially my Alma Mater (not entirely sure I'm supposed to capitalize that..but here we are). I have years of life experiences and a bucket full of friends to back that up. It was easily the happiest time of my life thus far and I'm blessed to have gotten the opportunity. But if you attended Harding, or have ever even heard of Harding, you've probably heard our nickname. The Marriage Factory. I want to chuckle and say that's just a nickname but...I holds a lot of truth. Being single is weird at Harding. If you go to Harding and are reading this, you're either single and going to agree with most everything I'm saying or you're seriously dating/married and going to think I'm being overly dramatic. Or, everyone is going to love it and love me and everything is going to be rainbows & butterflies. But, if at any point I seem dramatic, stop reading. It'll just be easier that way. xoxo!

Being single is not a hard thing to be. I like my independence and embrace it openly. But living in a community where the vast majority of people are either seriously dating/engaged/married, every now and then I have a moment of weakness. You start to wonder, "what am I doing wrong?", "what do I need to change", "how do I fix this", "no seriously, what am I doing wrong?". And usually it takes a call home to mom where I openly whine & wonder aloud where she tells me to just calm down and realize it's going to be okay. Then I usually say something like "you're right, it's just hard sometimes when everyone is off being happily happy" and she says something like "you're so young right now, when it's going to happen, it's going to happen. just calm down" and then we go back and forth like that for awhile until eventually I say something like "okay, yeah! I am young! I have SO much time! YEAH!" and I get way too excited and then I go on my merry way. Wait two-three weeks and repeat the process.

So now you're probably thinking, "what on earth made you think of that?? you're nowhere near that life right now! you're living the Honduran dream!!" to which I would say, I am living a dream, you're right! and then I would follow that up with, I went to Harding and at Harding, especially if you just graduated, it's wedding season for alllllllllll of your friends. Remember when I said I had access to all social media outlets? Oh, and I'm following Miss Emily's fairytale romance (which by the way, I am SO EXCITED for her!!!!!!!) Mostly I'm just trying to find me a Tom, you hear me out there world? Find me a British man! Or, actually, a Honduran man! Or if possible a Christian Honduran, British man. You're right, I'm being too picky. Can you tell I'm having a moment of weakness? But. It's fine you know? I found this cute little video on another blog and after watching it, I got the inspiration to write this little blog post. I can almost guarantee from here on out my posts will be about cute babies and wonderful (or maybe awful) experiences. I just had to vent this one thing. Love me through it!



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

today's jesus calling

Rest in me my child. Give you mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don't feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. Remember I am near. Rememberance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My presence with you. This will keep you resting in Me all day, Every day.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone'; my hope comes from Him.- Psalms 62:5

I can't say I'm surprised this came when it did.
God is funny like that, isn't He?
tracy lynn

Monday, June 10, 2013

some days it rains.

 a lot has happened since I last wrote, each of which is important in its own way. for now, I'm going to just start with this to get it over with, or maybe I'll only write about this... here's the thing; Allison and I are improvising our lives here. completely & totally. we have no specific agenda for our days here (we're still waiting to hear about that..) and instead, we kind of just do our very best to help in any way we can. most of these times, we are told our help isn't needed. at first we would just insist that we could help with anything, but slowly we realized there really just isn't anything they need us to do. there are 12+ people in each house, so the work is divided and taken care of. it makes it a little difficult for us to feel useful. and that my dear friends is frustrating. so we just started playing with the kids even more so at least we were occupying them. but today,...a few minutes ago actually...(i'm probably writing out of emotion right now which probably isn't my smartest move), we were sat down and kind of reprimanded for taking the kids away from their chores and watching movies with them in the school. all of what we were told makes perfect sense and we completely understand. the hard part is that none of this was told to us in the beginning. actually, nothing was told to us. we went into this blind as to what was okay and have tried our best to improvise everything..with mixed results. I don't say any of this to say anything bad. it's just been a wake up call and a reminder for us that this is their life. these kids have school, the parents have work and we are very much so visitors in their world. they have lives and we need to do our best to respect that and work with/around it. I will add that it doesn't help that I take everything personally (it's a fault I'm not proud of) and have taken this kind of hard. it's hard to hear disappointment when you have been aiming so high to please. don't pity me, I'll be fine after a good nights sleep and some thinking time to realize I'm making this a way bigger deal than it needs to be. regardless, I'm still convinced this is what heaven is like and I am still head over heels in love with every experience I have here. God brought Allison and I here for a reason, that is one thing we both know, and for that we're holding strong. because even in the rain, there's nowhere else we'd rather be.

