My Dream Life

Sometimes I feel like Walter Mitty, because I wake up in the morning in my gray room to go sit at my desk for 8 hours each day, and my life can look dull from an outside perspective, but you have no ideas of the kind of adventures I have at night when I’m sleeping.

For instance, I have survived being held hostage for twenty-five years, escaped from a skunk that was out to get me with a Tonka dumptruck, and done housework for Pharrell Williams. And that’s just a start.

I had a sister who was going to Montana, and her plan to return to New York was to take along a rope  that was fastened to a beam back in New York, and just swing back. Personally, I think that sounds much more fun than driving for a hundred hours.

One of my brothers who worked at Dollar General for $8.85 an hour, even though having that job meant living away from his family and only seeing them on weekends.

I went on a date during which we stopped at a little store in Honduras to pick up something. While checking out, a hand reached around me, trying to steal my phone. I grabbed the hand, and got into a tussle with the thief, trying to get it back. We ended up on the street, where in desperation, I bit him. And behold, I bit his finger off! On the bright side, I did get my phone back. However, I’m not so sure there was a second date, but this still remains one of my favorite dreams.

Speaking of dates, I was once proposed to by the guy having his parents call me and say sweet things. Shockingly, it worked. (Note: dream me and real me have pretty different tastes sometimes.)

Aliens keep popping up in my dreams, despite the fact that I don’t read or watch much science fiction. One time, I even discovered that I was part alien, so that was kind of cool.

My little brother was getting married to a girl I had never met. At some point in the proceedings, I realized he was wearing shoes made out of dried okra, and shaped like a minstrel’s shoes. I believe my siblings also have slightly different tastes in my dreams than in real life, although if anyone knows where to find these okra shoes, let me know!

Most recently my home was on fire, and I was desperately rescuing my musical instruments, and my mom’s wedding china. Since the china made it all the way to Honduras and back with every piece still intact (in real life), it was pretty important to rescue it from the fire.

So you see, while I might not always wake up very rested, I do often wake up quite entertained!

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Tela

Remember when I said I’d tell you about our flopped beach trip? Well, here you go. We have a long-standing tradition of renting the same little cabins every time we visit Tela, since they’re private and cheap, off the beaten track, and the cook that owned them was amazing. However, they seem to have gotten a little run down since the original owner died and left his son in charge, a fact we were going to discover thoroughly.

Our first evening there started out well enough, despite having the taxi driver rip us off a little. The double rainbow across the beach at sunset was simply glorious. But alas, do you know what rainbows mean? That’s right, rain. Soon we were going to learn that fact better than we ever wanted to. We took a little walk after our (delicious) dinner, but were soon driven inside by the bugs viciously biting our legs. We had both brought books, so it wasn’t too bad, as we stretched out on the beds and read. However, it gets dark at what, 6:00 there? so the evening stretched on and on, until it fiiiiiiinally grew late enough we could go to bed.

The next day we woke up to cloudy skies, and a still ocean. I begged Philip to go into the ocean with me, thinking it would be kind of fun to be in the water when there were practically no waves at all. Wrong. We stood in the cold, gray water, with cold, gray rain dripping on us, and no waves to jump, and thought, now what? After standing there until we were shivering and gray and cold ourselves, we decided that was not such a great form of entertainment and went into our cabins to, let’s see, read!

 

Forgive me, long-legged Philip, but this picture is just such an accurate description of the whole vacation.

The rain began to come down in swirling gusts, and we soon discovered just how holey the thatch and metal on our cabin roofs was, as we dodged puddles and tried to keep our electronics from getting too damp. Taking walks in the calm spots was not to be advised, as the sky would suddenly start hurling drops at you if you tried. One bright spot in our day was the seafood soup made by our host, filled with large shrimp and coconut milk, but even seafood soup can only do so much ministering to a vacation that is diseased.

One of the tiny cabins we usually rent, and the angry sky

After a long day spent in our dark cabins avoiding the rain, we decided after dinner that we needed coffee to warm up, and set out in a rain-lull to find some. But alas, apparently the Garifuna people in whose village we were staying do not drink coffee. So we settled for juice instead. Delicious, but cold. As we trudged along the muddy road, a little ways from the shelter of our cabin, huge drops began to fall. This was beginning to get funny! We dashed under someone’s porch (thank you, stranger) and stayed there until we judged it safe to make it back to our own cabins. And then, another long dark evening, with nothing to do but read. Reading is good. I like reading. I like reading at the beach. But man, there is a limit to what flesh and blood can bear. Lesson learned- when vacationing with just one other person in rainy season, stay in the middle of the city instead of out in the boonies, so that if everything is wet you can at least go to a coffee shop or something!

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The next day we were scheduled to bus back to Philip’s house, and as if in mockery at our attempted vacation, the sky was bright and the sun shone and the weather was absolutely tip-top, just as we were supposed to leave. We trotted about the city of Tela as long as we dared without missing our bus, drinking our long awaited coffee, eating mangoes and papayas and pollo asado with tortillas, assuring and reassuring the Garifuna lady that I did not, in fact, want corn rows, and enjoying the perfect weather.  The perfect end to a less than perfect vacation.

And that, my friends, is what happens when I try to plan a beach trip. Be warned.

How To Be a Good Missionary-Visitor


Wash dishes. I mean it, wash dishes all the time. Do your own laundry. Gladly eat the food they have on hand, but pass on that special treat they just got from the States that they feel obliged to share with you. And then go wash some more dishes. Don’t treat your visit as a vacation at a resort. The missionaries are not there only to feed you and entertain you. Pull your weight.

Speaking of entertaining, be easy to entertain. Don’t feel you have to be constantly moving and doing and talking and going. Sometimes, there are only so many places to go, and things to do, and entertaining an energy ball can be exhausting.

Be culturally sensitive. Don’t schlump around in your dirty, white, tennis shoes, loudly talking about the “natives” in English and exclaiming about how much worse the country is than the United States. You are on their territory, not yours. Act accordingly. Don’t hog the volleyball or diss how they play. Eat their food with gusto. Wear clean shoes.

On the other hand, remember that all those things that are just uh-MAZING about this AWESOME country you’re visiting are not quite as new and exciting to your missionary friend. Sure, the view is lovely, but have you considered that maybe this is the seventh time this year that the missionary has climbed this mountain to look at this view with different groups of enthusiastic visitors? No, getting to live in another country doesn’t automatically make them the luckiest person in the world. Because sometimes it’s actually hard, really hard. Be sensitive to that.

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Pray for them. That sounds so cliche, I know, but you know what were some of the groups we most enjoyed when we lived in Honduras? The prayer teams. I recently read a blog post about short term missions, and it said that instead of focusing on the locals, focus on helping the missionaries, because that makes a much bigger difference, and I thought, YES. So true. Also, when you leave, don’t forget to write them. I know firsthand the delight of letters from friends you left behind. In fact, letters from far away are what inspired the name of this blog originally.

And now for a little confession: I started this blog post before my recent trip to Honduras, then I thought, nah, I better not post it before I go, because what a lot to live up to! 😀 So here it is, post-trip, and now my lovely hosts can read it and judge me if they wish.