Today is my first official day back in the U.S. after having to leave Honduras so abruptly for security reasons. We had our 3-day Close of Service Conference in Tegucigalpa which was a lot of information about transitioning back into the U.S. culture (consumerism, independence, solitary living, speaking English, etc.) We also talked a lot about why we're leaving Honduras and some of the statistics of the crime rate which were quite convincing. One that I remember was how in our area, in 2010, there were a recorded 82 murders for a population of 100,000 people. In the U.S. our murder rate for 100,000 people is around 6....so that is quite different! Yes...so, there was some quite telling data.
The conference overall was good...we had time to visit with other volunteer friends, turn in all the important paperwork, programs, reports, medical exams, pooping in cups, etc. and we had fun times with our groups. We (as Youth Development Volunteers) had a t-shirt decorating night and then all of us volunteers had a dance party/open-mic night the last night at the Maya Hotel. We got to dance BACHATA!! I love bachata so much!!
The time leaving my community the week before the conference was rough. I got back from the Christmas holidays to have a week in site before the conference in Teguz. During this week I was literally visiting all the families in my town, giving things away, explaining the situation, finishing projects, and trying to enjoy myself as much as possible. I spent lots of time with friends, we (Yanori, Regina, some others and I) went on a picnic and had a little hiking adventure where we got lost like 3 times looking for this lady's house in the mountains...lol. I will never forget that. Cristino and I visited this lady who was sick and brought her some food and good plactica. Isabel and I talked and cried.
Then, the last night that I was there in San Jose, we had a going away party where Maridi, Mabel, Regina, Yanori, Cristino, Isabel, Prof. Erica and her daughter, Marta, and I got together and danced, ate some chop souy, they all said some words about me (Isabel couldn't talk for crying) and then danced some more! We danced to Cristino's LMFAO cd where he danced vulgarly until the little girl came in the room and then he was too embarassed...lol. I have a video. LOL. Then, we danced bachata (I danced with Regina), some other booty music with Regina and Yanori (lol) and then ranchera when, por fin, Cristino danced with me and then later Mabel danced with me to a really sad song about leaving but staying connected. It was all very sad and we cried. Isabel cried the whole time. But, then, we all went home and I packed. Then, there was the light of day the next day. This last day I mainly spent at the house, watched some tv, hung out with the people in my house, and that was it. Sara and Cristino drove me to the main rode where I then had my last hugs and "call me's" and I left on the busito with the other volunteers to Teguz for the conference.
We ate Mexican food in La Paz and then got the hotel when I found out that, out of the 143 volunteers, I was the only fortunate one to get a room to myself with a king size bed and a corner room with windows all around...it was SOO beautiful.
So, I wake up the next day at the hotel and it's all very surreal. Where are all the familiar faces that I've seen for the last 19 months of my life? Is it true that I am leaving...it already feels like I'm so far away yet I'm still in Honduras...just not in San Jose. It was VERY sad those first few days in the conference. I cried myself to sleep a couple of nights and was bombarded with feelings of hopelessness and loss and despair and what am I doing? Can I stay in Honduras? But why and what would I do? What about my student loans? What about my family and the future I want to have? BUT, what about the family that I'm leaving behind in Honduras? How can I visit these people just once a year? Is that enough...how is this going to work? The weight of all these feelings and decisions was really heavy on my heart. I can't believe how close I've gotten to many people in my town. Will this feeling of closeness always be there...or will it fade away which would be really sad? How do I keep these connections strong? What do I do with my life, God?
Some good news after all this craziness of emotions...I am already planning a visit to Honduras around May/June/July this year (2012), Isabel is going to work on getting her Visa to come visit and maybe we can meet up in the states, and Cristino is working on his Visa right now to come see me the end of this year. SO, I know some how this will all work out and in the mean time, we are calling each other, messaging, and talking on Facebook. It's just SO crazy to have someone in your life so much and then have them so far away. But, I believe God knows what he's doing and He will work everything out according to His master plan that is greater than ours could ever be.
So, as of now, I am searching/applying for jobs (prayerfully a government job)and finishing up my Grad school application also. Also, for general goals, I want to clean this house, lose some weight (goal:15 lbs.), get into a good church, connect with some friends, and stay connected with those in Honduras.
Love you all!
The Peace Corps Office in Teguz.
Sara Victoria, the baby (Victoria) and I. There where 3 of us ladies with the name Victoria in the house! lol.
Jorge Emilio and I...the son of the lady that I lived with (Sara)
Aida and I in front of the store in front of the house.
Cristino and I in front of our respective rooms.
Paula and I in the kitchen.
The going away party...the food portion.
My room in the Maya Hotel in Teguz with the view.
In the Atlanta airport with all my luggage...and look I just bought that scarf in Teguz...isn't it pretty? It also functions as a shawl. :)