Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…
Monday, August 13, 2012
lack of a better word, this post is titled “despedidas”. Can’t think of a good translation. Farewell party? Nah, too archaic. Send-off?
Too military… Goodbye ceremony? Not funky enough. So, despedidait is.
consider myself a bit of an expert on despedidas. After almost sixteen years in Honduras, I have organized many and
have been to many more. In Copán Ruinas, despedidas are frequent, because
there’re so many people who come here to live for longer or shorter periods and
for many different reasons. There are the Mayatan Bilingual School teachers
(who look younger every year, but that’s what we say every year), the
archaeologists, Spanish students, volunteers, aid workers, missionaries and a
handful of lost people who’ll be lost forever, unrelated to wherever they are.
Some you barely get to know, others become close friends. And of course, the
closer friends they become, the harder it is when they leave.
actually don’t like despedidas at
all, because I hate to say goodbye. But, if you have to, you might as well do
it in such a way you’ll never forget. Or at least as long as it takes to
recover from the hangover.
of our despedidaswere legend. Remember the Oy Awards for Sarah? The red
carpet, a real TV reporter and awards for the best street dog, chef, drama
queen and most desired bachelor (for which I was nominated, but lost it to
Lloyd, dammit!). That was the queen of all despedidas. But there was also a good one for Marcus from Denmark with a
Smurf theme, including Smurf porn, if I remember correctly. Quincy’s despedida
lasted a whole month and left everybody completely exhausted (and dehydrated
and poor). I remember despedidas in
Tunkul with René and Lisa singing a duet while Aidan was playing leprechaun on
the roof beams. But mostly I remember nothing at all, which probably has to do
with the generous amounts of alcohol that are usually present at despedidas.
two weeks ago we celebrated the despedida
of our friend Argi. After seven years of friendship, that was a tough one. A loooong
one too. The party was great, the hangover monumental, so it was a good idea
that Argi had decided to plan a whole day for recovery before taking off. The
day she actually left, we met for breakfast with a few friends, as an after-despedida, and then escorted her to the
bus station. It was really not a lot of fun. Sitting there waiting fort the bus
to leave, trying not to tear up. What’s there to say when so little time is
left and all has been said? Finally the bus was about the leave and we said our
final goodbyes. (Actually, we didn’t because we decided that was too painful.
We said “hasta luego”).
left the bus station with Kristin and Lizzette, feeling empty and overwhelmed
at the same time. We got into a moto-taxi. We avoided looking at each other,
because it was pretty obvious that all three of us would start bawling if we
did. Then, as the taxi drove off, Lizzette started singing “Kum Bay Yah My Lord, Kum Ba Yah”. Kristin and I
immediately joined in and there we went:
Kum Bay Yah My
Lord, Kum Ba Yah. Kum
Bay Yah My Lord, KUM BA
taxi driver watched us quite alarmed trough his rear view mirror as we passed
the cantinas, up the hill, while singing on top of our lungs.
Kum Bay Yah My
Lord, Kum Ba Yah
Oh My Lord, Kum Ba Yah…
somehow, that really made me feel better…
you go Argi, this one’s for you! You’d never have guessed you were “gospeled”
out of Copán!!!)