San Juan, Honduras (October or November, 2003)

While You Are There: I don’t think you can go here anymore, sadly. Well, you can go to the town but you can’t have this experience. My memory of this homestay is foggy. I scoured the internet and found nothing, only an article that says the Peace Corps pulled out of Honduras five years ago. What a shame.

Why It’s On My List: This was in a little village in the middle of Honduras. I can’t even remember how my friend and I found out about this budding Peace Corps tourism program, but as soon as we did, we knew we had to go. I remember walking across the town square on a dirt road to get here, very quaint and charming. We stayed with this lovely woman and helped her make breakfast on that built-in fireplace in the morning. Then someone took us out to harvest coffee and we roasted it back at the house and took a bunch home with us. Little did I understand how strong it was! When the hostess made it for us, she knew what she was dealing with. When I made some for myself back at my house in Puerto Cortės, I ended up sweating and shaking uncontrollably for most of the morning. Coffee overdose, big time.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Victor

My students in Honduras, and to a much lesser extent my students in Mexico, had some unusual names. In Honduras, I was told it had a lot to do with the city being the largest shipping port in Central America. Women would get pregnant by seamen (pun intended) from all around the world but by the time the baby arrived, the men would be long gone. The women, not being highly literate, would give the babies names that were similar to the men’s names but names got distorted due to differences in the sounds of Spanish versus whatever the fathers’ native tongues were. Or they would give the babies names that were words on the ships, cargo containers, or books and magazines the men read.

I don’t know how much truth there is to all that, but I do know a lot of my students had creative and unexpected names. My favorite was Victor Hugo. He was a chubby little guy in the fifth grade class I taught. All smiles and sweetness. Maybe his mom knew who Victor Hugo was and maybe not, but either way, I think he’ll achieve some greatness in his life. Or at least I hope he won’t end up in political exile somewhere. Continue reading →

Uniform

I’ve had my fair of jobs that required me to wear a uniform, starting with my very first official job at Burger King. I still remember the stiff and scratchy navy blue pants, the chunky black orthopedic sneakers, the visor that did nothing to keep all the grease out of my hair, and the polo. The heavy, ill-fitting polo shirt. Polo shirts that are three sizes too large seem to be the unifying factor of all jobs in my life that required a uniform. I don’t understand why uniform manufacturers seem to think the minimum weight for anyone in a job that requires a uniform is 150 pounds, but that seems to be about the weight that aligns with the smallest size polo available. Besides Burger King, these jobs also subjected me to this fashion crime. Continue reading →