tracy lynn

Thursday, June 6, 2013

here we are, happily.

disclaimer: this is 6 days worth of writing I've put off. get comfy :)

I have no idea how, but I've already been living in Honduras for 6 days. Each one has been full of perfection. For a long time, at least 45 seconds, I tried to think of a different word to use besides perfect...just because I feel like that is a strong word. But after being in deep thought for 45 seconds, which is about all I can handle in this heat, I decided perfect really was the right word. No day goes perfectly, but every day is perfect. (I can hear your confusion, stay with me and keep reading!) My blog has always been my journal....that the whole world has access to.... So sometimes I think, well I know, it's not always interesting. But, I know this is the best way to keep track of everything that has been happening and still keep everyone that's interested informed. So let's just run through my days here thus far...

Day 1: Probably the most exciting day of my life. Although every day that we're about to leave for Honduras feels like the best day of my life. Anyways, Allison and I arrived in Tegucigalpa and everything was perfect. Well, minus that fact that our team leader was stuck in the United States the remainder of the day and we in turn had to lead a group of people we had never met through Honduras and neither of us spoke Spanish fluently. But it's fiiiiiiiiiiiiine. We made due and really, we owned it. Anyone looking to go to Catacamas? Call 1-800-LEADERS and we'll give you a tour on a whim! But seriously, it went fine and we made it to Catacamas thanks to Allison's knowledge of Spanish and our wonderful Honduran papi Jorge and his knowledge of English. Actually, in the process we came up with a phrase we use very often: Here we are, happily. Here we are is kind of like, well we're stuck here and there's nothing we can do about it...but happily changes the whole phrase and reminds us this is exactly where we want to be, despite any challenges that may arise. After a long day of travel, we got to the village and saw our gigantic Honduran family and we were perfectly content. It was an exciting, exhausting, perfect day. (See, not everything went perfectly but it was still a perfect day.)

Day 2: First and foremost, timezones are really a tricky situation...and Allison and I had not yet mastered the Honduran time zone. Long story short: we were an hour early for everything...waking up, waking the group up (sorry again about that), arriving for breakfast.. It was a rough start to our day but in the end we just laughed it off (even the rest of the group who so graciously forgave us for arriving on their doorstep an hour early). We attended church and that was hot & sweaty & love-filled. But the very best part of our day was when Jorge told us we were moving into the bodega (warehouse type building with a place for us to live)!!!! It was the news we had been waiting for :) We very happily moved into our one bed (that's been an experience..good of course) apartment and off we went. Our group left that night and we were on our own. (Each week we will eat with a different house and this week, our first week, we have been eating with Jorge and Olga. Basically our Honduran mami and papi.) We ate at Jorge's and then played Sorry with their son Isai, who we especially love! All around, Sunday was a truly perfect first day

Day 3: The sun does not play games here. It plays to win, and win it did on our third morning. We woke up at 5:30 when the sun decided to say hello. Luckily we were able to doze off again until 8 when we got up for our adventure of a day. One thing Allison and I agreed on before even arriving in Honduras is that we did not just want to be "those Americans". Our goal has been to be as helpful as possible with whatever was needed. On this particular morning, the need was making tortillas....which we quickly discovered is not nearly as easy as portrayed. We were working in a small cement block building type area with a hot, hot fire burning. It was hot. Now, the idea of making tortillas seemed easy. Take a small ball of dough, press it out into a circle, throw it on the fire and flip. Easy enough, right? Wrong. The only thing I mastered, and even it took a while to master the correct size, was rolling out the small ball of dough. Allison was bold and decided to flip the tortillas, which is even harder because you have to time it just right. It was 15 minutes of a lot of laughing and even more apologizing. It was a great experience for us both. We spent the rest of the day helping in any way we could and playing with the babes. It was our first real day of play and take a gander as to how it went....yep, perfectly.

