Sunday, December 18, 2011

They say this is Christmas.....

I'm not a huge fan of the festive season at the best of times, what with the endless pressures to buy something for somebody. This year, it really just seems like an added complication to getting ready for our Honduras departure Jan. 15, as I run out to buy Gastrolyte or some other such specific medicinal product for our travels only to find myself at the far end of a long line of anxious holiday shoppers. (That said, I just had a very nice evening making shortbread and homemade Baileys with my youngest daughter Rachelle last night.)
My partner and I are going to Copan Ruinas, in the northeast of Honduras near the Guatemala border. We've never been there, but here's a Flickr stream from a kind stranger who heard about our travels and sent a few shots from her own travels. I've really appreciated getting a glimpse of where we're headed, and having some balance to what is mostly dire news coming out of the beleaguered country.
Here in Victoria, we are renters, so what this year (or two) in Honduras really means is folding up our lives. We looked around our house and realized that most of our furniture isn't worth keeping, so have farmed out some to our five kids, given some away to people who needed it, and become avid users of the "free"
 section on Craigslist to get rid of things like my parents' old cabinet stereo, a Nintendo 64, and a computer desk from another era.
It's interesting to see what things I value enough to keep. For the most part, it's photos and other memorabilia. Our remaining LPs, slimmed down from our last big move, have also made the cut, and will be stashed in what we hope will be a moderately sized storage locker that will await our eventual return.
I have many family ties to the Island, and know I'll be back this way often no matter what happens in the wake of this adventure. But what I hope is that we'll like this year or two so much that we'll keep doing this kind of work for a few years, in different countries.
The work with Cuso International is unpaid, but the organization aims to provide its volunteers with a "neutral" financial year - your housing costs covered, a small living allowance, a little money tucked into your account back home to ease your return. That model makes long-term volunteering much more possible.
And wouldn't that just be so cool - to be living in fascinating countries, sharing my skills with organizations that could really put them to use?


RossK said...

Oh boy.

You all have 'The Leaving' to come.

And our house 'The Arrival' just happened.

And it would appear that doing things with the kids is the most important thing for both.

Have a great holiday and an even greater set of trips!


BC Mary said...

Jody, RossK, parents:

Thanks so much for articulating the kind of Christmas gift which keeps on giving all year.

You'll see why, if I share the email I just received a few minutes ago from my darling daughter:

Hi Mom,

I am busy testing all the recipes this week, making sure I have the ingredients/tools/skills to make some good meals for you guys. [her parents]
The tomato soup recipe is wonderful! I made it for Guy [Guy Few, her music partner] before he flew to Saskatoon today.
I am pleased with having some time to cook... dishes piled to the sky and no Christmas shopping done but we will eat well!
Lots of love,

I'm so pleased, and so looking forward ... unlike the times we tried to achieve happy-dancing by means of merchandise.

Thanks for validating a concept of Christmas gifts which last a lifetime.

Best wishes, Jody, for your great adventure.

Owen Gray said...

Your plan to volunteer with CUSO is really what Christmas is all about.

Forget about the lines of shoppers. You're doing the real thing.