Monthly Archives: September 2013

Feliz cumpleaños a mi, me voy a belize

Tomorrow is October. What? I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. There are a lot of days and weeks here that I just can’t wait to end and seem like they are taking forever, but in general, time is flying. It’s almost pumpkin carving time in the States! Que rico! It’s hard to remember what seasons are like here. Everything pretty much stays the seem. Eat some pumpkin pie and go visit the apple farms for me!

It’s hard to write on my blog now because a lot of people from Antigua read it too and I don’t want to talk about particular things and expose anybody for anything nor insult anyone, but I can say that I am so glad I am taking this trip. I can’t begin to explain how many times people here have hurt my feelings or surprised me in the wrong kind of way. I don’t mean to sound negative; I’ve had some amazing experiences and met some great people here as well, but this is just what is currently on my mind. But I am still glad I am on this trip because the negative experiences I’ve had here are making me appreciate so many things that I have at home. And part of my reason to come was to find myself and build myself into a more positive person. A lot of the things that have happened here have made that a huge challenge, but I now feel like it should be easier to be more positive when I come back to the States because to have to be positive in a place like this is a hell of a lot harder than it will be at home where I am blessed with abundant blessings.

For example, I’ve always slightly despised our country for different reasons, but I am learning to be so appreciative here because I am really more blessed than I can imagine in my life at home.

There are so many things I have taken for granted in my lifetime that I have learned aren’t available in all parts of the world. I’ve seen how hard it is to just make a living here in Antigua, and although there are parts of the US where it is hard, I don’t think it is like anything here.

I’ve also always taken for granted my friends. Okay, I haven’t taken them for granted really because I’ve always been so grateful to have such beautiful people in my life but I’ve taken for granted the fact that I have such great friends. I didn’t realize how hard it is in some parts of the world to really have truly amazing friends. Growing up with such people has always made me love everybody in the world because I believe everyone is inherently good and that I should trust everyone and if I’m a friend to them, they’ll be a friend to me. Well, I’ve quickly learned that not everyone shares the same mindset as me. I still believe it’s better to love people and be a friend, even though they might not return the favor, but I have come to realize that there are quite a lot of people in the world that don’t understand the real meaning of friendship or love. Cheating on people here is rampant. Lying is rampant. Drama is rampant. I can’t get over how many stories I’ve heard or people I’ve know that have been cheated on or cheated on someone. It breaks my heart. And how many people don’t HONESTLY care for the feelings or opinions of others. And how many people lie. Or hate instead of forgive and love.

I’m not meaning to insult Antigua in any way; I am just analyzing what I’ve witnessed and am experiencing a huge culture shock. There’s so many things I would do for my friends in a heart beat and so many things I KNOW (not think) my friends in the states would do for me in a heart beat that is such a big pain for some people you would ask here. It makes me sad because I’m not even given an opportunity to be a good friend to someone because there’s such a lack of trust here. I can see why there’s such a lack of trust now that I’ve been here 3 months, but it breaks my heart to see such insincerity and insecurity.

On a good note, there are good people everywhere you go as well. My dear friend and Doctor, Mario, has been trying to demonstrate this to me as he has read some of my blog posts where I have mentioned some not-so-nice people. Monday, I had to go see him again because my headache and fever came back all kinds of fierce Sunday night.

I shouldn’t have gone back to A Lo Chapin that afternoon because I was tired, but I figured I’d go back and just sleep early that night. But I went home around dinner time to see if there was any food because I hadn’t heard from Isolina if she had returned home yet or not. But I was so tired and my head was hurting badly again so I decided to lay down when I got there. Then I couldn’t get back up. I ached and was cold again so I took my temperature again and my fever had come back. So I told Mario and he told me take some pills and come visit him the next day.

So that’s what I did. He ended up giving me an injection to boost my immune system and guess where injections go here? In your bum! So yay for first experiences getting a shot in the butt instead of in the arm. hahaha. Either way, he again didn’t make me pay for my appointment and I am incredibly grateful for how nice he is, especially when he lives in a place where in three months I’ve already grown tired of the lies and don’t really have much ganas de help anybody anymore. Good for him that he maintains a positive outlook and still loves to help people. What a blessing it’s been to have someone take care of me when I’m sick. That’s when I need it most.

For the beginning of the week, I followed my usual routine. My headache went away and hasn’t come back all week. I actually had a lot of energy Monday and wanted to stay out, but Mondays are quiet in Antigua so I had to go home early and watch a movie (in Spanish, of course).

Tuesday, I went to the market with Isolina and finally got some heels for my Salsa classes. I also bought a duffle bag for my upcoming trip to Belize and I feel that I should mention I paid $30 for the two of them and they look like they’d cost about $70-$80 in the states. Just sayin.

Wednesday, I happened to run into José on the street. We had been missing each other’s texts off on and since Sunday or Saturday night trying to hang out so I decided to hang out with him in Rainbow for a bit. I later went to A Lo Chapin and came back with Kevin because José wanted to hang out longer. I found out his girlfriend is not coming now until December, which is nice that I won’t have to see them together, but in all honesty, I’m quite over everything that’s happened here as I had to witness him kissing another girl that is not me NOR his girlfriend that night. Either way, Kevin proved to be a good friend to me when that happened, so that’s good to know at least.

Thursday was a pretty normal day, except I went to the Market with Isolina to start buying food for my birthday. I had decided that I wanted to cook for all my friends for my birthday because Lord knows I love nothing more than having all my friends in one place with me. So that’s what I began.

Friday was quite a frustrating day for me. I did more cooking (the guys at A Lo Chapin let me use their restaurant for my party and so I was cooking there) and I kept forgetting to bring an ingredient or I had bought the wrong thing and I had to leave twice that morning and come back, I believe. And two more times that night. I was stressed out with all the things that I needed to cook before the party and for no good reason because I finished it all in good time and no one really ended up coming on Saturday either.

