Sunday, August 26, 2012

Look who I found!

During the descent into Tegucigalpa, which is both scary and impressive, the flight attendant gave us a play by play of how the landing was going to go (that's how you know its scary). He started out by saying "If you look to your left, you will see Christ overlooking the city."

I looked to my left and couldn't find Jesus. I looked up and down and all around and then I started to panic, as if the fact that I couldn't see Jesus was some cosmic sign of impending disaster (it wasn't).

But then yesterday, while I was out searching....

I found Jesus!

There is a giant Jesus statue overlooking the city, almost a smaller version as the one you are probably more familiar with in Brazil. We went yesterday to the park with the statue to see him up close. From this point there are also great views of the city, as seen in the first picture, which is built on a series of steep hills.

Tegucigalpa is a big, messy, complicated city. It isn't as chaotic as other cities I have been in, but there is definitely an air of unrest about it. Honduras has changed rapidly in the last few years and has become a less stable and more violent place. One primary driver of this is drug trafficking from South America to the States. But once again during my stay in the city, I am reminded of how much we have in common with people in different places, even during times of (hopefully) momentary unrest. As is the case everywhere else, most people here are friendly, trying to the do the best by their families, and looking to have a bit of fun when they can.

Honduras has a more developed economy than places I have traveled before and has attracted a lot of American businesses and which has led to scenes like this. Giant restaurant chains have also changed the way that Hondurans eat, but more on that later.

Tegucigalpa has good food, a few good bars (though many others are closing because people are less likely to go out at night as much any more), and nice green parks. It is also easy to get out of the city to smaller towns to enjoy a slower pace and perhaps a good nap under a tree.

Today we leave Tegucigalpa to start a four week road trip throughout the rest of the country. I am excited to get out of the city and see more of the rural parts and explore more of the country. Adio Tegus!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Juju for Zanny

My little sister is something else. 

SIDEBAR: I should really say younger sister now that we are AyeDults now, shouldn't I.

She is fiesty, smart, resourceful, real cute, and was born with a natural talent.

When I tell people that know us that my sister is going to be an elementary school teacher, they are not surprised. How cool is it to have such a natural affinity for a career and a career as a public servant to boot? (no, really, let's be honest, that's what they are). I couldn't be more proud of her. If we were all so naturally talented at our jobs, the world would be a totally different place.

She is trying out her rock star talents as a newly minted teacher starting next week, at an international school in Costa Rica. She will teach both local and international kids. She will have her own classroom for the first time, full of kindergartners, and will teach both in Spanish and English.

Runnin' Down A Dream by Tom Petty on Grooveshark

She is pretty much amazing. 

And she leaves FRIDAY.

So you should send her some good juju for the move, the transition, and for the people of her new town in Costa Rica who are about to get hit with a tidal wave of Z A N.

Monday, August 20, 2012

back to it

I came to Honduras a few days early to have some get-my-feet-wet fun before we start the REALFUN.

Since I came on Wednesday, I have had the chance to get to know a bit how things go in Honduras. This helps when the REALFUN starts and I inevitably have to trouble shoot, rework, and smooth over.

I am lucky enough to have a great team with me here (and arriving tomorrow is a familiar face!). Justin is a kindred spirit from the PNW and an employee for the organization we work with, and Rony is a local guy who is (un)lucky enough to help out the hapless gringos who arrive in need of support, transportation, translation, and a good laugh.

I have had the chance to see a full day of technician classes, which included a hands-on tutorial of fixing an x-ray from 1952 (something to add the ol' resume!). Friday was mostly random tasks and Adventuro Number Uno. Saturday we slept off Adventuro Numero Uno and then went to Rony's parent's place for a bbq that consisted of eight adults and 16 lbs of meat and an introduction to the local music which I learned is best appreciated after a few cervezas while wearing full cowboy garb. I also embarrassed myself royally attempting to salsa dance, so check that box off. On Sunday we went, you'll never guess, to a Tae Kwon Do tournament (game? match?) to see Rony's kids compete. This day was topped off by a whopper with bacon and cheese.

I love traveling for days like this - watching martial arts while eating a whopper and listening to everyone scream "kick her in the head!" in Spanish. What a world we live in.

So by the time this morning rolled around I felt that I had gotten enough of a taste to at least start to do my job. Now its back to it! Good thing I still rock the scrubs.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Adventuro Numero Uno

The time the car broke down during rush hour downtown Tegucigalpa with four biomedical engineers and me in the car, and I pitched in by going with the other gringo across the street to buy five cold cervezas at a pool hall where its an understatement to say I was the only woman in there, and then the engineers used spare parts from an x-ray machine to rewire the car while I enjoyed a cold one in the back seat.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Sorry Kenya...

But Honduran coffee is better. 

And the view from the top of my hotel ain't so bad either!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blogging Mind Games

If I am a blogger...

(If that's what I am)

And I go somewhere new...

But I have yet to take a picture

And post it on a social media site or even my blog?

Am I even really here?

(Yes, Mom, I am really here. In Tegucigalpa, and doing great!)

Picture taken by someone else:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adio America

I am leaving for Honduras in the morning, on a work trip for five and a half weeks to do another survey of hospitals, medical equipment, and a program we run there.

