Monday, November 30, 2015

La vida renovada

Starting life with new eyes feels so good.  I wish I were announcing that I had LASIK done, and I physically could see with new eyes, but I'm talking about drinking deep of contentment and joy again.  We choose joy, yes.  It is not based on our life circumstances, but there is something refreshing about when it bubbles in one's soul without having to very itentionally choose joy under heart duress.  This Year of Jubilee, I have hope restored, love restored, laughter restored, belonging restored.  It's a lovely season to be in.  God is so generous in His compassion, love, and goodness!

 I'm teaching for my fourth year, continuing to develop a Spanish program.  I had the opportunity to travel with a group of students from Helena Christian last year to Costa Rica on a missions project, and I look forward to taking a small group of my own students down to Guatemala this coming spring break to a recently-opened baby orphanage.  I love foreign soil, cultures distinct from my own, the opportunity to live a brief stretch of life with people from a completely different background.

Perhaps not quite surprising is the foreign culture, background, piece of soil God brought into my life this year.  I never considered West Africa.  But West Africa it is!  It's been a crazy ride thus far; crazy because of all the amazing connections, verifications of his character from a plethora of people who have known me for my whole life, or at least very intensely for a period of time, and unlikely web of circumstances that allowed us to even meet.  I would love to see a visual map of it some day....

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Transformation- Transformación

An echoing thunder torments the corridors of my mind
My senses awake, I feel the coming downpour
As a mouse feels the lurking talons of the 
Feathered shadow, hovering, thrumming.

Hovering, thrumming, strumming the poignant chords
Reverberating on the thin strings of the chest 
Cavity.  I sense a change, I feel the
Stirring of a new and unequaled challenge.

A new and unequaled sunrise marks the 
Arrival of a day fraught with 
Unexpected, the unfathomable possibilities
Discovered among the rich sands of adventure.

Sands of adventure obscure my eyes a
And I fight to clear them.  I want to 
See clearly now, and forever, avoiding
All traps that lie in wait for the unguarded.

My heart was supposedly impenetrable and guarded,
Believing the best and reckless in abandon,
But a thief tiptoed in with promises of strength,
Promises of beauty and a pact of forever.

The shattered shards of that pact of forever
Fell one by painful one into the weeping pool
Of abandonment and rejection and poisoned memories.
Why does the nightingale lose her song?  I'll tell you.

I'll tell you a tale of love's labour lost.
Lost in the rotting putrescence of selfishness.
Eyes blind to Truth and Love, and all good
And perfect gifts coming down from the Father of Lights.

The Father of Lights wrapped me in His arms,
Weeping the tears of my brokenness and
Feeling the weight of the vast ocean of woe
Upon His shoulders that were shredded for me.

His shoulders, His embrace, His compassion and
Abundant provision define my life with newness;
They are much more sufficient in the storm
I face than a thousand brittle seashores.

I have trudged those brittle seashores and weary
Of them.  The waves will not cease to batter 
Me, and so I must cling to the Rock
That will not shudder or shake or fail.

My faith will not be shaken and it will not fail.
I writhe in the struggle of my destiny, but
One day, soon, I will break through.  New 
Energy coursing, pulsing through my being.

And I will stretch, press into the pulsing energy
And breathe again the vibrancy of life and soar.

Un trueno resonante tormenta las corredores de mi mente

Mis sentimientos se despiertan, siento el diluvio que viene
Como un ratón siente las garras acechantes de la
Sombra emplumada, sobrevolando, rasgando.

Sobrevolando, rasgando, rasgueando los acordes emotivos

Reverberando en las cuerdas finas del baúl del
Pecho.  Siento un cambio, siento inquieta
Por un desafío nuevo y inigualado.

Un amanecer nuevo y inigualado destaca la

Llegada de un día nuevo cargado con lo 
Menos esperado, las posibilidades incomprensibles
Descubiertas entre las ricas arenas de la aventura.

Las arenas de aventura nublan mis ojos

Y lucho a despejarlos.  Quiero
Ver claramente ahora, y para siempre, evitando
Todas trampas que les esperan a los expuestos.

