Vows were said. A party was had. And a life-long journey began. Six weeks later, we are living in Juticalpa, Honduras, reflecting on our first short while as a married couple.
Already we have felt the high's and low's that cascades of life often bring, and we're learning how to walk through them together by 1) receiving each other as a gift; 2) living in the present; and 3) letting love be sincere.
We have honeymooned in Costa Rica, worked in a bilingual school in Honduras, spoken a little Spanish, battled a little illness, milked cows, eaten our fair share of baleadas, made new friends, ventured to a nearby island, and become pretty efficient with a "bucket shower."
In the palm of His hand, God has held us and led - showing us a patch of sunlight where least expected, or a faithful follower in the midst of strangers. We are blessed by the Lord's steady hand and with Him, we journey on in marriage and our mission in this world.
We share our first meal in Costa Rica at the Alta Hotel, a cozy historical stay nestled in the hills of San Jose. The next morning we boarded a van and traveled East toward the Pacuare River where we white water rafted to Pacuare EcoLodge. It was a blast! And only the beginning of our trip.
Our second night at the lodge, we enjoyed a nice dinner just for the two of us alongside the river. That morning, we hiked to a waterfall and learned about the rainforest from our guide, Max. At dinner our candles were struggling against the breeze...so naturally, we had to intervene. Speaking of candles, they were our only source of light, other than the stars and sun, that we had at the lodge.
We arrive in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Our friends, Michael and Oscar, picked us up and drove us to Juticalpa, our final destination, where we have been living in the heart of the city, surrounded by fresh produce stands and only three blocks from the cathedral.
We spent two weeks as teacher and administrative assistants in one of Olancho Aid Foundation's bilingual schools, Santa Clara School. During our time, we attended a community social studies fair put on by Santa Clara, tried many "firsts" as far as traditional Honduran food goes, and fell in love with charamuscas, a delicious popsicle in a bag.
Our new friends and fellow teachers Augustine and Aitsa took us to their family's farm one weekend where we milked cows, hiked a mountain, and made homemade pizza. Our best day yet. After working at the school, we joined the Olancho Aid Foundation administration team where we are currently working on their web site, making a short film for the foundation, and tutoring at the nearby bilingual high school, Santa Clara Institute.
Our short time here has revealed a new motto that we can apply to all areas of life.
"Alone, we are small hills; together, we are one mountain."
Inspired by the history and fruition of Olancho Aid Foundation, a past volunteer helped make a mural with children from various school. The mural hangs on the wall in Carlos' office, the Foundation's director.
With Carlos and Michael we rode six hours to La Ceiba, a large city up north. From there, we took a ferry to Roatan, one of the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands for a short vacation. We stayed at an eccentric B&B just outside the center of West End, a popular place for visitors.
The beaches were great, the water was clear, everything was beautiful...but the highlight of our trip? Taking a hot shower for the first time in four weeks...or eating the best homemade ice cream sandwich at a nearby cafe :).
The island was full of little surprises like this old church we spotted down the dirt path from our hotel. We spent most of our time taking walks and capturing moments like these.
After our second, and last, ice cream sandwich (sigh), we flew back to Tegucigalpa and arrived home in the evening. A short trip, but just what we needed for a break and some quality time.
Sunday, we went to mass at the cathedral and baked banana bread during an afternoon rain.
Today, the town has been quiet. Everyone is off work because the presidential election took place yesterday. Tomorrow, we go back to work in the office and begin the last stretch of our time here. We look forward to Michael & Carina's wedding Saturday, another patch of sunlight before our trip home Dec. 5th...in God's hands.