So, the two weeks I have been back now have been full of changes. When I left, the rainy season was just starting, but when I came back it was in full swing. The first night back I noticed the frog sounds coming from the puddles nearby, like the spring peepers back home, just ten times louder and probably venomous in some way.
The next day I noticed the grass--long and green everywhere, where before it was just hard-packed dirt and burnt stubble. Previously I had thought that flowers must just flower year round with the warm weather here, but found out recently that there are a lot more flowers that come out this time of year. This also corresponds with the mangos ripening; our tree has at least a couple new ripe mangos every day and at least a hundred in total. Over the weekend I made mango cobbler, which came out pretty well. Not as well as the Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler on our camping trips, of course.
The downside to us now being in the rainy season is that it rains every day, sometimes multiple times a day. The rain will cool things down a bit, but if it rains during the day the temperature goes back up again right after, when the clouds clear. So, even if I do my laundry in the morning, it has been taking a lot longer to dry than it used to. Also, events with the church have been canceled or changed because of the rain, and I have had several leaks in my room (mostly directly above my bed) and a leak in the living room. This past Sunday I helped Norlan repair the leaks in his roof with tar, roofing tape and cement, and then we hopped over to my roof and fixed what looked like the problems. We definitely missed something though, today I had a good sized puddle on my bed. Tomorrow I’m going up by myself to try and fix the rest--pray that it doesn’t rain for a few hours after, and please don’t say “Break a leg!” because I probably will.
Yesterday in the States was obviously Memorial Day, which I am sorry I missed. I have found that the times I most realize how much I miss family are the holidays that have had traditions associated with them. For example, St. Patrick’s day was hard because I really missed the corned beef and hash, green food and soda bread that we used to make at home, and I really missed being home for Mother’s Day because of all of the traditions we had to thank Mommy (and because I was really sick and could hardly move). Memorial Day, yesterday, was a day I missed for the parade we had in town, for the ceremony on the Green, and especially for the opportunity to honor all of the people I have known who served and to whom I owe so much. Particularly this year I held memories of Grandpa close by, and also remembered Steve, as this was the fifth year.
For them, I really missed Memorial Day.
In Honduras, yesterday was their National Tree Day, which we celebrated a little bit yesterday and more today with a tree drawing contest, some special prayers, and a day at the farm today with presentations about the environment. Usually only two classes go to the farm at a time, but today everyone came. After the presentations, they split into groups to plant trees, clean up some areas, etc. These new holidays are cool to learn about and participate in, but obviously don’t take the place of those that I have grown up with and that have helped form my identity.
When I returned two weeks ago, it was to an entirely new schedule and Trimester. In place of the courses from Trimester One, I am now teaching Math and English to the seniors, English to the ninth graders, English to Andrea, three of the four gym classes (but I like to go to the fourth and play anyway), two poetry workshops, a Chemistry review, and Science lab at the farm on Tuesday. We still go to all of the masses and services during the week with the girls, and supervise their daily activities. So, I am just as busy, if not more busy, than the first Trimester, but I still thoroughly enjoy it. Especially recently, I have needed to keep busy, and the change in the schedule has brought welcome challenges.
My schedule has also changed so that I am now working in the health clinic Monday mornings. Every Monday last Trimester I helped collect and organize the food that the students brought with them to the center, and although it was nice to greet and see the girls first thing every Monday, it was a little mindless. Yesterday, however, was my first day in the clinic, where I spent my time taking patient histories. I didn’t expect to be trusted with something as important as taking the histories (I am learning some interesting vocabulary), but there I was, in my own little section, asking patients questions and taking notes.
Being in the classroom these past several months have definitely helped me develop a demeanor with the patients that I know I did not have before. In comparison to my internship with a doctor and my volunteer time in an ER after sophomore year of college, I seem to have learned how to hold people’s attention and respect, thereby staying in control. A few years ago, it was hard for me to get across what I wanted to convey or to get the information I wanted to hear, mostly because I would listen to the patients as they complained and empathize. Now, I have a much better balance between empathy and business. As far as I could tell, all of the patients I saw respected me enough to give the necessary information, and still felt comforted, which is a good thing, I think.
I still have no idea what I’m going to do with my life after this. I don’t really want to think about it, because I am happy with my life here enjoy every day. However, as I said recently in a reflection, going home for a short amount of time made me realize that I’m eventually going to have responsibilities to someone other than myself, and if only for that reason, I need to start thinking more about careers, stressful and confusing as it is. Maybe with the new experiences this trimester I will receive some new insight. Side note concerning this stuff, my students are convinced that I am going to become a priest. I really don’t think so, but like I said, I have no idea right now...all I can do is pray for guidance.