There is a process, a passage that is required of me as I leave La Mosquitia and enter back into the US. It isn't just an easy 1-2-3, jump on a plane and you're there. The transition takes a few days and becomes a sort of transformation...
First, I pack up, dirt and all.
Second, I climb aboard the dust-covered, 19 passenger plane. At this point, I am overdressed and under-moisturized. Almost immediately, the air coming from the plane's vents chills my body and my skin begins the shriveling process that takes two full days to complete.
Third, I arrive in La Ceiba at the airport and grab a smoothie or a Cafe Americana. My breath releases a little bit as comfort edges a bit closer.
Fourth, I take my first hot shower. The tattooed dirt on my feet loosens a bit. I clean behind my ears.
Fifth, I freeze to death trying to sleep in a large room with 3 beds, a couch and 6 other Waits.
Sixth, I get up and put on make-up and realize that I look almost 'American' again, but not quite. I make the 3 hour drive to the San Pedro Sula airport. The white faces become more numerous and a bit of English is spoken.
Seventh, I load a plane bound for Houston. Half of the plane is North American and I can converse casually in my heart language.
Eighth, I arrive in Houston where many faces look like mine and many people speak English. The air feels dry, but just right. I breathe in the US of A and I exhale lingering Puerto Lempira dust in my nostrils.
Ninth, I cross the threshold into the DFW airport. Friends or family are waiting and we find ourselves loved up, hugged up and freezing to death.
Tenth, I arrive at 'home' - my mom and dad's house. Lights shine, everything smells beautiful and my people are happy. I lay my head on a soft pillow in the most comfortable of beds and I sleep like a woman in peace.
I am a normal US woman again. And while I look a great deal like the women around me, I carry this dusty place inside of me called Puerto Lempira. While my souls needs a deep, quiet rest, my mouth must speak about what I know and what drives me.
The small places that take us from one land to another.