Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Greetings again from Honduras. Its’ Christmas time! Yeah! I thought I’d be home this holiday season but because I will be back in the US and A in a few short months and I’ve been home twice since August, it was decided to stay here again for “Navidad.” That’s Spanish for Christmas. Oh?..You knew that?.. You’ve heard the song “Feliz Navidad?”… That means Merry Christmas right? WRONG. That means HAPPY Christmas…You knew that too? …You learned that is 8th grade Spanish huh?

Moving on…I will be spending the Holidays here with some Peace Corps Friends and doing the usual crazy and adventurous things. It’s a great time of the year.

I will leave this short and simple and say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may this New Year bring you all the joy and prosperity you desire.

Cuidanse, Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo…

…until next time

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving and a Marketing Workshop (With a Busted Groin)…

Greetings again from Honduras. Since being back to the states, time seems to be shortening here in the Peace Corps. I just got an email today from our administration informing us about our Close of Service conference. Yes, paperwork is already being started to plan my exit out of Peace Corps. Time continues to fly.

I also posted another quick video to show you guys some other cool work I started to do for the local organization I work with here in Santa Rosa de Copán. Check out the video below.

Well, what also happened last month is Thanksgiving. It was another holiday in Central America. I spent it with some great friends and new friends. I traveled out to my friend Kyle’s site in Ocotepeque. The day started off with the Turkey Bowl. Yes, we played a little two hand touch in the cow pasture. I hadn’t played a Turkey Bowl in years, but I am glad the tradition started again, even if outside the US. I ended up pulling my groin on the first play of the game. More on that later.

The power was off for a while that day but eventually came back…then went off again…then came back for good. We went to another volunteer’s house in town where we ate a great feast with 12 other volunteers. We gave thanks and proceeded with more holiday shenanigans…nothing short of how it would be at a family holiday back home. We lit fireworks, slid down banisters, and had good chats. It was nice to spend this holiday in foreign country, though, if not just for the experience. When will I ever get to again? You can listen to “La Vida Hondureña” to learn what other volunteers think about holidays in the Peace Corps. Click here to listen.

So, yeah, I pulled my groin which turned into a funny but also not so great Peace Corps story. It goes like this. The first play of the Turkey bowl on that Thanksgiving Thursday I pull my groin. Its not too bad so I continue to play the rest of the game (bad idea #1). That day and the next I feel pretty tight down there but can get around fine.

That Saturday I am limping around but friends and I decide to go out in my town. We walk all around town and eventually settle somewhere where we do a little dancing (bad idea #2). It feels like its not getting worse but its definitely not getting better.

I decide to not call my doctors because they’ll just tell me to rest anyway (bad idea #3). That Monday I wake up in the middle of the night in extreme pain and do so the next two nights. That Wednesday I give a marketing workshop to some women’s groups (check out the video below). Thursday I finally call my doctor and go to the local hospital here in Santa Rosa.

The doc tells me I tore some muscle fibers in my leg/groin area and need to rest a lot…surprise. He points out the bruising that has occurred…I hadn’t noticed yet. He also gives me some meds. He then asks me if I just want a shot it the butt of anti-inflammatory. I ask him why. He said it would enter the body faster. I say yes (bad idea #5).

As soon as his nurse injects me with whatever it was, my butt and leg muscles feel like they are cramping and I clench the hospital bed with all my strength. This lasts for 30 minutes. Since the injection was in my left buttoc (said with a Forrest Gump accent) I now had two legs out of commission. The doctor says “oh wow, this never happens.” The nurse says “this happens sometimes. Just not that bad.” They both stare at me while I wait for the pain to go away. It does eventually. Now I am resting it. As of the time of this blog, my groin is at about 25%.

Lessons learned…1. American holidays in Honduras are a pretty cool experience 2. Stretch before working out 3. Never take a shot in the butt again.

…until next time

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Memory of MeMe...

Greetings again from Honduras.

I returned earlier this week from an unexpected trip to the states. This was a difficult time for my family and I. My grandmother lost her battle with cancer on October 31st.

My MeMe was a beloved grandmother, mother, and wife. It was indeed difficult. My grandmother, as she was, requested her whole family be around in her last days and we were. We all know that her soul is at peace and she is looking down on us.

