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. . .

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