My Saturdays fall into two categories now that I’m a kindergarten teacher: either I do a lot or I do a whole lot of nothing. After a long, hot week of teaching, my body still wakes me up around 6:00 am (and if habit doesn’t get me, the rooster next door does). I usually do my laundry, eat breakfast, catch up on emails and messages. Then sometimes I bring out the good, ol’ planning notebook and start working on what my class will do the next week. This can lead to hours of cutting construction paper, researching how to make playdoh out of coffee, and making many teacher examples of coloring sheets, crafts, and name-writing worksheets.
However, all that work usually gets put off until Sunday. Yesterday, for instance, I spent two hours on my bed, finishing a book I had been reading, with the fan blowing directly on me, enjoying the not-hot air. Two is also the number of episodes of Game of Thrones I watched with my roommates, as well as number of lunches I had. I spent a while downloading new music, making to-do lists, and inevitably wasting time on social media. Basically, I puttered. Major Saturday morning puttering.
But around 4:00 pm, I went to visit my host family with a fellow teacher. I hadn’t been in a while, and when we arrived, we were easily talked into coming back after dinner to help celebrate our host sister and mother’s joint birthdays. On our way back, we stopped at our host grandmother’s house to chat and I was amazed to see her in such good health because she had knee surgery just before I left in June. Now she can walk without problem! Even though we didn’t stay long, I was excited to return later.
Central America doesn’t really have a fall season…at all…so my roommates and I had decided to make chili for dinner and I had volunteered to buy the ingredients for smores as well, so we could light a candle and at least pretend it was autumn. But at the supermarket, I ran into a student and her mother, with whom I’m pretty close. They had a million or so grocery bags and asked if I would help them carry them home, which I did. This casual meeting led to me hanging out at their house for a while with my student’s two other sisters, where I learned that the mother, who is a few months pregnant, is having a boy! I even got to see the sonogram pictures of his small grayscale face. It was a pretty neat experience to share with them, looking at the sonogram photos and discussing possible names and due dates.
After walking the family to church (where they were headed), I returned home, ate my fill of chili, roasted a few smores on the stovetop, and headed back to my host family’s. There we celebrated with a delicious (we’re talking seriously rico) cake and (of course) Coca-cola. My host sister turned 20 and a few of her friends came over. It was really nice to meet other people our own age because I usually end up hanging out with very small children all day or their parents. I also got to speak in Spanish with them, though it’s definitely harder to understand when everyone is talking and yelling excitedly in a big group. A few new friends in my pocket, I went to bed feeling pretty happy and lucky that I had been originally placed with this host family over a year ago.
My host family had invited me to spend the night at their home, and when I woke up, we shared a breakfast of fried sweet plantains, beans, cheese, eggs, and the best coffee in Cofradia. I enjoyed chatting with my host mom for an hour or so after breakfast about life in Honduras, her kids, and their plans for the future. I kept thinking over and over again: I need to come here more often.
These are my favorite parts of life in Cofradia. I’ll complain about the heat, the rooster next door, or the giant group of people giving a concert in the park every Sunday morning, but there are so many things that I enjoy about life here. Running into students and their mothers on the streets, hanging out with them at their homes, sharing a birthday cake, feeling like part of a family, feeling a close bond with those families, as well as fake celebrating seasons with the other teachers and sharing meals are a few of the things I love about Cofradia.

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After a year full of singing the ABC song daily, bathing in glitter and glue, and dancing embarrassingly in front of her students, Raven is excited to return to San Jeronimo. She will teaching Prepa, following her class from Kinder, and has great hopes that there will be far fewer tears on the first day this time around. Before coming to Honduras, Raven studied Creative Writing and Spanish at Missouri State University, where she also had the opportunity to study away in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has plans to attend graduate school for Latin America Studies after her time in Honduras and continue learning about the people and culture of the area. In the meantime, she hopes to help her students transition into the full school day, begin to read, and learn to say her name correctly. She's especially looking forward to spending time with her twenty-five small friends and their families come August.