Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things I Want to Remember...

I was throwing up a few minutes ago.... (I don't want to remember that)
Maria came into the bathroom and started patting my back.  She asked if I felt yucky, told me to get it all out, and when I was done she asked if I felt better.  Total sweetheart.

 I want to thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.  You are all so wonderful and have brought me great comfort.  Thanks.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Story..... but not all the stories.

I've composed this blog (and all of its variations) a million and one times in my head.

I've started by saying that "we only have 1 tablespoon of brown sugar left"....
(we can't find brown sugar here, or molasses to make our own brown sugar)

Or complaining about how much I dislike myself for the inadequate mothering I think I am doing....

Or giving the whole back story of how Marco and I met and delving into 101 issues that I don't really feeling like airing out publicly....

But.... I'm not going to write those stories tonight.

I have a serious lack of motivation to do much of anything....  We've been waiting, a very long time for something.... immigration papers to be more exact...  but nothing seems to be happening. 

I had this unspoken expectation that things would be taken care of shortly after the kids and I returned from the United States to Honduras.  That we would return to a first world country with parks, and public transportation that didn't make my little girl throw up every single time we tried to get out of town.  That my husband would be able to have a job that provided for our families needs........ and I could go on and on about my now unfulfilled hopes. 

Nothing has happened.  We've been back here in Honduras a month and a half.  Things are getting harder.  I'm trying hard to enjoy this phase in life.... I do realize that it is a cool experience to have.  It would be even cooler if we were older... like retired, and we were living in some small beach town (instead of a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere), and if I drank (which I don't) or used some little recreational drugs (again something I just don't do), or if I were interested in wasting my days away (which really, I'm not).... then maybe this situation would be better.  But that's not reality.  We are in a small mountain town in the middle of nowhere, we are young, and have two very young children that we would love to give more to (parks, swimming, libraries, hikes in the woods, playing in the creeks, throwing rocks in the ocean (or even a lake), cupcakes, primary, playgroups.... etc).... and we are required to have patience..... a LOT of patience as we wait. 

We've looked into things that we can do and it's pretty much nothing (unless we pursue different paths). 
We can not call the embassy to see what is going on with our papers.... they do not answer their phones.
We can not "drop in".... they will not see us.
We CAN send an inquiry by email into our case status... BUT they do not have to reply, ever.  And if they do want to reply they have 28 working days to do so (which is WAY longer than a month).

I am loosing patience.  We have been waiting a LONG time (as in Maria is almost 3 and we sent our papers in shortly after she was born).  I did the calculations the other day, but forgot the exact date because I didn't write it down, and sometime mid-august Cooper will have spent more of his life in Honduras than he has in the United States.  I had never really thought about that, I guess I just assumed that we would be on to the next phase in life before that happened.

Now.... all that complaining done for the moment, I'm going to list the things I'm grateful for, more for my benefit.... to try to remember the good things and keep things in perspective.  I am grateful for this experience.  I'm so grateful to get to know Marco's family.  They are all so incredibly wonderful.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to know where Marco grew up, and understand some of the decisions he made in the past.  I'm grateful that we can live here in a third world country and see the poverty... it has made me distinguish more between wants and needs, luxuries and necessities.  I do think that I am becoming a better person for the things that I have experienced here.

Now, the reason for this whole post.  I am loosing my patience (which I have already said), I am tired of waiting (which, again, I have already said), I am REALLY looking forward to the day when we can celebrate good news (I think we're going to kill the turkey and have a party!!)  Motivation to be positive, and upbeat, and take pictures, and blog about the cool things that are happening with us here in Honduras is hard to find.  I will try, but most of my motivation will probably go towards making meals, doing dishes, trying to find fun things for the kids to do, picking up toys, folding laundry, and on the rare occasion cleaning the bathroom.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gas & Electricity

This morning as I was making tortillas the gas on our stove ran out.  We have a tank, like one used on a grill, but a little bit bigger.  This time around it lasted us two months.   Abuela finished cooking our tortillas on her wood stove, so all was not lost.   We will get a new tank tomorrow.  

Just after lunch today the power went out..... and stayed out until 8:30 this evening.  So with no gas, and no power, cooking in my house is impossible.  Thank goodness for Abuela and her wood stove.  Saved the day and kept my kids fed..........

