Monday, July 6, 2009

A Quick Update

Lake Atitlan
Originally uploaded by misk77
Saturday and Sunday I travelled with 3 other students from my Spanish School (CSA) to beautiful Lake Atitlan. We arrived on Saturday morning after a crazy drive through the mountains. I'm from West Virginia; I thought I knew what a "hair-pin curve" was... I've never seen anything like the mountain roads in Guatemala. Quite fun! We took a boat across the lake to see San Lucas, Santiago, and San Pedro then returned to Panajachel where our Hotel was. See the Lake Pix here. We saw a lot... I want to see as much as I possibly can while I'm here. This is my first time leaving the US and I'm astounded at how BIG the world is... how many people... how different our "normals" are... I'm learning more than just language here. The poverty here is much more severe than I have ever experienced. It's difficult to be a "tourist/student" here. I am very uncomfortable and not sure what to do with those emotions... not really ready to put it into words, so, onward.

Spanish: I've begun week two and I'm amazed that anyone actually can learn an entire new language... it's a crazy idea! There are just too many words to learn and too many tenses to imagine that may require new spellings and so on... Needless to say, I'm finding it difficult. However, I'm keeping in mind that my primary goal for learning Spanish is for conversation; I want to be able to talk to my neighbors and the parents of my kids who speak no English. I try (pitifully at times) to converse as much as possible with Guatemalans but what I'd heard about learning in Antigua is proving to be true: Muchas Gringos! With so many foreigners here, I hear and speak English quite often. Good for meeting fun people, bad for learning Spanish. I'll just keep pluggin away... The best thing is my teacher. As we do the lessons, we get off on many topics... families, politics, music, education, poverty, war, and today she talked to me about her family fleeing Guatemala in the 80's b/c of the vast oppression and murders of the government (all in Spanish, mind you. I understand much more than I could ever speak!) She is close to my age and we laugh alot... it's a wonder we get any Spanish done!

Work Projects: Things are not quite set in stone for the work projects, but I have really enjoyed spending time at Escuela Integrada and hope to paint a mural with the 7th, 8th, & 9th students. More to come one that... As for Zacapa, I will be traveling up to Zacapa on Thursday with the ministry from Guatemala City as they are taking up families of the women in prison there. I will get a chance to meet the women, see the space, and talk to them about a possible mural. More to come on that as well...

Family: As I speak to other students in Antigua, I realize that I have a very fortunate host family situation. The details are very comfortable: enough food (and it's delicious), warm-ish shower, comfortable room, inexpensive internet, and now a desk (I moved into one of the other rooms after a fellow student left b/c she had a desk). Beyond that, the people are very friendly and encouraging in my Spanish, especially the mom, Adita. The two older sons speak English very well, so again, there's an out to just default back on my English words if I get stuck. They're very hip and tell me where good places are for the night life. :) The youngest son Brian is 8 and again, we laugh alot. He's my favorite.

I'm happy. Last night (Sunday) the normal blues set in and I missed Philly and familiarity... to be expected. But I am just amazed that I'm here doing this! I feel that everyday I am at the mercy of the Guatemalan's that I am interacting with to feel generous to have patience with me and spend time trying to converse. The people here are kind. They have the most beautiful smiles. Every day I am pretty helpless; very humbling and remarkably beautiful to experience. I am asking the Lord everyday to help me to have open eyes and ears. There is so much to take in and I want to be as present as possible. So I'm going to get off this computer and do some homework. Adios!


cloudyland said...

Thanks for the update! Sounds like you're sucking the marrow out of life--which is exactly what you should do.

Nate said...

Muy Bien Chica! Sounds like you're having fun and learning much. Espero mucho para su primero noticia todo en espanol. (or something like that anyway... apologies to Mrs. Vargas!)

Dios le bendiga!