So a lot of things shifted quickly yesterday. The day started and ended with meat: sausage at McDonalds, and barbequed chorizo for dinner. I wonder if that means something. At any rate, my new digs will be at an organization called EntreMundos. I will have a small room with a bed, a shelf and a desk. Pretty much the same as before, but now I also have the use of a kitchen, which I will be sharing with an interesting couple from Canada/Australia/New Zealand, another woman from DC, some dude from Spain, and allegedly, a very young girl who has a reputation for not cleaning up after herself. I like the couple a lot. I have not yet met the dude from Spain or the young girl. Colleen is the woman from DC, and she is quite easy to talk to, helpful, and open. From what I understand, there is plenty of hot water for showers, plenty of drinking water, and a fully functional kitchen.
I was invited to a barbeque last night, and attended. Since it was a potluck, and I have not been cooking, I got special permission to come early, use the kitchen, and prepare food for the potluck. What a pleasure to go to the market and buy fresh produce. The barbeque was also wonderful, as Angela (of the couple) cooked tempe, and made this amazing dish akin to taco salad, with sweet corn, lettuce, tomatoes, and the cooked and seasoned tempe. Her boyfriend made some roasted potatoes and onions, and a couple others brought salad like me. My salad was going to be rich with avocados (I think I need the oils), but the two that I bought were not yet ripe, so it ended up being more of the cucumber/tomato, onion, cilantro lime, salt variety. It was great, and my stomach was happy.
I also learned that there is a yoga center around the corner from my new place where I can get a monthly membership, for as much yoga as I want, for about $12. I’m going to go for it! I’ll let you know what that’s like, of course.
I also had a talk with my host mother, and she understands that I’m going to move on Monday, and it’s not too awkward. I did ask her if she could help me move, and she said that unfortunately she would not be able to help – working mother and all, so I packed up a lot of my things and brought them to the school today so I can be “checked out” in the morning when I leave for class (class starts at 8:00 am). She made me a huge bowl of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple that was cut into small pieces. This experience has made me aware of some circumstances here in Guatemala about class and privilege, that are less than comfortable, that I’ll probably go into in more depth in another post. She doesn’t buy much in the way of fruit for the family because there are five of them, and though it is grown here, fruit is expensive. Here I come from the United States, not really wanting to eat the rice and beans they can afford, instead needing fresh vegetables they have neither the money for nor the time to prepare. I was talking to Jocelyn, the owner of the language school (and founder of EntreMundos), a woman from the UK, I believe, who is married to a Guatemalan, who pointed out that Guatemalans love Coca Cola and fast food, which they do afford, along with clothes and things they buy from Wal Mart, but have tended to suffer dietarily, feeding their families those meaty and starchy things, with not much nutritional value. And the consequences are becoming evident.
At any rate, I am pleased about my move tomorrow, I have finished my homework, and I plan to go to the park and listen to Spanish on my i-phone. I am noticing Bengali phrases popping out of my mouth at the most inappropriate times, and I’m realizing how much Spanish I need to learn before I can even pretend to speak outside a classroom setting. My teacher, Patty, says I’m doing well, though, and she is happy with my progress. Which will need to be good enough for now. I am happy with me.