I also was frustrated that night because a lot of drama happened and I wasn’t being treated very nicely by some of my friends. I finished cooking late and was hungry and the restaurant had run out of food and not a single person would walk me (since we’re not supposed to walk alone after 8:00 pm) to the store to buy a snack when the store is literally 2 minutes away. When I knew I had to wake up at 7 am the next day to go to the Market with Isolina to finish buying the food for my party, I wanted to go home rather early too and even though I live close to the restaurant, nobody wanted to take me home either and so there I had to stay until 2:00 in the morning. Five hours of sleep was not the way I wanted to start out my birthday.

But Saturday, I sucked it up. Saturday was my birthday and I was not about to let myself be a grump all day on my birthday. At that point, I no longer really wanted a party. I was rather tired of the way women are treated here and rather sick of being hurt by the insincerity of a lot of people here. I wanted to sleep, but I had already promised to cook for all these people and had already cooked quite a bit of it. So that I did. I made a huge salad that morning and then in the afternoon went to A Lo Chapin to heat everything up and make the garlic bread and guacamole for the snack.

In the end of all things, I had cooked for an army of people. Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad, and 2 desserts. But a crap ton of everything. Aunt Mary would be proud of me. I am pretty sure I cooked enough for about 40 people.



Anddddd 8 people came. My family. My tandem partner. And 2 of the A Lo Chapin guys. And pretty much barely any of my food got touched. So that was a bummer and I ended up going home by 10:00 which was rather unexpected at a birthday party, but it actually didn’t bother me much aside from my hate of wasting food because I was just so tired of everything that I was glad to go home and sleep.

My sweet family- Geovana was crying because I didn't leave the party with them haha

My sweet family- Geovana was crying because I didn’t leave the party with them haha

My tandem partner, Lily, and I

My tandem partner, Lily, and I

Byron, Orlando, and I

Byron, Orlando, and I

My new friend from Costa Rica

My new friend from Costa Rica

Yesterday, I just packed everything up into individual containers to give away to some of my friends that couldn’t make it. I’m going to give a big batch of it to Willy today because I know he wanted to come but he’s just too busy and I saved a bunch for my family so they don’t have to cook one day and I gave some to a few other friends. I assumed I wouldn’t see everyone that didn’t make it so I unfortunately didn’t get to give my food to everyone, but at least to a lot of my sweet friends that have treated me right. Mario came and got some leftovers and brought me a present! Lily brought me a present Friday night too. How sweet of them! All I wanted was to see my friends, but I even got a few presents too! :) Happy Birthday to meeeee.

And a quick shout out to my Grammie because it was her birthday too (I will forever love sharing a birthday with her). I love you so much Grammie! May you live all the years of your life and be blessed with all the blessings God can give. You are the best grandmother a girl could ask for and I’m so lucky to get to share a birthday with you!

Anyways, yesterday afternoon, I finally got to talk to my family over skype which was so nice to hear from them. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate a lot is my family and friends in the States. It’s amazing how many people have been rude to me here or hurt me in some way and made me feel like it was my fault and it’s amazing how many people I’ve fought with that still act like we’re friends when I see them on the street or in some lugar. It feels so fake. Are we friends? I dont know. Not to say that I don’t fight with anyone at home, but for goodness sakes… I swear I’ve encountered more drama here in 3 months than in 10 years of my life at home. I shouldn’t need a vacation from somewhere after 3 months, but I am so looking forward to recollecting myself in Belize and starting afresh here when I return.

I’m anxious to return now because I got to see my friends from the city yesterday- Xavier, Pablo, and Ale (with whom I went to Monterrico a few weeks ago) and that was a treat. Xavier wants me to come live with him in the city for a week sometime after I get back so I get to have a taste of Guatemala outside of Antigua. That was nice of him to invite me. I am always bummed that they don’t live here because I would certainly enjoy spending more time with them. They have always treated me nicely any time I’ve encountered them. I got to give them some of my food from my party as well and am looking forward to hanging out again. Xavier has a really interesting background and outlook on life and I enjoy hearing more about that every time I see him. Like how money is stupid and we shouldn’t need to use it. I’m in 100% agreement with that one! If we could all just be selfless and help other people, we wouldn’t need money!

Oh, and Ale is the opening act for Justin Beiber when Justin Beiber comes to Guatemala in October. Sorry, I just thought it’d be nice to remind everyone that I’m friends with a famous person. :) And a famous person with a good heart too. That’s the best part.

left to right- Ale, Me, Xavier, and Pablo :) Love these kids!

left to right- Ale, Me, Xavier, and Pablo :) Love these kids!

When we went to pick up the food for them from the refrigerator at A Lo Chapin, I noticed Kenny was singing in Rainbow. I thought he had left his job there, but perhaps only Open Mic Night. So that was nice because I got to bring him his leftover food (he couldn’t make it because his grandpa had surgery. Pobresito :( I think that’s definitely a good enough excuse to miss my party!) and say bye to him before my trip. He says we’ll starting practicing singing when I get back. I’m counting on it because I think my life here is going to change it’s habits once again after I return (things change so quickly here), seeing as Kevin quit working at A Lo Chapin and he was the main reason I’d go visit there so often. The other guys aren’t there 100% of the time. So that tradition will probably be changing now too! How quickly I have to adapt to new things here. I can’t believe how much has happened in only 3 months. It’s borderline ridiculous.

Anyways, Ale sang part of a song, so that was a lot of fun to get to hear him sing since he’s famous and has a fabulous voice. I’m so lucky to be included in that group of friends! I hope to hang out with them more when I get back. I think I will definitely be trying out Guatemala city for a week with Xavier!

Tomorrow in the night, I leave for my visa run to go visit another country to renew my 90-day visit in Guatemala. And now have a break from the drama and a moment to see some beautiful places and catch up on studies andddddd have my good friends to look forward to when I get back with new memories to make! Belize, here I come!!!!!!

Feliz Cumpleaños, Mamasita!!

Ya no quiero escribir mi blog.

Just kidding, I do. But this is definitely much more of a chore than I thought it would be and it’s not that fun to update when I don’t have something new and interesting to say or pictures to post.

Today I’m going to talk about some more things I’ve learned while traveling. You will not escape your problems. If you vacation for long enough, you’re going to need a vacation from your vacation. I say this because this week has been quite a drag and I’ve had some other days such as this where I’ve learned that wherever I go, I come with myself. The only thing you have control over (and sometimes I really don’t think I believe we have control over it) is our your attitude.