Currently attempting to remember every bit of high school spanish I can. Too bad that was a decade ago.

Wait, what? That was a decade ago?

Okay folks, while I am out of town, please try to keep the place clean and keep an eye on this guy. Keep my peeps safe, fed, and entertained without me.

I heard that they drop the 's' at the end of some of the words in Honduras.

So for now, Adio America.

And gracia for keeping up on the blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Packing Plan

I am packing for another long stay overseas. This time for six weeks in Honduras. Okay, its really five and a half weeks but I figure if I keep saying six I will be pleasantly surprised when the day comes.

Last time, I had less than a day to pack. This time, I am going back to my routine and doing the job right. Here are things I can't forget to do or bring.

1. Bring a washcloth. Especially in the places I travel, there are very rarely washcloths, even in the hotels. I bring two - one for my face, one for the rest. When I am somewhere that is really dusty, it becomes one for my feet and one for the rest.

2. Pack Chocolate. I always bring it because you can never know when you will have access to a grocery store, let alone a store that sells good chocolate. And some days, well you know, you just have to have it.

3. Call the bank for every one of my cards and tell them I am going out of country. I have forgotten to do this in the past and the bank has shut off my account after the first swipe. This can be a huge nightmare abroad.

4. Arrange a ride from the airport when getting into town. Getting a taxi from the airport is always "an experience". I am not looking to have "an experience" 10 minutes into getting into the country. Better save that for when I am not with all my crap and am a little less sleep deprived.

5. Eat a whole lot of fruit and veggies and things you can't have abroad. In my case, this usually means baking them into something yummy.

6. Put my valuables somewhere in my house and tell Marty where I put them for when I inevitably forget upon returning.

7. Leave my water bottle at home. Yeah, I know, its not very green to drink from plastic water bottles for extended amounts of time. But I have tried to bring my own water bottle and the problem becomes that they get gross real quick and sometimes you can't properly clean the water bottle and so you have to ditch it one week in anyway.

8. Go to the used book store to buy some books. Nothing too heavy (physically or content wise). I like to leave my books at the lending libraries at the places I stay. Sometimes you are so happy the traveler before you left their Nicholas Sparks Dostoevsky when you need a break.

9. Do not plan anything for the 24 hours before I leave. Like, nothing. Because no matter how long you have been planning, something will inevitably come up.

10. Pack those melatonin feel good pills from Whole Foods to keep me relaxed on one of the scariest plane landings on the planet into Tegucigalpa. It even scared Lauren Bush, and you know she's seen some scary stuff (her dad was W, after all).

11. Assure all my peeps that I am not going to Mars, I am going to Honduras where there is (most of the time) internet, power, and food.

But if I did go to Mars, how sweet is that view back home?? (Earth is the bottom sphere, on top are Jupiter and Venus)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Feel Good Friday: Ryan Seacrest Edition

Yes, you read that right.

I have found this week's source of inspiration in the most unlikely (aka why the heck did they hire his guy?) source.

This week I heard Sir Seacrest interviewing Ryan Lochte, you know, the guy with the sweet grill that also happens to be an olympic swimmer?

Sir Seacrest says that when he saw Ryan after winning a race all pumped up and jazzed, he thought to himself

How STOKED is that guy to be that guy? 

And I thought to myself, wouldn't that be awesome if that is what people thought when they saw me? Not in a cocky, self-assured over the top kinda way, but in a content, happy, and confident kinda way.

Happy to be in the place I am in.

To be in the body I am in, 

To have the talents I have. 

(Admittedly, this is tough, right? Only Olympic gold medalists with sweet grills can exude that kind of positivity. No ones going to see me choosing multivitamins at Target and think "Dang, that girl is stoked to be her!"  But luckily, I am a fake it til you make it kinda kid).

But let's try it out and be like Ryan Lochte and find some reason to be contagiously positive. Or like McKayla Maroney and wow the heck out of those that see us. Check out that judge behind her.

By the way, does anyone know where to get that diamond encrusted grill?  Or a bedazzeled leotard? 

Cuz I would be stoked to be me wearing one (or both!?!) of those, for sure.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A week at home

A few weeks back we went home for a week. The good news about being high school sweethearts is that there is really only one place you are going to go. But it certainly makes it a hectic week having two families around, not to mention all the other rad people who we know there.

It was a great week, full of good pacific northwesty things, a high of 72 most days, and a good time with the family. We are so lucky our families like each other enough to spend 36 hours on an island together.

Look at all the fun things we did together! (Why else did you come to this blog?)

Ate at a real good restaurant!

Got captured by the SeaFair pirates!

Supervised the BBQ!

Caught up with old friends!


Hiked Fragrance Lake with Brother Sam!

Drank Sangria outside with Sister Zan!

 Visited the scene of the crime!

 Checked up on Canada! (Behind Holly and I)

 Went to the Seattle Sounders vs. Chelsea game!

Went crabbing with Papa Jim and ate a crazy amount of it!

 Spent the night in the newly crafted cabin with the whole fam damily!!

Got Island Hair!

 Went through an espresso stand with Besty!!

Played with the puppy!

Soaked up the sun! (Yes, the sun!)