By Lucie C., a guest blogger volunteering in Honduras
Life in Honduras is very different than in Austin, Texas where I live. l've gotten into a routine, though, so I know (more or less) what to expect each day. Every morning my alarm wakes me up at 6:30 am. Then I take a shower and get dressed in the privacy of my own little bedroom. I am served breakfast around 7:00 by one of the girls who lives in the house. Breakfasts vary greatly. Some mornings is fruit like mango or watermelon, some mornings it is hot oatmeal, some mornings it is a tortilla with beans and cheese, and some mornings it is pancakes ("panqueques" en espanol). They also have cold cereal here, but only cornflakes! Literally, there is a whole isle in the grocery store dedicated to cornflakes, and I haven't seen any other kind of cereal. It makes me laugh. Then I walk to school, which is only about five minutes away from my house. The view is gorgeous. There are giant, colorful flowers everywhere, and the mountains are just behind me.
School starts at 7:30 and lasts until 12:00. Absolutely everything is in Spanish (the teachers don't speak English!) and the classes are very small, so I am learning incredibly fast. The first few days I was in a class of three, and we spent about half of our time having conversations in Spanish and the other half reading books aloud in Spanish and then answering questions about what we read. It was very hard for me because the other students in my class knew a lot more Spanish than I did, though, so I ended up moving to a different class. Then I was the only student in my class (so I had a teacher all to myself!). We spent almost all of our time pouring over textbooks, learning all the verb tenses, grammar, and vocabulary. What you learn really depends on your teacher. Some teachers spend more time using the textbooks, others stories or flash cards, and others focus more on conversation skills. We all switch teachers every two weeks (meaning that I will have a new teacher tomorrow) to ensure that we get a good balance. If there is a particular skill that you want to improve on (writing, reading, speaking, listening, etc.), be sure to mention that, as all of the teachers can personalize the curriculum to best suit your wants and needs.
After school I go home and eat lunch. Lunch is usually chicken, rice, and vegetables. Then I do my homework, which takes about an hour and a half. Meanwhile the girls in my house watch TV. Honduran TV shows are so different than the shows in the U.S.! Everything is ridiculously exaggerated, from the makeup to the music to the acting, but the girls here love it. They don't understand why I don't get as into it as they do, lol.
After I'm done with my homework, I have the whole afternoon to explore the city. Sometimes I hang out with friends from the language school and sometimes I spend time with my Honduran friends. One day I went to the ocean where all the ships are, and I got to go on many of the ships and see men unpacking lots of big fish. Another day I went to a different part of the ocean and ran along the edge of the water, chasing the tide. It's truly gorgeous by the water, and I'm always surprised by how few tourists there are.
Another day I walked all through the center of town, talking to the locals and looking at everything they were selling. I bought juice with my friends from a place that could make any kind of juice you can imagine! I got toronja (grapefruit) mixed with manzana (apple). There was also mango, pineapple, guava, cantaloupe, watermelon, grape, lemon, lime, orange, coconut, carrot, banana, papaya… more, too. I wish I could remember them all! Another day I went to the mall, where I saw a steel drum concert, and another time I played soccer with a bunch of kids from the neighborhood. One day I met a man who chopped down a coconut for me off of his tree and broke it open so that I could drink the juice! There is so much to do in La Ceiba. I only have two weeks before I start volunteering at the orphanage in the afternoons, so I want to do as much as I can while I still have time.
Around 7:00pm I make my way back to the house for dinner. I like to help prepare dinner, because the food is very different than what I eat in the United States, and I am learning how to cook Honduran food. We eat fried plantains every single night. Plantains look like large bananas but taste more like potatoes. Tortillas, rice, beans, eggs, vegetables, and chicken are also common dinner foods in Honduras. After eating, all of the boys crowd around the TV to watch futbol (soccer). They get very into their games, too, shouting and cheering for the teams. While this is going on, I usually go outside with the other girls to study, read a book, or just lounge around and talk. It's a very comfortable atmosphere, and I'm glad that I've made friends with everyone here. Eventually it's time to go to bed, and I do the same thing all over again in the morning!
See all of Lucie's blogs
Learn about AmeriSpan's Honduras Spanish Schools