Antigua, Guatemala, February 15, 2018
Another early morning - 5 am! Hopefully tonight and tomorrow will be back to normal.
I took the long way to school, not on purpose, but ended up walking at least a kilometer further than I had to and then I was late. At least I got to walk by this nice looking church-
But that's not all. The streets are cobblestone and the sidewalks are up and down steps so walking isn't all that much fun, especially when one is clumsy like me. I've stumbled many times on this trip but never fallen, until today. I went forward, flat out! A cloud of dust blew up around my head just like you see in the comics. I have no idea how it happened because usually I feel the trip and can catch myself. I didn't break anything but it hurts to take a deep breath, my right wrist and right forearm are swollen and bruised. Luckily, I also didn't rip my pants and even luckier I was wearing pants instead of shorts and a coat instead of just a tank top. I'd take a chicken bus to school if they went that way. I just love them, so souped up-
My teacher is strange and I don't like her. Julio, the son of the boss of the school came to see me to explain the mixup with the teachers. Yesterday he didn't even come to the office, yet he told me to be there before 8. Fine, his sister was there and she set me up with Tatiana. I understood because I was coming on a Wednesday and that would have cut Sheny out of 2 days work. I did see Sheny at coffee time and she told me she would be my teacher next week. Well, the mixup with Julio was there were 2 Allisons who booked school. He thought we were one and the same. The other Allison booked to start February 6 so Sheny was booked with her. She never showed up so Sheny was out 2 days of work. Then the Dad can't read because he thought I was coming today, not yesterday. Anyway, to make a long story short, Sheny will be my teacher on Monday and Tatiana won't. Boy was she mad when I told her. That was more or less the end of the lesson. She sort of ignored me - stared towards the entrance to the garden, as if she'd rather be anywhere else but with me. I didn't think my Spanish was that bad! We played a couple of stupid games and she made sure I knew that former students had bought those games for her. When I made a mistake, she would say "well didn't Sheny teach you that?" Frick I thought, poor Sheny only had me for 3 weeks and they were the first 3 of my 'let's learn Spanish' career. It's a miracle Sheny taught me anything. She must have had a run in or two with Sheny because then she said, "She's single. She's not married." So, I thought. I guess that's a big deal here, the martyr Tatania is staying with her husband who has a 14 year old with another woman. Finally we switched from dumb games to having a conversation and Tatiana asked me some questions about Canada. At least I didn't have to be her psychologist today and I'll be damn glad to be done with her!
Again the meals were great at my homestay, but too much so I've asked for less. Breakfast was fried platanos, fresh papaya, piña, watermelon and banana, a huevo, and the most delicious black frijoles ever. It's no wonder they're delicious: oil, salt, a whole clove of garlic, black beans and water cook for 2 hours in a pressure cooker. Last night Marta was sitting at the table checking the beans for small stones. Making good frijoles is very time consuming. Lunch was chicken breast, carrots, onions and rice. The gravy on the chicken was excellent - there was cilantro in it! After lunch, I wanted to sleep the afternoon away but instead caught a chicken bus to la Familia Esperanza for my 3 hour session. I spent the first hour listening to different women talk about the library. OMG was it boring. The first 3 were Guatemalicos and talked soooo fast they only say hlf th ltrs in th wrd. I asked one to slow down and she just talked faster. The fourth woman is from Toronto so not a native speaker. I could understand everything she said until she started talking about the Dewey Decimal system and thought come on, who gives a fat f_ck about the Dewey Decimal system. Not me and probably not the other two young men at the orientation, especially since one is going to be a driver and the other is going to build houses. I clicked her off real fast and read some kids books. Then we went on a Dewey Decimal tour of the library. I lasted 2 minutes with that nonsense too. I asked what I could do and soon I was measuring and folding pretty pieces of paper for a teacher who is using them for an art project tomorrow. Now what? I cleaned off a shelf. Fricking hell I'm thinking, you've got to do better than this. Apparently they don't have an EAL teacher and I thought - why didn't you have me do a 2 week crash course in English? Oh well. My next task was returning books to the shelves and I did that until quitting time. I told Griselda the librarian, honest, that's her name, that I like to work and want to work so please give me things to do. She and her colleague smiled and seemed pleased to hear that so I'm hoping tomorrow I'll be really busy. I'd like to work with the kids but there were only about 20 there today and they were doing an activity during my boring orientation. Maybe tomorrow.
Tonight I am hoping for a normal night's sleep. Tomorrow Tatiana and I are going to her puebla - Pastores. There is some kind of a fiesta going on there and I'll meet some of her family. I hope it's okay!