Sunday, June 14, 2009

Im here!

[Saturday June 13, 2009] Well today was my first day in Honduras! It started off by getting on the plane in LA at 12:30am and of course the one El Salvadorean man who does not speak a lick of English sits next to me!! Oh it was great and surprisingly he was going from LA to Houston to meet his daughter. I actually really appreciated his company and he helped to calm my nervous and get me excited about going to Honduras. He would just rattle off in Spanish as if I was fluent and then anytime the stewardess made an announcement he would turn to me and say “que dijo?” (what did she say?). And most of the time I would just tell him “no importa!” (It was not important)! He would even try to speak to the other man sitting on the other side of him in Spanish but the other man would just look at him weird and turn away. Then my El Salvadorean friend would just turn back to me, give me a look like, “I don’t know what his problem is!” and then keep talking; so precious. It is funny to me because most Spanish speakers that I have met, at least the ones who do not speak very much English, always seem to just start rattling off to me like I know everything they are saying!
Anyways, after we got off the plane and parted ways I was on to my next flight. I met Kristin at the gate at 5:30am and after venting for a few hours we finally boarded our plane at 9am. Since this was a direct flight from Houston to Honduras, most people on board the plane were Spanish speaking. I sat in the seat right behind Kristin and in between two Spanish speakers. The woman sitting on my right started talking to me, asking me where I was going, for how long and of course was interested in why. After talking with her for some time, the man sitting on my left joined in and said, “I couldn’t help overhearing you talk in Spanish.” He said this in English and then switched back to Spanish saying, “it always really surprises me when I hear someone who is not a native Spanish speaker, speaking Spanish. I like to hear that.” He continued on to tell me about himself and how he was born in Honduras but moved to Texas to go to school. He was extremely kind and ended up helping me with some of my “getting oriented tasks” that I needed a native Honduran to help me with. Getting off the plane I introduced my new friend, Allen, to Kristin. After talking for two hours as we waited in line to get through customs, Allen gave us both his email and phone number and told us he would only be in Honduras for the next two weeks but if we needed any help with anything, to let him know.
At this point it was already 1pm and we finally met up with our host families. Poor Mildred and her good family friend had been waiting for two hours for me!! We left the airport and went straight to “Power Chicken” to get some comida. We walked in the door and it was packed! At first I was honestly really overwhelmed. For one it was crowded and there were so many people speaking Spanish up close and personal after I did not get much sleep and was now dripping with sweat in my new humid habitat, and on top of it all, I stand out like a sore thumb. Even though I am not blonde haired blue eyed, people can still tell I am a gringa and not from Honduras. All I wanted to do was fit in and I felt like everyone was starring at me! Then when Mildred would speak Spanish to me I felt like everyone was waiting for a response to see if I would indeed be able to actually speak Spanish back to her. However, after sitting down and eating and talking for awhile we got back in the car and headed to the beach. We got out and went to feel the water with our feet and oh boy let me tell you it felt good! The water was so warm it would be closer to hot then it would be cold and the sand was so smooth. Honduras is like being in a tropical Mexico. There is so much green everywhere, so many people riding their bikes, horses cows and dogs, people darting out from any and every sides of the street. The driving is a little crazy, nothing like India , but pretty crazy nonetheless. Mildred has been really good with me and is really only speaking Spanish. Of course since today is my first day I was already tired from my travels and with so much to see and hear I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed. It now being the end of day one, I am still feeling a little frustrated and wishing I could understand 100% of what everyone is saying. I know I have to give it time but it is hard to be patient when I am already in a strange environment not knowing really anything about the culture and it would still be hard enough trying to figure everything out even if I did speak the language! Anyways poco a poco (little by little) I will learn.
There are so many new smells and sounds here I do not know how I will sleep tonight. I guess it is a little bit like LA term with all of the dogs barking and music and people and cars screeching in the background but now there are tropical birds adding to the soundtrack and the sound of fans to keep the rooms cool, if that is even possible, and the other sounds I cannot quite put my finger on yet. I took my first bucket shower today and I actually really enjoyed it. I felt good about not wasting water and it was cold but in this humidity it felt so good! I had really good watermelon juice today, it was so fresh and so delicious. I am excited to have so many good fruits around me. We are still in San Pedro Sula tonight, spending the night at Mildred’s sister’s house but we leave for Copan, Santa Rita, tomorrow. I am excited to finally see the environment I will actually be living in for the next five months. I have enjoyed San Pedro Sula but it is so big and crowded here I am excited to be living in a smaller town with more community.

1 comment:

  1. Jenna that is so awesome. Ya I know the feeling, not knowing 100%. You should also be feeling headaches for the first few days or even weeks. This is because learning a new language is like working a muscle in your brain, and it will get tired! Pretty soon though that Spanish language muscle will develop and get stronger, and it won't be so difficult and straining ;) And you will be better than all of us here!!