Mi corazón era supuestamente impenetrable y bien guardado,

Creyendo lo mejor y imprudente en el abandono,
Pero un ladrón en puntas de pie vino con promesas de la fuerza,
Con promesas de la hermosura y un pacto de la eternidad.

Y las esquirlas desmenuzadas de tal pacto de la eternidad

Se cayeron una por una en el charco lloroso
Del abandono y el rechazo y las memorias envenenadas.
¿Por qué se la pierda su canto?  Le diré.

Le diré un cuento de un trabajo de amor perdido.

Perdido en la podredumbre del egoísmo.
Los ojos ciegos a la Verdad y al Amor, y a toda buena
Dádiva y perfecto don viniendo de lo alto del Padre de las luces.

El Padre de las luces me abrazó en sus brazos,

Llorando las lágrimas de mi quebrantamiento y
Sintiendo el peso del vasto océano de aflicción
Sobre sus hombros los cuales azotados por mí.

Sus hombros, su abrazo, su compasión y

Abundante provisión definen mi vida con frescura;
Son mucho más adecuados en la tormenta
Que me enfrento que un mil playas quebradizas.

He caminado arduamente aquellas playas quebradizas y me canso

De ellas.  Las olas no cesan de abatirme,
Y por eso debo aferrarme a la Roca 
Que no temblará, ni sacudirá, ni fallar.

Mi fe no será sacudida ni fallará.

Me retuerzo en la prueba de mi destino, pero
Un día, pronto, brotaré.  Nueva 
Energía fluyendo, pulsando por mi entero ser.

Y me estiraré, tomaré el néctar de la energía

Y respiraré de nuevo la vitalidad de la vida y me levantaré como un águila.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Un día de eventos desafortunados: A Day of Unfortunate Events

     I am somewhat resigning myself to being a gypsy the rest of my life.  My friend Laurie told me today that she thinks I'm destined to become a professional house-sitter, since I never stay long enough in my own house to count.  When my brother and his family moved in with me nine months ago, it was nice to not have to come home to an empty home full of broken dreams.  But by the end of summer, and beginning of another school year, I needed some more space and different sleep schedule to function for my job, so I moved in with a coworker in Frenchtown for almost four months.  And then, the plan was to move back into my own place...but that plan vanished like plans A-P always do in Honduras.  Another friend needed someone to housesit and care for her dogs and horse for her over break, and then perhaps until her house sells after the first of the year.  So, I moved out and in yesterday.  Today, I got up leisurely around 8:30 or so, later than I had planned, but feeling as though I still had ample time for all my plans.
     Laugh.  Chortle.  Weep.  Plans.  I meant to be up by 7, walk the dogs, unpack a bit more, eat breakfast, wrap Christmas presents, go to town for groceries, return, meet up with my friends who were coming to eat lunch with me and take a look at the little plowing/mowing contraption to get it working, plow the driveway, make a cake, finish picking up the remaining belongings from my most recent residence, carpool up the mountain to a Christmas dinner with my friends, come back, finish evening chores, and perhaps relax and read or practice some instrument, and go to sleep.  Breathe.  After blinking several times to rest from that terribly long, horribly constructed sentence, continue to see how my day actually turned out.
     Slept in past my wake-up time.  Walked the dogs, got the mail.  Started unpacking.  Left for town later than planned.  Got groceries, but realized that my friends would be showing up at the house before I did, so I texted to inform them.  Thought we would arrive about the same time, 'til I reached my car and realized one of my purchased vitamin items was actually already opened and missing half the contents, so I had to take it back in to exchange for an untampered-with item.  So, they already had fixed the issue by the time I got back.  No big deal.  Ate lunch, made the cake.  Friends left to go back home, and I made a mental note to go upstairs, check my email, and take care of an online purchase for a present, and then go out, finish afternoon chores, and leave for the friends' house.  Right.  So, I was supposed to be at the house to carpool up by 3:30.  I woke up, not having remembered falling asleep, as it was never my intention to do so, sometime around 4:00 p.m.  My phone had been charging downstairs, so I missed the many calls and texts and reminders and alarms to make it on time.  So, my friends being amazing like they are told me to hop in my car and make it to the base of the mountain ASAP, which I did as quickly as possible in the nasty road conditions on balding tires.  Made it to the base, parked my car at an angle so I could actually make it out of the snowy pull-out later on, and we were off.  Made it up without much incident.  Had a most lovely dinner and met a new family who recently moved up to that area from Pennsylvania.  All well and good.
     Very few spots can a person actually have cell service in that area, and even fewer on the way down.  We had almost reached the bottom of the mountain this evening post-dinner, when we received a call from our hostess, informing me that I had forgotten my purse in their house...with my car and house, and work, and all pertinent keys to life.  And it's an hour's drive in a 4x4 up the mountain to turn around and go back.  However, as we were passing by my lonely Flynn (my car's name), it was decided she would just bring me the purse when she comes down for work in the morning.
     Which means I will get up as any other work day a little before 6:00 a.m., carpool with my friend back up to the base of the mountain, meet up with my other friend with my purse, then unlock my car and bring it back down in time to do morning chores and feed and let the dogs exercise.  So, after switching vehicles at my friend's house in Frenchtown, she drove me all the way out to my new abode to feed the dogs then came back to Frenchtown for the night.
     And after lining out our plan to undo all my emptiheadedness today, I came down to my now empty bedroom and looked at my phone to set my alarm and realized with yet another lump of dismay that the battery is almost I went back up to ask for a wake-up call.  And of course, both of my chargers are up the mountains, one in my purse, and the other in my locked car.  Oi vey!  I think my brain took the term "vacation" too literally.  I need to figure out where it went and reattach it somehow!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Starting Over

