After the Storm

After the Storm

This week I started taking Spanish classes in the afternoon with my new favorite Guatemalteca, Mileni. She is actually the coolest, and I am happy that I can pay her to be my friend. According to Mileni, Guatemalan winter is right around the corner, which means sheets of rain in Xela, for weeks at a time. I got a little preview of the upcoming months on Saturday, and I was not very happy about it. I spent most of the day inside, staring out the window while listening to Silvio Rodriguez and pouting, which in retrospect was probably a much needed respite, since last week was pretty exhausting.

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Automatic Stop

I just finished my last day of Spanish classes, maybe ever. It feels great, this last week stopped being fun and just felt hard. I sort of miss making the silly mistakes I used to when I first started studying, it always gave me something to laugh about at the end of the day. Thinking that someone was saying ‘I love you, stupid’ instead of ‘I love you a lot,’ telling people I was pregnant instead of embarrassed, saying I wanted to ride a ‘cowboy’ instead of a ‘horse’… those were the good old days. Luckily, I’ll be staying with Tatiana and her family for another three weeks, so I will still have an opportunity to practice, which is what I need the most at this point. Still, when people speak Spanish quickly, to me it sounds like they’re speaking in tongues, need to work on that…

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Don’t Rock My Boat

Don’t Rock My Boat

This weekend, like a good little tourist, I went to Antigua to see the processions for Semana Santa. Before I say more, please note what is happening with the statues in the picture of the fountain above. Amazing. Anyways, I had no idea that Semana Santa was such a big deal in Guatemala, in Xela all the schools were closed, and most businesses took a holiday as well. When I was walking to school on Thursday morning it was like an atomic bomb had gone off, there were no cars, no people, no open tiendas… for the first time ever even the beer factory had closed its gates.

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Duppy Conqueror

Duppy Conqueror

This weekend in Xela was a good one. Probably the highlight was getting to live  my dream of breaking open one of the fabulous piñatas that I wrote about in my last entry.  One of the maestros invited my friend Laerke and I to her son’s first birthday party, and it was quite the fiesta. They had probably around 50 guests, an endless stream of games for the kids, four (!) different piñatas, and really delicious food. Laerke and I felt like super gringas, we were definitely the awkward interlopers watching everything unfold, but it was really fun. Side note, today I was walking past one of the many piñata stores, and I actually went in and poked around a bit, and some of them are as tall as I am. How awesome would it be to be a five year old and break open a piñata more than twice your size? And so my fascination continues….

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Long May You Run

Long May You Run

Once again, I’m not sure where to begin. The time in Xela is really flying by, I can hardly believe I have been here for six weeks. Last weekend I took my first long trip via chicken bus out to Lake Atitlan. Aldous Huxley was famously quoted as saying that this lake was the most beautiful in the world, and I’m convinced that he was right. I felt like I had discovered the Garden of Eden.

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Queen of the Surface Streets

Queen of the Surface Streets

This post should be titled ‘1001 Reasons Guatemala Will Turn Me Into a Gordita.’ This past week I have discovered many food items that have significantly improved my quality of life. Let’s start with the tamalitos de chiplin that I discovered at a little restaurant called Cafe Luna. The photo above is all that remained of my tamalitos, because I scarfed them down before I was able to remember to take a photo, but, they were increible, cheesy and savory and yum.

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