Monday, August 13, 2012

Leaving is a Long Process


People start making fun of me when I tell them I’ll be leaving Copán Ruinas. Especially when they’re back in town for their third yearly visit and I’m still here! But it’s true! I am leaving! Eventually!

It’s just that… well… Leaving isn’t easy. There’s an emotional site to it, then there’s logistics and money. Mostly money I guess, because things wouldn’t be half so complicated if I had a big fat bank account and could just wander around the world until finding a place that likes me and vive versa.

If I could save every penny I earn, I wouldn’t do too badly either, but I just can’t stop eating and living until it is time to go. And things aren’t going to well here in Copán Ruinas, just as in the rest of the world. Tourism is way down from last year, despite the fact that it’s 2012, the magic number that supposedly was to attract thousands of visitors. Well, so far it hasn’t. And since the coup in 2009, things have been tight to start with. It is probably going to get a whole lot worse before it will be getting better. But I guess the same thing can be said about many other places in the world, especially Spain, my future patria.

What impresses me is the resilience of the people here in Copán. This is a community based society where economic downfall is relatively easily absorbed by the family structure. But even that comes to an end when there are no resources left. So people try to make a Lempira wherever they can: selling second hand clothes on a street corner, offering home cooked meals in front of their houses, or picking cans and pop bottles from the trash. Friends of mine who own businesses are also back to doing things they hadn’t done in years: washing dishes, driving around to do errands or actually working regular shifts. Me too. The art market is obviously not too good, so I’m back to sign painting. (I just hope I didn’t have to go back to painting houses…) But what I like about this crisis is that we’re all in the same boat (that is, the 99%, of course) and a whole new network is developing of people helping each other out without money exchanging hands. Back to basics is not all bad.

As for the emotional part of leaving Copán… I can barely grasp the idea. There’re so many people I’ll miss! And it’s not my close friends I’m most worried about (because there’s Facebook and Skype), but those people I don’t even really know, but who are part of my life anyway. The guy who works in the bank as long as I remember and who always smiles so friendly…. The lady who walks the streets selling bread in the afternoons… Doña Cristina from the post office (whom, I’m sorry to say, have pretty much neglected since the introduction of the Internet in Copán)… The old guy who sells the newspaper… Even the dogs! Bombero, Bambi, Eduardo Pineda. How am I supposed to live without you all?

So, yes, I still have plans to leave this town. January probably. Just give me a break for now, I’m working on it!!!

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