Sunday I didn’t go back out to see my friends because I got a bad stomach ache. It wasn’t like the aches I got in the first week and I never had any other problems. It felt more like indigestion or what I would imagine heartburn would feel like. I blame it on the food I ate with José. It wasn’t street food, but it wasn’t really a restaurant either. A lady at my school said I could get sick from that. So I laid down the rest of Sunday. At least I could eat semi-street food without throwing up! :)

Monday was a great day. I received good news and that was that they switched that guy out of my class because they decided he wasn’t in the same level as me. I was so happy. Private classes once again with Willy for group class price! Yes, please!

Then I went out with Kevin that night for a while and enjoyed that as well. It’s nice to have honest friends finally! I can tell by the fact that he’s not trying to woo me and by some of the things he’s told me that he’s honest with me. But we won’t talk about those things here. Not my place.

Monday night began my rough week. Kevin dropped me off at home and I had a headache which I assumed was just a “I need to sleep” headache. But I couldn’t sleep and it only got worse. I took Advil. I tried Midol because that was the only other pain killer I had. Nothing helped. It lasted all night and all morning and it was the worst headache I’ve ever had. Isolina gave me Excedrin extra strength and that didn’t help. I finally caved and called Máximo to send me a doctor.

To my great surprise, a long came Mario! Mario is a guy I’ve met in the salsa classes at Máximo and is a friend of Orlando. How nice it was to have a familiar face as my doctor. And to my even greater surprise, he didn’t charge me for the appointment. I can’t express how grateful I was for that because not only did it save me some money (which I’ve been worried about lately) but it also proved that nice people still exist in the world. There’s nothing more I love than a sweet blessing such as this. Thank you Mario!

Anyways, he prescribed some stronger medicine that still didn’t help Tuesday night, but I woke up Wednesday feeling better. I still had a little headache, but it was more of annoyance than a I-can’t-function.

I also felt awful Tuesday because I was supposed to meet Orlando and Byron to go buy heels for my upcoming private salsa classes and I couldn’t climb out of bed nor could I get in contact with them no matter how much I tried. I felt bad because I’m always a good communicator with people and they were waiting on me and told me all of this the next day.

Wednesday I carried on with my regular activities and Willy was awesome as usual and took me to the park again because he didn’t want to teach me too much and hurt my head some more. The funny thing was I wanted to go to A Lo Chapin to introduce my friends, but we went to the park instead. But my friends ended up coming to the park that day too so I got to introduce them anyways!

Wednesday I, of course, hung out with my usual group and went to Rainbow and algunas otras lugares.

Thursday I just woke up in the most awful mood. And I couldn’t shake it. This is what I’m talking about when I think sometimes we can’t control it. It’s like, I was already in a bad mood before I had my first thought of the day and no matter how many times I tried to say “It’s going to be a great day!” to myself, I couldn’t shake it. I was frustrated because I still had a headache, frustrated because some friends have misinterpreted things I’ve said and I think have made the wrong impression of me, and frustrated because I’ve reached the hard point in learning Spanish.

Willy tried to encourage me in class and explain that when we start at the beginning of learning a language, it is like we’re at the bottom of a well. We can’t see the light at the top, but we start climbing and we’re excited because we’re climbing and climbing and we slowly see more and more light. Once we hit intermediate, we climb a little more and reach the top of the well. But the top of the well isn’t fluency. The top of the well means I can’t climb up anymore and now I have to grow horizontally and take in all the world around me (essentially meaning: I’ve climbed all I can and now I need to practice and practice and read and watch movies and read and read and read and memorize and memorize and memorize more vocabulary. And that’s hard. Especially when there’s 10 different verbs for one verb in English). As usual, Willy knew how I felt because he practically self-taught himself English. The only difference is he likes to read and I still can’t shake my dislike for reading.

After this motivation, I ended up going to A Lo Chapin that night and reading the whole time. For an example of how long it takes to understand what I’m reading (because if I can understand all of it, I’m not learning anything new)… I’ve read 12 pages of a book in about 8 hours (I read Friday morning too). I’m overwhelmed.

Friday I magically woke up really happy to start the day. This, I liked. I beat everybody to A Lo Chapin in the morning and read for an hour and a half before Kevin even showed up to work! Haha. Then I FINALLY had my first salsa class in the afternoon. It’s so much more intimidating in a private class! This is when it sucks to be a perfectionist because my mind doesn’t want to let me try because it knows I can’t dance and I hate embarrassing myself. Like I said, our problems come with us when we travel.
I got pretty tired towards the end of Friday and probably should have stayed home because at about 9:00 I was ready to go home from A Lo Chapin, but I have to wait for a ride and they ended up not closing til 12:00 am that night due to a group that came in and stayed. I’m sure I was a drag; my headache starting bothering me really bad again and I was so tired and I’m terrible at hiding my emotions haha.

Today I woke up once again in bad spirits. Perhaps the headache, perhaps the cloudy sky. But today I, so far, was able to kick it. I met with my tandem partner and was grumpy I couldn’t find heels for my salsa class, but I went to my salsa class and maybe sweated out my bad mood. I felt great after and went to buy a cake for Isolina and Mynor’s one year anniversary!

How ironic! It’s their anniversary today. And my cousin is getting married today. Best wishes, Mike!! May you two live happily ever after! AND it’s my mom’s birthday. She’s turning 30, of course. 😉 Happy birthday, mamasita! We sang happy birthday to you at lunch today before we ate the cake I bought for Isolina and Mynor. They sang in English. It was so cute. I have a video, but am having trouble uploading it. :( Hope your birthday is awesome and the wedding goes perfect!

Happy Birthday Mommy!! Shared a cake for you from afar!

Happy Birthday Mommy!! Shared a cake for you from afar!

Anyways… problems. They don’t go. So don’t run away from them. I wasn’t trying to run away from my problems when I came here, but I still have learned the come with me. I still have health problems (more than usual too!) and I still have negativity problems (harder than usual when you feel like crap 90% of the time!) and I still get bored with my life and I still have days where I hate myself. I still have not discovered the secret to changing my attitude. Oh wait, yes I have. Practice. Damn it.

