Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Monday, May 29, 2006


Here's a short summary of my week in Tegucigalpa:
-10 lempira piña coladas
-6 layer carrot cake
-X-Men 3
-Met the ambassador at a cocktail party
-Eating Swedish meatballs at said party
-Subway sandwiches
-Lots of English (which isn't so sweet anymore)
-Too much Peace Corps gossip
-Eaten alive by mosquitos at the Guat 2 (the "lovely" hotel in Teguc)
-A 3 1/2 hour true directo to San Pedro from Teguc (nothing short of a miracle)
-Getting ripped off by the Embassy for my "per diem"...yes, I'm a volunteer but Tegucigalpa is expensive
-The search for Shakira's CD in English (a failure)
-Almost switching a TV at the Guat 2 with my friend Delfo (Johnny Depp) to get channel 98
That's all I've got. I'm in Santa Rosa wired on too much coffee and ready to go back home.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

pirish power

I'm in Teguc enjoying fancy pants coffee drinks, Subway, Quizno's, being anonymous, and speaking English (sort of). This is a warning to anyone who got that email from me saying that I've created a new webpage...don't open it up. It's a lie. I don't know how that message was sent to everyone but it was. So please DON'T open it up.

In other news, I met a PCV named Patrick whose father is Irish and mom is Filipina. No joke! He didn't have crazy, curly, kinky, frizzy hair like me though (disappointment). But it was still interesting. Who would have thought that I'd meet another Pirish person in peace corps Honduras of all places???? (But no, he doesn't get confused for being Mexican like me.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

barco de sueños

Well part of one of the traveling experience is over and done. The last bus that left Teguc to Santa Rosa ended up leaving 2 hours before the scheduled time so I spent the night in San Pedro Sula and went to the lovely City Mall and imagined what my life was like when I had money. I did get to eat Quizno's for dinner that serves real chicken, not whatchamachicken like so many people had thought.
I got back home yesterday to find a couple of newts living in my kitchen but I chased them out with a broom. My plan was to wash my clothes, teach English today, head to Santa Rosa tomorrow and leave for Teguc early Wednesday morning. You would think that by now I would have learned that making plans is a foolish idea but no, I still do it. Of course, of course there are no classes today (why? I don't know...maybe to relax from the tough weekend), so I am in Santa Rosa today, I'll teach tomorrow, then go to Teguc on Wednesday which means I will be on a bus from 7 am until about 5 pm, which should be interesting to say the least.
The best part of Teguc? Going to the training center in Santa Lucia and seeing Carlos, my former Spanish teacher, my barco de sueños in his absolute dreaminess. It also marked the return of Sam...which was...well, Sam in true form but we got along just fine because it was only 2 1/2 days.
That's about it. I am on a search for the Shakira song "Hips Don't Lie", which is all over the radio here but not available for sale. That's the way it works.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

one and done

We had a welcome party Saturday for the new group of volunteers with a pretty good turnout. It was fun for the most part until some people started getting sick which is an absolute party killer. The game "one and done" really took a lot of people out. I fooled that dollface Jamo, volunteer wild guy, into doing a one and done with me while my glass was just filled with Pepsi. I'm sneaky like that.

I ended up sleeping on a colchon in the outdoorish area of the Santa Rosa house and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I think bites on my fingers are the worst because they always itch and it hurts to scratch them. I also didn't sleep very well because my mind was full of so many thoughts that my mind never stopped. I won't bore you with the details but let's just say that no matter how far away you think you are from home, your past can still come back and surprise you.

Anyway, these next two weeks begins my nightmare traveling schedule. I will be going to Santa Lucia for a project workshop this week, get back on the bus to go to San Ramon for 2 days and then go BACK to Tegucigalpa for a teaching seminar. It's just that 8 hour bus ride that kills me and having to do it almost back to back is what sucks the most. Though I am happy to take a small break from my site and see my training group again.

Honduras has gone through a time change and we advanced the clocks one hour last week. The problem with this system is that only some follow the time change, so when I ask the time, people reply, "3 pm, the new hour or 2pm the old hour" Ugh! Nothing runs on the proper hour. The most irritating part of it all is at the colegio because school starts at the same time but ends an hour later. What?!

I guess one hour longer with....
Kidding. I'm kidding.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

cast of characters

I don't want to keep typing out "my host brother x" or "my neighbor y" everytime I blog but I don't want to just type their names out without people knowing who they are either. With that being said, here is the San Ramón cast of Kathryn's peace corps adventure:

-Luis, 12 years old, my former host brother who tries to make sure I don't dance with any idiots and gives me the middle finger any chance he gets.
-Brayan, 10 years old, my former host brother who could easily become the next great actor out of Honduras and makes me laugh harder than anyone here.
-Ramón (or Munchie), 8 years old, my former host brother that insists on leaving with me when I go back to the U.S.

Collectively, the three of them togehter are referred to as "Los Locos" because I am always calling them crazy when they're at the house.

-Johnny, Juvini, Oscar, teachers at the colegio. When a rumor is circulating about me, usually their names are involved.
-Sandra, my next door neighbor who is back in San Ramón after living 10 years in the U.S.
-Bessy, my closest friend, a senior at the colegio.
-William, 12 years old, a student at the colegio, friend of los locos, and is at my house almost daily asking how I can bring him to the U.S.
-La Fresa, director's son who teaches in a nearby aldea and drives me nuts from time to time with his bragging.

That's all I can really think of but I hope this clears up any confusion.


