3 months from today I will already be in Miami waiting for my second flight of the day to take me to London. 3 months can seem like a long time; I know when I used to go back to school after Christmas, 3 or 4 months until our next break off school seemed like an eternity. My feelings of leaving Honduras in 3 months is really indescribable to me at the moment… I really, really love my life in Honduras and the idea of saying goodbye to my family here and my closest friends is so sad but I also feel like I am really desperate to see my family in England now and my best friends there. Just receiving emails from my Mum, Dad and Lozzy have come to be not enough – I’m so ready to see them all properly. But still, I know the next 3 months will go way too fast.
The Friday just gone was a bank holiday for Honduras and it also happened to be the day of a World Cup qualifier for Honduras against Costa Rica (we won, woohoo!!!). Nora (the new ICYE co-ordinator and one of my good friends in Honduras) invited me and Julia to her cousin’s house in Valle de Angeles. We had a great time dancing and swimming in the pool – it was a really beautiful house too. Before the game we were chatting about the ICYE experience with Nora, her cousin who went to Germany a few years ago and their friend who was the incoming co-ordinator in Austria until recently. They mentioned that volunteering with ICYE definitely changes you which Julia was surprised to hear but, from my experience, I think that it definitely does change you. For me personally, I know that I have definitely become more laid back. I used to hold grudges for a long time and I found it really difficult to forgive people – but I feel like Honduras has taught me to let that stuff go. Why carry negative feelings around with you?? And I can’t pretend that I find it easy to forgive people now (I just suck at it) but I recognise now that stuff like that is better forgotten and the best you can do is move on. This might sound obvious but the people who know me best will know that that was a real problem for me before – but now I am so laid back, even too laid back sometimes! I think it might be difficult for me to adjust to all the pressures of living in England when I return!
I’ve also realised that I can be a really enthusiastic, loving person – I’m not trying to sound amazing and actually I think I’ve always been this way, but I’ve realised it more in Honduras. I’ve learned that I’m the type of person that if I see someone sat on their own at a party or something I will go up to them and find something I have in common with them and introduce them to everyone. And when I am fond of someone, I don’t just like them, I love them. I was speaking to Hector in my project about my family and friends in Honduras and he said something like ‘you just love everyone don’t you!’ And the same goes for music – too many people In Honduras have noticed that for nearly every song that comes on (English and Spanish!) I always exclaim ‘I love this song!!’. I just get so excited! But realising that I have this affection for people has made me recognise that I want to work with people – the idea of sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life seriously makes me want to run in the opposite direction as fast as I can (which is not very fast but you get what I mean). So my time in Honduras has been amazing for both changing something about myself I used to resent and for encouraging me to recognise one of the good things I have going for me, which I can now use to help decide what to do next with my life.
But of course, there are also some things about everyone that will never change. This sounds so stupid but I noticed the other day that I still always go for the left hand tap when I wash my hands. But in Honduras, of course, there is no hot water from either tap so it doesn’t make a difference… in fact sometimes, the left one doesn’t work as it’s meant to be for hot water… so often, I waste time by turning the left tap which doesn’t even work and then I have to use the right one instead. It’s such a small thing but it’s something so ingrained in what I do in England that even after 9 months living here, I am conditioned to expect hot running water from the left tap. It’s stupid but it’s like a little daily reminder that I’m English!
Also, time keeping. Wow, do Hondurans like to be late. Seriously, not 10 or 20 minutes… more like an hour or two. And unlike in England where if you know you are going to be late you give someone advance notice of your tardiness… Hondurans wait until they are already about half an hour late and then message you to say they will be there in another 30 minutes. It drives me crazy and I don’t think that will ever change. I remember countless days when I used to go pick up Lozzy from her house for a day out somewhere, if I was ever going to be even a couple of minutes late, I would feel awful and rush to get there quick as possible just in case Lozzy was stood outside her door waiting for me. Of course, she never was and I always felt silly for panicking so much about a couple of minutes! And I still feel that way now – I worry when I am 5 minutes late but then whoever I am meeting is at least 30 minutes late anyway! And Hondurans walk soooo slow as well – I have tried so hard to slow down and walk like I have no rush in my life, but I just can’t do it. It is something I need to try and learn before I leave though; Hondurans live their lives like everything can wait – and usually it can, so why do we rush everywhere?!
So one of my more random blog posts but one of the reasons I decided to volunteer was so that I could ‘find myself’. But I recently saw a quote about the idea that you are creating yourself, but finding yourself – and I LOVE it! Through volunteering, I have already worked out what my passions are, realised what is and isn’t important to me and I’ve been able to change things about myself that I felt needed changing. So I guess this post is just a reminder to me that in that respect, it was a great decision to volunteer abroad and to anyone considering volunteering, or travelling – go for it, it’s so worth it! Hope that all wasn’t too soppy for anyone…