Just like with my Spanish, practice. I fail one day. I have to get up and try again the next day. Just like Salsa class. I fail a step. I have to repeat the step again and again and again no matter what or I’m not going to learn it. If I fail with my attitude one day, tomorrow brings a new day to try again. Where we fail is when we let that failure day dictate that we’re never going to change and spiral into a depression. That’s okay. Climb back out. I’ve been pretty depressed for the most part this whole week and it sucks. And I don’t want to talk about it. And I want to give up on Spanish. And love. And salsa. And I’m worried about my money. And traveling alone in a little over a week. And money. And I miss the sun.

But I’m still here. And I’m going to enjoy today and if I don’t, I have tomorrow.

Darn the guy that said if at first you can’t succeed, try try again. It’s true.

And the greatest of these is love

I don’t ever want to stop traveling.

This whole trip has taught me so many things and given me so many new experiences. Especially this last week in dealing with my heartbreak and deciding what to do about the situation, I’ve learned so many things. Unfortunately, I’m learning too many other things and not enough Spanish!! Hahaha.

I was ignoring José when he was trying to contact me last weekend. I hurt too much to talk and say anything nice so I ignored him. He was trying to stay my friend, but I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do with the situation. I saw him Saturday night when I went out dancing with Kevin and he wasn’t with other girls, so a little part of me wondered if he was telling the truth about everything else he told me. Only God will know.

Sunday, I decided he must have gotten the picture because he stopped bothering me which gave me some space to think. I decided that I am going to try to forgive him and stay his friend. I’ve never given up a friend ever in my life (who’s wanted to stay my friend, that is), why should I start now? Everyone messes up. So I therefore began my usual “break-up” letter.

Yes, I always write a letter to people I’ve gone out with. Future boyfriends, be warned. Haha. I have realized that I am quite a strange one recently, as everyone who I was talking to was suggesting that this was a horrendous idea, but I’ve always done it because it makes me feel better. It allows me to get my feelings out, but also allows me to thank them for the good times we had and end things in a way to where I can more easily forgive the person. It does not take away the pain, but it at least makes me feel like my hands are clean. So I wrote a long note to José and explained that we can try to still be friends, but if we stay friends there are rules now because of what happened. One of those being he has to be 100% honest with me about everything from here on out. Sure, I suppose I won’t know, but aren’t the people that do things like this the ones that need a real friend the most? I don’t know. Maybe I am blabbering on like a naive child, but this was my thought and so that’s what I decided to do.

I had my dear Willy read my letter to see if it all made sense and my Spanish was good and he didn’t correct much at all! What great news is this? He said there were some things wrong, but it made enough sense to understand it.

Sunday I had lunch at Isolina’s church and mostly studied. Orlando invited me to come to A Lo Chapin to hang out with the usual group so I did and we all went to the Sala for Salsa Night after Kevin and Byron closed the restaurant. ¡Que divertido! 7 guys asked me to dance! Where are all the guys that ask girls to dance in the U.S? Somebody please tell me because I would like to know. One of the guys, Marvin, works at Rainbow Café so I kind of knew him. He was really good at leading me in Bachata. I met another guy that was good at leading me in Salsa, so that was fun.

Monday I finally went back to my volunteer job. I was surprised that I could wake up after staying out til 1:00 AM. But everything went well. I supposed I was motivated because I could see the end in sight (Friday).

Spanish class was awful on Monday. I learned nothing new because for the first time in almost a month, we had a new person. Oh, how I need to work on my patience. I was horrible when I was new to the class, but since I’ve been spoiled with private classes this last month, it was really hard to be patient with his bad Spanish. It also made me realize how important it is to continue to practice Spanish after learning it. He learned Spanish for two months in South America, just like I have here, but he hasn’t used it in a year and it shows. I think I’m more frustrated by his attitude than his lack of speaking ability because he gets so insanely mad at himself and makes so many frustrated gestures and noises that it grinds on me. I’m trying to learn how to not let it affect me, but since I myself am trying to work on being a positive person, it’s hard to be around negativity. It is especially a huge challenge when I know that my time and money are being wasted waiting on him to stop being frustrated and just try!

Willy also wasn’t there Monday which didn’t help because I’d been dying all weekend for him to read my letter to José so he could help me correct it. And obviously, of course I always miss Willy over the weekend because he’s the greatest teacher and the only 110% trustworthy friend I have here so far haha. No, I trust my other friends, but Willy is definitely the only friend I have here that gets me.

Tuesday I didn’t do much. I was supposed to have my tandem partner meeting with Lily, but she cancelled again so I had a pretty slow day that day.

Wednesday I went back to my project again and had a traditional Wednesday (minus my Salsa class). I decided to hang out for a minute in A Lo Chapin and visit my friends before heading to Rainbow to give José his letter. Willy has been sort of my guidance counselor this whole trip as well and knows everything that’s happened with me, and he told me he thought I should send my letter to him, even though everyone else thinks I should have nothing to do with José. So that was the sign I needed to know I was doing the right thing and not being a stupid girl. Willy actually seemed rather impressed and touched by my letter and said he’s never done that or received one from an ex and it actually made him think he should write one now. I was so touched to hear that I touched someone’s heart like that because that made me feel like I’m doing something right with my life.

Wednesday was hard in Rainbow to be around José, but not be able to talk yet because he hadn’t yet read the letter. But God blessed me with a multitude of friends. I saw almost every single one of my friends, plus made some new ones, that night by staying for the whole Open Mic Night. And what else? I finally sucked it up and SANG! Only took me two months to get up there (although, if I may say, I have been sick for quite a lot of the Wednesdays). I was shaking like a leaf, as I hate to get up in front of people, but I got asked by 3 different guys to practice with them and sing later. How exciting! I hope they actually mean that because then maybe I could even conquer my fear of singing on front of people while I’m here.

I was planning to head back to A Lo Chapin, but on my way out, Kenny finally talked to me for more than 30 seconds and we hung out for the first time in 2 months of knowing him at Rainbow. ¡Por fin! Haha. Me and him and one of his friends, Edgar, went to the Sala to dance and we had a great time. Hopefully we’re finally friends now. I like making friends.