This all really puts life and love into perspective. I say it a lot, but this trip home, seeing everyone come together, there is nothing like the love of a family. Family is forever. We all had tremendous friends that supported my grandma and our family through her difficult times and helped with the arrangements that occurred after her passing.

I am blessed with good friends and good family; all the rest is bonus in this life. And don’t forget to tell those you love in your life you do so, we can never say it enough.

As a tribute, this "Movember" my brother easily convinced me to donate my face to raising awareness about cancer. My commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of November.

Some have already contributed and I want to say thank you. There is still plenty of time to donate. My brother set the team goal to $2000 and we are only a few hundred away. YOUR DONATION COULD PUT US OVER THE TOP! Even the smallest donation makes a difference.

Click this link http://us.movember.com/mospace/1133244/ and donate online.

The money raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others, through LIVESTRONG’s programs and the world’s most promising cancer research and that support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.

My grandma’s soul has passed to a place of peace, but her memory is forever. I love you MeMe.

…until next time

Friday, October 15, 2010

Russian Dance and the Boogaloo...

Greetings again from Honduras.

Living in the moment, in the now, is the way to do it. It’s really what brought me here to Honduras and Peace Corps and how I work best. Plans are necessary sometimes. I used to be all about them, but just going where life takes you seems to produce better results here. Its how Hondurans do it sometimes and it seems the stress fades. I know life in the states can’t all be flyin by the seat of your pants, but here it can.

The other dayI happened to run into my German friend and some old “colleagues” from the organization I use to work with. We hit some lunch and they told me there was a despedida, or going away party as we say, for a Spanish aid worker that was here for a couple months.

I had plans to go to an English class I am sitting in on until 8. After that, I headed to the get together. I hadn’t planned on this but I went there anyway. What I thought would be a chill little kick back, turned into a karaoke singing, dancing party. There were mostly Hondurans but also Germans, a Bolivian, a Peruvian, a Dutch fella, and me, the American.

When Hondurans do little fiestitas like this, they like to get the dancing starting early. Sometimes its traditional stuff like salsa or bachata, and sometimes its good old hits as we know them.

We had a couple drinks, ate some dinner, and the music hit. Before long the dance circle formed and people were jumping in showcasing there best moves. “Pa Pa Americano” played about 20 times. Don’t know this song yet? Check out the video.

At this point I figured it was time to teach them some good old dance circle traditions. First I brought them the “Russian Dancer.” This is the one where you squat and then jump up with right hand and right leg out, alternating the other next jump. I will give props to the great Chuck Stancil for still making this one of the greatest ever. Well then maybe it may be the “German Dance.” Who knows?

After some time, and a couple Honduran introduced moves, I brought them the “boogaloo.” This one is very hard to explain. Its not the popping boogaloo though. Its kinda like Pewee Herman meets the twist…kinda. You get low, let your hands down, and just slowly shake it out. The Hondurans loved this one and couldn’t stop laughing. It was classic.

We danced a little bachata. Bachata is kinda a one-two partner step dance; 2 to the right and 2 to the left. Sometimes there are some more complex spins involved. They tried to teach these spins to me but even me and my crazy legs could never get it.

Later we smacked a piñata around. The night was getting late for a Wednesday, but then the karaoke came out. I sang some Spanish songs I know and they laughed at my pronunciation of some words. A specific few couldn’t wait to jump on me for it. They attempted to sing some English songs in which every word was butchered. I let it slide.

I was laughing and having a great time all night. It was hilarious. All these people, from all different places, were laughing and just having a good old time. Earlier that day I didn’t think I’d be introducing the “Russian Dance” and the “Boogaloo” later. I’m surprised it took me so long in service to bust these moves out for the Hondurans.

Come to think of it maybe this wasn’t necessarily “living in the now”, but just taking advantage of a good old time. Either way works.

…Until next time

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waterfalls and feeding babies....

Greetings again from Honduras. It’s been a nutty time as usual.

The adventures and explorations here never stop. I’ve got two memorable stories from you from the past month….

