Thursday, March 31, 2011

For a Teacher, I'm Not Very Fond of Learning Some Lessons...

31/3/2011
Kristen says...

Yesterday was a crap day...probably the most crap day we've had since being down here (well, ok, maybe the day my Grandpa died and I realized I wasn't going to be able to go home for his funeral was worse, and the day we found out that October was going to be the "Month of Uncertainty" was not fun, but yesterday was pretty bad.)

It started off fine...if you follow Honduran news at all, you know that we've had some security issues (teacher strikes (not at my school, the state-school teachers), random legislation changes, etc...if you want to know details head over to La Gringa's Blogicito, she does a great job of explaining things...)

Because of these security issues, our school was canceled...now, being from Iowa, snow days are kind of golden...even though you know you have to make them up at the end of the year, random days off are awesome...and so, even though I had a lot of fun things planned at school, I didn't mind the day off...it was kind of like a Honduran snow day...and we don't have to make it up...

I spent the morning reading, then Chris and I went on a lunch date to Criollos. In the early afternoon I digested by tatting, and Skyping with my mom...I was actually in the middle of my chat with mom when our "doorbell" rang.

Here's the part where the crap comes in.

Chris was working or on the phone or something, so I stuck my head out the window to see who needed in...I saw two guys downstairs working on our electric boxes. I asked what they wanted and they said something (in Spanish, so I didn't really understand), so I figured they were wanting in...I didn't know them, so I wasn't going to let them in...so I went back to my conversation with my mom...

And then the lights went out.

I stuck my head back out the window, and saw the two guys driving away. I figured, 'Hm, they must be doing some maintenance', and that the entire building was without power...

And then the electrically-run garage door opened.

And I realized that we were the only ones without power.

Crap.

I stuck my head back out the window and asked "¿Que paso? No hay electricidad." The guys downstairs asked if I paid my bill. I said, "Por supuesto (of course), con Wilmer."

And they looked at each other.

And my heart sank.

"¿Donde esta Wilmer?" I asked? "El fue. (He went)" they said. "Cuando va a regresar?" I asked, feeling my palms start to sweat and starting to lose my loose grasp on Spanish. "No." They said.

OH.

Turns out, someone we'd put our trust in, someone we thought was helping us, was actually stealing from us...and had been for months.

Nobody ever told us how to pay our electricity bill, so I figured that when the guard downstairs (employed by our landlord) came around with a bunch of receipts and told us which was ours, that it was ok to give him the money and that he was paying it...

Except that he wasn't. He was pocketing most of it, and paying just a little bit in a payment plan he'd worked out with ENEE (power company)...awesome.

PLUS, apparently the electricity had been officially turned off a few weeks before, but he'd illegally re-connected it...so they'd come back yesterday to turn it back off...from what I've been told, we're lucky they didn't take our meter box completely away, or we'd still be without power.

Anyway, our landlord fired the jerk and was nice enough to not only get our electricity back on, but also to send someone to ENEE to figure out what our account number is and how much we owed, and he gave us the 2,000 Lps he was going to pay the guy that day (before he realized what he was doing)...the monthly bills (if they were correct) we thought we were paying said we owed somewhere between 2,000-3,000 Lps/month for power...our bill yesterday was over 7,500 Lps...OUCH.

So, lesson learned. Don't give anybody any money, ever. Get receipts. Don't be naive, trusting Midwesterners...Pip, we're not in Iowa anymore...

But, today was much better...we were back at school, we had electricity all day, and I have eaten A LOT of chocolate to make myself feel better.

Live and learn, friends, live and learn.
KF

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yes, we are stil around!

27/3/11
Kristen says...

Sorry for the lack of blog posts the past week+ ... our Teguci-lives have been very busy!!! Some tatting, some cooking, and some other things have been happening, and I will update you sometime this week!

Hope your March is going well, and that your bracket hasn't busted yet!

KF

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So, We Went to Copán...and I took A LOT of pictures!!!



15/3/2011
Kristen says...

Happy Anniversary (sister) Rebecca and (brother-in-law) Jay (parents of Ezra)!!!

