Today, I've reached the one month mark... Only 26 more months to go... I have officially completeled 1/27th of my service abroad... It's been everything I could have hoped for! In fact, everything has exceeded my expectations. For example, the food has been 90% awesome. My host-mom/sister is a great cook. I lucked out with my host-family in general. They never seize to amaze me, and I'm sure I probably return the favor. The quirky rituals and traditions exceeded my expectations as well. Guatemala, believe it or not, is a very loud place. One of my fellow trainees has a saying, "Night time is the right time in Guatemala." My addendum would be, "for dogs, roosters, firecrackers, parades, camioneta horns, eardrum busting evangelical music, and churchbells." It's all in good fun, the people here know how to laugh at themselves and, in my opinion, from what I've encountered thus far, have a great sense of humor. My health has exceeded my expectations. Only minor digestion issues. The Peace Corps staff has exceeded my expectations. I figured they would be great, but I am blown away by how wonderful everyone has been. My training class, from what I understand, is probably the best one that has ever come through Santa Lucia (although I may have a bias). Last but not least, the difficulty of the transition and adaptation of everything you thought you might know has exceeded my expectations. This is no cake walk and, even though I'm only one month in, I would have to agree with the old Peace Corps slogan, "The toughest job you'll ever love." I have learned that a positive attitude can carry you through hard times, to never forget where I came from and why I am here, to always keep a smile on my face, to roll with the punches, and did I mention the positive attitude. It has been a wild, difficult, exciting ride so far and I'm loving every minute of it, even the tough ones... Well I've got to wrap this post up but before I go, I promised some pictures, and since pictures tell a thousand words anyways, this post should be more than sufficient to satisfy my readers needs... Oh by the way, my Spanish name is David, because Barrett, as it turns out, is virtually impossible for people to pronounce...
This is yours truely, fresh in Guatemala at the PC headquarters... As you can see, we have top notch security.
This is my messy room (I was in the process of unpacking, I really keep it pretty clean).
Santa Maria Cauque, my training community.
My Spanish class.
Amy and Jared (Javier).
La Merced in Antigua, muy bonita.
Religious festivities, seems like something similar to this is going on in a different place every weekend, I haven't quite got it pegged yet.
My host dad, Don Juan, and I on a hike (Don is how you say Mr.).
Jared, Charlie (Carlos), and Don Juan in the cave.
Charlie on a hike.
Our first garden!
An average days work, carrying banana leaves through the streets while locals stare and shake their heads.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Well, I've been in Guatemala for 21 days now! It's just about impossible to describe in a blog what it is really like here. The experience thus far has been amazing, eye-opening, humbling, and probably already life-changing. The past three weeks have been busy, busy, busy, but definately fun and completely worth it. My routine day (which is nice to be able to say that I now have somewhat of a routine) is basically 4-6 hours of Spanish class, which is coming along nicely, and 2-4 hours of technical training and getting my hands dirty. Once per week, all of the trainees come in to headquarters for group sessions of health, safety and security, and cultural training. I will have more posts coming in the next several weeks, but I am a little crunched for time at the moment, so this post will have to serve as a teaser for future posts that I'm sure will be full of interesting stories, profound realizations, amazing pictures, and quirky observances.