     My sketchpad sits on the shelf, untouched.  My journal, the constant companion of the last couple decades of my life, has dwindled to almost nothing.  I wrote my first letter in over a year just last week.  I don't actually remember the last time I made time to just sit and read something interesting that was unrelated to my job or my schooling.  I hear a lot of mothers say the same.  Difference is, I'm not a mother.  I had expectation that upon getting married, my life would change; I would no longer have to fill as many moments with hobbies or pastimes, because I would be able to do things with my husband, and/or I would get to spend more time building our marriage.  However, after the first few weeks of marriage, I instead have spent the past two years trying frantically to glue pieces of myself back together, hoping against hope that the rejection and unfaithfulness on his part would be replaced with repentance and a new start.  At the end of a 2-year battle to save my marriage, I'm left on the side of the road with nothing to show for the lifetime I spent guarding myself, training, watching, learning, waiting in expectancy for something challenging and beautiful.  And yet, marriage IS beautiful.  I could see that with just the few weeks I spent as a married woman without a third party involved in the relationship.  It is worth fighting for.  It is worth standing up, though utterly destroyed on the inside, dusting myself off, and moving forward.

     I'm still in the uncomfortable place where I am not legally free yet, and still feel bound; I am still married, though he has not valued my fidelity, nor honored my sacrifice of life to help him start over, and continually asks me for a divorce.  I meet new people, and feel awkward telling them my full name, knowing it's only my name for a little while longer.  But God is faithful, when man is not, and He has begun opening my eyes to beauty and joy again in little spurts.  He has given me strength to see new loves or lives and not cry at the loss of my own love and the loss of dreams of my own family.  He has saved certain sunrises and sunsets that show His splendor and majesty, and has pierced my heart with His love and provision in those moments.  I no longer am constantly bathed in my own tears of grieving and pain; I can laugh again without crumbling into weeping moments after.  I have begun going on small adventures again, simply for the thrill of it.  

