A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Stay Of Execution...sort of.

So apparently Christmas comes a mite early in Costa Rica…no my neighbors haven’t started erecting Christmas Trees and Nativity Scenes; though I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing signs of yuletide cheer within the next month. What I mean is that Steve Shank, the Area Representative to the Americas for EMM, my boss and incidentally, a dead-ringer for Santa Claus, bestowed upon me quite a little gift the other night. As most of you are quite aware I’ve been bemoaning the fact that my time here in Costa Rica is rapidly drawing to a close and the feelings of sadness and hurriedness have been almost overwhelming. I’ve been struggling with how to end my time in school on the 25th, say goodbye to my family, Tico friends and the boys from La Carpio and find time to pack up my life here to be ready to fly on the 26th. Anyway, Steve was in the country on official EMM business last Friday and asked to have dinner with me – never one to pass up a free meal, I eagerly agreed…over Burger King Whoppers he asked what date I was planning on leaving for Honduras and I told him that I would be in the air the day after language school let out. He looked at me askance for a minute and then told me that was unacceptable and that I would need at least a week to say goodbye to people…leaving the day after school was simply not the Latin way. I about dropped my burger in my lap with delight – I had been hoping that something like this might be able to happen but in that my ticket dates were set back in August I had thought it would be impossible to change the flight without a hefty fee. Steve brushed aside the issue of fees with a wave of his hand and told me to email his assistant with the date that I wanted to fly and that everything would be alright. I was so happy I could have kissed him – I held back though. This now means that I will not be leaving for Honduras until the beginning of May – I realize it’s only a week but it feels like an eternity, I now feel much less rushed and pressured to say adios to everyone I know here in a matter of two days; I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is truly a blessing from God. More than just granting me a “stay” of sorts Shank also brought news of what’s happening in Honduras and the plans that are shaping up for me there. The church there is excited for my arrival (that’s a good feeling)…they’ve expressed surprise that someone would be interested in coming to help. They obviously don’t realize how much the work they’ve done there excites and energizes me. Moreover, it sounds as though EMM has some big plans for Honduras in terms of “At-Risk-Children Outreach” and it was made to sound as though I and my work in La Ceiba will be part of that; again, exciting stuff for me to think about. 2 years ago as I was considering this I had thought I would be working solo in remote La Ceiba, now suddenly I am part of something much, much bigger…amazing how God works. Anyway, to sum it all up, Steve got me pumped up to ship out for Hondie and made the leaving a little more bearable – he does his job well.
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In other news I did, perhaps, the dumbest thing I’ve done in a long while. Last Friday night as I was awaiting the call of one Steve Shank to tell me the time and locale of our dinner, I got to looking at myself in the mirror. I do this from time to time, I’ll admit that I am slightly vain, but it was more out of boredom than anything else that I began to gaze longingly into my own face. It wasn’t long before I began to realize that my hair seemed awfully long (*note – since December, in a failed effort to look more Tico, I’ve kept my hair fairly short; thus my fans from the States who remember me with long, shaggy hair will have to readjust their conceptions of what Matthew Keiser means by “long hair”…essentially I’m saying that it was too long to work with). Now that the explanations are out of the way…so I was standing their pondering what to do about my hair (it was Friday Night after all with no chance of a haircut till Tuesday after school) when I decided that I would take a crack at cutting my own hair. It seemed perfectly simple enough, I had seen plenty of people do it to me before and I felt I had a good grasp on how to imitate their actions. Thus I wet down my hair, grabbed my dull pair of paper-cutting scissors and began to gather up bunches of hair between my pointer and middle fingers (this is how I’d seen it done anyway) and snip away. Even in the midst of doing this I knew it was a bad idea, I thought to myself “nothing good can come of this”…and nothing did. Nevertheless, I continued on, I couldn’t stop myself, I felt like one of those people who’d discovered that they couldn’t help but cover their body with tattoos of fire-breathing dragons, meaningless Chinese symbols and scenes from the Battle of the Bulge all because at some point in the past they had, on a dare, gotten a discreet little heart on their hip; I had a fever and the only cure was more clipping. I have to admit that I felt pretty good about how this affair was progressing; from the front at least it looked as though I was doing a good job. The whole thing came to screeching halt when I decided to grab a second mirror and check out how I’d done in the back…I was mortified. Not only had I butchered the neckline of my hair (it looked a weed-whacker had been used back there) but I had also managed to essentially shave a hole into the back of my head, WITH SCISSORS NO LESS!!! I almost cried, I didn’t know what to do, I had a patch of shaved hair amidst the rest of my normal length hair. I considered gluing it back on but instead waxed it up and tried to cover the whole mess by making all my hair stand on end. It didn’t work, my friends noticed immediately and I wasn’t able to get it fixed until my friend Shay the Barber from South Carolina was able to work on it on Tuesday. I now look almost exactly like I did in High School, haircut-wise that is. Lesson learned: never cut your hair in a fit of vanity.
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Well, as part of the "End of my life in Costa Rica Celebration" (we've been celebrating for 3 weeks now) I took a trip with 3 other friends to a quiet little beach last weekend. Kelly, Cam and my Tico friend Jeffrey took the bus Saturday morning to Playa Hermosa. It was a long 2 1/2 hours but well worth it - the beach was not at all crowded, the weather was perfect and the room was cheap...so cheap that we decided to stay till Monday (no I didn't skip school, we had a holiday). It was very relaxing, very tranquil and just a good way to end my time here with some much loved friends.
Speaking of endings, I made my last trip to La Carpio yesterday. I had prepared myself to be bawlng uncontrollably into my friend Rhonda's arms but amazingly enough not a tear was shed. Laurie Drum made a 20 minute movie featuring all the kids from La Carpio so we watched that, ate popcorn and cake and said our goodbyes. It was certainly tough, there are some kids there that will forever be in my heart but I was able to let go without too much grief. Honestly, I think the thing that made everything easier was knowing that I would get to see Lapiz, Maycol, Roberto, etc. again over the course of the next 2 weeks. We're planning to hang out once or twice before I go. I think saying good bye to those guys will be much harder when the time comes, they've become like friends to me and it's gonna be rough leaving them. Ok, enough said for now about that, I don't feel like crying all over my keyboard.One last quick thought before I go, I completed my responsibilites involving Flat Stanley last week; I made some movies complied some pictures and made a replacment named Flaco Cesar. For those of you out there that never got to meet him in person (he was an incredible little guy) I've decided to post the shorter of the two videos so that you can get a feel for his adventures throughout Costa Rica...hope it functions.
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video
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Well folks, that'll about do it for this week, as I continue to wind down here I covet your prayers. I'm thankful and excited for what awaits me..be praying for my ending here and my transition into life in La Ceiba. Blessings to you this week. Peace!


-Matt

3 comments:

james said...

Happy (early) birthday, buddy.

GPS said...

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Zoe said...

I was laughing SO LOUD about the hair thing, and I was even there to see it in person. Just hearing you describe it was hilarious. No really, happy birthday kid!