Day 4: I ate & sweat more in this single day than I have in my entire life. We started that day in Olga's and for meals we never know what we're going to get. Thus far we have really enjoyed everything, but it is usually very rich and a doozy to finish. (we try our best to finish everything that's on our plate because it's disrespectful to waste...and it doesn't make sense to waste!) So this morning started with toast & jam and warm milk with a little sugar. It was light, yet filling and so tasty. But this light breakfast was trying to prepare us for what was coming for lunch. Because there is a work team here this week, including the director of the village, the houses have been preparing delicious meals to feed all of the Americans. On the menu today was tamales. Delicious, warm, huge tamales...which we were each served two of... On top of that we were each served a cup of fruit, which if this were any other meal would be so perfect! But remember, we had already been served two tamales...two huge tamales...and it's rude not to eat everything. You get where I'm going with that. Needless to say, we were in no rush to eat again. But make no mistake, it was truly delicious! The rest of the day we played (once we digested a little bit) and then the work team left before it got dark. Now, this day was so, so hot. Even sitting still we were sweating buckets. And then we played and played for hours. Sweat & play = nasty, nasty, nasty Allison & Tracy. We were so looking forward to showering after dinner....except right before dinner, the power went out. Just so we're all on the same page; no power, no shower. We knew from past trips the power is fairly unreliable and could go out at anytime for any period of time. So we did our best not to seem in a panic and ate dinner by candlelight, all the while hoping silently the power would come back on. About an hour later the power came back on and we rejoiced aloud. We squeezed in a quick game of Sorry and then headed to the bodega to wash off the day. We were disgusting, but we were perfectly content.

Day 5: Fiesta. Yesterday was the work teams last day at the village, so it was spent entirely with the kids. In the morning when the team arrived we immediately left for Carlos'. Carlos' is an orphanage like Por Los Ninos except it is entirely made up of children with severe disabilities. It is a heartbreaking experience but at the same time a joy to know that people like Carlos are around to care for these children that would otherwise be abandoned. After Carlos' we played and then the party began. We had a pizza party for the entire village which was so great. It was a little stressful for the sole reason that by the time you finished serving 75+ people, the people you served first were ready for seconds. The stress was wiped away by the fantastic fellowship. After lunch we played for the rest of the afternoon. At 4 o'clock we had a devotional with the entire village. Nothing compares to singing and worshiping with these people. It's an incredible experience. During the "celebration/devotional" there were a few children that sang solos for us (SO CUTE) and the older kids in house 2 prepared a song & dance type routine. We capped it all off with a piece of dulce de leche cake from Maria's (a local restaurant we love). It was just a perfect time to enjoy each others culture and company. After the work team left for the last time, Allison & I officially began our adventure as a duo. We did so by playing an intense game of volleyball (we play it almost daily) and then enjoying dinner in house 2. After an hour or two of that we ran back to the bodega, because it was pouring, and we settled in for the night. Perfection.

So here I sit, mid-afternoon of day 6. Which is different. Usually I don't touch my laptop until the nighttime when we are back in the bodega, but it's different now with no work team. There is a lot less structure. But, Allison & I did just have lunch with the family in house 3 which was fantastic. We helped prepare the meal earlier this morning, so they invited us to stay for lunch. We had what I would call mini meatloaves in the shape of a hamburger...but it wasn't a hamburger. It was so delicious. The house mom in house 3 is very, very shy and doesn't talk much, which is fine! But Allison & I can talk for days so she intimidated us a little bit. But having broken that barrier, we are both very excited to try and form a relationship with her. I have been writing too long and if you made it all the way through, I'm proud of you! I'll attempt to update more often so the posts aren't so long...but really we all know my track record. Until we are, happily.

tracy lynn