So I’m feeling pretty much 100% better now. Still don’t sleep perfectly well, but my stomach is all better. And I can’t believe how happy I am here already. Like, not in the OMG I LOVE THIS PLACE I’M GOING TO MOVE HERE way, but like… I’m happy. My complaints have dwindled and my blessings have grown. I’m really enjoying myself now. I want to sleep better so I can have more energy to do things besides go to work and go to class, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been able to be THIS happy when I have to wake up at 6:30 am every day. Traveling is the best. I can’t wait to speak fluently!!
Isolina made pasta with garlic bread Monday night. I can’t say how much I overemphasized my love for it in hopes that she would make it more often haha. Actually though, since then, she has asked us all what our favorite type of food is and asked us to tell her when we don’t like something so that she cooks better for us! She is insanely accommodating. I can’t get over how sweet she is.
On Tuesday, Marnie was sick (I think just about everybody in our house has been sick now) so I stopped to get her a coffee on the way home from some grocery shopping. McDonald’s was the only place I passed that sold iced coffee so I thought I’d give it a go. It was so interesting! It’s not a McDonald’s, but it’s 3 McDonald’s in one (Icecream, cafe, and food). So there’s 2 entrances. Inside one is a tiny little ice cream bar. Inside the other and to the left is what looks like a regular menu, but I couldn’t find coffee. I asked someone and he pointed to my right and there was another area for coffee and dessert. They had legitimate desserts too like cheesecakes. And in the back of the restaurant there was a really nice courtyard with beautiful seating to eat in! What McDonald’s is this?? I’ll have to take some pictures for you all.
I also finally bought some ear plugs. On Monday night, the car alarm that went off from 10 pm – 2:30 am about did it for me. Yeah. 10PM-2:30AM!!!! Ridiculous. A lot of car alarms go off here, but I found out that apparently the cars that come from Guatemala City have really sensitive alarms that can be triggered just by the vibrations of large vehicles tromping down the wobbly cobblestone streets of Antigua. I assume people must just park their vehicle and walk far away or something though because I still can’t figure out why it would go off for 4 hours straight!!!
I started receiving cat calls on Wednesday. I don’t know how I’ve been here a week and a half with nothing and then all the sudden since Wednesday, I get about 3-4 cat calls a day on my way to or from bus. I try to just ignore them, but sometimes I think it’s really funny and can’t help but smile. Usually that’s after my back is to them though. I think it’s mostly uncomfortable because I worry about what I would do if they actually approached me since I don’t know much Spanish yet, but so far it only seems to be an admiration from a distance. Fingers crossed.
Wednesday was also Marnie’s birthday and we went out and had ice cream today after all of us got off of work. We also checked out the market and a couple of the others went with her to a museum after that, but I had some Spanish homework to finish.
I feel like I’m catching up a little in my class now. I looked some things up in the text book I brought because the book we have from Máximo doesn’t really explain things well in my opinion. After I had a minute to sit with it, I could understand the past tense a little better. I still have much to learn though and much more vocabulary to memorize. There’s a joke in my class now, at least between me and my teacher, because I keep forgetting to change the “o” to “a” at the end of an adjective when describing myself. O is masculine (end adjectives with o to describe a man) and A is feminine (end adjectives with a to describe a woman), but since most of the time examples are in masculine form, it’s hard to remember to say I’m “bonita” instead of “bonito.” My teacher, Willy, is hilarious and in order to correct me, he’ll put his hands flat on his chest and say “o”? and then pull the top of his shirt out to signify a woman and say “or a?” And then I’m always embarrassed at my silly mistake. Finally, I decided when I messed it up again to just say “Tengo secretos” (I have secrets) and Willy about keeled over laughing. Now we laugh every time I accidentally call myself a man.