José started texting me again that night, after he had read my letter, and he wanted to talk. But since I finally made up my mind to be his friend, I said we could talk Thursday. So Thursday we went out to dinner and talked and tried to be friends again. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve surprised myself with my strength in this issue. I just feel like I should try to stay his friend and I don’t know why. We’ve only known each other a month or two; why do I need his friendship? It’s especially hard too because so many people are judging me now when I hang out with him because they don’t think he deserves my friendship and they think I’m foolish. I don’t know. Maybe I am, but I gotta do what I feel is right, right? How blessed are we to have such a loving God that lets us come back no matter what. This whole situation has made me see what it means to love unconditionally. Not only do I have to fight the feelings I had for him and the pain from him lying to me, but I also have to fight the judgment of other people. It’s hard as balls! How the hell does God love such terrible creatures as us?

Glad to still have my best friend. Judge not lest you also be judged

Glad to still have my best friend. Judge not lest you also be judged

I went to A Lo Chapin after dinner to hang out with my usual crowd because I was supposed to go dancing with Kevin again, but I wasn’t feeling up to it that night. I had a stomach ache and was tired and I found out Orlando was mad at me for something I said at Rainbow the night before. Miguel explained it to me (I’ve mentioned Miguel before right? He’s another friend at A Lo Chapin who knows English and Spanish so he’s a huge help when I’m having trouble explaining something!) what I did and it sounded like the dumbest thing ever to me because our culture is so different, but after further explanation the next day, I understood and felt awful. I am learning so many things about this culture that are making me so thankful for mine. I had no idea I even said anything bad, but I did and he was hurt badly, but refused to talk about it until the next day. So I went home and slept because I was sad to have hurt a friend and because I needed to go to work the next day.

30 minutes after returning to my house, I heard a girl get robbed right in front of our house. She didn’t get hurt that I could hear, but someone definitely robbed her. Pobresita. I hated to hear that because I’ve felt safe here for the most part so far. I also found out the next day that someone about a block away from our house got stabbed 3 times in the stomach. ¡Que horror! I suppose I’m not in the safest of places after all, but I am glad I am being watched over by an all-powerful God. I am fortunate to have been safe this whole trip so far. That could have been me!

Friday was my last official day at my project. I decided to make it this way because I’ve missed so many days and I hate feeling bad about missing them so I thought since I have travels in the near future and am planning to start Salsa lessons that I am better off saying I can come when I can come instead of promising something I can’t commit to. It ended up working out anyways because a lot of the times the adults can’t attend my English class and the last girl that was in my class is leaving to go live with her Aunt and Uncle now, so I’m really not needed too often there anymore as it is.

I also went out to A Lo Chapin, as usual, and fixed things with Orlando. What an interesting night that was. I was really tired again for some reason, but had no desire to return to my house at 10:00 pm, so I stayed and just rested my head on the table for a lot of the time. But 11 older guys in total ended up coming to hang out and drink and I felt like I was in a cantina instead of a restaurant. Hahaha. I’m never quite sure why I hang out with guys, but I enjoyed laughing at their ridiculous behavior and horrendous singing voices. I got a chance to talk to Orlando about a lot of things and that was nice to have someone finally open up to me. I love when people trust me with things because it makes me feel they trust me as a good friend, which I most certainly try to be.

Yesterday, I woke up early around 8:00 am and noticed my phone blinking already and saw it was from José. I didn’t realize how early the music started in the streets. The 15th of September is like our 4th of July so for the 14th, the little kid bands were parading through the streets. He promised to take me to this before telling me he had a girlfriend and since I’m trying to stay his friend, I still wanted to go. So we went to that and it was fun. That’s also when I got to have a nice life lesson. He was letting me read a conversation he was having with a girl to prove that he doesn’t look for anything, it just “happens” to him.

He was right. This girl was blatantly throwing herself at him asking “What are you doing tonight? I want to see you before I go back to my country tomorrow. Do you want to see me?” with wink faces. At first I thought, poor girl has a crush on him like me and thinks he’s single so when he sent a message to show me how she would react that said “I want to see you and give you lots of kisses” (But kisses here can sometimes signify just those kisses on the cheek), I yelled at him and said this is what I mean by “playing” with someone and that’s not fair to her and this is when he should be honest and mention his girlfriend. So he ACTUALLY listened to me and said that he had a girlfriend…

To which the girl responded. “That’s okay. You know I have a boyfriend too right? WHAT HAPPENS IN GUATEMALA STAYS IN GUATEMALA!!!!! ;)”

Can I express in words without offending my family on this blog how boiling mad this made me? No. I can’t. I’m sorry, family, close your eyes… BUT WHAT THE FUCK?!!?! I was so upset by her response that I actually cried. (Don’t laugh at me!) I can’t believe people such as this exist. José made fun of me for tearing up, but I was completely in shock of how disgusting of a girl this was and it made me realize what everyone has been talking about with “extranjeras” coming down here to have a good time and why guys take advantage of them. José actually listened to everything I told him he needed to type to this girl like “I’m sorry. I’d like to see you and say goodbye, but nothing more. Because I have a girlfriend and I’m loyal.” So that was impressive. I suppose I don’t have control over whether he does anything with her later or not, but the fact that he actually typed those things was a good sign that he wants to stay my friend and means it.

World, why are you this way? How can people do such things? I understand a slip up, I think. But to blatantly say basically “Yeah I have a boyfriend, but who cares? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him”? just killed my heart. I weep for this world. No wonder there is so much pain and heartbreak with people that do things like this. Stop being so selfish and respect other people, PLEASE! I know it’s hard. I KNOW. But for real people, if we are not the difference, who will be? No one’s perfect, me included. But for goodness sakes, we can at least try to respect people and love people and not do awful things like this.

I’m definitely having my eyes opened to the world, but I’m still refusing to let it change what I think. And what I think is love people that have hurt you and be an example no matter how many people try to make you change and no matter how many people try to bring you down to their level. Rise up and fight in the name of Love!

