is exhausting. Especially when your body is not cooperating with you.
I’ll start with the Sunday after my last post. I had planned with Lauren to take one of my girls to the movies. We were going to go to the mall, have lunch, and see the new Harry Potter. I got no further than the center when I started to get sick. I ended up throwing up and sitting on the floor of the Tegus Burger King bathroom unable to move. Fortunately, there was a Ranch van coming back from the city that was able to come pick me up and take me home. Lauren and Dixie dragged me across Central Park to the van so I wouldn’t pass out. Not fun.
I felt well enough to go to school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Wednesday was my last day in second grade, so I brought cupcakes. They all drew me pictures that I have in a little file to take home. Joel wrote me a really heartfelt letter that made me feel really good about my year here. I had the kids design new covers for the books I’ve been having them read and was gratified to see both more creativity and understanding in them. After school on Wednesday, I shared a cake I had made with my Montessori compatriots and did a little training that Momo had asked me to do. I shared observations, suggestions, and teaching strategies. I was a little frustrated because they were rushing me to get started so they could work on Día del Indio decorations. But they ended up really appreciating my ideas, and Micaela said my Spanish was spot-on. Momo said she didn’t know why she hadn’t had me do a training every week and that she hoped I’d do some when I came back to visit. I think I would have been really happy to have had that Learning Specialist role, but I think it all worked out how it needed to work out.
That afternoon, I had a nasty headache which I attributed to the shoe polish we’d been using for some of the decorations. I ate a little bit of casamiento (rice and beans) for dinner in hogar and then crawled into one of the girls beds. At 8:00, when it was time to lock the hogar and for me to go home, I started throwing up. I got back in bed, where I continued to puke for another 2 hours. Saravia, bless her heart, cleaned out my bucket something like 5 times. When the tía realized I was still there and sick, she and two of the girls took me up to the clinic. They gave me a shot and some meds and I went back to sleep in the hogar. I didn’t sleep a wink because I was so uncomfortable and restless.
In the morning, I called Momo knowing I couldn’t cover for Kenia in first grade like we’d planned. I stayed in bed all day willing myself to be better for my going away party with the girls. At about 5:00, I was still feeling pretty icky, so Tiffany hooked me up to an IV and gave me a liter of fluids. I was able to go to my despedida, although I wasn’t at my best. It was still fun. The tías made catrachas (I managed to eat one and a half), and we hung out in the salon of the leadership house. I made a slideshow of pictures from the year accompanied by memorable music. I gave the girls new losa (plates and cups) and wrote each of them a card with my favorite memory with each one. Several of them teared up, and Fanny Nicol full on cried because she didn’t want me to leave. We wrapped the night up with ice cream sundaes (for which I exceeded my despedida budget). Although I couldn’t enjoy one, it was worth it to give my special girls a special treat.
For the weekend, I’d planned a trip to Caridad with Tía Mirna, my friend Laura, and her husband Chris. I wasn’t sure I was up to it, but I was convinced when it was decided we’d rent a car. We headed out for Tegus in the afternoon to pick the car up at the airport. We stopped for pizza and were on our way south. Caridad is about 3 hours away (6 on bus), and we got there in the evening. It is Mirna’s hometown, as well as that of Rosa Lilian, Laura’s goddaughter and the young girl who died this past New Year’s Eve. The town is charming, nestled in the hills, but hot as all get-out. Before heading out on Sunday, we spent time visiting with friends and family of Mirna and those who were close to Rosa Lilian and her siblings (including an older brother and his pregnant wife), swam in the river, and left flowers at Rosa’s grave.
This last week, I haven’t had to work at school. I’ve been busy packing up and saying my goodbyes. I visited other classrooms, trained the third grade teacher in using base ten blocks for multiplication and division, did craneosacral sessions with Momo, gave a sponsorship talk to the visiting medical brigade, delivered letters to my godsons, left stuffed hippos in the care of my daughters Gabi and Natalia, divvied up my things I’m not taking home amongst my girls, and spent time with my special people. My hogar did a despedida for me on Wednesday, where they fried about a million tacos. On Thursday, the Montessori team took me to Siria for a lovely lunch of fried fish.
Friday, the four of us who are leaving spent the day dealing with the residency debacle. Max and Sona went to cancel theirs on Monday, where they were told they needed further documentation (which has never been required before). Since our residency was granted based on our affiliation with the Catholic church, we had to get special letters from the Archdiocese (which required special letters from NPH to the Archdiocese). It went a little like this:
Ranch transport to Cerro Grande
Colectivo from Cerro Grande to the center 12 lempiras
Colectivo from Parque Central to Hospital San Felipe 12 lempiras
Walk to Archdiocese (God bless the Hermana for awesome directions)
Taxi to immigration 70 lempiras (between three people)
Realize that immigration has moved
Taxi to new immigration building 90 lempiras (between three people)
Wait in line forever in the most inefficient place on Planet Earth
Finally get residency cancelled
Colectivo to the center 12 lempiras
Colectivo to Cerro Grande 12 lempiras
Public bus back to the Ranch 20 lempiras
Friday night, we had what would normally be a Saturday night activity because the visitors for the medical brigade were leaving. I had to judge one last time, and then we all had a big party where I danced the night away with my godson. I ended up talking to one of the visitors, Karen, who mentioned really wanting to help aspiring athletes from the Ranch. I gave her my e-mail so we could keep in touch, her being from Seattle and all. She mentioned that her last name was Moyer, and I might have heard of her foundation: the Moyer Foundation. As in JAMIE MOYER. As in her husband. As in one of my favorite baseball players from the golden age of Mariners baseball on whom I had a major crush in high school (second only to my beloved Joey Cora). I was beside myself with glee not only for a little glimpse of fame but also because now this really great organization could be involved in my personal favorite really great organization.
I spent Saturday packing and cleaning my room. We had a tearful mass where all the outgoing volunteers were presented with a wooden plaque. Stefan said some nice words about each of us. For me, he said he’d noticed that I was someone who didn’t just work at the Ranch but really lived it, and I appreciated that. He also said he knew what a good job I’d done because now they had a big headache trying to figure out what to do now that I’m leaving. Not sure that’s true, but it was nice. Several of the girls came to see me off from the gate, including Margareth who came to cut a lock of my hair as a recuerdo. We headed off to Tegus, where we had dinner and a night of dancing. It was annoying getting that many people organized, but in the end I genuinely had a really good time.
I’m sitting here in the Granada for the last time, thinking how strange it will be not to see every day all the people who have made up my life here. And I’m asking myself how my life will ever be the same, but I think I already know the answer.