     I see a blank two-year gap that I wish I could make disappear, and I guess I almost can, though not from my heart.  It's the first major gap in my journal.  The first large expanse of nothingness in my photo diary, since I deleted everything that reminded me of painful things.  I think some days that it would be so nice to just disappear and start life over somewhere else, but then again, I already tried that, and it's very hard for me to "disappear".  I run into people who are connected to me everywhere I turn.  And I've met so many lovely people in Missoula.  And this year will be the first I get to teach two years in a row in the same spot.  I will get to live in the same spot for the longest period since 2003.  I'm close to family.  I can see good things for me here, though I never conceived for a moment I would end up in Missoula.  I still don't love the poorly constructed streets, but I keep my 3rd-world driving techniques fresh, I suppose.  So, to sum up, I have no idea what tomorrow will look like, or the next day.  I'm doing well if I can remember to breathe and smile at least once a day.  But there will be a day, with no more pain, and no more suffering....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One day at a time...

Wow.  Don't really even know what to say at this point.  I feel pretty bereft of poetic thoughts and feelings.  Just sort of empty, yet overflowing.  I realize that paradox doesn't make any sense.  But I suppose that's how life is sometimes--we can't make sense of things all the time.  I certainly can't make sense of my life right now.  I don't know how to encapsulate the time left undocumented in anything that would make sense to the reader.  So, I'll stick to weather-like topics.
I had to leave my husband again for an unknown length of time to return to a job and a house contract here in the States.  I can always look back and think that I ought to have done some more research, taken more time, chosen a different process...but I have the here and now to deal with, so I guess I will tuck my shouldas, wouldas, and couldas away for a rainy day when perhaps I can share my life experiences with others in a similar season.
I am still working at figuring out a functional system here in Missoula in my new job, Spanish teaching at Valley Christian School.  Although I have to admit moving to Missoula was not on my bucket list, or even a preference list, or even a "like" list, I am loving living here!  OK, I hate Reserve, but who doesn't?  It's not the worst I've driven in, and even with traffic, I'm only 13-15 minutes away from work.  Plus, I get to keep my 3rd-world country driving skills fresh and active this way.  :-P  (Comment specifically intended for those who KNOW what that sort of driving entails!)
My coworkers are fantastic, my kids have won my heart already--(and keeping me on my toes every moment)--and if I ever find time to mow my ginormous lawn, I will have accomplished a full transition to life here...well, almost.  Once my husband gets to be here and not 3,500 miles away, I will have accomplished a full transition.  As it is, I am torn in half and constantly feeling a giant distraction gap somewhere in the functional portion of my brain and heart.  I wish somehow I could slice through the beauracracy of immigration and just have them make an exception for me, but I am but one of thousands wishing the same thing.  I do not want to be reduced to a whining, bitter waiter, but I admit that at times, I can feel only bitterness toward a system that really doesn't care for matters of the human heart.  I know that my God is bigger than man's red tape, but I still find myself wallowing in despair at times, feeling like the reality of Bairon ever coming here is more of an irreality, really.  One day at a time!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Who We Become

Lately, I feel as though I have somehow lost focus on who I was on my way to being. Do you ever find yourself in such a place? I am a firm believer that life is a journey, a process of continual transformation. Each decision I make, every day, impacts who I am becoming and how I will respond to life situations in the future. I do not believe life is about sitting on my derriere and waiting for the transformation to just happen, so I can wake up tomorrow with my wings totally unfurled, dried out, and ready to test the air currents. I desire to have a continual divine discontent...discontent with dulled consciousness of life and existence; I want to burn with passion in joyful expectancy of my destiny, and be living it along the path to reaching it. I will never reach it if I am not moving toward somewhere. I can't wake up one morning and expect to have suddenly arrived at my destiny. We're not designed that way. True contentment is having that joyful expectancy, with full assurance that God is moving and has us in His palm all along the way.
So why am I in this joy-sucking eddy in which I feel desolate and impatient? How did I let myself get stuck here? When did I stop running and sink into the quagmire of complacency? Why do I find myself dwelling on the "what-could-have-beens" and "what-ifs"? Life is not a formula in which I plug in the right variables and spit out the perfect product each time. We humans are a bit more complicated.
So, since I am convinced, (flawed logic or not), mistakes seem to only be permanently such if I don't learn from my poor decisions and stop doing them. Sin is sin, I know, and I am a sinner, though redeemed and a new creature in Christ. His blood has already redeemed me, and His hand continues to shape me as I go along. Do the little dirt flecks in the lump of clay that is my life truly ruin the whole piece? If I recognize those areas in my life that exhibit flaws, selfishness, false pride, rebellion, etc., and allow the Potter to poke them out with his potter's needle, and allow myself to be pliable in His hands, will I not turn out a beautiful finished piece in the end, tested and refined by the purifying refiner's fire of grace?
So, now to lift my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help, to focus on the Author and Perfecter of my faith, and persevere, praying for wisdom, learning to focus on what I want to become and living out the steps to get there, seeking first the Kingdom, and all the rest will be added to the richness of the transformation process. I choose anew to live life with vibrancy and passion, with my focus on traits I want to exude, not kicking myself over mistakes and struggles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

