Crazy Cat Lady or What Am I Doing With My Life?

Everyone has a picture of how they see themselves at a certain stage of their lives. Sometimes of course those pictures change – although I don‘t see how anyone ever stops wanting to be a Disney Princess! – and some pictures stay with us. For a really long time I wanted to be a teacher. Then I fell in love with Orlando Bloom when I started being a teenager, and I wanted to become an actress. When I finished Secondary School I settled for writing. When we think ahead we always see ourselves somewhere ideal. Maybe with a family in a big house or living somewhere abroad hunting kangaroohs or doing surgery on people‘s hearts. But getting there can be quite a scary process. Once you finish school there‘s always the big question of What Now? Becoming a teacher really seems quite straight forward, but do you really want to go to uni straight away? Wouldn‘t it be good to go on the safari you‘ve always dreamed of? Shouldn‘t you go on a couple of dates before you start working for good? Isn‘t there a way of figuring out who you really are? Days of lying around on your bedroom floor, just trying to figure out what you want out of life right this moment, listening to one song over and over again while flipping through the pages of a travel magazine…
But really, we stress ourselves way too much over these things. Dreams don‘t go up in flames if you put them on hold – whoever said that you had to be a human rights lawyer before you‘re twenty-seven? The world holds an infinite number of possibilities and we are able to do whatever we want to.

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To me the only thing that really matters is me being happy. I love writing and maybe some day I‘ll do it for a living. And maybe the plays I write are the only things that will ever be published. But what‘s important is that we don‘t define our happiness over the pictures in our heads. Pictures can change and sometimes they do for the better.
When I think way ahead I always imagine myself as a crazy old cat lady. It‘s not very ambitious but it seems peaceful and kittens are cuddly. I‘d drink tea all day long and I‘d knit funny socks for my grand children and I‘d rewatch Doctor Who.
I know life probably isn‘t going to be like that in seventy years (being optimistic here), but we need this picture inside us to get by. Maybe you‘re lying around moping right now, but as long as you have some idea of where you want to get you‘re not going to be stuck forever.

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I'm just gonnahave a bunch of 'em
I’m just gonna have a bunch of ’em

You may not have the potential to change the entire world, to bring world peace or to find cancer treatment – but you have the potential to live your life and to go where you want to. You may not get there tomorrow, but you‘ll get there eventually and life will make a little more sense!

Noemi’s Make-Up Tutorial!

So… everybody who knows me well is going to laugh about this week‘s blog post. I‘m doing a make-up tutorial! Yes, I too own lipstick and eyeliner!
I don‘t think the stuff that I own really has any kind of brand, I usually let my friends buy it for me, so I can‘t really tell you whether this is the best there is. It‘s the best I have and it works.
I‘m invited to a birthday party tomorrow night and being a girl I started thinking about what I was going to wear. Simultaneously I was thinking about my blog et voilà! Make-Up it is!

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I have a very simple morning routine that doesn‘t vary much from my getting ready routine at night. I put on some liquid eyeliner which always really scares me, because it‘s so difficult to get on without smearing it. Then I add some black mascara and underline my eyes with golden eyeliner. I don‘t have very prominent eyebrows, so this is a way of making my eyes stand out a little bit more. For every day life I usually just put on some lip balm and if I‘m having a good day even some lip gloss. Since I‘m going out tomorrow I‘m probably gonna go for red lipstick, because I can! At last I add some concealer to hide any disgusting spots on my face and try and do something amazing with my hair. I always end up simply straightening it a little or braiding it. Add a bow, and there we go!

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Before…

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…and after

As you can probably tell, I‘m not really that far into the whole make-up stuff. Most of my friends love getting ready in the morning and that‘s really okay. They are not shallow or boring, it‘s just part of who they are. The reason I spend those ten minutes in the bathroom every day is because I like being pretty. I love Disney princesses and every time I put on some lipgloss I feel a tiny bit princessy. But I also think that we need to be careful not to fall into some sort of obsession when it comes to our looks. They are good for first impressions, but they are not who we really are. The prettiest person can be as brainless as a loaf of bread while a tiny wallflower can be the coolest person you‘ll ever meet. And their faces are going to change to you.

I‘m a very social bee, meaning I‘m out and about all the time. Often this happens very spontaneously and I don‘t really have the time to prepare myself much at all. Last week for example I was at my sister‘s place hanging out with her and the baby when my friend sent me a text asking if I was up for a beer. I‘m always up for a beer! Obviously being with a one year old is such a different world from some bar. I still had a tray of brownies with me when I arrived. The place we went to was called Barbière and it‘s so cozy that the waitress had me waiting for five minutes at the counter, because she was finishing off the last piece of cake they had in stock. We had the brownies with our beer and talked about so many meaningless things, we all ended up laughing tears. And I think no one even cared who was wearing coloured eye shadows and who wasn‘t!

