Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Settling In

We are slowly settling in. It is still very hot here, and we haven't yet acclimated to that. Thankful to have air-conditioning in one bedroom. Actually, with the kitchen/guest quarters closed up and the a/c running, it stays pretty nice. Not cool, except in the bedroom, but certainly makes cooking more pleasant. We're all waiting for rainy season to set in and cool things down. Rumors have it that rain is on the way for the weekend. I hope so. My jungle garden is looking a bit droopy.

We returned on Saturday to a car with a dead battery, or so Dennis told us. The car has just been sitting for 6 months. In past years, we have loaned it to a single mom, but she's moved off island and no one else seemed to want it. Dennis started it once and drove it down and back up the hill, but he couldn't get it started again after that. We were just sure we were housebound until we could get into town on Monday to buy a new battery. But then we both got to thinking about how we have had difficulty with the car starting in the past due to a loose battery cable. What if.......? Don went up to test it and, sure enough, it started right up! Whew.

With the car running, we were able to go the church where we nearly had the stuffing hugged out of us! Our girls were sooooo happy to see us. All "our" kids were glad to see us back. We got plenty of hugs from the adults, too. This was our first Sunday to worship in the new church that was being built when we left in March. It is certainly much larger and cooler with big screened windows on all four sides. The two huge fans kept the air moving so it was not uncomfortable despite the heat of the day.

After church, with the car continuing to start each time we tried, we decided to go ahead and go to Infinity Bay for the afternoon. Sunday was apparently the hottest day so far in October - a good day to be at the beach. We had a nice lunch, great visit with friends, a refreshing swim in the very clear ocean and a stroll on the beach. We had a big enough lunch that we really weren't hungry for dinner, so I didn't have to cook in that heat. We snacked on cheese and crackers and called it good.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that our Hughes Net internet was on. Of course, we have been paying for it while off island, despite twice requesting that they suspend our service while we were gone (they would then only charge us half as much for the summer!). Nope, they never did. I still expected to have to call them and asked to have it reactivated or something and was happy to find that all was in working order. That meant that I could use my U.S. phone on wifi and call my parents to tell them that we had arrived. Wifi calls on my U.S. phone are free in both directions. My parents love this! They know they can reach me if need be.

Our Honduran phones needed to be reactivated before we could use them which necessitated a trip to French Harbor to the Claro store. That was fine as I also had a dentist appointment in French Harbor, I thought. My appointment had been cancelled because they weren't able to reach me by phone to confirm. Duh. I must make sure I don't repeat that scheduling mistake again.

We took our phones to the Claro store in that same mall as the dentist. I asked if they could put a Honduran sim card in my U.S. Blackberry which was unlocked. Yes, they could. Good that saved us from having to buy another phone to replace the one Don lost in March. I gave Don my old Honduran phone, both phones were activated, along with our emergency internet modem, and minutes were purchased. When we got home with them, we initially thought something was wrong, that they weren't properly registered into the system, but I was able to finally get the minutes loaded onto them and they work just fine.

Monday was supposedly a Honduran holiday and we were told that the banks would be closed, so we didn't even bring our bank book along. The bank was indeed open and lots of people were lined up waiting to get inside. We owed the bus driver money for the month of October for transporting our sponsored kids back and forth to school, but we couldn't pay him until we visited the bank, we thought. Turned out that we had enough money tucked away to be able to pay him.

Made our second trip to the grocery store. Always shocked by grocery prices wherever I go. It takes a lot to restock a kitchen every year. I have to get rid of everything when we leave in the spring because of the intense heat that builds up inside our closed up house. And then I have to replace all those things in the fall. Takes several trips and too much money. And, of course, I have to get used to the grocery stores being out of things, like celery. Actually, they were pretty low on all produce, crackers, limited meat items, no pretzels. One store had no dishwasher detergent. Laundry soaps had really increased in price. Shopping here always requires going to at least two grocery stores to get the things needed, and often a trip back a few days later, still searching for those items.

I just have to remind myself how very blessed we are to be able to afford groceries and the gas to get to the store. So very many people here struggle everyday. Within one day, we were getting approached by people who needed help. There just isn't enough work for all the people who live here. The cruise ships are returning this month (one port closes for summer and fall and the other has fewer ships coming), so that should bring more money into the island and put some people back to work. There still aren't many construction type jobs though, and that's what so many of the "Spanish" (mainland Hondurans) men came here to do.

And that is a capsule of our first five days back on the island.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Return to the Island

We are back on the island after a six month absence, and it sure is good to be home. We had a busy summer back in the States with traveling, visiting family and friends, and helping my parents.  Here are a few photos from our summer:

 We celebrated our birthdays at Lulu's in Gulf Shores, AL with good friends Helen and Roger.

Attended my cousins' reunion in Troy, MO. Some of these cousins had not seen each other in years. Lots of catching up and laughing. We do that well.


We took my mom to Missouri to the cousins' reunion and to visit her family. She had not seen her sister or sister-in-law in several years. My dad's health did not allow him to make the trip, so my sister (from California) came and stayed with him.

  Crazy cousins hiking through the woods looking for a very neglected cemetery. Found it...and the ticks found us!

We managed to pass through Missouri several times during the summer and stayed at our favorite B&B: the Winships. Don loved spending time in the man-cave with Carl while Pat and I yakked.
We were never there long enough - just long enough to visit our doctor or dentist or passing through on the way to somewhere else. We didn't want to wear out our welcome!

Several trips to Wisconsin to visit and to help Dave with his basement project. And of course, to play with Simon!

Spent a fabulous week on the beach in Gulf Shores with our family. Even my dad ventured out for an evening walk on the beach.

We took lots of crazy family photos.  My parents loved having the whole family around for a week, but I know it wore them out.

                                          We had a girls only lunch at Tacky Jacks.

The Greatful Dead Tour...10 days of traveling through Virginia researching our family history. Had so much fun with my cousin and sister. Virginia is a beautiful state; our ancestors live in some breath-taking places. 

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah Valley
What a view our ancestors had!!

Watched my precious grandson be a ring bearer for his aunt. His daddy had to carry him down the aisle. The flowergirl was also carried down the aisle by her daddy. Weddings during naptime are not a good idea.

Aunt Rachel and I were the official wedding weekend babysitters. Tough job, but someone had to do it! Extra fun to have another visit with Rachel since we never made it to California.

We were happy to have so much time to spend with my parents, helping out with whatever they needed, but a little nervous about leaving them to come back to Roatan. Problem solved: My sister is coming to take the winter shift, helping out our parents. That's a relief for all of us, and a blessing!