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An Unfortunate Event and Travel

Before taking off for my trip to Costa Rica, I had some small victories with my groups in Plan Verde and San Miguelillo, the two new towns I was working in. We had made some raised beds and a terrace, where we planted the seeds that I gotten at the Recursos Naturales office. Unfortunately, these seeds proved to be bad, and nothing came up. The terraces were present, and I promised to get some better seeds from the Peace Corps office. This was definitely a step in the right direction!

Nahun and I had one small but memorable conversation, where I found out it was his birthday. His family had forgotten, and I felt sorry for him. During this time, I told him that my birthday was coming up in January.

A very unfortunate event occurred, before I left. I had a theft of $40. The sad thing is that I had been wondering about the reliability of my friends Vilma and her daughter. Sometimes, things would go missing, and it was always after they had been over on a Saturday morning. They sometimes helped me with my laundry. We would have fun talking and washing clothes on the pila or washstone, but sometimes I would notice something was gone afterwards. I now know that I should have given them something for the occasional help, but they were taking their own salary. This time, it proved too much for me with the theft of $40. I went after them, accusing them of stealing. Of course, they said they hadn't done it, but I felt that I had to write them off, because I just couldn't trust them anymore. It was one of the saddest things I had to do, because they were like family. I made the right decision, as I never had another theft.

The whole episode disappointed me, and ended up affecting my health. I caught a horrible sinus infection, and left for Teguc a day early to see a dentist, because I was sure I had a tooth ache. It just turned out to be a bad side affect of the sinus infection. Peace Corps gave me some antihistamines and sent me on my way.

The next day, I met my mother in Teguc. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Maya for two nights. During that day, we went to visit my fourth cousins, the Landsdales. My mother knew Jeff's sister, who happened to be visiting from California. We enjoyed meeting more of the family. Here are Jeff and his sister, Sandy with her baby.

On the second night, we were scheduled to meet with my best friends, Osmar and Dilcy. I was really excited to introduce my mother to these great people. They arrived at our hotel room, and we went to a nice restaurant. Everything went well. They thought my mother was very elegant, and she was able to understand most of what they said. I interpreted the rest as needed. After dinner, they walked us back to the hotel. Dilcy and I walked in front laughing, because Osmar walked with my mother singing my praises all the way to the hotel. Afterwards, she expressed her concern about this, and said that she thought he might want to have an affair with me. I laughed this off, since it had really never occurred to me. I didn't open my eyes at all to those possibilities!

We were off to San Jose, Costa Rica the next day. We stayed there, and went on a trip to Mount Arenal, which we didn't actually get to see, because of inclement weather. We did have a nice soak in a hot spring, while it rained on us. The dinner was very good, but I was disappointed to miss the view of a volcano. That's the way it went around there apparently, because this was not the first time people had been skunked by the elusive mountain.

The next day, we were off to a lovely, peaceful hotel near Monte Verde National Park. We took a hike around one area with a quite young American girl who was living there with her family. We also went to a garden, where many butterflies actually landed on us! The next day, we took a guided walking tour through the forest, where we were able to view a Quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala. I saw it through binoculars from far away, but at least I can say that I saw one!

We spent a quiet Christmas at our hotel.There was a wonderful restaurant with minstrels who played at dinner. I had received the book "The Age of Innocence" from my friend, and I spent the day reading it. The movie was out, and she wrote to me that we would see the video, when I got home. During this time, I read many Edith Wharton books, which really spoke to me. Most of her work is about old New York families, but I found many parallels with my old San Francisco family. These books were sad but comforting at the same time. Most of them were about unrealized or impossible love stories. Even though I was sad and conflicted about many areas of my life, it was a peaceful and relaxing way to spend Christmas.

After this, we went to Manuel Antonio National Park, which had a beautiful beach, and lots of wildlife. It wasn't really as interesting as Monte Verde, but very beautiful none-the-less. We saw howler monkeys, watched a sloth move at record slow speed, and spent time on the beach with an iguana! The water was warm and nice to swim in. It was a relaxing addendum to our trip.

Finally, it was time to get back to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where we spent one last night on New Year's Eve. The next day my mother left, and I don't know how I stayed.I made the lonely return trip to Concepcion, to continue to writing my story. Thankfully, I did, because things got better very quickly. I guess it's always darkest just before dawn, as they say. In this case that was a true statement.

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