Monday, June 30, 2008

Postcards from Guatemala -- 30 June 2008

ooh i didn´t mean to waste so much time reading all your lovely emails. i ADORE them!
emma, i´m so proud of you for sticking to veg, even with all those temptors.
isaac, i hope florida gets funner!
edward, i think we should have a dance party when i get back.
eleanor, now that you are three, i bet you can do things faster than anyone else in our house. you should try.
dad, i hope that the best thing happens with that bosnia contract. and thank you so much for persuading me to bring the brothers karamazov with me, it is truly awesome, and i keep finding stuff about myself in it.
i read a thing in the dream maker (the book about patricio), maybe i already told you, about how when god keeps giving us the same kind of struggle, it´s a chance for us to see that our past experiences have tempered us for this one. guatemala is a classic case! right now, the best example for you that i have is the shower. ahhh showers of internationalia. you know how this goes, guys. for the first week and a half i thought there was no hot water. no problem. i´ve done sudan. the second half of the second week, i gradually began to realize that there is hot water: this weekend, the bottom half of the shower head kept falling off mid'shower to spray a forceful jet of water sideways at the wall, way above my head. i figured out that if i turn the water on to just a trickle, the shower head stays on. and if the water isn´t at full force, like it had been all the week before, the heating element has a chance to take effect (the heating element is an aging metal coil just above the shower head; lonely planet calls this a ¨suicide shower¨ and warns you not to adjust it), and the water is REALLY HOT! it makes me laugh every time i take a shower. i never know quite what to expect!
i understood a little more spanish in church yesterday! i just have to concentrate really hard. and two students from somewhere in north carolina arrived last night to stay with rosalina. they´re studying ecotourism, and their spanish is minimal at best. at breakfast this morning, i realized that i could translate for them everything that rosa tried to say. over years of hosting volunteers and students, she has developed this funny little defensive conversation technique of throwing out facts about guatemala that may or may not be interesting, but that you can´t object to, and that don´t require a complicated response. ¨there´s lots of birds here. it´s because of the many trees. there are many trees all around.¨or ¨here in guatemala, we like tortillas. we eat tortillas much of the time! we think tortillas are delicious in guatemala.¨ and everyone can just nod wisely, and say, ¨si, si.¨ i love it.
i was interpreting morning sounds for those new students today. i hadn´t realized how much i know about the rhythms of the manchen neighborhood! there´s the ZETA GAZ van that drives around with its gas tanks (we needed that in sudan!) and a loudspeaker, honking once, and yelling, ¨¿Zeta gaaaaaz? ¿Zeta gaaaaaaz?¨ and there´s the rooster, and the mayan tortilla lady, and the motor scooter lady, and the morning MorCaf with un panito tostado.
i start teaching tomorrow!!! with parvulos first thing (i think this is pre'K), then sexto after el recreo, and then segundo right before lunch. i´m pumpedddd. it´s good because teaching will preclude those lazy days when no one much feels like finding work for me to do, and angel sends me home early. there have been a couple like that, but i would wayyy rather be at the center, working. even if it´s the kitchen, you know?
la fiesta de la pionera was fantastic on saturday! JAS is jovenes adultos solteros, aka YSA, and the stake ran it in this church plantation type thing called Las Colinas. there aren´t crops, just forest and camping fields named Nefi and Gedeon and stuff, and soccer and basketball fields, and a cultural center where we had our thing. the different wards did different pioneer things, like a dramatization of joseph smith´s family life, or a square dance typ ehting, or singing come come ye saints in spansih. and then we ate pizza, and then we danced. the dj was apparently really into reggaeton, because there was a lot of that, but every once in a while he´d do salsa or something, and everyone, EVERYONE, would actually dance. it was so cool. a long succession of dark, Latin males tried to teach me to dance, too, which was only partially successful. i screwed up complicated twirls with regularity. also, they were not TALL and dark, but excessively short and dark. such is guatemala. in my high'heeled black sandals, i am as tall as the oldest brother in the alonzo family (that´s rosa´s family), and taller than everyone else. i feel normal height everywhere here :)
love you, but my time is up!!!
embraces and such!!!

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