March 23, 2005

Seyler, Party of One.

I am so much fun to hang out with.
And, I should know, I've spent the last 48 hours with me, and I'm having a blast.

I have this entire week off from work, and the family I live with is gone on vacation until Saturday. Which means...yup, you guessed it. I get to be completely alone time for the first time since October. It's amazing. I've read books, I've watched tv, I've cooked all my favorite things, I've walked around in my pajamas for half the day, I've laid out and gotten a nice burn on my back. Basically, I've been lazy as an overweight teenage boy...minus the role playing computer games. I've also had to deal with one hell of a yappy dog, but it's a sacrifice I am ok with making since she's the only other thing I have to share the house with this week. She drove me insane last night, but we have an agreement for tonight. If she barks for more than 10 minutes, I'm throwing her out into the street for the night. We'll see just how yappy this ball of fluff gets when she has to rough it.

It's Semana Santa, aka Holy Week. In the States that means you may or may not get Good Friday off and you get to look forward to the Easter Bunny visiting soon. In Guatemala, it means the entire city takes off work and heads to the beaches and resorts.
And I am not exagerrating when I say the entire city. Even the street vendors and peddlers were scarce today. I only saw the guy who gargles gasoline and then spits it out through a lighter. And that guy...I think maybe he's swallowed just a bit too much excess gasoline. He's burned off his eyebrows and has this slightly charred look about him.

I left the house for a couple of hours today to run some errands. As I was pulling out of the neighborhood, I glanced at the clock, realized it was 12:45 and groaned. I was heading straight into the worst part of the lunch traffic. Only...there wasn't any traffic. There was hardly any cars at all. It was like driving around the city after midnight. I got to go above 40 in daylight for the first time. It was so much, that I just drove around for a while, relishing in the light traffic. It was insane. I know I've complained enough about traffic that you'll understand just how eerie it was to fly down the main streets, only have to stop for the occasional stop light. I made the big loop from the house to the church today trying to find a street vendor selling phone cards. It took me 10 minutes to do what normally could take up to an hour. It was so cool.

As much as I like and appreciate the solitude time, I am kind of bummed that I have to spend my only vacation time by myself. Most of the friends I have here had family plans for the week or are otherwise occupied, and I never could convince anyone from home to quit their jobs so that they could come visit. I would like to just take off by myself, but there are a couple of problems with that. 1) It's not safe (the Guate mantra) and I'm not gutsy enough to ignore that, 2) It's lonely to go sight seeing by yourself and, 3) Semana Santa is the most expensive time to travel all year long and I am relatively broke. I have some travel/souvenir money set aside to spend these last weeks...but there is a slim chance I might have a travel buddy soon, so I'm holding on to the nest egg until I find out what happens with that.

Well, my chicken/pasta concoction is just about finished, so I'm going to go see how it turned out.

Soundtrack In My Mind

Homeward Bound

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.

When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,

When the corn is past its prime,

When adventure’s lost its meaning,

I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture,

chain me not to the plow.

Set me free to find my calling

and I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me your missing,

if you’re hoping I’ll return.

To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning,

and in the road I’ll stop and turn.

Then the wind will set me racing

as my journey nears its end.

And the path I’ll be retracing

when I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture,

chain me not to the plow.

Set me free to find my calling

and I’ll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning

when the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing,

I’ll be homeward bound again.

March 11, 2005

2 Month Mark

2 months to the day.

It's with mixed emotions that I hit this benchmark. I've been back here for 2 months since my Christmas trip, and I'm now half way through the 4 months I was facing the day I got on that plane in Nashville. The last two months have flown by, but this past week has dragged on unmercifully. I can't believe it's only Friday night.
I miss Sascha. He helped make the time go by so much faster, and now the next 2 months seem to loom before me without the hope of a social life. But, he's been gone a week now, and even though he doesn't seem terribly happy to be back in Germany, the fact remains that he is staying there and not coming back to rescue me from boredom.

