Recently, I feel like I have been making tiny breakthroughs almost daily with my host family. My Spanish is getting better, which has led to me talking to them more, which has been improving my Spanish. A never-ending cycle if you will. We have grown very comfortable with each other, and for the first time since my first host-family, I am starting to feel like I "belong." My host-mom, Cecilia, is 5 1/2 months pregnant with child number 10. At 36, she has already had four boys and five girls. She assured me that this would be her last child, and although it breaks my heart to see my family struggle to put food on their table, and despite the fact that the machismo here is overwhelmingly dominant, I am very excited to welcome a new member to the family.
We have had a few difficulties since my arrival, especially in the first few months. I feel obliged not to go into details here, out of their respect. I am more focused on moving forward, but I will say that I was afraid I'd never be able to cross a few barriers. I credit my host-mom for the turn around. She might possibly be the sweetest person I've ever met. She is always wearing an enormous genuine smile. She is always happy to see me, and she worries about me like my own mother would. "Oh, Don David, be careful on your bike." "You should go rest now, or your cold will get worse." Like a mother, she compliments me too much, "Don David, what wonderful work your doing." "You're handsome, Don David." She tries to embarrass me in front of my friends. "I just love it when Don David's friends come to visit, it makes him happy." I unabashedly admit that she is right. She has taken me in as one of her own, not because I pay rent, or because once every couple of weeks I meet with her group, but because she really cares. Every day when I come home, I look for Dona Cecilia, if even just to say good afternoon after a long day. Any day dreams I had before of finding my own place, with more space and privacy, perhaps running water, and a shorter commute, have all vanished. I am falling in love with my family here: my host-mom, my sweet sisters, my diligent brothers, and my rapidly spoken host-dad (I say rapidly spoken because not only does he speak the fastest Cumbre Spanish I have yet heard, but he is always straight to the point, which I rather appreciate at the end of the day in this long-winded country).
Tomorrow morning, I will put the finishing touches on my rabbit cages, with Joe's help (he's been a great volunteer and friend, check his blog too joesguatemalanexperience.blogspot.com/ and make a donation to his bathroom project, he's still short and 600+ kids are really looking forward to it). These rabbit cages I am splitting with the family. They already had one and a half cages so we have turned it into three. They currently have one rabbit and next week I am going to find it's mate. I consider it the gift that keeps on giving, and believe that this will make our bond stronger, which I have felt is long overdue. I am excited about the coming months, the progress that is seeming to pick up speed (with my family and my work (some days)), and preparing to welcome a new member to the family, which brings us to a large baker's dozen when you add in the freshly welcomed, Don David.