3.4.12

last day of work

Today was my last day of work :( I brought in all the crafts I made for the classroom and I think the teacher really liked them. Unfortunately I forgot to put the batteries in my camera...dumb...so I dont have any pictures but the teacher was taking some and she said she'd email them to me! The last day was sad, and all the teachers and nuns kept hugging me and saying goodbye. The little babies made me a card (or their teacher did) and my older class made me a really cute card with their handprints on it. It was adorable. The teacher also got me a little present which was a Guatemala purse, so that was really sweet. Im going to miss the daycare alot, but I feel like I really did help out there and that they really appreciated my help.


After work we had lunch and then we had a our final wrap up with Virginia. Tomorrow is the last day we will see her :( :( :(. But we talked about how we felt our experiences had been, the best and worst parts of the trip and how we feel that it has changed us and our world-view. I dont know how I will feel when I get back to Texas but I do know that this has been an absolutely amazing experience and I will really miss everyone here, especially Virginia. It was kind of a sad talk but I do really hope to come back someday so I dont feel like it is goodbye forever. We also got to put our handprints on the wall with all the other past volunteers, which was pretty cool.

I also started packing today since we are leaving for Antigua tomorrow afternoon and we wont be back until Friday night. It will be a miracle if I fit everything in my suitcases. I started a pile of stuff I'm ok with leaving here, its going to be that packed. So wish me luck with that. I dont know what we're doing tonight, but we'll see!

2.4.12

flores

So today at work I brought another craft for the kids to do. It worked out perfect actually because there were only 8 kids because of the holiday and one 1 boy. I had the kids make flowers out of pipe cleaners and tissue paper and they loved it!


Today it was kind of sad because it was my second to last day and alot of the kids werent there :( Since I wasnt at work on Friday, I didnt get to say goodbyw to alot of them who arent here this week, so I wil definitely miss them. There was also a 9 year old in class today since she didnt have school and she really wanted to learn english so I talked with her alot of the day. She told me she wants to learn english so that she can go to college in Los Angeles, haha. I told her to try Texas instead. 

After work we had Guatemalan Chinese food for lunch...interesting. But I also got a delicious chocolate covered mango!! mmmm. We dont have any plans this afternoon so I've been working on a project to bring to class tomorrow for my last day. Since the teacher doesnt know any English I made little labels with the English words for things to put around the classroom. I also made a little clock for her to help teach numbers in English, and a color chart. On the color chart there are the Spanish words on top and then they can flip it open to find the English words. I dont know when the next volunteer will be at that placement so I just wanted to makes sure that the teacher keeps working with the kids on their english and they dont forget everything. It made me laugh to day because the kids were doing their usual thing where they ask me to say things in English .."Como se dice ____??" and they kept saying the English words for things instead of Spanish like, "Como se dice Bunny??", so that was funny and it's nice to see they actually do remember some of the words I've been teaching them even if they dont realize it. Their two favorite words though are still "monkey" and "cookie", of course.





Tonight we watched the Awakenings after dinner, which was a pretty good movie, I'm surprised I havent seen it before because I know I've heard about it. Me and Abbey also played ERS for awhile and she absolutely killed me, I'm a slow slapper...not good. Then we played Gin, which was pretty complicated but fun for awhile. It was a good night.


1.4.12

VIP


So Friday I didnt have work, as I said before there was this big demonstration in Zone 1 blocking off a lot of the streets. What happens is that the university students from all over come to Guatemala City and have kind of a political movement. They made floats like the ones in religious processions but they were making fun of religion and of politics in Guatemala. The whole thing is basically a parody on their society, and a reason for all the students to party in the streets. So Friday morning I walked down to the Park to see what all the commotion was about and it was pretty crazy! Here are a couple videos and pictures of the whole thing... (also, word of warning, the masks that they wear look a bit like KKK masks but that has nothing to do with this procession)




video

video

After all this I came home for lunch and we basically decided there was no way we were going to be able to fins a place to stay in Monterrico or the Lake for the weekend because everyone here is off work for Semana Santa, so we decided to stay in the City. Me and Debbie walked to the Central Market and tried to do a bit of shopping, to me it was a bit too small compared to the other markets we've been to, but I got a couple of things and it wasnt a total bust. We were going to see a movie, but the cab we called got a flat tire, so they called another one but the radio system they use to communicate between cabs was down, soooo we didnt get to do that. So we decided to walk to Tacontendo for a bit and we got to watch some ESPN and even drink budweiser! which is really hard to find here. 