Anyways, off my soap box. Around lunch time, he dropped me back home and I ate lunch and headed off to my regular hang out place, as usual. I decided to do my homework there yesterday instead of Máximo so I could be surrounded by people instead of solo. I have now decided that if I actually want to study, this is not the best idea haha. After I finished my homework, Byron, Orlando, Miguel and I headed to the park again to listen to some more of the music that was going on for a bit and then back to A Lo Chapin where I spent the rest of the evening. I am thankful for my group of friends there because I always have a place to go when I’m feeling lonely. And they at least somewhat understand our cultural differences so I can somewhat be my normal self there without worrying about leading someone on because I hugged on them or smiled at them. Hahaha. Or at least if they don’t understand, Miguel can explain it to them better than I can.

left to right -Miguel, Me, Orlando, Byron. Love these kids :)

left to right -Miguel, Me, Orlando, Byron. Love these kids :)

Today I had to get up bright and early again because I thought José and I were going to the stadium to watch a band competition, but it was still just the parade in the park going on again. But oh well. It was still fun to watch. What was interesting to me was the drastic change in temperature. I was freezing in pants and long sleeves earlier this week and today I was frying in a skirt and t-shirt. While the fair was going on, it got cloudy and the temperature was perfect and as soon as the cloud move, que calor otra vez! So strange.

Recycled Dresses?

Recycled Dresses?

another shot of the parade

another shot of the parade

Not really sure what this was for. Definitely saw some strange things in the parade

Not really sure what this was for. Definitely saw some strange things in the parade

I got really hungry while we were watching so we decided to leave and go eat. And the oddest thing was, I had a huge craving to eat Guatemalan food! So we went to a place that served comida tipica and it was ricoooo. I must be becoming accustomed to the food here because I hated the tortillas when I got here and now I crave them haha. And what a great lunch that was. It was so stinking cheap!

$2.50 for all this food?? I need to stop eating at the tourist restaurants...

$2.50 for all this food?? I need to stop eating at the tourist restaurants…

So far for the most part, so good. We’ll see if I can continue to stay friends with José. As long as he behaves and continues to follow the rules I laid out and as long as I can continue to stay strong, I think all will be well. Perhaps it will change when his girlfriend actually gets here and I have to see them together, but for now I am managing to keep my head up and pass time with him without getting depressed. Me not getting depressed over a guy that broke my heart. Proof that miracles do happen.

And now off I go to visit my other friends!

Keepin it calidad. Peace out, peeps.

A La Gran Puta

Wow, time flies. I have already been here 2 months. I’m a month away from having to leave the country for a few days to renew my visit (you can only be in the country for 90 days at a time without a visa). And I can’t believe all the adventures I have lived in 60 days. Good and bad. More on that later…

Saturday, I pretty much spent the whole day with José. I slept in nice and late and I skyped my hermano amigo, John, a bit later. Love you so much, John! And I miss your face. John got to meet José over skype and I got to translate a little. That was fun. I can’t wait to be translating more for people. It makes me feel so special. Sure, I still can’t understand a heck of a lot of Spanish, but I know a lot more than some people and when I encounter those people, I sure feel cool.

Afterwards, José and I went to the park and met up with a few of his friends. I really liked them. They were nice and interested in talking to me slow enough to where I could understand. I like when I am included in conversations. We hung out with them for a while in someone’s house while they shared a few beers and then we headed to Punta Cera to watch some movies. I’d been craving watching some movies lately and Punta Cera has a nice little TV room with couches. So we watched a couple of movies in Spanish and I didn’t understand much at all, but it’s good to expose my ears to it.

Sunday I got a TON of reading in. I shocked myself with how much I read. I thought José and I were going to get lunch together that day because he said he wanted crepes, but I heard nothing from him all day so I urged myself to get out of the house and stop being stupid and do nothing while waiting on him. So I studied and studied in a café while I waited to hear from him. I finally heard from him at 5:30 and we met up again in the park. We had a special dinner Sunday night. I couldn’t decide what I wanted so we just walked around and we finally passed an Italian place that had the most inviting environment I’ve seen here. Gorgeous lights and a fountain. The place was a lot pricier than most places here, but for me, it costs about normal like a place in the states ($11-$17 a plate) so I thought I’d treat him to something nice since he’d been so good to me. It ended up not being the greatest Italian food, but it was still a nice environment.

Da Vinci's restaurant

Da Vinci’s restaurant

It has been so romantic hanging out with him. He also said he wants me to meet his family and wants to meet mine and I thought that was so precious. A bit early for that, but precious none the less. He’s asked what do I want for my birthday and told me he is always there if I need him, just call. You can tell I obviously cleared up some feelings since my last post. Apologies to those I offended in that post by the way, but I promised to be honest in all my posts and warned that I cuss sometimes and so I felt it was all necessary. But the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone in my blog. So I hope I have not done so. Also, thank you to everyone who’s been keeping up with me. I hope you are learning some things through my experiences and are enjoying all my posts. I appreciate all the people that told me they’ve been loving my blog so far, even people I didn’t expect to be reading it!

I skipped my job again on Monday because I just couldn’t wake up again. My body has readjusted to staying out late so I just couldn’t do it. I’ve lost my motivation to go there. I haven’t been in two weeks now. I don’t remember what I did Monday morning, probably studied, but I met up with José again after class Monday. He treated me to dinner on another side of town that I had not been to yet and it was really good. Some kind of bread twisted with Italian pizza-like filling. We went to Punta Cera again after because it’s just so much more comfy to sit on couches than the hard chairs that most places offer. He returned me really early Monday night (10:00 pm) which is unusual for us. I wasn’t tired and I didn’t want to go home yet, but that’s what we did.

Things started changing Monday night. My house was empty and I had had so much fun the last few days that I suddenly hit a lonely spell. I was anxiously awaiting my next encounter with José. I don’t like lonely spells like this. Perhaps some people can relate, but I just can’t do anything but hang out with people and if I can’t hang out with people, I can’t do anything but worry about everything under the sun and get depressed. I don’t know what happened.

