05.12.2009 - 09.12.2009 58 °F
My trip to Xela, Guatemala was quite the experience. I stayed overnight in Panama City with some Americans that I met in the airplane, and with whom I discussed life's journey the entire time. I got one and 1/2 hours of sleep that night, and plenty of stories to relay. The following morning, the hotel bus took me to the airport about 40 minutes away. I took the plane to Guatemala City. In Guatemala City, I went through immigration and out the door to the street. To my suprise, there were about 1,000 Mayan people behind a guarded wall watching the foreigners and other airplane passengers enter into their country. There were people taking my picture and staring and calling out names. I called Raquel Lopez, a friend of my Spanish Language school, and she said she'd be there momentarily. The next twenty minutes were actually quite adrenaline filled as I awaited Raquel. Raquel took me to the bus station to take the bus to Xela, and instructed me to put my valuables below the bus. Sometimes the buses are raided for valuables during the journey. She also instructed me to go to the bathroom as no stops would be made over the course of the next 5 hours. I knocked myself out with dramamine for the bus trip to Xela. A few times I awoke curled up next to the woman next to me! It was freezing.. what can I say but I needed warmth?
I arrived in Xela December 5, 2009 at 8 pm. I took a taxi to my host school, filled out paperwork with the owner, and paid in full. It was $420 USD for 3 weeks of Spanish Immersion - Language school (5 hours a day, 5 days a week one-on-one instruction), family living, and 3 meals a day. Muy barata.. very cheap. My host mother was called and she promptly picked me up to take me to my host house. The house is only about 5 minutes walk from the school. The school is very small and there are only four other students that study there during the day alongside of me, two of which live with me at my host family's house. I have my own room and bathroom. It is very basic and very cold. During the day, the temperature is nice and warm. It is similar to a nice warm Spring day. At night, now that is another story. It is freakin' freezing! I wear underarmor and wool socks while sleeping in my sleeping bag made for 20 degree weather.
The next day, December 6, 2009, was my first day of school. It went well. I talk a good deal with my teacher in Spanish and at times we study grammar. I find now that my conversation is not the most lacking aspect. I need more grammar practice. It has been since my first year of college, almost 6 years ago, that I've taken a Spanish grammar class. I find that I don't remember the tenses (tiempos) like I thought I did. The teacher that I have this week is named Mario. He is Guatemaltezco and has been teaching for 18 years about. He has two children and his wife is a feminist with an organization that helps Guatemalan women who are victimized. Next week, I will switch teachers. There are about 10 teachers total that the students can study with each week.