A couple weeks ago some friends and I went to visit the only micro-brewery in the country, D&D Brewery. We were celebrating some birthdays and all in all it was a good time. The brewery is owned by an ex-pat and it’s a little bungalowy villiagy place out in the jungle. They serve their own beer and some delicious hamburgers, fries, and other choice platters.

Its always good to get together with friends and just hang. The best part about this trip is that one day a couple of us went on a trek to a waterfall. Well, it’s not really a trek but a bus ride and small walk in a park. We walked to a pretty big waterfall….maybe falling about 100 feet or so.

The waterfall itself is not so special. What we did after we just looked at it was. We ran into some Russians, Canadians, and Europeans we had met back at the brewery. We decided to all go on the “behind the waterfall tour”. What we thought was hiking to some caves turned out to be an all out plunge into the bottom of the pouring waterfall.

We set out climbing over rocks, then under rocks protecting us from the splashing of the falls. Then we trek out of the rocky cave area and into the flowing waterfall. This was no little waterfall. The girls decided to stay back because the pounding the water gave was too painful for them. So we head out and the massive force of the waterfall immediately pounds on us as we follow the person in front of us. I lose some people for a minute and think if I let go of some rocks I’m gonna get swept out and away. The tour goes on like this for about 15 minutes and then we end up standing behind the water pouring down from above.

I wish I had the photos of this but the Canuck who took all the pictures still hasn’t made contact.

It was a rush, and it felt awesome. I was soaking, adrenaline flowing, and feeling good. I was under that waterfall, just looking out, trekking along and thinking about the times down here. What if I would have never made it down here to Honduras? All the experiences of the past 19 months would be different, and I don’t know if I’d be living life to the extent I am now. I just sat with amusement and humility at the situations. Those are the moments I love the best.

And we all know the other moments I also find humorous include the public breastfeeding. Boobs…what can I say? They are great. But breastfeeding, as I know it, should maybe always be reserved for private areas or at least a little cover up… Although, we all did it at one time. I guess I have mixed emotions on it. Let me digress…

This past week I helped out a medical brigade. I would translate for the doctors as they saw patients. Every now and again a mother would sit down with the doctor and I with her baby locked in on that nipple…boob out, baby suckin’, and mom just going on with the consultation. Not that there is anything wrong with a mother breastfeeding her child, but right in my face as if its not happening is still a shocker for me after all this time. Even though my mom is a certified “lactation consultant,” it still gets me.

There was one particular mother who was young, and smiling at me the whole time with some giggles. I was maintaining the best eye contact and seriousness I could. It was all going great until the mother was explaining how she had slight pain in her chest. She pointed to the area; the Doc and I were asking her questions, and baby still feeding away and I had to look directly at the action. At that moment, I just realized that this is how it is. I’m helping out this doc, and we need to check out this mom even though that baby is sucking and sucking hard on that boob. This is what we got to do. We gotta help out some moms who don’t take breaks to supply little Esteban with an afternoon snack. Cultural sensitivity people.

After thinking, does it still shock and humor me? Yes. But hey, this is my experience and what I gotta do. This is what happens down here. Just roll with it…see some babies takin’ down some mother’s milk straight from the source in public…oh well. Wanna climb under and take the hit of pressure from a 100ft waterfall on the head? Sure, why not. It’s about livin’, seeing, and doing.

Waterfalls and boobs. Its just part it.

Until next time…

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back From the States

Greetings again from Honduras. I have returned to the country I know call home and my long vacation and return to the states has come to an end.

Man it was one hell of a trip. I was nervous to go back but within days everything snapped back into place and I was happy to be in the place I know best.

It started with the horseshoe championship of the world. Bloody ary's flowed early, the reggae band entered, deep fried turkeys were cookin, and the event was under way…Just good people and a good party on the lake. My dad and I threw as a team. All was going well but after some bad breaks we were eliminated. My brother and cousin made it to the finals but after what was one close match they finished second. What it really was about was seeing great friends, sharing what has been happenin in our lives, busting some balls, and haven a good time.

