Friday, January 16, 2009

30 questions

A friend of mine is heading to Honduras - following her own catracho so to speak - sometime early next year. And so she has been following my move with interest. She had asked me to tell her all about it, but that was just to broad of a question for my mind right now, LOL. So I told her to post questions for me on her blog, and I would post the questions and answers here.

Well she took me up on it, and posted a blog post of 30 questions for me. And here they are.

1. How was the plane ride with 7 children & 800lbs of luggage?

  • It was much easier than me traveling with just Levi when we came back, LOL. Honestly, the plane ride was easy peasy. The kids were good, and I planned well for it. I had new toys for the little kids, MP3's and new games for the GameBoys for the older two. Snacks for everyone, and sippy cups for the little ones for when they came around with the drink cart, so I didn't have to worry about wet messy clothes. I don't know if I said so or not, but I got everyone a brand new backpack just for the trip and filled it with trip stuff, not to be touched but at certain times (or on certain planes) and it worked out well.
2. How did it go dealing with immigration @ the airport?

  • Immigration was easy. They ask you where you are going, how long do you plan on staying, and thats about it. Then they stamp your passport and tell you how many days you have on your visa.
3. What did you think of everything as you were riding towards the home you had never seen?

  • Having been to Honduras and Tocoa before, I had seen a good part of where we were going on the last trip. But I still sat there and took in everything thinking of the kids, and trying to see what they were seeing.
4. How was your hubby when he saw all of you, after spending so much time apart?
  • He was excited to see all of us (especially Levi, since he had never seen him - other than in pictures). And no Anelys, I didn't get a picture of him when he first saw Levi. I was actually still dealing with the immigration official when Jordan took Levi to Lale.
5. What did you think of your house?

  • I liked it - I still do. There are some things that I want done to the house, and am hoping that in the next 3 months before the baby is born, I can make enough money to get those things done.
6. How is it different from homes here?

  • Um, lets see. Geckos on the wall. Cement floors (which will be tiled soon YAY), tye-die walls (LOL - they aren't that way anymore). No hot water, just cool water. I dont know. It is built for a hot weather climate, and the homes that I have lived in are built for both hot and cold weather, so its different for me, but from what I understand homes in places like Miami are alot like the homes in Honduras.
7. Tell us about your 1st day in Honduras?
  • Check out the other days blog
8. How have you been doing laundry? Cooking?
  • Before I broke my foot, I washed the clothes. We don't have a pila yet (its being built once the back porch is finished, and they will begin working on the back porch in Feb), so I washed on a small rocklike table that we have out back. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, just time consuming. After I broke my leg, I had someone else doing the washing. I prefer that, and I think when I get back I will have someone to do the washing - if nothing else.

  • Cooking - before I broke my leg I cooked outside on the fuego as well as inside on the stove. I actually enjoyed cooking on the fuego and can't wait to get home to my new outdoor kitchen and fuego. The fuego that I have right now is just a temporary one until the back porch is finished. (The back porch will have a laundry room on it as well as the outdoor kitchen - which will have the fuego, and a fire oven too)

Here is a picture of how my clothes are being washed for now.


9. Oh, what about diapering? Don't you still have babies in diapers? Have you been buying disposables or did you buy cloth before you went? My roomie cloth diapers her baby, with the diaper covers, all in ones, etc. & it's easier than I thought though pricey up front. I'm interested in knowing how you've dealt with diapers, formula, baby check ups, vaccines, etc.

  • I had originally planned on cloth diapering the kids when I got there. When we went, Lana and Levi were in diapers still. But Lana was 75% potty trained pretty soon after we got there. And I would alternate between disposable and cloth diapers. Levi couldn't handle the heat and cloth diapers, so he then went to disposable, and I used cloth on him only as a last resort. Then when I broke my foot and someone had pooped in the cloth diapers, Jordan was supposed to rinse the poop off and put the diapers in a special place so that they could be washed. Well instead she just hid them in a bucket under a bunch of clothes and they got ruined. So out of 24 (I think) cloth diapers that I took with me, only 3 were not ruined. So we use only disposable. And I will be sending down tons of cases (from BJ's) of Huggies for the new baby and for my fat boy. (They are cheaper here than there - although if you buy at places live CVS they are about the same price. If you buy diapers at places like BJ's or Sams then they are way cheaper here.) Formula they have here, same formulas as there. The price depends on where you get it. None of the kids had baby check ups because for some reason there medical/vaccination records didn't make it to Honduras, and you need those for the vaccinations. Levi is 2 months behind on his vaccinations because at his 9 month check up he wouldn't have gotten any, but at his 12 month he would have gotten 3. Lana and Johan both need there 2 and 3 yr vaccinations. I do believe that Isa is all caught up, and I know Mickey is too. At least by the vaccination standards here in the US. I don't know about the vaccination standard in Honduras. Lale will be taking care of that as I am sending down a copy of the vaccination record to him. The baby will be going for his/her vaccinations and well baby check ups though from the get go.
10. How close are you to a real town? Stores?

