Sunday, February 28, 2010

Misty morning on Lago de Yojoa

Another cross-posting from the gratitude challenge :)

"Take a picture of one thing, person, place, or specific moment that makes you feel grateful. Share it with your social network."

Well, my camera doesn't work anymore (at least, i'm pretty sure it doesn't), so I couldn't take a picture specifically for today's challenge. More on that in a moment... I'm going to include one from a recent trip instead.

This picture was taken at about 7 in the morning on the edge of a river emptying in to el Lago de Yojoa. I was just setting out for a birdwatching tour of the lake with two of my best friends here in Honduras (Elisa and Shirley). I was excited to be out at that time of day... it reminded me of all the times I went up to watch the sun rise at Pretty Place in South Carolina... there's something so quiet and intimate about the mist rising up off the world when the sun first comes out. As we would say watching the sun rise, God puts on a different and amazing show every day. You just have to take the time to be still, be present and watch it. I'm thankful for anytime I can roust myself out of bed to experience this recurrent moment on the Earth. It truly is one of the most beautiful things that can be seen.

I was also thankful for learning about an amazing ecosystem during my day on the lake, and learning how different birds fill different niches on the lake. It was good to come to know Honduras a little more and feel like I could relate some of what I learned to the kids I'm teaching (out of North American biology textbooks that often seem very out of context). I learned so many fascinating things.

I was extremely thankful that day for the company of my friends and of our guides. I was especially thankful to have this picture at all, since I dropped my camera and it sank to the bottom of the (thankfully shallow and clear) lake. The oarsman got out and retrieved my camera (I was able to salvage the pictures from the card), so I would not even be able to have shown you all this picture if it weren't for his act of kindness.

So this picture represents a lot of things for me, and I hope that you enjoyed hearing about it. :) I AM SO THANKFUL for the people, places, and forces that brought it to me in the first place and also that got it back to me!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Taulabe Caves

A couple of weeks ago, Elisa and I went to check out the caves of Taulabe and had a nice time! We were scheming on the way back from our personal trip of ways to take our classes to the caves and to also plan the trip together. Well, after quite a bit of planning, we all made it back in one piece from the caves today! I was glad we both got to draw on our outdoor education experiences and incorporate some of the activities we had done at our outdoor schools into our program for the kids. We even baked them all cookies!!! A triple recipe = 6 stick of butter = really good sugar cookies :P

Anyway, I'm kind of "cross-posting" again on this block since I wrote about what I am grateful for on the trip through the "Gratitude Challenge" that I'm doing for the first part of Lent. Enjoy!

"Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today."

Well, I dunno about life in general, but I can definitely talk about today! We went to the Taulabe caves today with 5th and 11th grade, and I was grateful to know that the students can have this kind of experience with their friends and with their school. I'm not sure if any of them is nearly as excited about geology as I am, but I think it's important for people to come in contact with nature and I'm glad we did it.

I'm also grateful for the way my students took care of each other today--the 11th graders helping th 5th graders and even helping each other out when the cave darkness gets scary. Seeing Juan Carlos give Graciela a hug when she needed it was cool. Seeing Graciela be "mom" to the 5th graders was cool. Seeing the 5th graders be the first to step up and thank us for organizing the field trip was also pretty inspiring. I'm grateful that somebody's grateful for me/my efforts!

I also was grateful for a moment alone in the dark cave when I was picking up the little candles we had left and making sure everything was cleaned up. The group was far ahead of me and I walked back alone in the dark (or relatively so since I had a flashlight). After a day of lots of people, it was a beautiful thing to have a moment alone in the cave... it's a powerful place and it's nice to experience that without distractions sometimes.

So thanks to all the people and places that made today special!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hondureñismos, aka fun Honduran slang!

For all you Spanish speakers out there, I thought you might enjoy some fun Honduran-isms... little slang words or phrases that tend to pepper Honduran Spanish. One of the big things I had to get accustomed to was the VOS form in Spanish which is not taught in US schools... For a long time I thought everyone was simply speaking Spanish like a bunch of uneducated people, but it really is a whole separate form of address with its own verb conjugations. NO ONE uses tú, and they all think it sounds very Mexican... HMMPH! I´ve noticed that Hondurans don´t like Mexicans very much...

Anyway, here are some examples comparing the tú and the vos forms:

tú command -- ven
vos command -- vení
tú command -- siéntate
vos command -- sentate (stem doesn´t change, accent on the second syllable)
for normal conjugations, it seems to take after the vosotros form from Spain
tú present -- tú sabes
vos present -- vos sabés

Que pedo = What's up? literally, "What's fartin'?" kind of vulgar, used usually by men who know each other REALLY well.
Oye, loco

Goodbyes, conversation wrapper-uppers
Va, pues
Vaya, pues
Cheque-leque Panqueque

de miedo (like awesome, powerful)

Random words
guirros (imagine there are two dots over the u)

expressions that make me laugh although they are totally normal
some of you enjoyed my separate blog entry on ¨andar + noun¨ which still seems weird to me... Do you have a pencil sounds more like are you walking a pencil?
Ocupar here means like to use something... like ¨ocupas ese vaso?¨ Are you using that glass? To me it sounds like ¨are you occupying that glass?¨ Well, no, I don´t think I can fit inside :P