I was also introduced to a new trend sweeping the country that I was not aware of. It’s called getting iced…Shmirnoff iced. The way this works is a friend sneaks up on you out of nowhere and pushes a Shmirnoff ice in your chest and you must get on one knee and pound it. Whoever came up with this Jamoke of a prank I don’t know, but I was hit with it. I guess people like to watch a guy pound a Smirnoff ice. I guess just watch out for it. Its pretty stupid and I never thought I’d be sharing cultural trends with my own. I thought Honduras had its weird trends, but this stupid one is now in the states. In Honduras I haven’t seen a Shmirnoff ice…but I don’t plan on continuing this ridiculous prank anyway.

The trip followed with some relaxing time at my parents home, a trip to the city of San Fran with my greatest friends, and ending with a bang of a time at my college buddy Mike's wedding. I got to reunite with college friends and even a good ol’ friend who once joined me down here in Hondu. It was a great time and hilarious. You can check out pictures from the trip here. I’ll be adding more.

I think this was a great time for me to go back. With the months I have left, and perspective I have in Hondyland, with a new outlook on life in the states, it all felt right.

Who knows how the rest of these 8 months will go? I really don't have expectations anymore. If its anything like the first 18 I will be ready for a roller coaster full of craziness, emotion, stomach problems, breastfeeding mothers, parasites, exploration, offerings of girlfriends/wives, great times, booze, frustration, and new insights….but that’s what makes it awesome. I like the action, then I like the calm. Its just how it goes.

When it comes down to it, returning at this time, I think I am coming upon one of the things that I came to Hondyland to find…that's just a simple understanding. An understanding of what other people and places are like, and why they are that way. This trip back to my old home really put that in perspective. You know the work is work, but its the human experience is what its about. That’s at the base of it all. Sharing that with others is pretty cool. Life is also getting simpler, and I like that.

I have an amazingly loving and supporting family. I have the best friends in the world, in multiple countries. All the rest is bonus. I am truly grateful for it all.
Back to Peace Corps life…it’s a trip…

…Until next time

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heading Back to the Bay...

Greetings again from Honduras. It’s been another month of shenanigans and hooligan happenings. All is well, but it’s hard to contain my excitement for what will be my first return in 16 months to the old San Francisco Bay Area. More on that later.

This month started off with a bang; 4th of July celebrations. A small group of us headed to Marcala in the south/east region of Honduras to celebrate our nation’s birthday. It was a classic day of drinks, friends and fun. I was heavily obsessed with lighting off the fireworks I had purchased. We set them off throughout the day with a classic finale at night. I was a great time with friends as usual.

The world cup came and went but the fever was amazing. In 2006 I was in Europe for the world cup and the fever was great. To be here in Honduras for 2010 World Cup was nothing less. It was an energy that filled the streets and people with excitement. Songs were played throughout the streets like “Wavin Flag” and Shakira’s “Waka Waka.” Most people had no idea what the songs were saying but who cares. Promotional teams from Salva Vida (local beer company) dished out swag and prizes nightly. I’ll miss those times especially.

Best of all, this month I will return to the USA and the San Francisco Bay Area for a little return to the place I know best. I fly in next week and go straight to Donner Lake near Lake Tahoe for the Horseshoe Championship of the World. This is always one of my favorite vacations of the year. I have high hopes for a win this year.

I will be in the bay for the two weeks after that. The visit will end with my good friends Mike and Bridget’s wedding. I hope to see some friends and just chill, soaking up all the greatness the bay has to offer. Please tap the Guinness keg as my gut keeps bugging me for some.

Also, we just recorded a great new podcast episode. Click on the “Vida Hondureña” link to the right to check it out.

Short but sweet. That’s it. Can’t wait to kiss the ground of my beloved country and enjoy a few weeks of family, friends, and good food.

...Until next time

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sittin on Rocks...

Greetings again from Honduras.

Last week I returned from a trip through Yoro and Colon, two departments (like states) in the north of Honduras. It was a trip for the books indeed. Most of the way I was accompanied by a good friend and fellow volunteer Justin living in Yoro. Oh the places we went.

