Today and tomorrow a couple of psychologists are coming to the school from San Pedro Sula to talk with the girls and us and to do some activities, about what I have no idea. There are certainly quite a few girls here who could use someone to talk to, with all of their problems at home and in their daily lives.
Anyway, that's not the funny part. The funny part is that earlier in the week I was talking with Segundo Ciclo (8th grade) about the psychologists coming, and they took that opportunity to tell me that I was scary to them. I was pretty shocked and a little hurt, because I get along really well with this group and have built a confianza with them. I asked them what they meant, and they said "You're a psychologist, right?" I told them no, that I only studied it in school and that I couldn't practice psychology like the people who are coming, but why did it matter? Their reply was that I could read their minds...and at this point I felt a little better about being "scary" because I thought they were joking. I assured them no, I couldn't read their minds.
However, yesterday Cassie was talking with Primero Ciclo about the psychologists, and apparently the girls were very insistent that all psychologists could read people's minds. So, psychologists=magicians, and because Cassie and I studied psychology, some of the students are a little afraid of us because they think we can hear their every thought. I wonder how many girls have seen us coming and frantically tried to think of something else, or run in the opposite direction, because they were thinking something they didn't want us to know. I actually kind of like this power...
The second light-hearted story of the week was from last night as we were returning to our house after Animación Juvenil. Our neighbor, Norlan, finished up his chorus and guitar classes with the girls at the same time, so the four of us walked our bikes/pedaled very slowly with him as he was walking home. A little way up the street, I asked him, as a joke, if he wanted to sit on the crossbar of the bike (between the handlebars and the seat) and ride there as I pedaled. Like I said, I was joking, but he immediately said "Sure!" and jumped right on. It was definitely a little awkward because there really is only enough space for someone Norlan's size to squeeze in between me and the handlebars, and my legs were pretty much wrapped around his hips as I was pedaling. I had to pedal and hold on to his shoulders, which were right against my chest, as he held the handlebars and steered. It was a little weird at first, but fortunately since being here I have gotten used to having less personal space, and I was able to get over it pretty quickly and enjoy the novelty of it.
I was a little worried at the first turn, but he said it was no problem, and expertly maneuvered around it. Then, I was a little more worried when we were crossing a side street, with a motorcycle turning left towards us and a car coming down our street towards us, because the motorcycle did not see us, but Norlan braked at the right moment and avoided a collision. It was definitely an exercise in trust--literally handing the reins over to someone else.
It's really common for people here to travel like this. Last night Norlan told me that it's how they teach people how to ride bikes, one person who already knows how sits on the crossbar and steers, while the person learning sits on the seat and pedals. He also said that it's the preferred method to get around town with your girlfriend, and after experiencing the complete lack of personal space last night, I guess I could see why. But since we have arrived, we have even seen entire families on one bike. The father will pedal, the mother will steer and/or hold a child, another child can be balanced on the handlebars, and another child or two can ride on the back--some bikes have a short platform attached to the seat, but many more have pegs that the passenger stands on. We were quite impressed by all of this when we first arrived, and joked a couple of times that we were going to have to try it, but we didn't think that the first time one of us would try would be with Norlan. Definitely quite the experience!