We have now been in Guatemala for almost two full days and I am in love. This city is so beautiful.
The bus ride from Guatemala City to Xela was the longest, windiest thing of my life and almost everyone wanted to vomit…Not my cup of tea. However, at the end of our ride, we were picked up by our families yelling out our names. Katie and I were paired as roommates and we are staying with the same family that she stayed with last year. It is one full house. Maricela is our mom and she is soooo sweet. She is tiny and full of energy. Her husband is super hard to understand but he told me that I speak Spanish well so therefore he is my favorite. Their son Arnoldo is our age and super quiet. Their daugther Rosario is very sweet, but her husband doesn´t say anything…ever. They have two kids, Alejandro who is less than 2 years old and dances to Michael Jackson during every lunch…also he is the cutest thing I have ever seen- I´m thinking about bringing him home with me. Then there is Sara (Sarita) who is 15 days old!!! She is perfect and never cries. We are working up the courage to ask if we can hold her. There are two more daughters but they only live in the house sometimes. Then, there are 3 other students from other schools there. Full house. Plus a stray, fat schnauzer type dog…We don´t touch it.
Yesterday, our host mom let us “sleep in” until 8, and then she fed us mush. Literal mush. With bananas it´s not terrible. We all met in Parque Central to tour the town and eat tacos together. Then, the adventure began. Lars, Bryce, Katie and I headed out of the city on a microbus with a family of Mayans and went to an indigenous town that contained a resort style pool…Super weird to see so much poverty and then a little slice of heaven. The people were super nice though and let us take their pictures and talk to them (talk is a relative word though). We were able to just get by with our Spanish- we are working on improving it. Then, we came back to Xela and went to a rooftop cafe to have chocolate con leche and other beverages of our choosing. From the roof we watched the sunset over Parque Central and the city seemed to come to life- and it was a Sunday. We went home to rest a little and came across our host brother and some friends playing FIFA. Clearly somethings are universal. We chatted with them for some time, a family friend Francis included us in the conversations and then we all needed coffee. We went with these hombres to the cafe that overlooked the entire city at night. Whoa. There are enough lights to make it look like any other city and with the mountains it was so pretty. We had hot chocolate and talked about all kinds of things- mostly their romatic relationships, which was far too entertaining to misunderstand. With our hot chocolate came 5 marshmallows, or my new favorite word: Angelitos. We laugher a ton and we able to practice our Spanish a bunch.
Today, we went to class for the first time. After filling my stomach with more mush con banana, we set out for school. I was super excited to meet my teacher. So of course when they said her name, she wasn´t there. She was sick. And so while everyone else studied, I wondered how my day would be without instruction- it didn´t look good. Thankfully, Kim knew what to do. We called in a back up instructor and I love her. Her name is Maria (I think, I need to ask again :/). She is only a couple years older than me and wants to move to the U.S. to be an aupair and learn more English. She´s great. We are going to the museum tomorrow :).
We had our first lunch with the family today and the whole clan was present. It was really fun and we talked a lot to them about all sorts of things until Alejandro started dancing. Then we had to applaud him and watch him- I chose not to complain, obviously.
Finally, we are ending our day with group acitivites and homework. I love this place. I love these people, both gringo y Guatemalteca. It´s warm. Katie´s face is burnt. I´m drinking a mocha. I would say, I am living the best I can.