My young friend G invited me to her brother's first birthday party. There was a large gathering of children, and they were very loud and energetic. They were definitely extroverts, but most Hondurans were! G's mother was 40, and her father was 60. They were a different couple, but seemed very compatible. They had five children, and one grandchild, who was actually older than his uncle by a year! They became some of my best friends, whom I visited almost everyday. They would always have coffee to drink, and sometimes I bought corn tortillas from them. At times, they would invite me to have flour tortillas and beans as a special treat. They seemed to me the most physically beautiful people in the whole town.
For Thanksgiving our Peace Corps group gathered in Tegucigalpa for a dinner with the American Ambassador to Honduras. This was a relaxed event, where we spent time with our group. There was native art for sale, and I ended up buying a few little things. A marimba band played for us, making it a festive Thanksgiving. I was finally able to see my friend M for the first time in two months. We met at the local hostel, and spent hours talking about our respective experiences. P, one of my pals in Spanish class, said that he would act as my "boyfriend", if things got really out of control with the men in my site. Overall, the weekend was extremely positive, and I came away feeling rejuvenated.
During this time, I also went to collect my piano music books, which my mother had sent me. I realized that the local Peace Corps hostel and hangout had a piano. Once I had my music sent, I was able to play, when I came to town. Maybe it was every six weeks, but it was better than nothing. I took my music right to the piano, and started playing! I so missed having a piano around all the time. At that time, Spanish and some limited singing at occasional church services were the extent of my participation in art and music.
My neighbor, O, went to spend Christmas with his wife, D, who was expecting a child in January. When school started up in February, they were scheduled to come back and live in the bigger room by the street with their two babies and grandma. Until then, I had the place pretty much to myself, except every weekend merchants came to stay in another room. I always took a couple of mental health days every two weeks in La Esperanza or further away.
In early December, Concepcion had their yearly fair. It started with an all day market and outdoor fair. There was lots of music, dancing, and people walking in the square. At night, they had a dance inside the city hall. I was wondering how things were going to go with E, my so-called boyfriend. When the dancing began, he immediately started dancing with his ex-girlfriend, and I realized everything was a fake. It was a good thing, since he got a young student pregnant soon after this. That evening, I had to dance with my admirer, M. He asked me to be his girlfriend, and for many reasons I immediately turned him down. I didn't want to deal with an alcoholic! It was a difficult night, and I was grateful when it was over.
Before Christmas, I was invited to another party in Guachipilincito. It seemed that there were always reasons to celebrate in this world of extraverts. I had walked about half way there, when a tall farmer who I'd seen a few times came up behind me, propositioning me, right there. When I said no, he started grabbing at me, and I started to run down the path. It was a hiking path, so I couldn't run very fast, but I kept going, and he kept insisting on chasing me. I was beginning to wonder how long this could go on, but after ten or fifteen minutes we joined another trail. Fortunately, we ran into some young children who were on the way to town, as well. He still clamored for me, but he couldn't make a scene or do anything. I kept walking fast, and I made that hour hike into 45 minutes. When I arrived at C's house, I told some of the ladies in town what had happened. They said that he'd been known to do that, and it sounded like I was very lucky that not more had transpired. That afternoon, this same farmer was attending the party. He asked me to dance with him. I said no, but he pulled me onto the dance floor, anyway. No one tried to stop this. It was very uncomfortable, but only lasted for one dance, thankfully. I came home and told the mayor of Concepcion about this dangerous situation. He promised me that he would talk to the farmer; and I think he must have, because he never bothered me again. It was very scary, though!
Fortunately, I had something positive to look forward to at this time. I was really excited, because my mom was coming to visit on the 21st of December for two weeks. She was going to meet all my friends in Concepcion, and we planned to meet up with my friend M and her father in Copan. During this whole time, that's all that I could think about. I continued to get to know people, but there was no real work to be done. Although it looked as though I could have a few good groups, the only one that proved somewhat successful was Guachipilincito.
Finally, the 21st came, and it was time to pick my mom up at the wild airport in Tegucigalpa. Everything there was completely out of control and loud, just like the rest of the country. We stayed two nights at the Hotel Maya, which was a beautiful luxury hotel in the capital. After this, we went to Tela on the north coast for a couple of days, and then we headed to Copan, where we met M and her dad. We toured Copan with them, and everyone got along. We saw all the beautiful, ancient ruins and artifacts of Copan. It was definitely an interesting and different way to spend Christmas.
Next, we started our trip to La Esperanza going through Seguatepeque on bus, and staying at Hotel Solis. The next afternoon, we took a bus to Concepcion. I introduced my mom to my friends in town. She knew more Spanish than I did at this time, so it was pretty easy for us to get around. The next day, we brought V a nice gift, and had a visit with her and the family.
We walked all the way to Guachipilincito for their New Year's Eve celebration. It was nice, but kind of stressful, because R was back, and he didn't want to talk to me. He brought another girl, who was most likely a very serious girlfriend or wife. It was all very disappointing and strange. In front of my mom, his mother told me to take him to the US, and we were both embarrassed. We did have a nice visit with Don F and family, but the rest fell pretty flat. We had planned to spend the night there with C, so we did. Unfortunately, my mother drank the treated water, and got sick from it. She ended up being diagnosed with a parasite, when she got home. By then, I guess I had a pretty iron stomach. We went back and spent the night in my courtyard area, and then it was time to get a ride back to La Esperanza.
I didn't want to get up at 4:00 am to get the truck back, so we waited all day on the corner for a ride. Finally, we found someone who could take us, but it took a long time to get there. We did have enough time, to stay in La Esperanza, and then we were off to San Pedro Sula the other large city in Honduras. We spent the night there, and then we were off to the airport. It was kind of sad saying goodbye, because we didn't know when we would see each other again. From there, I went back to Concepcion for a very eventful January!