Middletown Middies

As this second year away from our previous professional jobs in the States comes to a close we wanted to say “hello” to Stacey’s previous co-workers and students at Middletown where Stacey was a Spanish teacher for 3 years.  We do sport the Middie’s shirts down here from time to time.  Congrats especially to those graduating this 2013 who started with “SeƱorita Reeder” in 8th grade Spanish and now 5 yrs. later are graduating high school.  Congratulations Seniors!



Sometimes, a Honduran will say something that makes my hair stand up. For example, I was recently digging into a plate full of interesting-looking crabs with a great big Honduran in a restaurant located on a back waterway that smelled suspiciously like used diapers. The constructor of said restaurant clearly wasn't familiar with advanced construction equipment like bubble levels. About halfway through the plate of crustaceans, he looks at me, laughs and says. "We'll see how long this puts us in the bathroom." It's chuckle-worthy when a gringo says it; terrifying when a Honduran does.

However, sometimes a Honduran will say something that makes you feel feel justified about your suffering. For example, when you're weakened from aforementioned intestinal distress and so are all your neighbors. Instead of them saying, "You wimpy gringos," they say, "These are trots of historic proportions." And, when you're laying on a concrete floor trying to cool off, they raise their dripping heads and say. "Que insoportable." This is unbearable.

This may come as a surprise to you, but sometimes, in Central America, it gets really, really hot. Like, really hot. We're at the tail end right now of our "summer." Summer here is defined as the time of year that is very dry and (as already mentioned) very hot. In theory, this will end in the next few days as the nightly rains get cranked up again. More than ever, we're ready for the rain. Once we're swimming to get to the car, I'm sure that we won't want it anymore, but for now it sounds great.

When I walk out the door now, the animals inform me that it's too hot for the gringo to be outside. The chickens are squished under their coop trying to stay away out of the sun. The horse is scooted up against a scrawny tree in the shade. The dogs roll over miserably and glare at me like somehow it's my fault. The rabbits pant, probably near death, and the vultures take to the air as 180 lbs of white meat saunters out into the light. I know that earth passes closer to the sun during other days of the year, but every now I glance up to check to make sure that we're not actively falling into our closest star.

The sun, delightful fire that it is, also bakes everything. The good news is that the crap you just stepped in won't be sticking to you. The bad news is that all excrement in a 100 mile radius has been made into instant dust that will shortly try to get into your lungs and give you some kind of bizarre infection to confuse  doctors. Dirt (known the rest of the year as knee-deep mud) converted into its weaponized airborne form, assaults your eyes, nose and lungs everytime something moves. As our car approaches people walking along the dirt road, shirts come up to cover faces until the worst is over.

If you're thinking, well, at least you're not as muddy, you would be wrong. You see, the neat thing about floating dirt is that it adheres to anything wet or sticky--which would be you. Wipe your face with a light-colored towel in this situation, and you'll see what I'm talking about. From the moment you wake up on a hot day until the moment you wake up on a cool day several weeks later, you are sweating. Not just sweating, leaking water from every little pore on your body, which in the humid tropics, won't be evaporating anytime soon. Have you ever tossed a towel onto a spill and watched the water slowly spread to the edges? If you have, you can understand the function that our clothes have been performing over the past month. Ah, the romantic tropics.The good news is that some of the modern synthetic materials used in shirts today really do a great job of getting that sweat off you. The bad news is that today I'm wearing cotton, and it is an underperformer.

I promise I'm not trying to whine. I'm just trying to share the joy. The climate here is one of extremes. If it's not raining, it gets really hot. If it's not hot, it's raining... every night. And when in starts to rain during the day in November, it rains a long, long time, sometimes weeks without stopping. The huge blessing here is that the temperature here, in our area of Honduras, most of the year, is very bearable, especially up on our little hill. We're really, really grateful for that. We just got back from visiting Choluteca, about 8 hours from here in the southernmost tip of Honduras. Choluteca is close to the ocean and is at sea level. It is also the driest zone in Honduras. As you can imagine, the driest zone in Honduras, combined with an altitude of 0 ft. makes for a very warm town. I really did feel bad for the folks there. I can't imagine living with that kind of heat year round.

Sometimes, a Honduran will say something that is truly magical--something with the ability to lift your heart out of the depths of despair. For example, Alexandra (Fredy's wife) just walked into the room and said, "I just made some watermelon juice out of purified water, with ice made from purified water. Would you like some." Alexandra is a wonderful woman.