El día del amor...and such sundry topics

I decided to be terribly cliché this year and post something in the spirit of romance and lovey-dovey poetry. I wrote these two sonnets some years ago, and might even post a third eventually, if I feel uber inspired to write a new one. Voy a traducir mis sonetos, aunque no tendrán la misma forma correcta de un soneto en español.

My love is vague and fleeting after rain,
Like twilight he is neither day nor night,
I often dream, beneath the stars have lain,
In hope he might transpire upon my sight.

Most oft he blurs the visage trapped behind
His cloak of swirling droplets. Just as I
Reach out to touch, he disappears on wind;
He comes and goes upon my ling'rng sigh.

On silv'ry threads he shivers, then he shines,
With kiss of light from quiv'ring gentle breeze
To tease and tug upon the lethal lines
But won't be caught; entrapped by none of these.

To see my love, await the coming down,
When fears and all obscurities are gone.

Mi amor es vago y efímero después de la lluvia,
Como crepúsculo no es día ni noche,
Siempre que podía, yo he soñado debajo las estrellas,
Esperando que él aparezca en mi visto.

A menudo se desdibuja el rostro atrapado detrás de
Su capa de gotas remolinas. Así como yo
Llegar al tacto, se desaparece en el viento
Él va y viene sobre mi suspiro prolongado.

En hilos plateados él tembla, luego brilla,
Con un beso de la luz de un viento cariñoso
Al provocar y jalar a las líneas letales
Pero no podrán capturarleatrapado por ninguno.

Para ver a mi amor, espére la llegada del amanecer,
Cuando todos los miedos y las oscuridades han ido.

The Silhouette
When rays of sleepy sun come peek upon
The stretched horizon found to east of shore,
When darkness, fear, and dusk are found no more,
The morning after night is hailed the dawn.
My love to me is slowly taking on
A shape I see I think I saw before,
The vapored sunlight bright as gold does pour
Around his formless face. And with fear gone,

I revel dancing, gleaming soft delight;
We sway with hands entwined like rosy vine.
My love is dew that nestles close to grass,
Resplendent dashing valor blinds my sight,
In tiny glimpses, see this love of mine,
In air suspended. Time does cease to pass.

La silueta
Cuando los rayos del sol soñoliento vienen a mirar
Al horizonte que se lo encuentra al este de la costa,
Cuando la oscuridad, el miedo, y el anochecer se encuentran nada más,
A la mañana después de la noche se celebra la madrugada.
Mi amor para mí es poco a poco tomando en
Una forma que lo veo que creo que lo he visto antes,
La luz del sol brillante como el oro se vierta
Alrededor de su cara sin forma. Y con el miedo desaparecido,

Me deleito bailando, brillando el deleite suave
Nos mecimos con las manos entrelazadas como la vid de la rosa.
Mi amor es rocío que está ubicado cerca de la hierba,
Valor gallardo y resplandeciente me deja ciega,
En destellos diminutos, vea este amor mío,
En el aire suspendido. El tiempo deja de pasar.