After class, I finally got to go AND participate in Salsa since I wasn’t sick. It was so much fun. The teacher is hilariously energetic and adorable. I love him! The turn out was really small compared to when I watched last week though so that was odd. I am not sure what happened. I’m hoping some super cute guys show up next time. I know. I know. I’m being shallow, but it’s REALLY hard to dance something as sexy as salsa with someone kind of gross looking. (Ok, ok. I’m complaining because I had to dance with a sweaty creepy old dude that spoke no english and wasn’t very patient when I messed up because I think he knew a little more than me at that point). The teacher seemed to hang on Marnie a lot so I told him it was her birthday and he basically gave her a lap dance. She was so embarrassed and we all loved it hahaha.
After Salsa we went out to a place called “Rainbow Cafe” for her birthday dinner. Isolina and Maynor joined us which I thought was so sweet. It was open mic night and Anna Maria played a song she wrote. It was so good! We also sang happy birthday and after dinner, Maynor had purchased firecrackers and set those off! Marnie was so happy.
We are really blessed here with our family. I honestly couldn’t be happier. I was telling a Máximo member about everything that Isolina has done for us and she was amazed at how much our family has gone far above their call of duty. I’ve also heard that a lot of families serve the same meals all the time and no one likes them and that the other families don’t sit down with the volunteers at dinner and they don’t communicate much. Isolina is a good cook and has only made a few things twice and asks us what we like and dislike so she can accomodate more. Maynor and Isolina sit with us almost all the time, especially at dinner. We’ll sit long after we finished dinner and just chat and laugh with each other. Isolina checks on all of us when we’re sick. They threw a party for Audria when she was going away. Isolina came out with us when we went to a bar to celebrate Audria going away. Maynor bought firecrackers for Marnie’s birthday. Isolina and Maynor came out and paid near American prices for themselves for the food at Marnie’s birthday dinner. Isolina offers to do our laundry for less than the price that Máximo Nivel told us we would be paying. Isolina often walks with girls to the market so she can help them find something or help them get a better price since she’s a local. And they offer to let 2 of us join them on Sundays to visit Guatemala city whenever they go. They worry about us if we stay out late and they wake up when we come back to make sure everyone’s safe before they bolt the door for the night. They even woke up at the butt crack of dawn last weekend to say bye to us before we left for Lake Atitlán. “Con cuidado. Con cuidado” they say (Be careful). Absolutely love them. They certainly make staying 6 months here sound like it’s going to be a piece of cake.
Kirshina and I decided to pay their way to Pacaya this weekend. The house was talking about hiking up Pacaya and Isolina and Maynor thought they’d want to join us (SO CUTE!), but they found out the price and said it was too much. It’s only ~$15 a head which isn’t much for us, so we decided to split it so they could join us. I am so excited! They have never been to any of these places even though they’ve lived in Guatemala their whole lives. How blessed we are to be able to travel places and experience new things. And now we get to help pass that on to another family. I am so excited to see their faces at the top of the volcano when they come. Isolina started crying when we told her we all wanted them to come so much that we were covering the cost. This little family melts my heart! They deserve all the blessings we can give.
I honestly thought when I came down here that I would be giving more at my job and my host family would just be my place to stay and eat, but I think I’ll end up giving more to them than anyone else here because of how great of hosts they have been and how incredibly deserving they are! They are paid to host us, but they’ve really gone way above what they’re required to do in order to get that payment and I think they deserve so much more for how hospitable they’ve been. Our whole house is so crazy about how precious they are!
Today was my last day at Rosa’s. I’ve been complaining about it since the day I started because all they’ve wanted me to do is clean and clean and clean (sometimes the same thing over and over 3 days in a row. IT’S NOT DIRTY!). I asked to be switched, but now I actually think I may stay there. The last two days there they finally had me do some other things besides clean and they melted my selfish little heart when they found out I was leaving. Rosa was very sad and said Máximo Nivel always breaks her heart because they send volunteers for such a short time and then they leave. The girls also have started to be more outgoing and they ran to hug me as soon as I arrived today and I’ve been helping with math and english homework. So now I may stay and at least finish out the month. Past that though, I don’t know because it does cost me about $40 a month to take the bus out there and I’d really like to be able to use that towards some more weekend trips (They other project only costs like $10 a month in transportation). We’ll see what happens!
Tomorrow- Pacaya! Volcano-roasted marshmallows, here I come!