Saturday: we got to sleep in!!! After we finally got up and ready me and abbey decided to go to this market we found online called Mercado de Artesanias. Well it turns out that this market is right next to the airport...so on one hand it was pretty nice and they had alot of cool stuff, but on the other it was way pricier than any other place we have been in Guatemala. All of the stuff already had price tags on it and they werent willing to bargain like all the other shops, so we didnt stay long. Luckily we had a nice surprise and the zoo was right next door! Neither of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into with the zoo or what to expect, but it was pretty awesome! They had a beautiful white tiger, tons of different types of jaguars, and my new favorite animal, the marmoset, soooo cute. Also they had raccoons??? It was weird to see raccoons at a zoo, but I guess they arent as common here as they are in Texas. 
Marmoset!

awkward giraffe
video

 

white tiger!

After this we went to Oakland mall and I finally got to try a Pina and Oreo Mcflurry! As weird as it sounds, it was actually pretty awesome, it just scared me a bit at the beginning cuz it was neon yellow. But yummy.

Then we went to the VIP movies!! In the mall they have a separate VIP theatre where you can order food and drinks while you eat. Before we went in Me and Abbey were joking about how nice the theatre to be, thinking it was ridiculous, but we walked in and the seats were full out recliners!! It was the most awesome movie theatre I've ever been in. We saw the Hunger Games, and it was ok...I knew I didnt want to see it, it was just different from the book and how I pictured it would be. Also I feel like it really wouldnt have made any sense to someone who didnt read the book, but oh well, the theatre was nice! After we all went to Cien Puertas and Tacos and Tequila.
our movie seats

Today: we slept in again! After we got up me and abbey decided to walk up to the Central Park market since it is usually huge on Sundays. Well we were surprised when we got there and the streets were crazy packed because it was Palm Sunday! There was a huge procession passing through the park area right when we showed up and luckily we got to see most of it, it was kind of hard to get pictures with the crowd, but it was so beautiful!





video


Then we tried to do some shopping, but we didnt really have much luck, alot of places are closed because of Semana Santa and because its Sunday. But after we came here and ate and now we're just hanging out! 

**Important Side Note***
So in the course of my time here I have realized one very important thing...Guatemalans LOVE Micheal Jackson. Seriously, he's everywhere. They were even playing a DVD of one of his concerts last night in Tacos and Tequila. Just something to remember when traveling to Guatemala.

video




29.3.12

Strong as passion

Sorry yall, these updates just keep getting farther and farther apart.

Tuesday: Work went well, I brought this braided thing and some clips to make an art display area for the kids in the class. I think they liked seeing their work up there, and the pictures on the line now are the macaroni art we made on Monday.
After work we just kinda chilled till Spanish lesson, and it was later than usual so we had all taken naps before and we were all pretty tired, but regardless, Spanish was good, and we even learned some words in Katchikel too! That night me and abbey decided we wanted Italian food so we found this place online called "Jake's Tomate Bar" that was supposedly good. So we got a taxi over to zone 10 and got all the way over there only to find out ONCE AGAIN that the place no longer exists...seeing a common theme here? Well luckily we were in an area with alot of good restaurants so we wandered around until we found a place called Mexico Lindo with awesome Mexican food, and it wasnt a total bust. Also the toilets there are so weird, they have this thing where the seat is basically covered in some sort of plastic wrap and there is a crank on the back of the seat that you turn when its done and it refreshes the wrap...
cool lights at the restaurant
fundido!
Wednesday: At work I had a pretty normal day, I got a really cute video of a kid though, he's pretty camera shy. He's 2 and he just learned the word "mariposa" so he was running all over the patio and pointing to all the butterflies yelling "posa! mariposa!" it was adorable, but he kinda stopped when I pulled out my camera.
video

After work we went on a group field trip to Antigua to a coffee museum and plantation and a Mayan music museum. The coffee museum was pretty cool and we got to taste coffee beans and even chocolate they made there! It was funny cuz they kept talking about how adding sugar to coffee ruins it, and anyone who knows me knows that my own philosophy on that is a bit different.."I like my sugar with coffee and cream."