Friday, January 28, 2011

When the mind is left to wander... sometimes gets lost. No job for two months has punched me into a sort of time warp. I can most aptly describe the feeling as being "stir-crazy", which, for those of you out there who don't mind absolutely useless trivia, is connected to the Romany (Gypsy) term for "imprisoned". That's how I've felt some days: imprisoned by the excess freedom without any structure or schedule. That, and I've been living out of a suitcase since arriving back in the country, traveling regularly to visit friends and family, attend conferences, and share my trip with various groups.
Seriously, though, this month has marked several changes in my thoughts and behaviors, mostly for the better, so I think I've finally overcome the reverse culture shock period and have returned to my finding-joy-where-I'm-at phase. It's a much happier place to be, I've decided.
I got to dance for hours at the S.O.B Barn at MSU-Bozeman, attend the SALT conference in Butte, visit my Bozeman peeps for a week, swim at Fairmont Hotsprings with my family, ride my horse in the snow, pick up the violin again after a LENGTHY period of not practicing, and watch my little nieces grown and develop. So, it's been a great month, regardless of me being a jobless bum.
I have an interview in Richey, MT on Tuesday. Road trip! I'll see how many books on CD I can make it through. Oh, and on a reader's note, I highly recommend Aurelia's Thread series and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Good reads!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

La vida congelada...back in the frozen territory

Perhaps finishing my last entry with "The end." was a bit dramatic. But I'm still struggling with letting that chapter of my life go. Strange how we cling to now-deceased fragments of things made irrelevant by the present. It's not as if life will never again be that good. Yet, my heart still aches at times as though I were grieving the death of a loved one. I've cried more over this change of location more than anyone I've lost. Doesn't seem right, but I guess it is what it is. Now is the time for my story of "now".
Lee picked me up from the airport that frigid night of November 22nd. I met up with some Bozeman friends the following morning, and happily packed into an already-stuffed carpool in the afternoon that got me as far as Butte. Jerrit brought me the rest of the way to Divide. I surprised everyone! It was fun to see the look of dumb shock on each face I encountered. A LOT of prep work and vague responses went into achieving such a widespread sneaky return. Only four people in MT knew of my early return, and only two of those were family members. Mission complete!
We spent Thanksgiving with the Stewart family, so I had some catch up times with Jillisa, though I don't know that I had processed anything sufficiently to interact with human beings at any normal level yet. A week after my return, I had my second emotional-wreck day. After that, I was able to talk with several dear ones from my other home down south, and my mood and outlook on life drastically improved after that.
December 1st, I moved with my suitcase/luggage/thingamabob to Darby in time to spend the next few days with Jason's sister, Andi, and her boyfriend, Caesar. That Thursday, my sister Sara needed a ride back to Bozeman. Since my parents supplied me with a new set of wheels to drive around, and her wheels had stopped functioning, I made the trek eastward. I went to visit some old college friends, and they asked if I were attending their Christmas banquet the next night! My former roommate, Lily, lent me a dress, Rod even went shoe shopping with me, and I kicked off my wool socks and Carhartt for a night of good company, hilarious skits, and fabulous dancing.
I figured the best way to put Laura into labor would be to leave town for a few days. I had sort of joked about it, anyway, but a text after midnight confirmed that she had gone into the hospital due to high blood pressure, and that they would be inducing in the morning. So, at 0200 on the morning of the 11th, I drove back the two hours to Divide. Laura had already popped out Hadassah Love Wilham by 0643, so I leisurely made my way back to Darby to help Mom with Selah. The newest family member and proud parents arrived back home around 1945, and the next several days were just trying to get into a schedule with a new baby.
I went to another dance with the homeschool crew on the 17th, (at Jillisa's request), which was much more middle-school style, but still enjoyable. On Saturday, we were going to do dinner and a huge bonfire, but it was super cold, we were already funned-out after dinner and chatting, and Matthew still had something to do. He set up a treasure hunt for Jillisa, with little treasures along the way. The hunt led to a Lego puzzle box he had spent most of a night and part of a day constructing. In it, she discovered a ring. And Matthew got down on his knee and proposed. She was super surprised, but still managed to respond favorably! We got two Christmas trees before everyone left for church in the morning. Fastest tree harvest ever! We found and harvested two in approximately 20 minutes.
The Wilhams and I drove to Divide for Christmas on Thursday. We passed the days playing new games, hanging out, eating delicious food, and enjoying each other's company in general. Caleb and I snuck away on a brother-sister date to watch the Voyage of the Dawn Treader and afterwards met up with the family at Rodney's and Jeni's new house. It's quite the project! I'm amazed to see people's creativity and skills in construction.
Christmas was very relaxed and lovely. I stayed in Divide on Sunday after Hadassah's dedication at E-Free Church to help the parents move cows back down to the Moose Creek Ranch, 7 miles away. Even though I was wearing no fewer than 5 layers, 2 pairs of wool socks, two scarves, a hat, chopper mittens, two pairs of pants, and riding a fuzzy furnace, I could feel the edge of cold on the 27 degree weather as we rode. The sunset was incredible! It's nice to remember that here in this dry, frozen land, just as in the humid paradise in Honduras, beauty and joy exist. I just have to keep my eyes open.

