The Little Things I’ll Forget About Later

Every time I travel to a new place, there are little differences that quickly become normal, a part of everyday life.  I’ve been here less than 24 hours, and here are a few things that stood out.

Nepal isn’t the only place with rolling blackouts.  I’ve had no power (no wi-fi, phone either) for my first day here.  It’s scheduled to come back on later.

Yellow school buses are everywhere, even in this little village of El Porvenir.  They are used as regular buses.  I’ve learned that of the two circling the village roads, the one that honks will bring me to La Ceiba – the nearest city and ATM.  The other one doesn’t honk and goes somewhere else.

Tuk-tuks are here as well and very cheap.  Riding one to class today brought me back to India.  It even had a “made in India” sign on the dashboard.  The only difference was that this driver played music; the speakers are located right behind the passengers’ ears.  

Kids are kids.  I’ve been to one class and so many of the kids already remind me of ones I know.  There’s the boy who steals other people’s snacks, the ones who are afraid to speak up in class, the ones who are eager to help, the ones who quit when things don’t go their way and the ones who want to climb on you.  Then there’s Luis*, who rubbed my belly and asked if I was going to have a baby.  

Toilet paper does not get flushed.  This is common in South and Central America.  At least I have a place to sit, unlike in Kyrgyzstan!

The lady next door will fry fish for me, across the street is another lady who will do my laundry, down the dirt road is a woman who will make lunch whenever I want it, there’s another house for tortillas, and the list goes on.  If I were visiting here, I would be going to the restaurants on the beach, but living here means I know the best homes to go to for whatever I need.

It’s hot.  India hot.  I knew it would be, but I’m still adjusting to it.  Today, while playing goalie (the team was desperate), I stood in the thin shadow of the goal post for some relief.  I even walked away from the goal to the nearest patch of shade whenever I had the chance.  The other, much younger, volunteers were running around in the hot sun with the kids.  

It gets dark by 6:30.  After one day I’m looking forward to it.  The sun has become my enemy.  There are afternoon downpours and breezes that I also eagerly anticipate.  

It’s not advisable to walk anywhere alone after dark.  Luckily, I have everything I need where I’m staying.  A beautiful garden, patio, hammocks, outdoor kitchen, privacy, and two dogs to play with. 

I must remember to remove my hat before entering the front gate.  My companion, Zorrita, turned into a vicious guard dog when I walked in wearing my hat today.  

It’s cheaper to buy water in a plastic bag (13¢) than a bottle (40¢).   Orange juice also comes in a plastic bag with a straw and is so cold and refreshing.  This reminds me of Bolivia where they sold soda, water and other drinks in plastic bags with straws.  It takes some getting used to.  

The locals swim with their clothes on.  It’s true.  I saw it with my own eyes.  I don’t know why this is so.

You stop a taxi, tuk-tuk or bus by pointing to the ground, not raising your hand in the air.  Any shady spot in the village is a bus stop.

When approached by a gang of street dogs (as I was last night) just bend over and pretend to pick up a rock and they’ll back away.  It worked flawlessly, though they continued to bark loudly until I was well past them.

This morning (day 2) during class I looked down and noticed giant beads of sweat covering my arms.   I could feel the drops of sweat dripping off my chest also.  I can’t imagine what my face looked like.  Everyone else looked completely dry.  I’m going to start bringing a towel to class.

Here are a few more scenes from my first two days in El Porvenir.

My room
Comfortable living at Malana’s
Cooking outside
The busy beach road
Looking towards the mountains from El Porvenir
The beach is two blocks from home.
Outside the front gate
Passing goats on the way to the beach
Beach scenes

*Throughout this blog, I will change the names of children to protect their privacy.

Comments (30):

  1. Millie

    July 3, 2016 at 07:34

    Enjoyed this post after what felt like too long to hear from our favorite blogger. Sounds like you had a good excuse. Jeff says “keep yourself super hydrated!”

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:10

      I’m adapting. This morning I walked into my room and went for five minutes before I realized I had forgotten to turn on the fan.

  2. Anne

    July 3, 2016 at 07:51

    Excellent reading Tim don’t know if you know this yet you should be very proud Of Ricky check out his story on Facebook

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:11

      Thanks for the reminder to check Facebook!

  3. Betsy Flanagan

    July 3, 2016 at 07:53

    I wish there was a lady to do laundry for me down my street! Great to hear from you and glad you’re settling in.
    xox Betsy

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:12

      Maybe Erin can fill that role!

  4. LInda Wight

    July 3, 2016 at 08:47

    HI Tim, second attempt Great to hear you arrived safely. Enjoyed seeing all the pictures and learning about Honduras. Glad to know that the basics are covered. IT is amazing to me that we can connect by wifi. IT also reminds me of how we take our everyday things for granted and to be thankful for our blessings. Glad you have your “guard dog” remember that hat, always wear sunscreen, drink plenty of liquids – (The mother in me – coming out). Your parents would be proud.. ALso reminded me that I’m not use to writing letters and that you’re a teacher, so excuse the errors 🙂 Love you, stay safe. WIll remember you in my prayers, getting ready for church 🙂 Love Linda and Conrad

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:16

      Hi Linda! Thanks for reading and commenting. I am definitely using my sunscreen and hat every day! This is a beautiful place with warm and friendly people, but there is also a lot of poverty. Thanks for your prayers and say hello to Conrad. Love, Tim

  5. Lori

    July 3, 2016 at 08:52

    So happy to hear from you!!! Love that you already “recognize” your students…..the pictures are wonderful…stay cool and safe!

