December 27, 2010

December 14, 2010

adios.

We say goodbye to Honduras today and head back to the Great White North and the cold.  We don't want to say that we'll never be back; one day we hope to return.  We leave behind amazing friends, gringos and Hondurans, and a little piece of our hearts.  We take with us wonderful memories of children's smiles and hugs, sharing crunchy baleadas with friends, people passing you on the street and greeting you, visiting new places, seeing natural wonders, and many unforgettable experiences.

I wish we documented our time here better through this blog.  We did and saw so much.  I wish we could have shared more with you.  It was just too easy to get caught up in the new environment and new experiences.  Even in the slower pace of this place, life still got busy.  Or the heat and hilly terrain just made it harder to feel motivated to write, which is probably a pretty weak excuse, but I'm sticking to it.  I think we were pretty lucky to spend the majority of our first year of marriage in a foreign country.  It was fun and we are so grateful that we had time here learning to be spousal with each other.

So for those of you wondering, the plan is to head to Vancouver via Miami and Dallas.  Two very long layovers.  Gross.  We spend one day in Vancity and then fly to Saskatoon for two weeks, spending Christmas with the Wall-side of the family.  Then we return to the Westcoast for New Year's and wait it out until mid-January when we take a trip to the Philippines, where Matt will get to meet more of his new Filipino family.  We spend a month there, doing the relative circuit and some island hopping.  Then it's back to Canada and figuring out what's next for us.

We spent our last few days in San Pedro Sula.  We went to the championship final for the Honduran National Soccer League, Real Espana vs. Olympia.  We were with our dear friend and Real Espana fan, Luis.  Fans climbing and shaking fences, bonfires in the stands, firecrackers going off in the face of a goalie, drinks being thrown out on the field at the referees, riot police throughout the stadium.  Honduran soccer fans = insanity.  Learned some cusswords in Spanish that day.  Although Olympia scored the first goal, Real Espana won with two goals, the second one in overtime.  A highlight.

December 13, 2010

milling rice.


























la moskitia, honduras.

December 6, 2010

people looking at art.


museum of modern art, new york

November 15, 2010

amish youth running.


The Village of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania

November 13, 2010

"My best teachers were mess, failure, death, mistakes, and the people I hated, including myself." ~anne lamott

November 8, 2010

November 4, 2010

guess who's a lucky duck...

because it's her birthday and her stupendous husband surprised her with tickets to...

Order The Lion King Broadway Tickets Online. !!!

which they'll be watching in NEW YORK!!! on BROADWAY!!!

We're in Camden, NJ for the annual UrbanPromise Summit Conference where all UP branches come together for encouragement and connecting with other UP peeps.  The keynote speaker is Benneth Lee, a former gang leader from Chicago.  It was crazy to think that the stuff he talked about really happened to him.  But by the grace of God and an incredible support system around him during his rehab and after coming out of prison for the last time, he's now a sought-out and highly respected counselor/trainer/conference speaker, specifically in the area of gang members coming out of drug addiction.

(ps. and for those of you who'd care, I shook Shane Claiborne's hand.)

So after the conference, we're going to mozy on over to the Big Apple, after the UPHonduras staff runs a little half marathon in Amish Country to raise money for kids fieldtrips.  Matt and I will be staying till Tuesday.  I thought the trip to New York was my birthday present alone, but I eventually found out the show was my real present.  This is a dream come true for me to finally see this show, having studied Theatre Design in university.  Yes, I have the best husband in the world.  And yes, this year's birthday rocks the Kasbah.

November 2, 2010

end of an era.

Matt had his final day with the AfterSchool Program last Friday.  He has passed the baton on to Katie, the  new Camp Hope Director.  He'll be wrapping up his time with UPH with a few fun fieldtrips with the kids.  It's bitter sweet, of course.  It always is, having invested so much of your life into something special, investing into people's lives.

Everyday at the end of camp, everyone participates in a cheer which is a verse from the bible.  Accompanied with actions, the kids and leaders belt out the words with joy and conviction.  It's crazy and super all together.  Here is a little video of the cheer, on the last day of Camp Hope of this year.


¡Sé fuerte y valiente! ¡No tengas miedo ni te desanimes!
Porque el SEÑOR tu Dios te acompañará dondequiera que vayas.

(Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9).

November 1, 2010

tobacco sheds.


Formerly used for air-curring tobacco leaves, these buildings now stand dilapidated and abandoned in one of the surrounding farm areas of the Copan region.

October 26, 2010

balloon doodle.

My friends, Joey and Andrea, entered a doodling contest and won! (woop woop) for their entry...

a self-portrait
photo by Joey Armstrong 

Andrea doodled.  Joey photoed.  Both set designed.  Sibling collaboration at its best.  Just had to show this creative little gem off.  Brilliant, eh.

ps. um, just discovered Andrea has been posting delightful illustrations-superimposed-in-photos on her blog.  Yes, I said "delightful."  Please look at them, as well as her other dynamite illustrations.  They will make you feel happy.

October 11, 2010

basilica of esquipulas.


Located in Guatemala, Esquipulas is Central America’s greatest pilgrimage site.  Built in 1737 by the archbishop of Guatemala, the cathedral houses the sculpture, the Black Christ, a figure carved out of dark wood in 1594 and is believed to have healing powers.

September 20, 2010

September 13, 2010

September 9, 2010

in a nutshell.



(Dedicated to Rachele...more words.)

West Bay Beach (Roatan).
We honeymooned on Roatan Island (but not before being delayed twice by a blizzard in Saskatoon).  We spent a blissful week vegging, horseback riding, snorkelling (saw a nurse shark and stingray), laying on the beach, encountering dolphins (and being kissed by one), spotting shipwrecks, riding a scooter, frolicking with iguanas, and getting sunburnt.  All around lovely.

Our apartment on the second floor (Copan).














We settled into our new place.  After much cleaning, scrubbing, sweeping away spiders and webs, acquiring storage, and decorating the walls, we finally were able to call it home.  Although our floor isn't tiled, and the hot water comes and goes (mostly goes), and our roof is tin sheeting which creates a deafening noise when it pours, and the power goes out on occassion, and we've had our share of cockroaches, spiders carrying baby sacks, flying June bugs, pooping geckos, millipedes that make their way into the bed, die, and dry up into a curl, and never-ending ant brigades, and other creepy crawlies...we've grown to like it.

We've traveled around a bit.  Went to Santa Rosa, Honduras where we ate delicious pizza, drank atol (traditional hot corn drink), and won second place in a karaoke contest.  Went to Costa Rica where we zip-lined through a cloud forest, spotted a Resplendent Quetzal, cooed over baby sloths, tried to avoid mango-throwing howler monkeys, learned about nocturnal jungle life on a night walk, and experienced an erupting volcano.  Went to Lake Yojoa, Honduras' largest lake, where we trekked behind a giant water fall, jumped off a 25 foot cliff, and ate the best chocolate cake and real blueberry cheesecake ever.  We went to Antigua, Guatemala where we strolled through church ruins, watched a Miss Antigua pageant parade, and hiked on recently hardened lava of an active volcano.  Went to Utila, Honduras where we got scuba certified and to La Ceiba, Honduras where we held a giant stag beetle and tarantula with our bare hands.  Went to Punta Gorda, Belize where we saw Mayan ruins, tubed down a river, watched fire dancing at a crocodile fundraiser, and learned how chocolate is made by hand.

Anthony's Key Resort (Roatan).
Iguana Farm (Roatan)
"Everything I do, I do for you..." (Honduras).

Sloth Sanctuary (Costa Rica).
Pulhapanzak Waterfalls (Honduras).
Volcan Pacaya. Last erupted May 27, 2010 (Guatemala).
Butterfly Museum (La Ceiba).  Overcoming the arachnophobia, just for a moment.
Mayan grave in Nim Li Punit (Belize).  Matt as a Mayan zombie.
Killing a chicken in Llanatios (Honduras).
We made new friends.  We had old friends visit.  We cheered on Honduras during the World Cup.  We had a super soccer tournament with UPH staff, youth leaders, interns, a mission team from Canada, and local supporters, complete with thunder showers and flying bats.  We took a roller-coaster of a ride in the back of a pick-up truck (in the rain) to natural hot springs, where we soaked in naturally hot waters (also in the rain).  We rode horses to a rural village, made pottery, and watched a chicken get its head twisted off by a mission team teenager from Camden, NJ for homemade soup.


