Honduras Vacation Recap

Back in Chicago,
looking at mounds of snow out my kitchen window,
grateful to have countless memories of Honduras
tucked inside.
Beautiful memories.
 Memories filled with adventure and relaxation,
being who God wired us up to be.
I didn't realize how high strung I was until we stepped out of the
car and into O'Hare on Valentine's Day,
headed to Roatan, Honduras.
And I instantly relaxed.
No cares in the world, other than to make it through
security and to our gate on time.
I felt instantly on vacation.

This was our first time to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras,
and I can guarantee it won't be our last
{ If I have any say in the matter. }
In saying how much I LOVED Honduras,
I don't ever want it to seem like I haven't enjoyed Cozumel, Mexico.
(which we've gone to a couple times in past years)
Because I have LOVED our Cozumel vacations.
Truly dreamy, too!

But Honduras -- OH, it was amazing.
I loved it.
My kind of country.
I'm a geography gal at heart --
I love mountains and oceans and when the two of those co-exist,
I'm about as happy as a dolphin jumping high above the waves.
Seriously -- that IS my favorite thing!

There's part of me that's always a bit reluctant to share
vacation type stuff here on my blog because I
recognize so many don't have this type of opportunity.
So I never want this sort of post to make people feel bad or jealous
or compare what they have or don't have to me and my life.
Often critical words are shared about blogs and Facebook posts and photos,
with so many feeling negative about what is shared on social media.
So I don't want to add to that,
and yet if you were here in my living room,
I'd share about our trip and you'd ask questions and want to know,
and I'd love to share.
Just like if you went on a trip, 
I'd want to see and hear everything, too.

So I think in the past I might have shared a bit about our
vacations but not a tonne.
But I decided this time to do several posts about this dream vacation,

I'd love, though, for you to view these posts through the
'this isn't every-day life-at-the-Clark-home" lens.
This was a 'dream trip' that we saved up for, that we worked hard for,
that we made sacrifices for, that my mom graciously agreed to watch the kids for ...

And in the meantime,
I'll try not to be too obnoxious with sharing all our vacation 'slides'.

So without further adieu, here's post #1 about Honduras.

My goal this trip was to actually get a few pictures of Jack and I together,
as that rarely happens.
So here we are!
 Jack is part fish, so any time we're on the water he's relaxed.
We were on a water-taxi below, headed back to Half Moon Bay,
after a 2-3 mile walk along the ocean.
We might have thrown a frisbee in the water, too.
I'm good like that.

My favorite time to be a wife to my Jack man is
when we're having adventures,
especially those of the tropical sort.
Regular, everyday life is grand, too,
but vacation life is OUTSTANDING.
Highly recommend it.

Selfie love photo, 
joining in on the teenage-selfie-phenomenon.

We are most definitely well suited for each other,
as we both love local everything.
The more off the beaten path, the better.

We don't need 5-star.
In fact, in all honesty,
if I never stayed at a 5-star hotel again I'd be completely fine with that.
Truth be told, not sure I've ever stayed at a 5-star hotel.
I guess I might not know what I'm missing and perhaps it's best left like that.

I've found, that the best stories ALWAYS come from local.
Local seedy hotels like we found ourselves in when passing through Houston.

Two words: prostitution and gangs might have had full run of that hotel.
So we (and by we I mean I)
boarded up the non-working slider door to the outside world.
We didn't sleep one SECOND.
We didn't change our clothes because the bed might never have been cleaned.
We did, however, use the toothbrushes that came pre-pasted with a special, lovely mint flavor toothpaste. I mean, why wouldn't we try our hand at that little bit of 5-star-ness?

We basically laid there that night,
begging for morning to come,
hoping we made it out alive.
And THAT, my friends, makes for some grand laughs.

We made it to Honduras.

We packed every day completely full of our kind of fun.
Might not be everyone's kind of fun,
but it sure is ours.
Each day (other than the first day and the last day)
we scuba dived 2 or 3 times.
Mike, a Minnesota guy that we did most of our dives with,
had an under-water camera and graciously took our photo so we would
have proof that we actually DO .... ready for it ...
WATER ....
(To quote that husband of mine.)

Someone I know, dove with SHARKS this trip.
Here he is gearing up for the big dive.

And he lived to tell about it.
My last words to him,
"It's been real, and yes, I know, 
Jeff gets your Seadoo."

After our daily scuba diving fix,
we'd jump on the motorbike and tool all over the island,
looking for off-the-beaten-path adventures
and ocean-side adventures.
{ He's good lookin', ain't he? }

And we found adventures.
We were warned, almost at every turn,
that you shouldn't go to the north end of the island because, well, tourists
were being held up at gunpoint for their stuff just the other day.

We went to the North end anyway.
(Don't tell my mom. Or Kristin.)

Numerous times I'd have to jump off the big while he went down (or up) the hills solo.
For a nano-second, we thought we were in San Fran.
 Being on the back of a motorcycle really is a vulnerable place to be.
And quite frankly, there aren't many that I would get on the back of a motorcycle with.
(and I know I'm not supposed to end my sentences like that, but oh well,
I'm not an English teacher any more.)
But Jack, I trust.