2 months.
There are so many things I still want to do. So many places I haven't been yet. I have been here for 6 months and I have barely left the city. I know it's my job to be here and to be working, and not acting the tourist. But these are the last 2 months I have in Guatemala, possibly for the rest of my life, and I at least want to see some of it. Besides, I am so OVER this city. I could use a break from it for a couple of days.

Wow. 2 whole months left.
I know that the day I get on the plane to leave here, my heart is going to be excited and sad, all at the same time. Life is going to start moving at such a rapid pace very soon and I'm just not sure I'm going to be up to processing it all fast enough. I don't want to miss out on learning all the lessons I have to learn here; I don't want to waste what has been an amazing, albeit hard, experience for me. I'm trying really hard to keep my head here and focused on the task it hand. It's hard to do that, especially when my calender for the days I'll have in transition at home are already getting too full. I'm not going to have time to decompress until I hit Wisconsin.

But, it's going to be okay. I'll figure this stuff out as I go, and I'm going to try to absorb as much of this adventure as I possibly can in the 2 months I have left. I know I'll regret it if I don't, and I don't want to live with that. So, here's to you, the 2 months I have left. May they be amazing.

March 6, 2005

Just One of THOSE Weeks

Some days, I wake up, take one look at the bright Guatemalan sun and think how amazing it is that it is that I am here.

Ok, so maybe once every 2 months I do that. But still, the sentiment is there sometimes.

There are other mornings when I roll over and think, "Why in the world is that damn peacock making so much noise?! Who ever thought having peacock for a pet would make for good relations with the neighbors?!"

And then, there are those mornings, when the alarm goes off, and I roll over and think, "What the...? It's still dark outside. It must really be 5 in the morning instead of 7. Cause it's the dry season and we all know it doesn't get cloudy and rain in the DRY season." But one look at my watch and another glimpse out the window, and I discover that indeed, sometimes it does rain in the dry season.
That's what happened last Monday morning. It hasn't rained in almost 4 months, but it rained a couple of times last week. I should have taken it for the omen that it was and refused to get out of my bed all week. But stupid, unsusperstitious me had to leave the security of my bed and launch into this crazy week.
It all started out harmless enough. I was invited over for dinner Monday night. But somewhere between that evening and around 8PM on Tuesday, something went horribly, horribly wrong with my stomach. After 5 months of putting up with Guatemalan food and germs and bacteria, my stomach revolted. I won't go into details, cause we all know I'm not a big fan of the bodily functions, but suffice to say that I lived off gatorade and soda crackers for the next 4 days. I like to call it the Guatemalan diet.
Secondly, my friend left this week. He is now back in Germany where he belongs, and I am stuck in Guatemala for the next 2 months without any social life on the horizon. I was sad to see him go, but such is life, I guess. I knew he was going to be leaving eventually, but I don't regret getting to know him or sharing the time we had together. I knew it would make it hurt worse to say goodbye, but it was worth it. I don't know why God puts these seemingly random people in our paths for such short periods of time, but for whatever the reason, I am thankful.
Thirdly, I was supposed to go to Tikal on Friday with some people I know from home that were here on a mission trip, but somehow, my reservation got dropped and there wasn't any space for me. That really didn't help my already depressed state. But I did get to see them again at the airport before they left to go home, so I glad. Even though it was a short visit with them, it made my day to see a familiar face and get a hug from someone I know cares about me. Being down here, isolated from all my friends and family and community of support, can be really tough some days. I'd like to deny it and say that I am superhuman and that it doesn't bother me, but I can admit to the loneliness and how you feel like there is no one here who really knows you or understands you. So, the Q20 I had to pay for parking two days in a row at the airport was worth the hug I got.
Lastly, work is crap. That's not new, but on top of these other things, it just made this week harder.

Anyway, enough of the pity party. Next week is going to be busy and hopefully will keep my mind from dwelling on all these things. I have such a short amount of time left and I know I don't need to spend it feeling sorry for myself. I'll save that for August, when I am home and broke and still don't have a job!