Let me start with the most important updates from this week: First, I used the upstairs bathroom in the Yoga House for the first time, and it was glorious. I will let the photo do my explaining for me.
Feliz Wajxaqib’ B’atz’! Happy New Year! Last Tuesday was the start of another year in the Mayan Sacred Calendar, what some say will be the beginning of the end. We had a big party at my school to celebrate, where each class made a traditional altar to give thanks. I loved seeing all the little girls in their Mayan dress, proud and eager to teach me about their heritage. Aside from learning about the patterns in the traditional textiles, and the numbers/ a few words in K’iche, the majority of what I learned was about Mayan spirituality.
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.
In school news, we are currently in the midst of a lice epidemic. Piojos, we meet again. Other than that, all continues to go well. This week the students had exams, so only half were at school on any given day, which made for a nice test run for the library. I still have not tired of helping the kids check out books. Their faces literally light up when they find the one they want, and then they will actually skip with glee out of the library, clutching their new books to their chests. Gets me every time.
My mother claims that she knows I’m actually leaving the country once she hears me playing Cat Stevens. At the risk of being predictable, this time around my packing music has been all Whitney Houston. All Whitney, all the time. She gets me. The only thing I’ve ever wanted, really, is to dance with somebody who loves me.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I’ll be spending the next eight weeks in Guatemala living with a host family, taking Spanish classes, and hopefully finding someplace to volunteer once my Spanish starts to become halfway decent. The plan right now is to stay in Xela for five weeks, head over to Antigua and continue taking classes while watching the Semana Santa festivities for another two weeks, and then travel for the last week, hopefully seeing Semuc Champey, Tikal, and the Rio Dulce, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling by that point. Right now I’m a little bit worried about safety, I have read mixed reports, although I heard the same things about Ecuador, and I didn’t have any problems when I was there.