My inability to cook today brought back many memories of when we didn't have a stove (or a fridge) here.  I used to cook on a griddle... you know, the one you occasionally bust out to cook pancakes or bacon.  I cooked everything on it, or at least I tried to.  
I learned that you can cook a plethora of things on a griddle.... it's not just for breakfast food, although I think it is best suited for breakfast food. 
You can cook chicken, and rice.  Pork chops, saute veggies, spaghetti, beans (although this takes FOREVER).  You can make toast, cook eggs and hash browns, soup & oatmeal.
You can NOT pop popcorn.  It just does not get hot enough.  
Corn tortillas do not turn out that great, they get kind of dry.
You can NOT boil water..... again not enough heat.
It says that it can get up to 400 degrees, and maybe that's true, but a lot of times it didn't seems so. 

I am super grateful for our little "plancha" (griddle) and those months that I cooked on it....
BUT, it makes me even more grateful for our stove.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fish Bowl

This is the front of our house.  There is about a 3 foot deep "patio" between the gate and the entrance to the living room.  The only natural light in the living room comes in thru the window and door when we keep the door open, which we like to do often. 

The kids love to play out here, and we can lock the gate so I feel safe with them playing there if I'm doing the dishes.  It also keeps a safer distance between Maria and Orfito if either of them are in a biting mood.

Sunday's and Thursday's are market days, as I have mentioned before, and we live pretty much in the middle of it all.  
There is a little step from our front gate down to the road, and if there is no booth set up in front of our house people make themselves at home on that little step.  
If we decide to keep our door and window open, then we, more often than not, become the fish in the fish bowl.  People have no qualms whatsoever about staring at us.  
I am VERY grateful for the front gate and lock.... if it wasn't there then a bunch of the neighborhood kids (and a few of the adults) would feel free to come and go as they please.  
Maybe it's because I have two small children....
Maybe it's because I don't want to have the stress of having to keep a vigilant eye out for my kids every second of every minute....
Maybe I'm just not that cool neighborhood mom....
but I don't want people in my house, in my space all the time.
So, again, VERY grateful for the gate.

The fish bowl is getting old.
We still have people who come up who are strangers who want to see the us, people who stop and stare for several very long minutes.  

It's worse when we go out.... which I've kind of been avoiding lately.  I prefer to go to the backyard to play with the kids.... away from prying eyes.  If we need something from the store I'll see if Marco wants to go get it.

When my parents were visiting the staring was  We went to buy vegetables up the hill and EVERYONE was staring at my Dad.  Eyes would follow him wherever he moved.  People would follow him around (some wanting money, some just wanting to look).  He was Mr. Popular.  I don't think a lot of these people had ever seen a man so big and tall.  Once my Mom, Marco, Cooper, and I went down the hill to see about buying an horno pot and this lady was maybe 3 feet away, staring at us.

Those are just the blatant ones.  Every single time we go out we get comments or looks.  
-oh look at their eyes-
-look at the little girls blond curls-
-oh they've got the pair (meaning we have both a girl and a boy)-
and if I venture out using the stroller there are always comments on that.

I have never been a person that sought the spotlight.... I could never handle being a famous movie star and having people follow your every move.  So.incredibly.annoying.  

Now, for the most part we just live in a fish bowl.... wherever we go people want to look at us.  They, for the most part, keep their distance.  More often than I'd like (I'd really prefer NEVER) people will pet Maria's hair, or squeeze Cooper's cheeks or tweek his nose..... that bothers me.  Unless I know you, don't touch my kids.  People have offered to help me with the kids when I have ended up carrying them both, I always politely decline unless I know their names.  People, for the most part, are very respectful.  Only once have I ever had a problem.  
It was a Sunday after the market was all done.  Marco had gone to his uncle's house to visit while the kids were napping.  After the kids woke up they  NEEDED to get out of the house so we took a little walk down to the pulperia to get something.... I don't even remember what for now.  There were a few other people ahead of us.  A man came up to us... he was a little intoxicated.... and wanted to hold Cooper.  I said no, and he actually tried to take Cooper out of my arms.  I said no and switched Coop to my other arm.  The man then proceeded to go around to the other side of me and try to pick up Maria.  I picked her up and left.  The shopkeeper did try to tell the man to leave us alone, but he was just too persistent for me.
This whole fish bowl/petting zoo is definitely NOT on my list of good things about being here, but it is part of being here... and I am trying to document our experience as a whole here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our Internet & Other Updates

