4 Things I Learned Visiting My New In-Laws

This past Christmas, I got to spend nearly three weeks in Honduras with Team Solheim – Kelly, Steve, and their son (my husband) Nick. I will always remember my first Honduran Christmas. Our Christmas vacation was a great time for Nick to reconnect with friends he hadn’t seen in years, learn about La Esperanza where his parents now live, and show me around the country where he grew up.

I first visited Honduras in 2017 on a college mission trip with World Gospel Outreach, and I returned in 2018. I loved getting to know the people of Honduras but wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to go back. Little did I know I would end up married to a missionary kid who spent his most formative years there, who had always wanted his future wife to get to know Honduras.


[1] Honduran food is amazing.


The first thing you learn (or re-learn) during a visit to Honduras is how amazing the food is – and how it tastes even better when you’re getting to enjoy it with friends and family you love. I loved going to the market with Kelly for fresh avocados, pineapples, lettuce, and even miniature bananas (they don’t taste like regular bananas – I can’t describe it!).

Of course, baleadas, fresh coffee, carne asada, chorizo, and chismol (like pico de gallo) are some of the Honduran specialties we enjoyed on the trip. When we visited Olancho, where Nick grew up, we had a second wedding celebration with dear friends and family. We had a delicious plato tipico meal that included grilled meat, tortillas, beans, and avocado.



[2] Honduras is a thrift shopping mecca.


Both Kelly and I are avid thrift shoppers. I had never been thrift shopping in Honduras before this trip, but we had lots of fun looking at housewares and clothes (okay, mainly clothes!). I felt a little weird about buying used clothes in a country where a lot of people don’t even have the clothes they need, but Kelly reassured me that so much cast-off clothes are shipped to Honduras from the U.S., that it can’t all be sold or recycled (check out this 2018 blog that details the “third-hand” clothing market in developing countries for more).

It was shocking to find pieces from popular brands like Loft and Express, still with tags, at the used clothing stores that dot La Esperanza. I packed light for my trip to Honduras and ended up finding comfy button-down shirts and some wintry dresses to take back to DC that have served me very well. I even spotted some designer items, including a pair of Proenza Schouler jeans, but they didn’t fit properly!


[3] Honduras is a beautiful country.


On my prior trips to Honduras, I had stayed in the Tegucigalpa area for the entirety of the trip. In December, however, Steve, Kelly, Nick, and I visited or passed through at least eight departments (translation for Americans: states) in Honduras. It was an ambitious itinerary! We spent time in Francisco Morazan, Intibuca, Olancho, and Atlantida, making stops in the departments in between along the way.


I enjoyed getting to see how varied different parts of Honduras are – for those of you who don’t know, Honduras is slightly bigger than Ohio and has cool mountain regions, hot grassy plains, and a long northern coast touching the Caribbean Sea.

[4] Honduran people are the best!


The food and views are great, but my time in Honduras would have been nothing without the people I got to meet. Nick and I started dating in 2020. He hadn’t been back to Honduras since 2018, and pandemic travel restrictions only made it harder to go back. Getting to go to Honduras only a few months after our wedding in the U.S. meant Nick got to reconnect with lifelong friends and introduce them to his new life partner (me!).


I loved getting to meet the people who had helped shape him during his time living at El Sembrador. We were privileged to have a wedding “celebration” there, and it was a time of thanking God for bringing the Solheims to Honduras and praying for Nick and I to shine his light back in the States!


It was also amazing to get to celebrate Navidad with the students in Kelly and Steve’s Club Aslan. We had a Christmas party and played games like pin-the-red-nose-on-the-reindeer and frisbee and decorated delicious Christmas sugar cookies (Kelly’s special recipe). Even though my Spanish is pretty rusty, I had so much fun getting to know the kids and watch how Team Solheim’s ministry works.

I am thankful for the amazing connections I formed during my time in Honduras and cannot wait to go back!

 

Evie Solheim is a North Carolina girl who’s been working in journalism and public relations in Washington, D.C., since 2018. She's a little free library enthusiast and avid thrift shopper, as well as the author of a weekly newsletter called The Girl's Guide to DC.


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