  • I am about 15 minutes or so from Tocoa, which is pretty big. It isn't a big city like La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa, or San Pedro, but it is a good size city. It has alot of stores, and I can get basically everything I need there. The 8 months I was there I didn't go shopping anywhere else other than Tocoa. (although when we were in La Ceiba, I did take advantage of the Pizza Hut, LOL) There is a mall there now too, but I haven't been to it. For some reason a rip to the mall with all the kids does not appeal to me, LOL.
11. How has the weather been treating you? Has it effected your arthritis?

  • Actually the weather has been ok. I am one who doesn't like the heat to much, and there were days that it was hot, but with a fan, I dealt with it no problem. I will say though that I am glad that we don't live in Tocoa. Although it is only a short distance away, due to the difference in elevation, it might as well be a world away as far as temperature goes. There were days at home the heat was fine. Hot yes, but nothing I couldn't handle. Then we would go to Tocoa, and I would be sitting in the shade and just have sweat rolling down my legs/back/face etc. and my shirt would be wet with sweat. Ugh. I wouldn't have made it if we lived in Tocoa. As far as my arthritis, its been fine. And my arthritis meds are cheaper there (and no prescription is needed there for the medication) than it is here in the US. Gotta love that.
12. How have the kids dealt with it all?

  • They have adjusted well. Mickey is sad because I am here, and not in Honduras, but other than that everyone is doing well in Honduras. Mickey and Isa start school in February and they can't wait. Johan and Lana are having a ball and all of them are picking up Spanish like crazy.
13. How has his family & friends been with you & the kids?

  • They have been great. I love them like they are my own flesh and blood, and they feel the same way about me. They give me advice and offer to help and are wonderful people.

14. Have you adjusted to the different foods, etc.?

  • Yeah. I just missed real butter and cheese mostly. Oh and being able to get the cuts of meats I wanted.
15. Were you happy there?

  • In general yes. There were some things that I wasn't happy with, but that had nothing to do with being in Honduras.
16. How was it different from what you thought it would be?

  • I am going to post about this soon. It wasn't much different than I thought it would be. The biggest difference is the stress it put on my relationship with my husband. Alot of it is the money stress. It isn't like when you are in the US and low on money. It is a whole different type of money stress, and it can cause problems in a marriage. Also the whole getting used to living with someone again after being apart for so long is hard as well. Oh and him thinking I know what to do with something without him having to tell me. For instance, he has grown up his entire life with planting corn, etc. etc. so he knows the difference in the types of corn. Me, I bought corn in the grocery store. In the summer it was corn on the cob, and the rest of the year it was frozen corn. So he brought in a ton of corn - some of it still on the cob (2 types but I didn't know), other already off the cob. I asked him what it was for, and he said to plant. I didn't know he was talking about theone type still on the cob. The rest is for the chickens and pigs. So I went to help him, and I picked up the 3 bags of corn that was still on the cob and began to take the kernals off. I put it in a bag and then when I was done, I just put it back where it was. Well I made the mistake of mixing the corn in the one bag that was to plant with the corn from the other bags that were for the chickens and pigs. And the corn that was to plant was expensive. He was upset with me big time. But I told him, if he would explain things to me - because I don't know, I have never done some of this suff, it isn't like first nature with me, like it is with him. And because he didn't explain exactly what it is that he wanted, he just asked me to take the kernals off the corn, he can't get mad at me. I told him it would be like me telling him he had to speak Japanese, and if he didn't well then he would be in trouble. He forgets that I don't know alot of what he is talking about, and don't understand what it is that he wants me to do until he shows me.
17. Do you think you will stay there long term?

  • Yup. Im not going anywhere without my husband, LOL. And honestly, thats home now. You all know I am "home" meaning back in the US now, but it no longer feels like home. My home is a couple of thousand of miles south of here.
18. How do you feel about being back in the States?
  • I want to go home. It isnt the same here anymore for me.

19. How did you manage to get everything done in a day with a broken ankle & leg & 9 children?

  • Um, I didn't really. A neighbor was really sweet and would come twice a week and wash my clothes for me - for free!! - and she would sweep and wash dishes if there were dishes in the sink. Jordan did alot for me before she left to come back, and Mickey helped out alot after Jordan left. And I just did what I could. What I couldn't do, either Lale did, or it didn't get done.
20. What interesting places did you get to see?
  • During the entire time I was there we didn't go anywhere really. We went to La Ceiba a couple of times if that counts.