This is where I have to tell you about sitting on rocks. Oh sitting on rocks. My trip was meant originally to discover the department that is Yoro. There are only 5 volunteers there and it normally goes unvisited due to extreme heat and the occasional western style shootout by drug lords marking territory. Two of my friends live there and I felt I just had to make it out to know really what goes on. I ended up hitting the luck box by experiencing the very rare cool temperatures and no shootouts. Although with the shootouts part I think I was unlucky.

After visiting the town of Morazan, Justin and I moved on to his town of Victoria and then onto the beautiful beaches of Trujillo. We had some fun in the sun. We played a classic game my brother invented when we were kids called run into the water as fast as you can until you face plant. It was really nice.

But let me tell you about rocks. After Morazon we’d have to catch 3 different buses to get to Vitoria, where Justin lives. The second bus is a 2 hour dirt road ride on a chicken bus, or as you would know it, a yellow school bus.

After this bus, we had to get off and wait for bus #3 which is a short ride to Justin’s site. This is where we meet the rocks. These rocks lay under a beautiful tree amidst, well, not much else. It’s just a crossroads, a tree, some country houses and these rocks. It’s pretty normal to wait in places like this for buses when traveling in Honduras.

But let me tell you these rocks were something else. They were smooth, as if the rock’s hard edges were worn down by a river, but no water was in sight let alone a river. The mystery of how this happened will keep you up at night.

You can sit on them for hours waiting for a bus and surprisingly, nothing will happen. You can see men with machetes talking to themselves and watch mothers breastfeed their children with a full boob buffet out and still she looks at you with the “oh my god it’s a gringo” stare. Her other child throws rocks at chickens.

Then you see the red ants, and they just want to take you down. I mean, we are on their rocks. Oh these rocks are amazing. You can sit on them and think about this movie scene…

You may think you have it made. Back in the states most my friends are working in the city, going to nice restaurants, spending beautiful times with their friends and significant others, going to fun bars and baseball games…and here I am, just sitting on rocks. Where else can I experience that?

Life is crazy. Sittin’ on rocks…sometimes its just what we do.

…Until next time

Monday, May 31, 2010

New Perspectives...

Greetings again from Honduras. May has brought downpours and Tropical Storm Agatha to Central America. It feels like it just wouldn’t stop raining. Then came a state of emergency from the president. The next day (today) we finally get sunshine. We will see what happens next. All is calm here in Santa Rosa but in other parts of the country and beyond, not so much. Click here to read more about it.

The other morning, my great site-mate Kat cooked a fantastic brunch here in our town. I don’t think I have mentioned this but she happens to be one of the best cooks/bakers in all of Peace Corps Honduras and I am lucky enough to have here in my site. We were also joined by great site-mates John and Elizabeth (a married Peace Corps couple living here in Santa Rosa as well).

We feasted and enjoyed and then proceeded to have a 2.5-hour conversation about Peace Corps, living life, and the ways of the world. These conversations happen a lot here, some times under the influence of local fermented magic which makes things interesting (not this time). But with what’s been going on in my life lately and the situations I find myself in here, a lot of realizations came out.

You see, sometimes down here I get frustrated. I get frustrated about the people, the way things are done, and how other people choose to live their lives. Sometimes I think everything is so out of whack but I have some tools that will work to fix that.

But what I think is important to remember is that certain things work for me because I am me. Certain things work where we come from because that’s where we come from. Just because something works in my life, and where I come from, doesn’t mean it’s right, or better, or so beneficial to someone else. I read a quote today from a Brazilian writer that said

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”

I have a hard time remembering that sometimes. When I settle down to remember this my mind opens, and I gain and understanding that moves me forward in the right direction.

It’s all about understanding, gaining a new perspective, and seeing what happens from there.

Everyone is tryin to do the same thing in this world…live a good life, be happy, and contribute a little bit. The thing is, everyone has a different way of getting there. Honduras is reminding me of that, and for it, I am grateful.

…Until next time

P.S. I know some blogs are getting serious. I have been told many times that I am too serious sometimes. If you know me I am a joker on the outside and all this comes from the inside. Okay okay. I promise the next blog will be full of light stuff. Stay tuned…

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life and Times...

Greetings again from Honduras. It’s almost been a month since my last post. Time continues to fly by on this crazy journey. I am always experiencing something new that creates new interest, and new challenges.