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Maybe make-up is a way of portraying ourselves. I‘m a bit shy and I‘m a terrible liar. I‘m not even trying to conceal anything, let alone look extravagant. Others don‘t want to be seen the way the really are and hide themselves behind layers and layers of mascara. Some people just want to be beautiful all the time…! I don‘t think there‘s any right or wrong, after all, everyone is responsible for their own face. And that‘s the moral of today: Have the face you like!
Feel free to interpret this in whatever way you like!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
xxx

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Barbière
B40 AG
Breitenrainplatz 40
3014 Bern

Day 63 — The One Where I Can’t Find A Suiting Title

The reason I sucked at physics was not because I had a bad teacher, it was because he tried too hard explaining me how physics works, how the atoms and molecules interact, instead of just telling me how to use it. It‘s the same with mobile phones or computers – few of us actually know how those things really work, we just know how to use them. I manage effortlessly to walk into solid walls and fall down stairs, so no, I don‘t think I have a grasp on how to use physics!

Happy bus ride with the Chimis!
Happy bus ride with the Chimis!

It‘s the same principle with Honduras (or any other country). We can spend so much time just trying to understand why a place is the way it is, why it is not better or worse, why there‘s corruption or dictatorship… and it can help, but what we need to learn in the first place is how to use it. A country‘s history is what sound wave‘s are for the sound – without the waves we wouldn‘t hear the music and without the history we couldn‘t build a better future. But in order to appreciate the waves‘ work, we have to have heard the music first. So, how do we use Honduras? Based on my experience the first and best thing anyone can do is be amiable. Smile, appreciate not having been robbed, return the hugs (try to enjoy them!)… Honduras is definitely a country where being happy is appreciated.

Oh, those loving Hondurans! :)
Oh, those loving Hondurans! 🙂

Then, learn how to dance. Or, if you can‘t dance, at least learn the songs and move your hip, and be sexy.
Another thing, always count your change. Don‘t trust amiable people (but trust them more than grumpy ones, because at least they are nice), they might still try to rob you.
Oh, and don‘t get mad at robbers. I haven‘t been robbed so far, but I would rather give up my phone than my life. Maybe that‘s just me, though.
That‘s how you get by in Honduras. That‘s knowing which buttons to press on your phone, the green one to call, the red one to hang up. But now, there‘s a whole bloody lot of things wrong with that phone. And knowing how to use it won‘t do any more, because as hard as you push those buttons, they won‘t change anything. That‘s the point where we have to start to understand what wire goes where and why. John Green said,

„Grateful to be a little boat full of water still floating.“

(I do think the Greens will save the day!) And that‘s how I see Honduras. A broken place that still somehow manages to keep its pieces together.

The peninsula Zacate Grande
The peninsula Zacate Grande
Typical house on the peninsula
Typical house on the peninsula

Last week I had the chance to visit the peninsula Zacate Grande in the south of the country. I don‘t think anyone can sum up the people‘s problems there as well as Disney‘s „The Emperor‘s New Groove“ does. It takes seventy-five minutes of whole hearted laughter to realise that Kuzco is a) real, b) owns the freaking country and c) did not turn into a llama, and therefore actually built Kuzcotopia and did make the farmers leave their grounds even though they‘ve lived there for generations. And yet, Zacate Grande, too, is a boat, still floating. The grounds are inhabitet by farmers who are more than willing to fight for their rights. It‘s either fighting with a small chance of winning or not fighting with the certainty of starving. The great land owners need the land to build their mansions and tourist resorts, they privatise the beaches and rob the farmers of any chances of existence (you can find out more here). But being there, in spite of seeing the poverty up close, was one of the happiest expierences ever. It is so lovely to see that people are still just people. They took me to the beach and complained about the fact that I didn‘t bring my bathing suit, and wanted to know if I had already found a gorgeous Honduran! Where there‘s girl’s talk, the world will not end.

