Sunday, March 05, 2006

life in Xelaju

Here´s the situation. Since arriving in Guatemala, I have spoken exponentially more Spanish. 5 hours with Juan, my teacher, every meal with Doris, my madre de casa, and even during free time with the other gringos. I feel more confident and i´m getting around the city of Xela more easily becasue I communicate with people. yay for me ,)

So that´s it for studying, there is no need to bore everyone with the intricacies of irregular verbs in the past imperfect tense, so I´ll get onto other things. I went back to the hotspring today, becasue I actually hiked up a volcano yesterday. The Volcano was supposed to be a beautiful expoerience (and we got up at 4:15 AM so ensure that we took in all the beauty) but alas, la nina, or something has caused abnormal numbers of clouds to decend on Xela (as I experienced before) and there was no view from the top of the Volcun. hmmm. But today was really sunny and a much better expeience at the hot springs because I was warm, and I drank beer in the middle of the day. Alas, I acutally spoke some english with the other students. . . that wasn´t great, but it was also nice to take a break and know that people understood instead of just nodding their heads.

SO Xela is a small city of about 100g people, there are some cobblestoned strets, and other concrete ones. It´s funny the majority of the cars here are mid 80s colorras, simialar to the cars that both Mom and Ellen had. My 2 taxi rides were in an 87 corolla sedan, and an 82 corolla station wagon. Also, they recycle old US school busses, but they jazz em up with what looks like chrome (but is, I think, actually aluminium), atypical colors, and sometimes even drawings. Since I´m in the highlands, I see in the street lots of indiginous Qui´che folks who do actually wear traditional clothing, live in the mountians and farm for a living.

My teacher Juan and I talk about all kinds of things. It´s good, I actually have the time to express what I think abuot politics etc, and he is patient (And paid) to listen, egagae and correct me. IT´s great. He is hoping to study in Maine this summer (at an english immersion school). Maybe I´ll get a chance to see him.

Doris, my madre de casa, lives alone in a rather large 5 bedroom house. Her job is to host students and take care of the house, but alas (for her, not me) we´ve been alone the last week, she hasn´t gotten much rent, and I get her all to myself. We talk and she has told me her story. She was born very poor, rurally, her father died and her mom moved her, and the 3 sisters to Xela. living on the streets, her mother was identified and brought in by a Swedish woman who married a Guatamalteco (the word for gualamalan guy) and started working. Doris and her sisters lived in the same house, but her mother was the nanny for the other kids, and the other kids were priority. It was very hard for Doris. The family got divorced, and then the Swedish woman fell in love with antoher woman, her daughetr went to America and was killed in a car accident. oy! Now, Doris has grown up, she has 3 kids, but no husband (didnt tell, didn´t ask). When her kids were little, she moved, without the kids, to Santa Monica for 3 years and worked to make money. She came back, a couple of her kids have been not so nice and dont talk with her, (though the other came for lunch last week). A few years ago Doris tried to buy a house, but defaulted on the loan and the bank re-possessed everything (she told me with a tear in her eye.) She does have a big house now (she rents) but I think she has cable. (no TV in the common spaces) She cooks me all kinds of nice things, and she is very kind to me. IT´s the first stranger I´ve lived with, and it´s going AOK.

I have my own room, with a queen size bed, and 5 blankets (it gets cold at night)and nothing on the walls. THere is a little wooden desk, a lamp with no lampshade, and a small armoir to hold my clothing. I have my own bathroom (right now, because there isn´t another student)! with the crazy shower. IT´s crazy becasue of how the hot water comesout. If you want a hot shower, you need to hit a circuit breaker switch, and then turn on the water. There is this big bulbous shower head that has wires sticking into the wall, and a broken pencil plugging a hole and pointing out. I assume that there is a little hot coil in the shower head and that it heats water as it goes through. So, if you want a lot of pressure, the water isn´t hot. oh well. Usually my showers feel kind of like someone peeing on me, because it´s so hot but so weak.

Anyway that´s it for now.

So, Semana santa is in one month. I was just sitting here in the intenet cafe, and this huge procession of preists followed by a large marching band, carrying a big Jesus float, came walking by. woah, smelly incence!


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