📍 San Pedro Sula, Honduras
A friend here told me about a time that she invited an American traveling in Honduras into her home. She said that when he walked through the front door, he started crying, as he saw the poverty in which she lived. My friend told me that his reaction to the home she took pride in caring for angered her, because "there are many worse things in life than being poor."
For being the most populated city in the world, I strangely haven’t gotten the “chaotic” vibe from Tokyo that I expected. It is definitely busy, but somehow everything seems to just flow here.
How often do you ask "How are you?" and expect to receive a genuine response? Think about it.
Some European friends pointed out this American cultural norm to me awhile back, and I became aware of its absurdity. I use “How are you?” or a similar variation as a greeting, but without any expectation for initiating a real conversation. In fact, I often ask the question in passing, and am long gone before the person would even have had the opportunity to respond. I realize that every country and culture has its little quirks and uses language differently. But it’s made me reflect about how this idea translates to my relationship with God and other people.
A few years ago, I was still living and working at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. My heart for learning about different ways of life and foreign cultures continued to grow as the Honduran children, teenagers, and adults there generously taught me about their beautiful country. Every day God was using those people to show me more of who He is. And my desire to travel and explore the rest of the world was born.
Latin America has a special place in my heart, since my love for travel began there. I have enjoyed exploring several countries in both Central and South America, including Ecuador. A friend and I spent a week in the country's capital, Quito, during a backpacking trip in 2015. There are many popular tourist attractions in and around the city, including the famous "Mitad del Mundo" (equator line) and the Basilica del Voto Nacional, but one of my favorite travel experiences was at the edge of the city - the summit of Cruz Loma.
Apple pie, football, country music, Thanksgiving, pickup trucks, PB&J sandwiches, Cadillacs, baseball.... Some things are just SO American. However, not everything we do is as obviously "American" to us as it is to the rest of the world. Are you guilty of these 5 dead-giveaways?
I have to admit that prior to traveling, I had never really possessed a strong interest in art. That gradually began to change, first while experiencing the political nature of Bogota's street art scene. I grew more passionate when some Italian friends began explaining to me the symbolism behind the religious paintings in Tuscany. I'm not by any means an art expert, but I do enjoy learning about it, and I've been fortunate to have visited some of the world's most beautiful and creative cities.
One of the many benefits of traveling is eating the local cuisine. Before I first moved to Honduras, I was an extremely picky eater - I wouldn’t eat sushi, any kind of seafood, and definitely not something like horse or squid ink risotto. Thankfully that has changed, and I have gotten to taste my way through multiple continents. Here are a few of my favorites:
Oh, how I love foreign languages! In living abroad for the last 4 years, I have found that language and culture are inextricably bound together. Throughout the journeys of learning first Spanish, and now Italian, the languages have been windows into the locals’ ways of life. It has provided me with a deeper understanding of common conversations and interactions that I have both participated in and observed. Even in Australia and New Zealand, where English is the official language, I find myself learning new words and expressions, which in turn teach me more about the cultures in this part of the world.
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.