In the time since my last post, some important dates have past.

April 30th marked one year left of service for me here in Honduras. Its crazy to think I have a year left with all that has happened already.

April 27th marked my 27th birthday. Life keeps happening. If someone would have told me 5 years ago that when I was 27 I would be working in Honduras with the Peace Corps I would never have believed it. How happy I am that I am here though. My gratitude is great for this experience.

Lastly, April 22nd marked the date that my greatest friends came and visited in Honduras. Chetter, P, the Big Man, Connie and the Aussies Tally Mate and Ben came down for quite an adventure. We went off to the island of Utila for some fun in the sun and scuba diving. Yes, I went again. We hit the lotto when we swam with 5 different whale sharks. These rare creatures of the sea are the biggest fish in the ocean. We hit a record and saw 4 in one day. We jumped in the water with our snorkel gear on and saw the giant fish face to face. It was an experience most will not get in their lives but we did. Just amazing.

After the heat and sand flies sent us bitten, burnt, and bruised, we headed off to some river rafting in the northern rain forest of Honduras. The lodge and rooms are right in the jungle and we had a nice finish to the trip.

What a time it was. You can check out pictures here

I want to leave you with the beginning of an entry to my personal journal I wrote. I would like to share it because often times people wonder exactly how it all works down here; what the experience is like. These times are truly unique, and this is what goes through my head during it all…

I rode a bus home today from a training trip for new volunteers in Tegucigalpa. The familiar feeling of heat coupled with wind at my face accompanied me the whole way. In a country where all is foreign, I am beginning to feel foreign too. All the thoughts and emotions about who I am, what I am about, and how I am supposed to live this life continually go off in my head like fireworks on the 4th of July.

Sometimes I welcome them and sometimes I turn them away, and tell them to come back another time. Some make me feel good, some not so good, and some make me question it all. Sometimes I just want to get away. I feel the need for constant stimulation for fear of what I will hear during the silence. Although I don’t know what’s better, to sit and feel the discomfort and emotion, or to occupy the mind and let it phase out with time like a candle that just needs to burn out?

I think it’s both.

…Until next time

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lets Climb This Mountain...

Greetings again from Honduras. All is well in the land del Catracho. Last week was “Semana Santa.” We all know it as Holy Week. Here in Honduras, and most of Latin America, it’s the biggest travel time of the year.

Most people have the whole week off and everyone has Wed - Easter Sunday off. A lot of people go to the beach. But myself and a group of friends decided to do something else. More on that in a sec.

Before I left on that mini vacation, a new organization I am working with, AMPRO (A membership organization to better the profits and quality of small business owners and agro producers with micro-loans), requested I help them with a new label for there coffee. Score! I had been wanting to get involved in coffee for a while. A women’s group makes the coffee and it scores as some of the best in Honduras.

Below are some pics of the coffee and the women’s group displaying their product at a recent coffee fair in my town of Santa Rosa de Copán. Good times!

Alright, so for Semana Santa a group of us traveled out to Elisabeth’s site to climb a mountain there…one of the highest in Honduras called Picucha. Well this was no hike for jamokes (if you don’t know what a jamoke is, you don’t know me well). This was a 3 day two night hike that consisted of climbing mountains, scaling trees, and camping out in the jungle.

The great Calixto, a Honduran who lives in the hills of Catecamas, and his 12 year old son, guided us. That’s right he was 12, and is one impressive little guy.

So we climbed this beast and let me say, it was quite an experience. This was not a hike as much at it was a steep inclined climb and workout for 3 days. I felt it for days after.

For sleeping we had three tents, one of which was a 2-man tent that we crammed 4 into, and we were sleeping on hard earth and one night a tree stump. I didn’t sleep much at all. Not so fun at the time but hilarious as I think of it now.

In the end, we reached the top of the mountain. It was all worth it. Below is a picture of our guide and I at the top.

You can check out more pictures of the trip here

It wasn’t the relaxing semana santa vacation most have, but a challenging one with great friends. Just another reminder that during this experience, it’s not necessarily the places I go, but the people I am with, and the people that support me that makes all the difference.

