Magnolia

Magnolia

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Change...Some Good, Some Not So Good

I’ve now been in Honduras for a couple of days over 8 months and I’ve noticed some changes in myself. Some are subtle changes. Some are quite striking. Some are good and some quite possibly could get me in trouble when I return to the states!

For example, I am now a maniac on the road. I’ve come to realize that in order to survive while in the confines of your vehicle you need to take charge. You need to be assertive. You need to have nerves of steel. In short, you need to be a little crazy. If you show any weakness whatsoever, they (all the other crazy drivers on the road) will take advantage of you and crush you. I’ve lost all of the courtesy that I once showed when driving in Texas. If you are nice and let one car cut in front of you, you will incur the wrath of all of the cars behind you. You’ll also quickly realize that you weren’t just allowing that one car to cut in front of you or cross the street, but now there are 10 or 15 others, forming an unbreakable chain. It looks like their bumpers are glued together! Safety in numbers! CHARGE! So, there you sit, a line of cars crossing in front of you, the 40 or so cars behind you leaning on their horns (yea, that will sure make me plow through the car in front of me!), and everyone at a standstill because no one will yield to anyone else. And let’s not forget about the 12 motorcycles that have now seen a weak spot in the line of traffic and are virtually wiggling their way between cars to move forward. As a result, I’ve learned to only wave a car in front of me when I can clearly see there are no more behind him and there are not too many cars behind me. It is definitely survival of the most aggressive here in Tegucigalpa.

Something else that has changed about me is that I find I’m no longer a late night snacker. I used to love to snack after dinner was over. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t sleeping as well as when I first got here. I mentioned it to someone and they asked me if I ate late at night. I confessed my habit of getting a “little something” in the evenings. They told me that at this altitude, sometimes your digestion doesn’t happen as fast as you’d like so consequently, you lay in bed with a full stomach for hours. Your brain is overseeing your digestion and won’t rest until it’s done! Once I stopped heading for the kitchen late at night, I started sleeping better. I should have realized that long ago since many years ago, I lived in Mexico City and we always ate our big meal at 2:00 PM and at night had a small meal. Same reason…

I’ve also found that I have become a true volunteer. At the Embassy, I volunteer for whatever function or committee that comes along. Of course, it’s great for your EER (annual evaluation) but just getting out from behind my desk to go to meetings or realizing that I might have fun with a certain committee has made life better. I think this is the year of volunteering, or so I’ve heard on TV. You should consider it. What’s one afternoon or evening out of your life spent helping someone? Habitat for Humanity could really use some help. The local soup kitchen or even school might have some work that a good volunteer could do. Think of the good feeling you’d have during that one day a week that you helped someone else. I heard on CNN the other night that there’s a website set up and you can enter your zip code and it shows all the people/organizations who could use a hand in your area. If you’re smart in something…math, English, a foreign language…contact a high school and see if you can tutor some student. Imagine the welcoming smile from them (and their parents) when they find out you won’t charge $50 an hour!

Seriously…volunteering is a good thing. Give it a shot!

6 comments:

Pym said...

Hehehe. Words can't describe how proud I am of you, and happy that you're doing well, even if I probably won't ride in a car with you for a few months after you leave Teguci.... ;)

Debi said...

It means so much to me that you're proud...you've made my day! And next time we ride together, you will do the driving! Love you...

Laurie said...

I have been living in Tegu now for almost a year. And yes I understand. I am a maniac driver, too. Sometimes I am scared to death, but other times, I just scrunch up courage and DRIVE!

Debi said...

"Scrunch up courage"...what a great way to put it! And my advise is to never EVER make eye contact!!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, the driving. I saw some really funny tshirts about Honduran driving, when we were down there in December. And heard some not so funny stories about accidents.

I totally agree with you on the volunteering. I started with Habitat a few months ago, and it's added SO much to my life.

Debi said...

I bet you saw the T-Shirts in Valle! They are so funny...every time I go there, I say I'm going to buy one. Next time I will...and then wear it when I go back to the states!
If more people volunteered, they too would realize how it enriched their lives!