Thursday, December 28, 2006

I´ll save the pathetic writing in Spanish for my journal at this point because it mostly reads like this:

Today, I woke up at 7.

I went to school at 8.

I ran into some friends and we walked together.

We went to a conference.

and on and on. So anyway, merry belated christmas if that is your holiday of tradition and/or choice. I´m in my second week of studying spanish and finding that the bigger my vocabulary gets, the harder it is for me to understandd. . . but my teacher keeps saying és un proceso.´

My mom in Xela reminds me a lot of my grandmother and I´m definitely adjusting to my life here. It´s very straightforward--all I´m supposed to be doing is learning spanish. Not answering emails, phone calls, trying to invent an organization and it´s programs from scratch (don´t get me wrong, i love my job). Funny, though how after the two weeks of struggling with understanding and speaking another language, trying to juggle all that and work on AMP sounds really easy!

Anyway, even though I´ve been and lived in a lot of beautiful places, I am astounded by how striking the landscape is here. This past weekend I went to Lago de Atitlan with Em and a couple other students and it was unbelievable. It is a huge volcanic lake encircled wtih conical mountains (volcanoes) and sprinkled with little villages. The bus ride there took us up into the mountains and past incredible vistas where the fog would create light patterns like paintings. Pictures nor words could do it justice.

At midnight on Christmas eve as we were walking back to our hotel, the whole town erupted into a celebration. Guatemaltecos usher in the birth of baby Jesus with fireworks. Lots of fireworks. So many that store and car alarms were going off and the electricity went out. We had to dodge the explosions in the street to get back to our hotel where we stood in the courtyard and watched the explosions fill the sky. Which went on for a long time.

Before the power went out, we had been able to watch a little bit of ¨The Christmas Story¨on the little TV. That was exactly what I needed to feel a bit more connected to the experience of my family who was far away.

Other than that, my life is like this: Go to school from 8 to 1. Eat lunch. Study. Eat Dinner. Study. Go to bed. Sometimes I go on field trips and I started playing soccer a little (strange for me). That´s about it. This weekend I will go back to Lago Atitlan for the New Year. Next week I go to the Mountain School where we will work and go to school on an old coffee plantation.

It´s already hard to imagine life back in SF, though I miss it immensely. It´s hard to imagine being able to write in more complicated sentences than this as well! People keep saying that´s a good sign that my spanish is improving. . .

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You tengo siete minutos escribir, so I'll drop the spanish right away. I've been in Guatemala for 5 days and have noticed that my english seems to be regressing to catch up with my spanish, which I think is improving.

We arrived in Guatemala City, apparently sharing a plane with a well known reggaeton band called Calle Trece. After the media encircled them (and myself and emily as we were exiting the airport behind them) I finally asked who they were. We were clearly the only ones who didn't know. We took an insane taxi to Antigua. That city is really beautiful and full of tourists. Xela is beautiful too but much different. Middle class means something other than what we think in the states. I'm truly humbled on so many levels. My "host family" is this one amazing woman Catalina whose family members rotate through to visit. The school is really incredible.

There is so much to tell.

Today I told Catalina that "it wouldn't come for lunch but it would come for dinner."

There is much to learn.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

hola familia y companeros. Este es mi journal de travels of guatemala. Aqui you will see my progress in learning in spanish, adjusting to Guatemala's microbes, and eventually there will even be photos (fotos!). I might try to write in spanish and then translate. Que divertido! I guess it will depend on the frequency and duration of computer access.

This is Em, my BFF, who I will be meeting up with in Guate. We haven't decided who is going to get to bring the sweater yet. It doesn't so much matter though as we'll inevitably be dressed identically anyway. . . or people will just tell us that we look identical or something.

but anyway, the point is, I would love long distance correspondence and here's where to find me:

Proyecto Lingüístico Quezalteco de Español
Apdo. 114
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Central America

Or interweb correspondence in it's various multiple outlets would be lovely as well.

Hasto Luego. Feliz Holidias! (okay, okay, i know the spanglish is obnoxious) :)