Meet Alita, my new bff.

I'll tell you more about this highlight in its own post,
but let's just say that since I was a little girl,
I've always wanted to swim/play/touch/kiss/hug a dolphin.
And that dream became reality this trip.
And I cry as I write that sentence because
when you've wanted to do something for
so long, when it actually happens,
it's like you get a little glimpse of
how good God is.
To give you something your heart desires.
Perhaps a frivolous dream, and yet,
I think God was up in Heaven
just as tickled as I was,
out of the sheer pleasure I had by being next to a dolphin.
A dolphin that He masterfully created.

  I faced fears this trip -- I did a night dive, which is NOT something I've
ever wanted to do, as I'm really not even a big fan of elevators,
as they're quite confined and could go dark at any second.
But I dove at night!

And let's just say that as we were about to jump in, I felt like the Navy Seals on a special
mission to take out the terrorists on shore. It was so bizarre as I looked around the 
boat with everyone in their equipment and masks around their necks, ready for the signal to deploy.

And, as far as this night dive goes, it was complete with sitting on the bottom of the ocean
while we all turned our lights OFF -- yes I said OFF --
so we could see the amazing bio-luminiscence (
no idea how that is spelled and too lazy to try to find out -- 
spell check isn't recognizing one smidge of that word).
Felt great to face that fear and conquer it.
Do I want to another night dive?
Maybe, but probably not.

In case you're wondering, Honduran food is AMAZING.
We ate local almost every meal.
And by local I mean,
stop on the side of the road and see what the little sweet lady - or gent -  is selling
and go ahead and eat.
And it was outstanding.

Did quite well on the 'clean eating' regime.
Not perfect. 
But I'm okay with that -- I mean, it WAS vacation, people.
There were a few times where I'd say to Jack,
" Mr. Clean would so not approve of this."
But that's okay, Mr. Clean wasn't with us so he never needs to know.

Other highlights:
For me, I desperately needed to get away from mothering.
That sounds so bad, but I just needed a break from that responsibility.
And by day 8, I could honestly say I was ready to be a mom again,
and could hardly wait to get home to my babes.
On Day 6, I was not ready.
But Day 8, yes.

Some of you may know that I lived in Indonesia for three years, back in the 90s.
And I LOVED it there.
I loved the people.
I loved the culture.
I loved the landscape.
I loved the kids I taught and the families that became my families.

And when we pulled out of the airport in our taxi to our hotel,
my first thought was,
"This reminds me of Irian!"
The smells, the sights, the landscape.
It was hilly and ocean and dense jungle.
Everywhere you looked you wanted to keep looking because it seemed
like there was a secret path into the jungle that you just SO wanted to walk down.

So THAT similarity warmed the very corners of my heart.
I caught myself with a perpetual smile on my face
as I shook my head and thought, "Wow, it's like I'm home."
( And I know I only lived there for 3 years, but somehow, in those three short
years I managed to find one of the places on earth where I feel most alive.)

If I moved to Roatan,
I could most definitely own a turquoise home.
Which gives me real incentive for making that happen.
This island was MADE for colour.
And lots of it.
And chippy paint on their homes worked.
And Melissa, the patina there was MAGICAL.
You would have loved it -- thought of you every time 
I was face-to-face with chippy paint.
There wasn't one part of me that was like,
 "Umm, you might want to re-paint your home because your paint looks really terrible."
It was more like,
"Umm, can I move here and let my paint go to pot so that my house would look like yours,
because it looks really, really AWESOME!?"

Let's see. 
What else?
Kids are kids, no matter where in the world you are.
They act shy for the first photo,
and then want to see the back of the camera.
And then they want another and another and another photo taken.
It's universal. I promise.
So precious.
Could photograph local kids all day long.

And Ma Mere, I thought of you when I saw the
size of the boogers hanging out of this next little boy's nose.
You would have reached into your pocket,
pulled out a kleenex,
and made him blow.
With force.
Wouldn't have mattered that he was a complete stranger to you,
because I know how much you can't stand the site of kids with their noses not wiped.
So in the middle of a remote village in Honduras,
you were thought of and I smiled
and I miss you.
( Nicole, your mama probably doesn't know my blog exists, 
so will you show this to her?)
Oh this next little boy was just gorgeous.
Can you believe his eyes?
I know, right?
And that smile.
OH mercy.
Couldn't speak their language,
but somehow making kids giggle is also universal!
 So much more to share, 
but for now I'll just leave you with a handful of 
'slides' until next time.

The village of Sandy Bay (above) was literally carved on the side of a mountain. One of my favorite little villages we visited.

  Feeling relaxed!

Why hello, cute girl in a fast-moving boat!

Jack, my "Man of the People!"

Oh, and in case you hadn't heard,
Canada swept Gold for Mens and Womens Olympic Hockey.
Was very glad I had my Canada flag towel along on this vay-cay.
Was very glad that Sundowners was playing the games, 
no matter the hour.

And in case you're wondering where all the Canadians are during February,
they're in Honduras!
Those Canadians are 'bout the smartest folks on the planet!
 And if you're wondering what the weather is like in Honduras today,
it's 80 something and sunny
and probably looks a lot like this!



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