The Mayan music museum was really neat, alot of pictures were really hard to take though cuz the lighting was really bad, but a guide also came and played some of the instruments for us, so heres a few videos I got of that!

video video



After the Mayan music museum we went to this church in Antigua that had one of the vigils for Holy Week! It is basically like a painted canvas with elaborate scenes in front of it and on the floor there is an "alfombra" made out of painted sawdust and vegetables and there are lights and music going on during all of this. These are found in the main churches during lent as a way of showing respect to God and celebrating Holy Week. Again sorry about the poor quality of the pics, the lighting was terrible. 

video

the alfombra made of sawdust
the vigil

Im excited to see alot more of these vigils during Semana Santa. After the church Virginia took all of us out to a really nice ITALIAN dinner in Antigua at a place called Tre Fratelli. It was delicious and Im so glad we finally got our Italian fix in. It was kind of sad though because Virginia said it was our goodbye dinner since we are leaving next Saturday and we'll be in Antigua for Semana Santa wednesday-friday :(


Today: Work went well but I got there way later than usual because there was a procession going on in Zone 1 where I work and they had a ton of roads blocked off so I got dropped off last instead of first. It was ok though because I finally got to see where everyone else is working and I've been wanting to do that for awhile. After work we went to the Popol Vuh museum at the private university here in Guatemala City. If you dont remember the Popol Vuh was the Mayan scripture book equivalent. But interestingly the museum didnt have a whole lot to do with that. They more showed us lots of old artifacts they had found in excavations and in lakes in Guatemala which were given as sacrifices to the gods. They were still pretty cool, unfortunately they wouldnt let us take any pictures in there. But afterwards they took us to learn how to make Mayan pottery! It was so cool! I wasnt very good, but I had fun and made a coffee cup and a bowl thing. The symbol in the middle of the bowl is actually a glyph that is of the date December 21, 2012. 

Tonight me and Abbey decided it was time to try Pollo Campero, which is this fast food fried chicken place here in the city that we heard was sooo awesome that people brought it back with them on the airplane. Well, it was good, but I mean, meh, not great. 

Overall its been a pretty awesome week. I actually dont have work tomorrow because there are all kinds of crazy processions and demonstrations going on by my placement and I wont be able to get in. There are the usual processions that happen every Friday during lent, but they will be even bigger since it is the last week before Semana Santa, and there is also a huge student demonstration going on. Apparently there is some sort of secret student organization in all the campuses across Guatemala and they wear masks and put on plays and parades and demonstrations as parodies of Holy Week and of the Guatemala government. Tomorrow is the biggest one of they demonstrations and so it's going to be pretty crazy around here. Me and abbey are still trying to decide what to do this weekend, so we'll see what happens!














26.3.12

Semuk or bust

sorry its been so long yall but ive been busy! Here's the update...

Thursday: We had of work to go on a field trip because our cook Dona Mari is leaving us :( and we wanted to giver her a going away thing. We went to a place called Sabana Grande about an hour away from our house and brought lunch. We really had no idea what to expect but it was amazing. Sabana Grande is in the middle of the forest area on land owned by the university for agricultural students. It was this park away with picnic tables, grills, lodging, pools, forest hiking trails and, my favorite part...a waterfall and river! We spent most of the morning swimming in the waterfalls and then grilled chicken and steak and everyone had lunch together, me, abbey, clark and the whole staff was there. It was soo much fun and we are so lucky we got to go there :)




After we got home that night me and abbey decided to go out to dinner with her friend Brena from work to Fridays! We met up with Brena, her cousin Andrea and her friend Anita and had a pretty awesome dinner. They were a really good time, and Brena is so nice, we'll prob try to hang out with them again. 