With the Children of N.P.H
With the Children of N.P.H
Play for the kids
Play for the kids

And of course I have to mention the visit to the orphanage N.P.H. (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos). It was beautiful and is an example of one of the many things that actually go right in Honduras. The children are granted a good future and a safe childhood. Books are very valued (an institution that doesn‘t value books is not a good institution, simple as that) and the whole area has a warm ambiente to it (and not only because of the hot weather). One of the things I loved the most was the plays we did for them, mainly because I enjoy watching them, too! But in the end, what was beautiful was to see their excited faces when they received a little bag of sweets and couldn‘t wait to open them. That is why children are so beautiful. The way they can‘t hold themselves back, the way they just have to taste those cookies right now, because they might explode if they don‘t… that‘s what gets lost on us when we grow up. Because we learn how to hold back, how to control ourselves. But maybe, life is about not keeping control. Maybe it‘s about going ahead and shamelessly taking what you can‘t resist.

I may not understand physics in any way, and that‘s okay. I mean, I fell up the stairs once, and the bruise taught me that, against my better judgement, this is in fact possible! But what I do understand is this: Whether it‘s a phone or a country, some things you just love even if they are broken. And loving them in their brokenness will make you angry enough to do what you can to fix them.

Day 42 — Poo: An Epiphany

The Honduran idea of milk
The Honduran idea of milk

There are certain things in life that will always find their way to the outside – the truth, love, digested beans… well, the truth is that my digested beans are far too willing to leave my system! Umm… too much information, you say? I should just have put that in my diary, you say? I did, but I told you, some things just need to get out!
According to Lonely Planet this phenomenon is called „Traveller‘s Diarrhea“ an can be caused by various factors such as jetlag, stress, bad food, powdered milk (fair enough, Lonely Planet doesn‘t mention this one, but they might as well!) … to put it short: Honduras can be pretty shit (not that shit is ever pretty…!)!

Frijoles
Frijoles

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the food. I love the Honduran cuisine, the beans, the tortillas, the fresh fruits… In fact, I love it so much that I was recently reminded I would soon be a „gordita“ (that‘s how nice they are here)! But I guess it‘s a matter of unrequited love – the food does seem rather eager to leave as quickly as possible!

And then there‘s the stress factor. I have been living in this peculiar country for a month now and yet, there‘s still things that freak me out. Taking the public transport is one of them. The bus I have to take to get from my house to Chiminike is called Rapidito. It is very small and there are three things to consider:

  1. There are no such things as bus stops in Tegucigalpa. I just stand by the side of the street and wave frantically at a bus.
  2. The bus hardly stops. It merely slows down and I jump on.
  3. No such things as bus stops – when I need to get off I shout, pay and jump off.
Improvised bus stop
Improvised bus stop (© by Victoria Särnhult)
Traffic in Tegicigalpa
Traffic in Tegicigalpa (© by Victoria Särnhult)

I‘m Swiss. I‘m used to public transportation that is, well, Swiss! How can this not be stressful for me?
But I‘m really adjusting now. I‘m even going as far as jumping on any Rapidito and hoping it somehow goes in the right direction (I do that whilst wondering why the heck I‘m doing this to myself). Of course I really miss Jesua, my host brother, at times. He left for the UK last week and it was so nice having a personal driver (to be fair, it was nice having him around anyway)!
Tryg, my Icelandic friend, was actually robbed in one of the bigger buses last week. According to him, though, the robbers were –and I‘m quoting– „really nice“! Yeah, I suppose the fact that they gave him back his ID and his credit card kind of makes you forget about the knife they had pulled. But still, it‘s crap (how very fitting!) and „who robs people on Valentine‘s Day?!“

When I told people that the Swiss are very cold compared to the compassionate Hondurans they used to shake their head at me – that was until word got out that the Swiss don‘t actually celebrate Valentine‘s Day! How dare a country doesn‘t acknowledge the day of love! Here they are very generous when it comes to throwing around pink balloons and roses and teddy bears. Of course Chiminike was no exception. The staff room was full of balloons and little notes of love.

Valentine's Day in Chiminike
Valentine’s Day in Chiminike

And that brings me to my next point, namely the fact that I absolutely love my project. It‘s a blessing to work atDSC03687 Chiminike! I love working with the kids, seeing them trying to understand the world is downright beautiful. There is a genuinity to them that can not be found in grown ups. Last week we had several groups of mentally and physically handicapped children which was a first for me. But it takes no time at all to realize there is no point in fussing over their disabilities. What I figured is that they are no different from everyone else. They like pizza and football and they enjoy being in Chiminike as much as anybody could.
I‘m not sure I‘m helping so much at Chiminike, I get the feeling that Chiminike rather helps me instead!

So, now that everything‘s out (my beans, Tryg‘s money…), there is only one question to answer: why are there no toilet brushes? Why would they produce powdered milk but no toilet brushes? Where is the logic in that?
Honduras is a funny place to live and ever so often I live after the simple rule, don‘t ask, just accept.