October 28, 2004

What's Really Going On

Living in Guatemala is different than I expected it to be.

Someone asked me my first week if Guatemala was what I expected, and my honest (at that time) reply was that I didn't really have any expectations coming here, so I couldn't say one way or the other.

I said that, I can see now with hindsight, because I was so overwhelmingly surprised by Guatemala that it didn't even register to me that this was most certainly different from what I expected. I was just trying to deal with the day to day changes and unexpectedness that I couldn't comprhend what was going on around me.

I don't know if I can say that I like it here, yet. My view of this country is greatly tainted by the fact that I live in the huge, noisy, dirty big capitol city. There have been occasions when I've managed to break out of the city limits and caught sight of breathtaking scenery and towns that wrap themselves around your heart. But those glimpses have been few so far. I can say with certainty, that I don't like living in a big city. The traffic, the fear, the crowds--they are all oppressive. I miss trees and open spaces and grass.

Beyond the physical aspects of the city that I wasn't expecting, life here is simply just different. The pace of life has a completely different rhythm. It's next to impossible to get anything done quickly, or in an efficient manner.

But, I am adjusting. I'm learning the streets, I'm figuring out how to order food or how to call for a taxi. My Spanish classes are going well and all those tenses and grammar rules are slowly coming back. I got put into the intermediate class at the language school I go to, and it is certainly a challenge to keep up. Some days I feel like I've gotten the hang of it and I get bored in class. But other days, I sit there wondering how in the world am I going to figure this out. I can't speak in English because my professor refuses to answer to it, although I'm pretty sure he can speak English. The rest of my class is a small world microcosm in it's make-up. It's about 50% Asian, with a few Europeans, and an Arab guy just for flavor. There are two other Americans in the class, but they aren't so good about coming every day, so they don't do me much good. 2 hours every day is a big chunk of time, and I'm already kind of tired of going every day. We get next week off because of a conference and I'm looking forward to it like it's Spring Break or something.

My life really is that sad.

Actually, it's not sad at all. It's crazy. Insane. Predictably weird. Lonely. Fun. Exciting. But not sad. Maybe a tinge of the pathetic since my weekend plans include reading three books on the 6x8 piece of grass these people call a back yard. But not sad.

So, here is post #3 for the day. Hope you enjoyed.


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