This is our internet.
It is a little USB thing with a phone chip inside.  It works like the cell phones here.  Your pre-pay by buying recharges or phone cards.  Each month we have to buy 500 Lempiras worth of phone cards, take the chip out of the USB and insert it into a phone, upload the phone cards, send a text message saying that we want to recharge our internet, and then insert the chip back into the USB.  It is a hassle, especially because we can not buy the phone cards here in Lepaera.  We've looked.... they don't sell the big ones here.  We even tried to see if they had 50-10 Lempira phone cards,  but no, we could only find 17......... arg.  

So.... Most of the time, after the internet has gone out it takes a few days for us to get it back.

I sent some packages to myself so that I wouldn't have to pay the extra baggage fees which were super high.  They FINALLY arrived.  The company that we shipped with say on the website that it will take betweeen 10 and 12 days to get the packages... but that is the ship time.... as in time on a ship.  once it leaves the docks in the US, to the time that it arrives at the docks in Honduras.  Apparently they don't want to come and deliver our two packages if they don't have anything else coming our way.... kudos to them on saving gas, but I WANT MY PACKAGES!!  They were sitting in their warehouse in La Ceiba for 2 1/2 weeks before they finally made it into the truck to be delivered.

This is Oso (the dog) hanging out inside the horno (oven).  We used to keep the laundry soap in there, but he's been getting inside and knocking things out so we've had to find different locations to store soap.  I guess the oven bricks & mud keep it cooler inside.
This is a fruit called nahn-say.  I have no idea how it's spelled, but that's how you pronounce it.  The flavor is ok, but I just can't get over the texture.  It has a different texture to it.
Yesterday a big tractor came by and smoothed out the roads.  The rain had made them pretty bumpy.  So for entertainment we hung out watching the tractor go up and down the road.  
(It proceeded to rain REALLY hard last night and the same old valley's re-appeared in the road.)
This morning one of Marco's friends came by on his motorcycle.  The kids played on that thing for half an hour and did NOT want to get off.
I have wanted to make Maria a shirt with doily sleeves for quite a while.  The package that I sent to myself had the white material so after bedtime one night I made up this little shirt for her.

Abuela and I made this dress together.  We bought the material at Corti-Telas, a store in Tegucigalpa, when we were visiting back in January.  Its really soft. 
There are a few layers of black tulle and a black cotton underlining under the skirt part.  The neck is high in front with a v-neck in back and exposed zipper.  Maria loves it.... it's a circle skirt so she's loving spinning!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Apple Shirt

I saw this little shirt on Made By Rae the other day and thought it was super cute. 
She was part of No Big Dill's Once Upon a Thread series.  Clothes inspired by children's stories.

The little flutter sleeves, the pockets, the high empire waist.  I decided that I would take what Abuela has taught me about sewing without a pattern and see what I could come up with.

While I was in Oregon visiting some AMAZING friends we hit up a really good fabric sale.  I got this cute apple print and a bunch of this striped material.

So, here is what I came up with.  It's a little different than the original..... I forgot to add pockets.  But overall I like how it turned out.

Cute little flutter sleeves, high empire waist.   I added bias tape at the neckline, back, and sleeves, and bands of vertical stripes at the waist and hem.

I did a one button closure.  My original plan was to only have the back slit come down to the waist band, but when we did a trial run of putting the shirt on, it was a little tight and I didn't want this to be a cute shirt that she never wore because it was so hard to put on.  So I cut it down an extra couple of inches.
For the hem I used a bias-tape like finish.... so the stripe part is actually double the length shown... if she ever goes thru a growth spurt, I can lengthen it easily.

-She wanted to go outside and water the plants with the water guns.... she didn't exactly stay still for me to take pictures, but it was better than if she was running away from me the whole time.
-I know my my nail polish is horrible (Mom).... but I cut my finger (and nail) pretty bad last week, and I'm scared to take the nail polish off right now.