To top it off, the end of this month marks a momentous occasion. My best boys from San Fran are making the trip down to visit and celebrate my birthday at the end of the month. We will scuba dive, relax, catch up and just have a good time. The dogs are comin'. Watch out Hondu.

…Until next time

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Feelin Strong...

Greetings again from Honduras. Things have been going along just well here with a lot of work, a lot of play, and continued good experiences.

I just wrote an email to Elisabeth’s host mom and thought it was funny when she asked how my health was. I replied to her that it was up and down. Upon further reflection I think my body has been through a bit.

To recap, since I have been here I’ve had Ecoli, 3 parasites, a bacterial infection of the stomach due to bad food, and I recently just finished medication for a strong stomach bacteria called H. Pylori. All this makes me laugh a bit. I think of it that my body is just getting stronger inside. At least I will keep telling myself that.

Then I started thinking how already I feel stronger in many ways. Mentally I have already been through some real tough hardships that have made me view the world in different ways. It’s hard to explain how this place broadens the mind but it sure does.

Physically I have convinced myself to start working out again. My folks brought me down some work out gear and I’m putting it to good use. I started this program called P90X. It’s an everyday workout program for 90 days. It’s a real burner man. I’ve already had to skip days but still tryin. Even though I may not stick to the everyday routine, even a couple days a week will make me feel it.

I am getting stronger in the sense of how to work with the people down here and how to get projects going in a team work way. It may sound simple but finding a way to get all cylinders working on projects here is tough.

I think I just feel stronger too, as a person. That’s the good part. I’m living, focusing on what I want to, and feeling good about me. In the great film “Into The Wild” Emile Hirsch plays Christopher McCandless. Hirsch recites a quote that hit me the first time I heard it, and I always remember here in the Peace Corps… he says “I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong.” Right on brother., I’m doing my best.

The journey man…its great.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

There’s Nothing Like Family…

Greetings again from Honduras. I have officially been in Honduras a year and what a journey it’s been so far. A year ago I arrived here a curious man in his mid twenties searching for adventure, and a year later I am still doing the same but have grown immensely from my experience. It’s been and up and down ride but no doubt, it’s been the best ride of my life.

Even more special is that my family made it from the states and got to celebrate it all with me. My bro, sis, mom and dad all made it down here to my neck of the woods to check out what my life here was all about, and of course, to take a great vacation and have a great time.

They arrived in San Pedro Sula on a Sunday. Elisabeth and I met them at the airport and that afternoon we were in my town of Santa Rosa de Copán. I showed my fam a little bit of the town and took them to a good restaurant. That night we all rested, and I unpacked a huge bag fool of treats and gifts from the states. It was nice.

The next day I showed them a small pueblito I did some work in. Next, I took them to the NGO I work with and we talked about my projects and what I do around here. We followed that up with a nice lunch and then to the Agua Termales (hot springs) at night. Even though the air was warm it was oh so refreshing.

The following day we headed out to the beautiful Roatán. What a little secret this place is in the southern Carribean. We went scuba diving, zip lined, dined on delicious food, and more importantly spent some great time together. It was really amazing and really hard to say bye when they left. It went by fast, but the moments with my family were priceless. You can check out pictures by clicking here

What a way to spend my anniversary in the country.

And so it goes I have been here on this journey a year now. Time has flown by but the lessons learned, and experienced lived seem have been timeless. I can’t explain the transformation and realizations I have been through, but I am grateful. Its all about the moment, humility, awareness, and love of this world that has all gifted us in one way or another. Especially, I am forever grateful that I am gifted with the family and life I have. Thanks for everything guys, it was amazing. I love you very much. I also have great friends who I know will always be there for me, as I will for them. I am lucky enough to have all this. Whatever comes after that is all just a bonus.

Until next time…

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Time Flies...

Greetings again from Honduras. Wow, it’s almost been a month since I have written a blog. I even checked my archives to make sure that was right. Where has the time gone? The answer; I have no clue.

Honduras swore in a new president and he seems to be getting stricter. I have traveled for work a couple times in the last month and each trip there were at least two police check points to stop at. In case you don’t Honduras is becoming the new drug trafficking capitol of latin America now that Mexico is coming down hard on its narcos (drug traffickers).