Tuesday didn’t help. I was so excited to be meeting my tandem partner to tell her everything that had happened and she cancelled. I was supposed to skype David, but never heard from him. I was supposed to see José before his job at 3:00, but I never heard from him until he was already working and didn’t hear much from him at all. I felt horrible all day. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything or to cheer up. And José said he wanted to talk, which I of course thought the worst things possible and worried some more.

Thank God for Willy. Tuesday, my day was brightened for at least a short time as I arrived to class. Willy could tell something was wrong and slammed his books shut and said “Ok, tell me.” So I started explaining what happened and how I tend to worry if this or that happens and he was saying “Oh yeah, me too. It’s like this….” and would explain that he knows exactly how I feel. Then he paused and said “Wait. When is your birthday again?” And based on the subject of our conversation and his question, I instantly knew what he was saying and I filled with excitement and said “September 28…. and yours is… OMG OCTOBER 7th! We’re both Libras!!!!!!” And we burst into laughter. I don’t believe much in astrology, but it’s pretty fun sometimes and can be rather surprisingly accurate.

This was the best class I’ve had yet. After we realized that, we talked about hundreds of things. What’s your favorite color? Chocolate of vanilla? Do you LOVE chocolate? Music and art or sports? Everything. We share the same favorite colors. We both die for chocolate. We don’t really like sports, but if we like anything- we like gymnastics and figure skating in the olympics. We’re both great at remembering dates and we love romantic movies (He LOVED the notebook when we watched it in class). We both like peace and hate fighting with people and we are really uncomfortable if anyone is upset with us in our life. We are sensitive and get hurt easily and also are sensitive to the feelings of others and can easily read people. We want everyone to like us, sometimes to the extent where it’s unhealthy because we just don’t know what to do if someone doesn’t like us. We hate being unoccupied and can often spiral into a depression if we don’t have something to do. We prefer to be surrounded by people we love instead of being independent and we love romance and to be in love. We both get sick a lot with colds and stomach issues and often the stomach issues come from a love of indulging on the wrong food. We always think the worst when something happens if we don’t have all the details and we have a horrible guilt complex where we can think anything is our fault even if it’s not. And we’re so overly sensitive and romantic that we often feel like we’re completely out of place with the rest of the world and don’t know how to relate. And we LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVEEEEEEE being able to hug and love on someone. WHAT?

ALL of this. Everything we talked about and asked each other about, we shared the same feelings. We had so many moments where we just couldn’t say anything more because we were so shocked. We both had never met another Libra before (aside from my dear sweet grandmother, but I’ve never talked about any of these things with her before. But I have seen a lot of things that we have in common through observation). It felt like finding your soul mate (Or, I suppose soul friend is a better word because we’re not in love and he’s married haha) and we were so excited that class. We hugged a bunch of times and couldn’t stop laughing and when we hugged before I left, I said “And now we’re going to cry, right?” And he said “Shut up!” because he knew it was true haha. It felt so good to finally meet someone who knows EXACTLY how I feel.

It was nice to have a ray of sunshine on my day. I have felt disgustingly unneeded lately (personality issues once again) and it has made me depressed. I have a need to feel needed in my life and get really sad when I don’t feel important. With not much communication with my friends here and when José doesn’t answer me and people cancelling things, I get lost. I like to plan and when plans change, I don’t really know what to do with my day. Wednesday, I finally got up to return to work, but I thought maybe I should text first before I show up since it has been so long. Well, I texted and they said they didn’t have time for English class this week. So I skipped again and wonder how I will return after so long. It will be hard. I told my tandem partner we could meet up that morning and she said that’d be great so I got excited to finally see her again too, but 2 hours later, she cancelled. So I had another slow and lonely day. I did finally get to skype David, but poor thing just had to listen to me complain.

My teacher too. I got to see José for a moment after class and then I went to an hour of my salsa class. But I just can’t deal with it anymore. I’m going to start taking private lessons too. The class is too hot and too boring and I’m not growing at all. I went to eat at A Lo Chapin again because I’ve grown tired of Rainbow. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. The music is the same every week so I thought I’d spend some more time with my friend Kevin. I’d been spending too much time with José recently and that wasn’t good for my heart. But about halfway through, I heard a familiar voice coming from Rainbow and realized Rodrigo came in town to sing again so I went to go visit him. Afterwards, I spent the rest of the night until 3:00 am with José.

Thursday I got a random invite to Monterrico with my friend Xavier. I was feeling rather depressed and only got 3 hours of sleep Wednesday night so I was thinking maybe I should rest, but the thought of escaping Antigua and spending more time with new friends drew me in. I decided to go for it since we’d be back in time for my class yesterday and away we went at 9:00 at night. I’m so glad I went! He has a nice group of friends and they were all really welcoming and tried so hard to make me cheer up from some things that have happened.

Xavier, Me, and my now new friend, Rosie! :)

Xavier, Me, and my now new friend, Rosie! :)

And holy crap was his house nice. This definitely beat my time in Monterrico with José. I had no desire to really return there after because it’s not that nice and it’s horribly hot and dirty. But no. Xavier has a private house there and it was like a RESORT! SUCH a beautiful house with lots of comfy beds, a housekeeper/cook, a wrap-around porch, a gorgeous pool, a gazebo with hammocks, and it was right on the water. He also had four-wheelers- so much fun! A real escape; just what I needed. I was so grateful that Xavier thought to invite me. I need some real friends here. It’s a shame they live in Guatemala City though. I won’t be able to hang out on a regular basis. But I much appreciated the time I got to escape Antigua.

Hotel like bedrooms

Hotel like bedrooms

View of the house standing in the backyard

View of the house standing in the backyard

view standing in the house. that's the beach in the background!

view standing in the house. that’s the beach in the background!

Gazebo with hammocks!

Gazebo with hammocks!

A much better view of Monterrico than where I stayed with José

A much better view of Monterrico than where I stayed with José

Additionally, I came to find out that I met two famous people. Two of his best friends are famous. One is a soccer player for the national team (I think that’s what Xavier told me) and the other is a famous singer in Latin America named Ale Mendoza. PSHYEAH. I met famous people, kiddos! How lucky am I? I felt so special to be included because Xavier told me that they don’t like to tell people that they are famous and they also don’t have many friends because most people just want to be their friend because they’re famous and have money. But how nice was it of them to trust me to not be one of those people? I’m not one of those people, but they don’t know me. I could be a crazy that chases people for their money, but they trusted me enough to include me. I felt bad that I was so tired and sad that whole trip to really open up and be my usual self.