So, we went to Copán, and had a GREAT TIME!!
We left at 7:00(ish) on Wednesday (the traffic is pretty bad around here at that time of the morning, so a few of our troop were late) with 6 adults and 5 students (nice ratio, don't you think?) and picked up another adult and student in a small town an hour outside of town (we decided it was silly for them to drive an hour into town just to turn around and drive basically just past their house on the way to Copán so...)

The first part of the trip (once you get outside of Tegucigalpa and past the road construction) is really nice...wide road, nice pavement, you can really fly. We stopped once for the bathroom and some snacks, then again at a roadside buffet place for a pretty typical lunch (I had a potato with some weird cream sauce, a HUGE hunk of watermelon, some rice, cheese, and delicious pickled onions and carrots, plus tortillas) and to stretch our legs, then got back into the van (did I mention it's like an 8-hour trip?!)

We stopped once more, in the afternoon, but the rest of the trip I basically passed reading or listening to audio books (or snoozing, much to the surprise of my students who seemed determined to make as much noise as possible in the back of the bus). The last hour+ of the trip was VERY windy road, with plenty of potholes, so I was excessively happy to find myself inside the "city" of Copán Ruinas and at the door of our hotel, the Marina Copán:















We got all checked in, then relaxed a bit while the kids hit the pool. Then we went out for dinner at a new local restuarant called Mama Mia... I can recommend the ambiance and the pizza, but the weird wooden plates left something to be desired...in perceived cleanliness at least...















After the large meal and the l-o-n-g bus ride, we all basically went back to the hotel and crashed. The next morning we ate our continental breakfast (either Americano, Tipico (Honduran) or Pancakes), then off we went to the Mayan Ruins!

Here are some of my favorite pics (remember, if you want to see them larger, all you have to do is click on them!)




<-Chris with a Stela Carving detail ->


Below:
LH: Building

RH: Stela detail (with original Mayan paint)



























Below: A Mayan Pyramid and a face-less face

























We also visited the museum where a lot of the original (moveable) Mayan artifacts are found:




<- Bird with fish



Can you find the Mayans? ->





















<-Not sure that's authentic!



Hugs and kisses (or is it kisses and hugs?) from Honduras! ->












We also saw a bunch of really neat wildlife around the ruins, including spiny ceiba trees, bromilia, macaws, and even a squirrel!!










































The next day we went to the Casa K'inich Museum and the Macaw Mountain bird park...






















































We also did some shopping!! One of the things we got was this really neat mask, which I actually took a picture of (center below) the night before we saw its inspiration at the ruinas...














We did so many other things, and I took so many other pictures, but I feel like this post is going to take forever for you to load and view as it is, so I will stop here...

Maybe someday when it's a slow blog time I will upload more...or you can check out the 50+ that Chris uploaded to Flikr on the LH side of your screen (sorry if there are duplicates...he is uploading them as I write this.)

KF

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Couple of Copán Photos to Whet Your Appetite...

12/3/2011
Kristen says...

Happy Birthday Grandpa Perdue!!! (on Monday!) :)

Just thought I'd let you know we made it back from Copán...and I took over 700 pictures!!!

I'll probably put a lot up on Flikr, and a few up here, but here's something to tide you over until I do that...















KF

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Motifs #4 (an oops!) and #5 (almost perfect, but not quite!) Bookmarks!

6/3/11
Kristen says...

Oh look, if you see the date the "U.S." way, it's our wedding anniversary!! (But it's not...my sisters both got married in March, Chris and I got married in June).

Anyway...I have been doing a bit more tatting this weekend. After creating the da-lily from a few weeks ago I realized that it had been a long time since I'd tatted anything with color in it. I found some REALLY nice off-white thread down here that is pretty cheap for a large roll, so I've been using it a lot lately. (I think all my previous motifs (except the hat band and I guess the cross bookmark, which I made back in October) used it, even the lily part of the da-lily.) I decided I needed a little more color in my tatting life...and was helped out in this endeavour by finding a little tatting gem in downtown Tegucigalpa...for a whopping $5.25 (105 Lempira) I got all this:
Yep. 21 rolls of thread, 5 lempira (25 cents) each!