Friday: Work was fun, I brought macaroni and penne noodles and had the kids paint them to make necklaces! The only problem was that the macaroni was too skinny for the string to fit through so we just had to use the penne noodles and saved the macaroni noodles for another project. Friday afternoon right after lunch me abbey and clark set out on a grand adventure. The plan was to go to these waterfalls and pools called Semuk Champey. That is not what happened. So Friday we took a charter city bus to this town called Coban. Overall the bus wasnt bad but there was this couple in the seats right in front of us that was taking PDA to a whole new level. So that was cool....not. Heres some videos from the drive, and one of them is some sort of procession we saw on the way.


video video


Once we got to Coban after the 5 hour drive we wandered around the town aimlessly for about 2 hours cuz it turns out the hostel we thought we made reservations at didnt exist anymore, and the one we ACTUALLY had reservations at we didnt know existed. So we ended up at a hostel called Casa Luna which was actually pretty nice and we went to eat at a yummy restaurant across the street!  
Saturday: The next morning we got up and decided that we werent going to take a tour from Coban through Lanquin onto see Semuk but that we'd rather find our own way to Lanquin and then walk to Semuk...So we finally found a bus going to Lanquin and we loaded up for the 2 hour drive. Luckily it ended up that the guy next to us on the bus worked at a hostel in Lanquin, so we had a place to stay! But unfortunately by the time we got to Lanquin it was like 1 and the park where Semuk is closes at 4...so there was no way we were going to be able to make it. We were all really disappointed to have gone all that way only to not get to see the falls, but then we stopped and looked around for a minute and realized just how beautiful the place we were staying in Lanquin was. The hostel is on top of a mountain, surrounded by beautiful terrain, and it even has a river on the property. The people who worked there was amazing, and all in all it was alot of fun. 

video
video


Sunday: We got in a shuttle at 8 in the morning for our 7 hour drive back to Guatemala City. So that was crazy long, and uncomfortable, and just not a good time. And after we got back here that night we were all pretty exhausted and we basically just went to sleep. 

Today: At work we used the macaroni we painted friday to make the letters of their first and middle names on paper. They turned out pretty cute and I think its interesting how many of the kids here actually go by both names, its very different from our culture. This afternoon we had a lesson on Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Guatemala. Our guest speaker basically showed us pictures and videos of the different processions during the week in Antigua and Guatemala City and explained to us the meaning behind all of them. It was really interesting and basically it just got me REALLY excited for next week in Antigua :) Cant wait! Also 2 new volunteers got here on Saturday, there is Debbie from Puerto Rico, and she is a nurse, and Joe (Ironman) from Cleveland who graduated high school a semester early and decided to come here. So far they are really cool, and theyll both be with us in Antigua! yay! Well I gotta go eat dinner, Ill update later.



21.3.12

buen provecho



this post is titled after the 2 most common words heard in our house...

So Monday night we didnt really do anything, after dinner me and abbey watched American Beauty and went to bed, I was feeling pretty crappy.

Tuesday: work was fun on tuesday, nothing really out of the ordinary happened there but after lunch we got to have a different kind of Spanish lesson! we went to the palace in central park! It was built by general Jorge Urbino when Guatemala was under total military rule, but now it is mostly like a white house type of governmental building. Some cool things about it are: like every room has a different type of chandelier, and they are all beautiful, Jorge Urbino put his fingerprint on every door handle, the number 5 is very repetitive because it was his wife's favorite, and in what used to be a garage all the stained glass windows were destroyed at least partially by a bomb and were never fixed. Here's a few pictures of the palace but there's more on facebook, sorry alot of them are blurry and such but they didnt let us use any flash and I didnt have a tripod.



After the palace we took a short walk in the park and saw entirely too many pigeons, it was pretty scary.


And later on that night after dinner (buen provecho) me abbey and clark went out so we could all split the biggest margarita ever! and then we went to bed pretty early again. 

Today: I'm feeling much better. At work I brought my camera again so heres some pics and videos of the kids...

bad hair day
video
I love how this little girl is all sweet pretending to be a dog and in the background the boys are beating each other up. typical.

video

After lunch we went and had another Spanish lesson adventure. We went to the topographical map of Guatemala down the street. The map is really cool, it used to have water flowing through it where all the lakes and rivers were but it dried up and it doesnt work anymore i guess. Also all around the map are trees that are the kind used to make Mirimbas and so they are all named after famous mirimba players! pretty cool! Here's a couple broad pictures, but there area ton more on facebook of course.



I dont really know what the plan is for tonight, but I'll let you know how it goes!