I close my eyes, and I’m there.

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This post was originally written in December 2011, looking back on my 8 months in beautiful Honduras earlier that year. 

…Tiptoeing along the top of a crumbling cement wall alongside the skinny dry-season version of a river, with Mauricio and Edgar behind me and two boys from the village scampering ahead of us. We playfully kick pebbles off the wall and jump jagged pieces of metal jutting out of the cement, and the earthy scent of freshly tilled cane sugar fields fills our nostrils. No one’s told me where we’re going, but I couldn’t care less.

…Huddling under the tiny umbrella of the granita-man’s cart with Marisol and Jairan at the carnaval in San Antonio, clutching each other for warmth and dryness and giggling hysterically as there pours down around us the most brutal rainstorm I’ve ever seen. Our borrowed space under the umbrella is both a blessing and a curse, because, for lack of any rain-protection, the rest of the umbrella-less crowd has, to my slight jealousy, simply embraced it, and a hundred soaking wet, steaming bodies—babies, teens, grandmas, fathers—dance, laugh, hoot, holler, sing, and sway to the live music in a giant, pulsating mass of effervescent life, the music building to a fever pitch as thunder and lightning crack around us. Part of me wants to run out from under the umbrella and join them, but I stay, arms wrapped around my sisters and this place embedding itself deeper and deeper in my heart.

…Perched on the sidewalk sipping fruit granitas with Danielita and Angelito in the late afternoon as the sun sinks low behind the mountains and the elote women are packing up their wares. Danielita and I laugh so hard we fall over as Angelito runs in the street chasing rusty pickup trucks, Angelito and I poke endless fun at Danielita when we spot her crush walking down the block, and I try not to think about how hard it’s going to be to leave these kids.

…Lodged in a crusty bus seat, sweating out of pores I didn’t know I had and, as the hot Honduran sun beats down on me through my window, realizing that despite my calculations, I chose the wrong side of the bus once again. The bus rolls to a brief stop and I reach my hand out the window, and in a flurry of bills and coins, I purchase a bag of agua de coco and some mamones from the guy outside. I know that until we stop again, this, and my view of the lush green Western mountains and that bluer-in-Honduras sky, will be my only respite from the heat. But the only thing stronger than the heat is the freedom that I feel, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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