I don't think it's terribly high quality, but at 25 cents a roll, you can't beat it!! The other store I usually shop at (and get those big off-white rolls) charge 12-16 Lempira, or less than 50 cents/roll...still not bad!

Also, I recently subscribed to and got a link to all the old patterns from Be-Stitched.com. I really like to read, and I really like to make bookmarks, and, after a long week of teaching and trying to stay one step ahead of the middle schoolers, I really really like the "mindless simplicity" of ring, chain, ring, chain...so I decided to tackle this Bookmark motif.

The first time I totally messed it up...apparently I got too caught up in the tatting and not caught up enough on the counting...so I decided to make lemons out of lemonaide and do something with it...the ribbon was 10 Lps for 3 yards...
And then I decided to do it over...almost right this time. Here's where I started making errors the first time: And here's the first and second attempts, close-up:
Notice I actually did it right the second time!!

Once the second part was done correctly (finally!) I added a second round in this lovely shade of gray I found downtown...(haha did I say I was going for color this time around? Because gray and dusty blue are colors...right?)
I say this second version is almost perfect because I didn't realize (or read) the directions that said to make the chains around the edge 5 - 5 instead of the 4 - 4 of the rest of the bookmark...so one of the ends is a little tight, but I've decided to use that as the top part, so it works...

I also made it a little longer than the directions say...I like long bookmarks (I found a piece of plastic that is, to me, the perfect length/thickness for a bookmark...here's motif #5 next to the bookmark length plastic...on top of the book ("At Home" by Bill Bryson) I finally finished today!
It's been a really productive weekend! (Well, except for school stuff...I didn't do much of that at all!)

I also dusted off the camera a bit...I received some lovely yellow roses at school this week, and brought them home for the weekend...I didn't really have a vase here, so I used Chris' stemless wine glass and a tea cup...these were two of my favorite shots:





















On the non-tatting front, Chris and I are headed out with the 6th graders to the Copán Ruins this Wednesday...so there will be no blog posts late in the week, but I hope a large amount of pictures early next week (once I have recovered!!) :)

KF

Friday, March 4, 2011

Where's Waldo???? or Chris...

Image courtesy of findwaldo.com






Yes, Chris is still here and alive.

No excuses for not blogging. But, I did think of the image above this morning when I decided I was actually going to write today. Hope you can find Waldo...

I can't even remember what I was up to the last time I wrote on this blog....but here's some random stuff that I've done or thought about since October....yeah, its been almost 6 months since I've blogged.

Thanksgiving was sweet. Highlights: Awesome people! We had awesome people invite us over for the event. People at the event were awesome...mix of cultures - very cool! Setting - I think it was in the 70s (F)....and we ate outside. This was pretty cool for an Iowa kid who is used at least needing a long sleeve shirt during November. Banana trees....really? Yes, Banana trees at Thanksgiving dinner...again, kind of a surreal experience. Uh....last but definitely not least, at some point in the dinner there were 3 different conversations going on in 3 different languages: English, German, and Spanish. I thought to myself, this is (at least) part of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about. Multiple people/cultures/backgrounds coming together to celebrate all that we are/were thankful for.

Month of December = home for the holidays, etc - Good to be back. Below are some of the highlights in no particular order.

Baby Bock is born - awesome, first time I'm an uncle :)

Chris gets back to work (physically) at PFG. Sees all his friends/coworkers and visits the Royal Mile a number of times. Ahh, the British really know how to make some good beer!

See all the family - both Kristen's and mine. Good to be able to hug and shake hands.

I turn 27... weird part for me is that I can remember thinking when I was like 15 or so, "When I'm 25, I'll be a grown-up". I'm 2 years after that point now and I can definitely say - I'm not a grown-up yet...whatever that means.

 Jesus has a birthday.

Don't think I can top the last item there, so I'll move on to January-now...

January - Now:

Lots of reflection/thinking in addition to trips to Amapala and taking care of Princess the Schitzu.

More on reflection, etc to come later (it will prompt me for another blog post - I've got some catching up to do with the number of Kristen's blogs)...


adios...