And that's the last five months summed up.  Time really has flown.  We have a couple more months to go.  And then it's off to our next adventure, yet to be determined.

September 6, 2010

August 30, 2010

pink bike.

punta gorda, belize.

August 23, 2010

August 17, 2010

certified.


Apparently Honduras is one of, if not, the cheapest place in the world to get scuba certified.  So we did it.  We are officially PADI Open Water Divers.

We have to leave the country every three months to renew our tourist visas.  So on our last "vacation" we headed to Belize with a little detour to Utila, one of the Bay Islands off the north coast of Honduras, where we spent three and a half days completing the entry-level beginners course.  Three and a half days seem short and somewhat sketch, but we had full confidence in our awesome instructor, Nadia, who had tons of experience.

On our honeymoon, we did a Discover Scuba Diving course through PADI, where an instructor taught us some basic theory and skills, and then took us on a 35 minute dive at around 40 feet deep.  We were hooked.  If you ever get the chance to do the Discover Dive, cause you want to give scuba a try or just for a one-time thrill, do it.  It's amazing.  Like swimming in a gigantic aquarium.  Breathing underwater...for a long time...without having to surface...is s.u.r.r.e.a.l.

Oceans and lakes of the world...here we come!

August 16, 2010

August 2, 2010

June 29, 2010

my mom.

A few weeks back my mom completed a triathlon in my hometown of Saskatoon.  She had been wanting to do one and decided to use the opportunity to raise money for us to buy computers and other supplies for our youth resource center.  The race included a 500m swim, 12km bike ride, and a 5km run, more than I've ever done.  Not only did my mom show me up physically, she also raised over $1,500.   (photo - Kaysie Wall on the bike leg of the Triathlon)

I have been continually amazed by many things throughout starting and running UrbanPromise Honduras.  The one thing that has been the most enjoyable is the generosity from my friends and family and from the willingness of people to help. We also just recently received a couple laptops from some of my awesome friends back home, so our youth center is starting to take shape and I think will be really beneficial to the youth here.

Thank you to all the people who supported my mom in the triathlon, to all my awesome friends and family, and to my amazing parents who keep encouraging and supporting me.

Good job, Mom!

June 21, 2010

cloud forest.











Monteverde, Costa Rica.

June 5, 2010

the rich coast.

i.e. Costa Rica.

That's where we'll be for the next week.  Vacation!  Ey-oh!  Sloth Sanctuary here we come...

May 24, 2010

May 12, 2010

ch-ch-ch-changes.

Well...

Thought we'd give a new blog a try.  Hope this blog will both entertain and enlighten those who happen to pass by.  Of course, there will be lots of pictures still.

Married life has been lovely.  40 days and counting.  The learning curve of how to be a spouse has been steep (as expected) but we're getting the hang of it.  Goodtimes.  Living in Copan Ruinas, a quaint little tourist town in western Honduras.  Trying to get used to the heat, walking up hilly cobblestone streets, and water shortages.  You'd think the mucho slower pace of life would be a welcome change...until it comes to getting leaky toilets fixed and the shower head installed after not having bathing facilities for a week and half in an apartment that was given a month to be ready for its new tenants (take a breath)...
Matt (on the phone to the landlord): "We're in Copan now."
Landlord: "Oh.  When were you planning on moving in?"
Matt: "Uh...right now."
Landlord: "Oh."
Welcome to Copan.

After a week of sulking in an untiled, waterless, showerless apartment, we finally started pulling together a home that was worthy to live in.  Or at least tolerable for the next six months. It's all good now, though.  We have water, we have food, we have storage (yes!), we have nice neighbours who invited us to our first neighbourly visit.

And if any of you are wondering, our weddings photos won't be ready for a while still.  But our stupendous photographer, Morgaine Owens, had posted one sweet photo of us on her blog.

Isn't it dreamy...

Can't wait for the rest.  And by the way...if any of you have some nice photos of our wedding that you wouldn't mind passing on to us, that would be super.

We'll try to be good at keeping up this cyperspace scrapbook for those of you who are interested.  There's more to come...the honeymoon, life in Copan, learning español, stuff we've been doing, and other random goodness.