Esteemed readers of the OFFICIAL Central American Study Tour Blog,
we now feel obliged to offer up to you a platter, if you will, of tantalizing narratives from our fellow CASPmates in the midst of our general mundane updates. The first narrative comes from our very own, Megan J. Pintus; Devoted CASPIAN, Voracious Intellectual, Trendy Coloradan, Friend.
I have now been in Guatemala for almost 2 weeks. I can hardly believe that so much time has passed, and yet I already feel comfortable here...Everything about this culture is welcoming and gracious. I have found that every person I have encountered desires to talk, even if they can hardly understand my Spanish (which is improving slowly, but surely). Everyday I get to wake up early to the crisp Guate air and go to language school. I spend 5 hours a day with a private teacher discussing all topics ranging from favorite movies to the lasting effects of the 36-year-long civil war. My teacher is intelligent and patient. In the afternoons our group has different cultural activities, yesterday was salsa lessons! We have also learned how to make chocolate, cook traditional food, worked with children at an after school program, explored the city, had a lesson about theology from a former catholic priest, and traveled to a nearby city Panajachel that is located on Lake Atitlan surrounded by 7 volcanoes. All of us are being challenged greatly in every way... For me, one of the main challenges I have experienced is living with my Guatemalan family. I live in a house with 7 (sometimes 9) people. We have only one small bathroom, a kitchen, a sofa, and 4 little bedrooms. I have learned to feel nice and cozy with everyone. The language barrier is difficult to overcome, and I become frustrated with myself. However, we have found ways to connect without the need for words. For example, the past couple nights my housemate Annie, my host mom Nidia, and her granddaughters Steph (age 6) and Melanie (age 3) have been dancing in the livingroom after dinner. We do not need to talk to dance and laugh all night long... Every day is an adventure here. I feel so blessed to spend this time learning more about myself and the beautiful world in which we live.