El fin del año en Honduras

Once again, I was blogeligent, and therefore am WAY behind in my entries. I pity your poor eyes. Only read if you have a super good cup 'o something tasty and are seated very comfortably. :-) Here we go....

Entry from 11-12-10
If 7 weeks seemed like too short a time, then 9 days might very well kill me. Way back in October, I spent Natasha's last day here climbing the water tower, making cookies that mostly never made it to cookie status, and drinking large quantities of tea. The next day, I escaped early from a delightful dinner with the Rumbaughs' and practiced violin for almost an hour with practically no one in Staff Housing, (they were all still at the Rumbaughs'). I played fútbol three days in a row that weekend, had a great movie night/chat with Samuel, and moved out into the community with Joelle. She and Christine asked to take care of Rigo's and Christy's house until they get back in January. Christine was still in the States, though, and Joelle needed a housemate, so I'm it until Christine returns. The same week, Patrick asked for some help with saddling and working with Izzy, Sydney's mare. So, we did some groundwork for a while, and then he got on and took a ride around. I even took her out for a short spin. Not like cushy fat horses, but at least I got to ride a horse. :-)
We had a goodbye party for Mackenzie at Renee's to send her off. The time crunch has begun! I spent Sunday afternoon with the Yosts, cutting up enormous donated scrubs for shop rags. Christine returned on the 25th. And the next day, I finally filled the tires up on Christine's and my bike and rode it home to San Luís. The seat was still broken, so the trip was more difficult than usual, but still a beautiful ride. Dianny helped us make tortillas and arroz con frijoles y leche de coco. That Saturday, I translated for the new doc, Abby, and she taught me to do stitches. Unfortunately, Joelle had to work that night, but Christine, Samuel, and I cooked dinner by lantern and candle light due to a long power outage, and then had fun doing stupid human tricks and acrobatics. Who needs TV to entertain?
I took the kids for their last waterfall trip with me on Halloween. The main falls formed a giant whirlpool due to the abundance of water induced by extra rain. We swam in the lower pools! We made it back just in time to get ready for the costume party. Sam McKenzie and I were a pair: he was Apollo and I was his sister Artemis. I haven't dressed up in years, but he made it fun.
November began with a bang: I drove the land cruiser around without a hood, made a batch of chai, played soccer in the rain, made dinner for Samuel's and Joelle's anniversary, and Christine hit two horses on her moto, breaking a pinky bone and a metacarpal. We had a dance party on the 6th. It was a lot of fun, though it was difficult to teach the dances and not just DANCE. Yesterday, I went to dinner at Dianny's after making tortillas with Marta. We made baleadas and then Mailin taught us bachata, merengue, and punta. I loved every moment!
The young, single people of the community with few or no familial connections in Balfate caught the afternoon ferry to Roatan today, grabbed the key from Yourgin, and then went for dinner at the Argentine Grill. Then, later, we strolled the strip to Rick's Roadhouse and Grill for Ryan James.