21. What do you plan to take back with you?

  • Wipes, Diapers, some things from the container store, a squeegie - more than one, fly paper, batteries and some other things. I am going to do a couple of trips to Walmart and figure out what I want/need and see if its something that I can get there or not and go from there. There were alot of things that I remember thinking - when I go back to the US, I am going to make sure I bring xyz back with me. I don't remember what it was that I had planned on buying, LOL, but a couple of trips through Walmart will jog my memory.
22. What did you miss the most?
  • It depended on the day and my mood. One thing I remember begging my mother to send me was cheese. Velveeta cheese. I really wanted cheddar cheese, but couldn't find any here. And the sliced American cheese that I bought was HORRIBLE. I mean really nasty - it tasted like yellow sliced lard. Ugh. Gross. And I really wanted cheese. Real cheese that I was used to. But then when I got it (Velveeta, not cheddar) it wasn't what I had imagined either, LOL. And butter. Real butter. I even tried to make some, but it didn't work. The butter/margarine that I have tried tastes alot like the cheese. A lighter yellow chunk of lard. Ugh. Although right before I came back, I found a store in Tocoa that sells American food, and I about cried. (They even have Cheddar Cheese - at 99L/8 ounces - which comes to about $5/8 oz - or $10 a pound - but still, if I ever feel like I need it, I know where I can get it. And real butter too!!!)
23. What do you miss now the most about Honduras?
  • You mean other than my husband, the kids - and the warm weather? (I can't believe that I am saying I miss warm weather!!) I miss my home. I miss the view. I miss the stupid rooster that crows outside my window all night long.
24. Do you have any regrets?
  • Only that he went down ahead of me. It made adjusting harder because it added another thing that we had to adjust to. (Getting used to being together again - will post about it later as well)
25. When are you posting pictures?
  • Some are up now, and others will follow in posts to come
26. Were you more relaxed there than here, ok would you be if you hadn't broken bones?
  • Well it depends on what you mean by relaxed. When I was in the US, I didn't do much of anything, because I didn't have to. There you have to. Not because someone is making you, but for instance. In the US I didn't have to worry about the clothes. I had a washing machine and dryer, so I could throw in a load and go do something - or nothing, LOL. Then later, throw it into the dryer and forget about it. In Honduras if you want clean clothes, well then you have to get your rear out to the pila/rock/river wherever it is that you wash your clothes and you have to wash them. Then you have to hang them up to dry. I do not want a washing machine in Honduras for the main reason that the water has grit and sand etc. in it, and it will ruin the machine rather quickly. You can put a filter in it, but then you would be changing the filter probably every other time you wash clothes, LOL. I will be getting a dryer though. When you try to dry clothes during the rainy season - even hanging them under a roof or something - it takes forever (say a week or more with somethings) to dry. And that is annoying. So I will have a dryer before I go home. But to answer your question, I was relaxed in the US, and relaxed in Honduras, but just in different ways.
27. What is your advice now as a returning Gringa?
  • I don't know. Do your research, learn to speak spanish, and everything that you thought you knew, well expect for it to be wrong, LOL. Expect to hear alot of stuff that you will think is crazy, expect to see even more stuff that you know is crazy. And just be ready to roll with the punches, go with the flow whatever. And don't stress over it, because you can't change it anyway. As it has been said on the HL group - TIH. This is Honduras.
28. Do you feel that all the questions you asked, research you did, & all the preparing you did really helped you?
  • Yes I do. But I think what helped me most of all is my ability to speak spanish fluently. so I can communicate with everyone I come in contact with, so I don't feel so isolated.
29. Are you having a boy or girl? How do you feel? What do the kids think about baby? hubby?
I don't know what I am having yet. I didn't go to the doctors in Honduras (because where I was, at the clinic all they did was weigh you and give you vitamins. Well I don't take the vitamins, and I can weigh myself at home.) I have a doctors appointment in February and I am sure they will send me for a sono - so as soon as I know - if I can find out - then I will be sure to post here. I feel fine, and the kids are happy. Lale is happy too.

30. What surprised you the most? Are you tired of questions yet?
  • You know, I don't know what suprised me most. I want to say the staring - where everyone would come by and just stare, and if I talked to them, they wouldn't say anything - that sort of suprised me. But then again, I sort of expected it as it happened the last time I was here as well. It is just disconcerning I think. Oh, I know. That the lack of communication -no internet, or phone signal where I am, no tv signal, no cable, no radio signal, it wasn't as bad as I imagined. I was able to adjust to life in the boonies without much withdrawel symptoms. Oh, and having a whole month with no running water and electric that was iffy due to horribly heavy non-stop rain wasn't as big a deal as I thought it would be. I mean it was VERY annoying, but it wasn't a super huge deal. I was grateful when the water came back on though because I was very tired of bucket baths.


Mis.Pena the American said...

i ahve been reading your blog 4 some time and i also have visted honduras a little town called santa ana like 25 min. from la ceiba. i would like to help you out i was look online about water heaters and i have found one that all you need it electic socket. when i was there i to my niece, nephew and my 2. my daughter crid so much it was not even funny the water was sosososososossososos cold to the little water heater cost 79.99 this is what its called

Marey Tankless Shower Heater
i plan to take one with me when i go back. take to ya later

Olancho Bound Gringa said...

JEN, YOU ARE AWESOME! Thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions! Love ya for it! I'm so glad to hear all about it! I forgot to ask, how is your foot & leg doing now?


Momto3LittleFlowers said...

That was great!!! Looking forward to hear more and PICTURES!!!

Adrians Mama said...

WOW!!! I am loving all of your posts!!I am sooooo glad you love it there and you guys are doing good!!!!! I cant wait to see more pics...we went to Mexico in August for two weeks and I loved it! I was VERY different but great! I posted about ti on my blog so look for it when you get a chance!

Heather said...

Great info, I wish I had someone telling me all this before I traveled. Anyways just glad your back!