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Nos vemos el lunes,
Sra. de Garcia
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better… Bam! Another earthquake. Luckily, or not, this one happened as everyone was getting up this morning. I was in the main living area when the doors started shaking like someone was trying to break them down. The iron chandeliers began to swing like a recently vacated trapeze, and the entire room seemed to sway back and forth. I ran outside into the courtyard yelling, “Earthquake! Earthquake!” I certainly did not want the boys to miss out a second time. At the time of impact, one boy was trapped in the shower and the other two were blaming each other for annoyingly shaking the bunk beds. When they finally emerged into the courtyard, they had wide eyes and big smiles on their faces. Well, at least the two who were not trapped in the shower were excited. I was thankful once again that it wasn’t too big and I am still flabbergasted at the power of earthquakes. Turns out, it registered at 6.8 and the epicenter was a mere 53 miles south of us. Not too shabby! On the way to class this morning, there were sections of collapsed brick walls lying intermittently in the middle of a few sidewalks.
On a safer note, yesterday the kids and their teachers celebrated their last week together with a friendly game of fútbol. I think the idea came from so much smack talking over the past few weeks and it was to be a teacher versus student showdown. The kids all wore their newly purchased soccer jerseys and prepared themselves for greatness. While a few of the teachers had commendable skills, they ended up having to recruit passersby because they were getting creamed. They all had a super time and it was a great finish to a wonderful experience.
Seriously, I can’t say enough about Antigueña Spanish Academy… one on one instruction for incredibly low prices, and knowledgeable teachers who form relationships with their students and share freely their stories and their culture. I am extremely proud of these kids. They definitely impressed their teachers. Not just with their enthusiasm to learn, but with their great attitudes and openness to whatever came their way. When we first arrived in Antigua, I told the kids, “The typical American stereotype for foreigners is that we are all loud, obnoxious, and arrogant… and it is now your job to prove that stereotype wrong.” I think they took that to heart and did an awesome job doing just that! Bien hecho jovenes!
We spent the rest of the day doing last minute shopping and enjoying our final walks around town. Now the time for creative packing begins! While we are all excited to return home to family and friends, we are each sad to leave this amazing country. You know it has been a good trip when you feel like you are leaving “home”.
Gracias Guatemala por todo y que vaya con Dios.
As we finish our last week in Antigua, we have settled into somewhat of a routine. We meet at the Plaza Central after classes, find some place for lunch, and then tool around the city stumbling into stores, traipsing around earthquake ruins, drinking lots of caffeinated beverages, and just enjoying the chaotic but relaxing pace of life here. All in all, it has been a wonderful trip and I am sure we will all come away with a myriad of life lessons and insightful experiences. Our Spanish has certainly improved, and I feel confident that everyone is now officially an expert at haggling for cheaper prices.
Until next year…
Sra. de Garcia
Today a few of us went on a field trip to San Antonio Aguas Calientes, a small town outside of Antigua. We were told that we would participate in a traditional Mayan wedding ceremony and see how Mayan customs were being preserved, despite the changing times. It turns out that Marty and I were to play the lucky bride and groom to be. We learned how to weave (so the woman can give intricate woven pieces to her new in-laws), donned traditional Mayan wedding clothes, were purified of all of our pre-marital transgressions, danced the traditional wedding dance, and ate a traditional dinner of pepian. I even got to fast-forward a year and have a baby, the first one of about 15. Then, of course, I learned how to carry a ceramic jug of water on my head while making sure my 15 children followed in tow. These of course were traditions of many years ago. Presently, the decendants of Mayan women only have about 4 children and get married at the age of about 20 instead of 15. Regardless, it was quite fascinating and loads of fun.
Back in town, we headed to an Irish Pub for lunch and the kids worked on their pool skills.
So many life skills, so little time.
And finally my favorite photo of the day… We have to have how many kids???
At 1:30 this morning I woke to a rather loud banging sound coming from over my head and I looked around groggily in the dark to hit whoever was shaking my bed. It took me a few seconds to realize that the sound was actually the banging of wooden doors on the wall used for decoration. My bed was sliding back and forth and the chandelier overhead was swaying in time with the sound of the doors. Earthquake! When we were in Taiwan and an earthquake hit, I never knew whether to panic and run outside or wait it out to see if it was the ‘big one’. I ran downstairs and found Marty still awake, Pilar heading to the bathroom, and Carmela following me. Carmela and I decided to go out to the courtyard and stand in the open. When the plants finally stopped swinging back and forth, we decided it was OK to go back to bed. I waited for the boys to emerge from their section of the house, but that never happened. There were a few aftershocks about 30 minutes later, but I finally was able to fall back to sleep around 2:30. This morning when the boys stumbled into the kitchen our conversation went something like this…
“What did you think about the earthquake?”
“What???? There was an earthquake and we missed it?”
“Yes, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake.”
“Aw man, my first earthquake and I slept through it. I hope it happens again.”
Um, no thank you.
Luckily it happened a few hundred miles away on the Guatemalan/Mexico border and there was only one injury and a slew of mudslides. Phew!
We spent our class time today at a local coffee farm and Mayan cultural museum. We learned all about the fascinating process of how coffee is made and other interesting tidbits of history and culture about the Maya. The plants on the farm were amazing and we walked out of there on a caffeine high. Good times!