Also, the other night I was enjoying some cervesas with friends here in town and 8 people, cops and law enforcement personnel, came in to crack down on underage drinking. Some Hondurans said the new president really wants to crack down on crime. Good thing, as Honduras has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world.

The podcast series is still going so don’t forget to check it out on iTunes. Search Peace Corps in the iTunes store (La Vida Hondureña) or go here.

I am trying to help get my NGO a new website again. The project was stalled for a bit but we are applying for funds and getting quotes to get this thing built. Cross your fingers.

After the aldea survey, I got my site-mate Kat, who works with water systems, to join me on a project to get a water system to a small community in our municipality. The community is all but forgotten, as it is far from town, and we are gonna see if we can get them a system. Cross your fingers on this one too.

I am going back to my video roots and making a new video for the business project as well as doing some additional promotional designs. I try to keep my creative side healthy with projects. So these ones, even though internal, really fuel that.

Best of all, though, is that my parents, bro, and sis are coming down here in a week. I obviously am really looking forward to this as I haven’t seen them in quite some time. I am gonna show them the town and then head to the islands. I finally get to go diving again.

My grandma sent me an email reminding me how important it is to live for today, live for the moment. I am learning this more and more. The more I think about the past, and the more I worry about the future, the more mixed up my mind gets. Yesterday is done and tomorrow will take care of itself. Live it up.

I will have been in this country a year on February 25th. What a ride it’s been so far. I can’t do much but smile and be thankful that I even get to do this.

…until next time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Years...New Times

Greetings again from Honduras. Just hanging out here in a Monday night enjoying some quiet time. Happy New Year to everyone! I didn’t make any resolutions this year because life is too unpredictable down here. But I guess if I had to make one, it’s to continue doing what means something to me and avoid the fluff.

I’m not gonna start with any Honduran news because I talk about it on the new Podcast episode. A new one is up in the iTunes store under Podcasts (search Peace Corps or La Vida Hondureña). Or you can click here and subscribe to it on the audio site by looking in the bottom right hand corner for the iTunes logo. And of course, it’s free. If anyone you know is interested in Peace Corps or wants to learn more about the life we live here, lead them in that direction.

Okay, so, what’s been happening? Well, Elisabeth, some friends, and I rang in the New Year at a place called the Omega Tours Jungle Lodge. It’s a little lodge nestled into the jungle of Honduras near the North Coast. We river rafted one day and did a lagoon tour the next where we saw monkeys and ate lunch on the beach. It started dumping hard rain the last day and a half but we still loved it. It was a great time.

I returned back to work after about 2 weeks of taking it easy and things are picking up again. I am doing some graphic designs for Peace Corps and fellow volunteers who need help getting promotional materials for their various organizations. Also, Volker, my good German friend, and another worker from the office went on an Aldea survey that was really great. We did it all in one day, going around asking people in the small towns of the municipality about their pueblitos and what resources they do and don’t have.

I love projects like this because its getting out there with the people, seeing what their needs are, and getting ideas for new projects. My NGO mostly helps the urban areas of town so its nice to help out in the rural areas where people really need some resources and help with new skills.

Now its 2010, a new year, and the new year has always made me reflect on the last year and think about what’s to come. I landed here in Honduras 11 months ago. It’s been one roller coaster ride with some huge ups and downs. But now, the ride is smoothing out. I think back to why I came here and I can do nothing but smile.

What I have realized is that the present is the best place to focus on, and the present me is what I am coming to love. And in this present time, I continue to be fascinated by this land and culture. I continue to reflect on who I am as a person, and what I can do to be a more peaceful, aware me. And when thinking about the New Year, it is so reassuring to say that I did it; I came down here and lived this experience...the one I wanted to have.

It’s nice to say that I love this experience. I love doing work that means something to me. I love learning more about other people, and where they have come from and what makes them the way they are. The cultural exchange is simply awesome. I love learning more about myself while continuing to grow as a person. I am so grateful and appreciative that I even have the opportunity to do this, and amazing friends and family to support me the whole way. What more do I need? What a life…what times.

It’s a New Year, and I’m feeling new already.

…Until next time