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:17

      Yes, it was hard for me not to name specific students, but I’m sure you recognized a few!

  6. Sharon Eash

    July 3, 2016 at 12:43

    What an adventure! Be super careful about that heat… it can be deadly!!! Eagerly awaiting more blog posts! Sharon (and John)

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:19

      Start teaching full-time tomorrow, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to write. I will have kid and adult classes, plus a computer class and a Spanish tutor some evenings. Keeping busy!

  7. Paula M Agins

    July 3, 2016 at 16:00

    Glad to hear you are doing well. The heat sounds awful to me!! Lori would be fine 🙂 Love the pictures and all the stories. Keep them coming 🙂

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 4, 2016 at 01:21

      Thanks, Paula. I am already looking forward to an air-conditioned apartment in Vietnam, even though I hear the heat there is worse!

  8. Brandon

    July 5, 2016 at 13:23

    Looks like you are settling in just fine. The beaches there don’t look anything like the beaches here. I think we have you beat on that one :p. I am glad you are having a good time and I always look forward to reading your posts. You should definitely write a book one day about all of your travels. Maybe it can be called Tim’s Travels instead of Gulliver’s Travels. Stay safe and we will talk to you soon. Everyone says Hi and that they love you.

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 6, 2016 at 19:39

      Yeah, the beach here is not the prettiest. I haven’t gone in the water yet. I’m heading to a beautiful beach a couple of hours from here this weekend. I think they can definitely compete with Florida beaches. Let me know when you want to Skype so I can see the kids. I’m two hours behind you.

  9. Eve Horowitz

    July 5, 2016 at 21:13

    I am so enjoying hearing your impressions of our community and kids. Thanks in advance for the great work that I know you’re going to do!

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 6, 2016 at 19:42

      Glad you’re reading, Eve! It’s been three straight days of classes and I’m already having a hard time remembering which location I was in on which day. We’ve had four going away parties in the last few days, and several new people have arrived. I’m beginning to feel like an old timer already! Love working with the kids and am taking on a little more responsibility every day. I’ll have a lot to write about my experience, as soon as I find more time! Just had my first LUV class and am heading to adult class in a few minutes.

  10. Diane Gallo

    July 6, 2016 at 08:27

    Great to hear what you are up too. The heat sounds rough, uggg. Get in that water!! With your clothes on….of course.
    I would love to present a lesson on Vietnamese craft this fall and get you to speak to the class on skype.
    Happy and safe trails. (:

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 6, 2016 at 19:45

      I may be daring and wear a bathing suit. Remember how I told you that in India there was always an air conditioned restaurant or hotel around the corner? Not in this little village! We’ll definitely Skype from Vietnam, even if I have to do it at 3 in the morning.

      • Diane

        July 8, 2016 at 17:54

        Be daring!! Not speedo daring though…ok?
        Maybe next year Iceland?

        • Tim Flanagan

          July 12, 2016 at 00:39

          I know my limits!

  11. Elaine Temel

    July 6, 2016 at 10:07

    Sounds amazing. Water is your new best friend. How’s the food? (always one of my favorite parts of traveling). Have you seen any cashew trees yet? I was surprised by those when I visited. Are you speaking Spanish, English, both?
    Thanks for the update. Elaine 🙂

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 6, 2016 at 19:50

      The lady down the street cooked a delicious chicken and rice meal, with salad and homemade corn tortillas – all for a little over $2. I’ve already put in an order for fish for Friday’s lunch. I did try a cashew fruit, but haven’t seen the tree yet. It’s here, I just don’t recognize it. Today I got to speak Portuguese with a volunteer who just arrived from Brazil. I do speak a lot of Spanish with the kids (or try to). The most difficult time is when you’re trying to tell them to stop throwing rocks or hitting each other – that’s when I forget all the words I need. They’re good kids – just a little rambunctious at times!

  12. LInda Wight

    July 10, 2016 at 13:42

    HI Tim just read some of your blogs. The meals sound great. I was showing one of my friends your blog ,and I was telling her that I didn’t know if you spoke Portugese, but thought you did,and you answered that question. Sounds like you’re busy and making friends, love Linda

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 12, 2016 at 00:43

      Yes, I’m getting to know people better every day, and meeting more students as well. The names can be challenging!

  13. Marika

    July 11, 2016 at 11:37

    I can’t wait to her more Luis stories!!!!!

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 12, 2016 at 00:45

      There are so many, but I have to edit them carefully!

  14. Cindy Cassidy

    July 22, 2016 at 08:22

    What a great blog…my favorite so far. If it’s okay, I’d love to use some of the information for when I do my introduction to culture unit. I love to see/hear of the differences between cultures then learn WHY?
    Safe Travels,

    • Tim Flanagan

      July 25, 2016 at 14:32

      Definitely. I want teachers to use this. Don’t forget to Skype me with your class.


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