Here's another list of little things that I can't really theme into a full blog:

-"Summer Splash" scented Off not only works as bug repellent but doubles as ghetto fabulous perfume.
-There is a bat living in my kitchen which has helped me learn the Spanish for vampire, Dracula, to suck blood, and bat.
-Professor McGuapo got married two weeks ago--I went to the wedding and wept as another one bit the dust. j/k
-High school is high school whether you're in a town of 550 or a city of 3 million. Teens still pass notes, talk crap, roll their eyes, cry in class, and start rumors.
-The more people get to know me, the more rumors circulate about me. "La Cati drove the bus to Santa Rosa" "La Cati is dating 3 teachers" "La Cati is taking me to the U.S. mojado"
-Since people know I have a digital camera they have been bringing their babies to the house so I can photograph them, they pay for the pictures of course, but I am no Michael Vázquez, super talented photographer, but I do the best that I can.
-"How do you say my name in English?" is a favorite game for kids under 10.
-Running late is one of the worst habits I am picking up.
-My latest Aralen dreams involve me standing in line at Starbucks...not as exciting as they used to be.
-Being sick in a foreign country is horrible because all I want is to curl up in my bed at home while my mom makes me pre-packaged chicken soup. No matter how hard I try, it never tastes as good as when she makes it. Plus, the mind does crazy things when you're alone with a fever.

wasting my time in the waiting line

Cultural night was pretty horrible. It was just a combination of:
1. Lip-synching. It's alright if you're going to dance along but slow Spanish ballads are the worst to sit through.
2. Drunken idiots. The people behing me were making catcalls (not at me), yelling, and throwing bottles.
3. With the exception of Brayan's danza, the rest of the performaces were disorganized.
4. I was having one of those "Peace Corps Moments" in which I felt absolutely alone. From time to time, I experience them. I think of them like migrane headaches--you never know when they'll hit, when they do there's no stopping them and they hurt like hell. I think it was because I wasn't sitting next to anyone I knew.

Sunday was better. I went to my host family's house, helped make a piñata for Ramon's birthday the next day and chilled with los locos. Later on I went down to the church with my neighbor Sandra to see the feria, which was 3 booths set up in front of the church--they did have an actual roulette wheel where you could bet but I wasn't feeling lucky.

Monday was the actual feria. It was also Ramon's 8th birthday. He came to my house after lunch and told me to come to the house for his party at 4 pm. I asked, "4pm for real or 4 pm Honduran time?" He said 4 pm for real. I left my house at 420 pm to realize that the party wouldn't start for another hour so I went down to the "town hall" to see how the set up was coming along for the crowning later that night and talked to some teachers for awhile. At 520, a messenger was sent to me informing me that I had to go back to my host family's house because the party was about to begin. At 6, the party began with the piñata that no one could break so Luis just ripped it open and the mad rush for the candy began. We ate, a video was made for Ramon's mom in the U.S. and while I was told that there would be cake, I did not see one present (big disappointment). I left the party at 7 to shower and change for the crowning/dance. I left with Sandra at 815 for a celebration that was supposed to begin at 7, but didn't start until 930 (there was no crown, there were no flower girls, the kid attendees to the queen were fighting, etc). Yajaira the First was crowned (she really was referred to as "The First") and after the town hall became a discotech, which was really cool. Since there's no discotech in San Ramón, almost everyone came out to dance. Professor McGuapo told me, "In parties like these, you will enter dancing and leave dancing", which wasn't far from the truth. I danced with one teacher that supposedly has a crush on me (though I don't believe it) and that started a whole mess of rumors the next day. It was so much fun though and Sandra and I didn't leave until 3 am and even at that time, it was still pretty crowded.

Foolishy, there were classes held the following day and about half the students didn't show up because they were worn out. Everyone that did show up were walking around exhausted.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

¡feliz cinco de ocho!

(Thanks to Chris Matza for reminding me of my favorite Simpson holiday!)

It's feria time in San Ramon which means several days of events, reasons for people to get drunk and more catcalls in the streets (I love you forever!)

As with most Honduran ceremonies, there has to be a queen elected. Wednesday night was the presentation of the candiates for queen-in their best sporting outfits (I totally could rock that portion of the competition), casual wear, and evening gown-of course. To be queen of the feria you have to have a certain organiztion represent you, such as the colegio or a local NGO and then if people support the idea of you being queen, they will buy your votes. (Hey at least everyone knows that votes are being purchased from the get go and not in secret.) The person with the most money collected will be the queen.

Last night was the suspenseful "Who will be the queen of San Ramon?" There were 3 rounds to determine the winner. All the money that was collected before the event began was placed into envelopes with the box for the first round. Each envelope is opened and the amount is given. For example, "Bessy Guevara, 125 lps." The totals are read and for the 2nd and 3rd rounds people from the crowd can put money into an envelope and put it in the box in support of their candidate.

After the first two rounds, it was pretty close between two girls, Yesenia and Yajaira, each of them having connections to the municipality. The third round was exciting because the money just kept coming for both of them.
Here were the announcements:
Yesenia "875 lempiras"
Yajaira "1000 lempiras"
Yesenia "1300 lempiras"
Yajaira "1700 lempiras"
And it went on like that for a little while longer. While the exchange rate is very favorable, when you're talking in the 1000s of lempiras, that's some serious cash just to wear a sash for a day. In the end, Yajaira, connected to the mayor (naturally) won the title with a grand total of 8700 lempiras (almost $500!). The money goes to the school and the municipality. Her coronation takes place Monday. Tonight is cultural night at the grade school and people in San Ramon can participate in singing or dancing. I'm trying to convince one of the cute teachers to sing a Juanes song for me (with little success). After the crowning, there will be a dance held in the San Ramon equivalent of a town hall (someone's garage-ish place).

To be continued...