Xavier also told me about the history of the name “gringo.” He’s not sure if it’s 100% true, but supposedly the first people to cross the Mexican border were marines and since the Mexicans couldn’t speak good English, all they could say was “Green, go!” to tell them to get out of their country.. Entonces… “Gringo.” hahaha!

Since I went with them, I most certainly didn’t catch up on sleep. I got about 6 hours that night and came back just in time for class. My poor brain was fried and I was trying so hard to get Willy to have another fun class, but we’ve had “fun” classes all week where we’ve just talked about the drama in my life. So thank God that Willy decided to put an end to it. He’s mad at me because he knows I’m studious and I was climbing so fast in the beginning but now I’ve had so many distractions that my Spanish is not improving. So he pulled me in and started introducing the god-awful Subjunctive tense. This is going to be a beast to learn. And additionally, I’ve got to learn it AND fight some serious depression at the same time. My poor brain. Why are you depressed Lizzie? Why are you homesick?

Well, two things can make a girl feel really homesick- being physically sick and being emotionally sick. I’ve been physically sick over half of my trip. And this girl’s heart has been broken in 100000000 pieces. Like an idiot, I fell for a guy here. Like a god-awful stupid idiot. After all the warnings about how guys here are players, I had to go and be stupid and fall for one. And now I hurt just as much, if not worse, than how I hurt when my long-term relationships came to an end. I don’t know how people have short-term relationships. I just couldn’t deal. I’m always in things for the long term and it kills like a knife to have something so short-lived. Maybe it hurts more because it was all a lie and it was the first time I’d opened my heart back up to someone since being cheated on, but the lesson I am trying to learn is to press on.

Thank God for Isolina and Maynor. They sympathize with me just enough, but Isolina is a tough cookie that tells me the truth. I’ve been pitied my whole life and it has made it hard to be strong when these things happen. It makes me want to run home to mommy and cry and be waited on and stay in my bed for weeks on end because I always know I would be sympathized with when I run to her. I don’t like this. I came here to change myself. And I’m going to do it. I’m not going to be that silly girl that cries for weeks and quits everything and doesn’t care about life when I get my heart broken.

Isolina reminded me that I came here to change and I can go cry everything I need to cry, but after that, I need to wipe my face, wash my hands of it and carry on. She’s right. I’m not at home. I don’t have the luxury of having mommy to cry to. I’m on my own. I never felt so homesick. But here I am. I chose this because I wanted to change. And for the first time ever, I’m really being shown that THIS is life.

At least I know that I’m really living. I sometimes forget that to really be alive means to feel pain too. I hate that part of life, but it’s true. You can either have a protected life and be bored to tears, or you can live good and bad experiences and really know how to live. And I’m living! Look at everything that’s happened to me in two months…

-I’m in a foreign country away from everything familiar for six months
-I’m learning how to speak another language and communicate with more people in the world
-I’ve been sick for over half of my trip but still have been able to enjoy it
-I’ve seen beautiful and ugly new places
-I’ve taught English to people
-I’ve stayed out til 3 am in a place that is considered dangerous and nothing has happened
-I’ve peed in the street
-I’ve kissed 3 guys in one night (one of whom I didn’t really want to kiss)
-I’ve learned how to dance a little of Salsa
-I’ve met amazing people and I’ve met some not so amazing people
-I’ve ridden on a motorcycle, sin helmet
-I’ve hung out with a famous person
-I’ve been treated to a luxurious stay at the beach
-I’ve ridden a chicken bus, countless times
-I’ve experienced two tremors (yep, we had another one last night when I got home from class. It was funny to look out my window and see everyone walking around like nothing was happening haha!)
-I’ve gone a week without showering and have had to shower a few times in ICE cold water
-I’ve fallen in love and had my heart broken by the typical Guatemalan player

Life hurts. Life is fun. Life is good. Life is bad. But the main point that I’m having to learn is life moves on. And life goes fast. And there is no time to waste on the things that hurt. Because then you’re ruining your life. What if I indulged on my thoughts when I got my heart broken? I would be hating myself right now because I would have not only had my heart broken, but I would have failed my entire point in coming here.

What were my thoughts? Go home. Quit. Run away. Spanish is getting hard to learn anyways and now your heart hurts. You can’t concentrate when your heart hurts. What’s the point of continuing? Just get a ticket back home and get your money back. And what would I think of myself later if I followed through with these thoughts?

Hate myself more. It’s an ongoing spiral. If you are hurt and indulge yourself in the negative, you will hurt more later. Life is painful. But we have a choice. We can live a depressing life and indulge on the negative, or we can focus on the good things that happen and forgive forgive forgive the people that cause the bad things. Forgiveness is for us, not for the other person. They don’t deserve to be forgiven, but we deserve to be set loose from our angry thoughts. It’s hard. It’s harder than anything else I can think of and I will continue to have sad thoughts and mad thoughts and will continually have to re-forgive and re-forgive, and as Isolina says….You have to grab those thoughts and throw them out every time they appear. You have to just be thankful for what you have or you’re going to be miserable all your life.

So I’m putting my foot down. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and as my Italian side of the family likes to say “Gotta keepa go.” So here I am, keepin a go. I’m not saying nothing is affecting me. I still cry. I hurt like nothing else. But I’m not going to stay in my bed and wish I was dead or wish I was home. I hurt more than I can express or explain and every part of me wants to give up on everything, but I refuse. I hurt, but look at all the amazing things I’ve gotten to do on this trip. Life sucks, but life is beautiful too and through all the pain I’ve experienced, I still never want to stop traveling. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my adventure, scarred and hurt, but here in Guatemala. And you can bet your butts, I won’t be kissing any more guys here.

How can I let myself be depressed if I get to wake up to a view like this every day? I can't get over my view

How can I let myself be depressed if I get to wake up to a view like this every day? I can’t get over my view. I refuse to let him get me down!!!!!!

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