Entry from 11-22-10
The brevity of my time in Honduras started to form a tight knot in my chest the next day. Julie and I slept in a little, and I visited with Brandi and Yourgin in the time we were waiting for Samuel and Joelle to arrive. We went to meet the group in West End for lunch and split for pizza and baleadas. I had to finish a translating project for Iain, so I chilled in Renee's room at Arco Iris for the afternoon, and then returned to Sandy Bay for some more visit time before we all met back up after our various and sundry adventures for dinner at the Cannibal Cafe. We hoped to find dancing, but it was too early. The know by that time had migrated into my throat and started squeezing out silent tears unnoticed in the dark. Samuel, Joelle, and I chilled on a dock for a while. I watched the lights float in wide ribbons on the swelling waves until I could bear it no longer. I tried to escape back to the house by myself, but Samuel followed me and witnessed me in my puffy-eyed, silent weeping state. So we talked for a couple hours before sleep. It was nice to have someone around who understands the strange isolation of such an experience. And I'm glad everyone else eventually found dancing and had a delightful time together.
Yourgin teaches a Sunday school to his uncle's family, so Samuel drummed with him and we listened to his talk on Isaiah. I was impressed with the was no dumbed-down kid version, yet he made it relevant.
After Sunday school, Yourgin took Samuel, James, Canaan, and me out on his friend's boat to fish catracho style. I used a Gatorade bottle, James had nutmeg, etc. I caught nothing, but really enjoyed myself. The fish fry after was delicious. Good thing the others don't fish like I do! And then we joined everyone for dessert at the Lighthouse Restaurant in West End.
I woke up earlier than I wanted to in order to catch a taxi by 0600 to catch the early ferry back to the mainland. I got a few groceries and returned one last time to San Luís by chicken bus next to a VERY friendly Honduran man. Didn't think the chicken buses could get more cramped? I can tell you from experience, they can be utterly suffocating when unwanted interest is practically sitting in one's lap!
On the 16th, I walked to Balfate at 0700 for a haircut from Sharon. I watched movies with Joelle and finally finished my translation project in the afternoon. I walked the last bit to Balfate with Argentina and Ruth, who hadn't found a jalón (lift) and walked the whole way from the hospital. I spent some time with Mike and Peggy.
Iain trained Amy and me in sound engineering on Thursday, and then I learned from Marta how to make the dough part of the tortillas. Hers are SO delicious! After fellowship, Amy and I took a walk to Lucinda and back to catch up and start our farewell process.
I said my goodbyes at the Casa de Niños in the morning, followed by el Camino bilingual school (also turned out to be Hannah's 13th birthday party), then the bodega boyz, my last fútbol game, and then, at long last, an orange-squishing/baleadas/Uno/trompos/dancing party. That night was one to remember and cherish forever!
I had a delightful breakfast with Norma the morning of my second to last day in Honduras. I worked on some internet stuff at el hotel (Staff Housing) for a longer bit than intended, picked up Christine and drove back home. I ate some lunch and then Alex Zelaya called. I met him at Pulpería Karen where he introduced me to Trotón (Big Trot), his tiny little stallion. Alex rode his bike alongside to La Quinta beach, where Sydney met us on Izzy. I rode in the waves, we swam in the river, explored through the tunnel and into the jungle, and floated out in the sea. That day turned out to be one of the major highlights of my entire year. It's a shame we save the best for last, sometimes.
I showered and walked to Ruth's to cut her hair and say goodbye. Bairon brought Samuel and me to music practice and we had to say our final goodbye there. ¡Uy! I despise saying some goodbyes! I seem to be making a habit of it. Practice was enjoyable, as was my community goodbye party at Reneeś. I stayed up organizing my belongings and packed Sunday morning. The soccer boys came for worship, since I had promised to lead two in Spanish. I said farewell to everyone at church, the boys, and then Christine, Joelle, Samuel, and I loaded into Norma's vehicle and we journeyed to San Pedro Sula.
I had to sort out my ticket mess, (wrong date for second part of my journey), so we just ate at Baleadas Express nearby. Final goodbyes and a 0230 flight. The end.