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Estoy en Guatemala!

Written on: Monday January 5th, 2009

A journal entry from: Guatemala, mi amor.

    It is 545 in the morning and I have given up on sleep, so I'm typing this out at home and will post it at the school when I have internet.  I am in Antigua, Guatemala and arrived here after a red-eye flight from L.A.  I had no problems on my flight aside from the fact that my itinerary told me I was flying here United, but was actually flying here with LACSA more commonly known as TACA.  Had the woman in Victoria not said 'LACSA' in passing, I probably would have missed my flight.  Since its 'more commonly' known as TACA, all signs read TACA and it was only when I looked out the window and saw a lit up sign saying 'LACSA' that I realized I was in the right place (that, and the fact that I was surrounded by Spanish speaking Hispanics also tipped me off).  According to the departures list though, the flight was going to San Jose, Costa Rica and not Guatemala City – but it turns out that the pit stop in Guatemala was another secret they were keeping from me.  Que complicado.  I started and finished the book "Twilight" on the flights here and was grateful to have that distraction!  The 'might as well keep going' mentality kept me from sleeping which meant the day I arrived and stayed awake was pretty rough.
It's surprisingly noisy at this time of day – a car alarm just went off (for the 3rd time), a few sirens have floated by and Antiguans seem to have a fixation with firecrackers.  They're constantly setting firecrackers off at all times of the day.  I'm just chillin in my room right now, which I share with a couple spiders that have gone into hiding at the moment.  I have had spider roommates at every home stay I've ever stayed in.  These guys are only little compared to the monster that I met in Australia (thanks again for saving me Keryn!) and I'll just leave them alone unless they come to get me.  I think I must be spider whisperer or something since they always seem to want to spend time with me.  That, or they can smell fear from miles and miles and miles away.
Anyway, my room is pretty fantastic, I have a desk and a bed that is the same size as my bed in Canada.  I think my room is the same size as it was in Saskatoon, just with less closet space.  The son who is also 23 is studying to be an architect and his drawings have been used as the art for my wall.  He's very good!  There are 2 bathrooms, but in one the tap does not work and the shower is cold – so I think there will be a mad rush for the good one in the mornings.  The mother is Carolina, the father is Rodolfo (or Adolfo – I don't understand anything he ever says), their son Luis his wife Linda and their daughter Maria-something also live here.  She has 2 names but I only remember 1 so I'm taking the lead of the Americans and calling her little baby.  They have a dog that I think is supposed to be a guard dog, but if you rub his belly he turns to mush.  Everytime I've come home, he just lies there or rubs against my leg when I walk by so I'll pet him.  They also have a yellow bird that chirps when the sun comes up (as I have just discovered now!)  I have 3 other roommates, 2 Americans from Oregon who have been super fantastic and I'm sad that they're leaving today.  The other is a girl named Mel from Guelph who is also in my program.  We get along really well already so already it has been an easy transition for me here.
I'm actually excited for school to begin.  This city is easy to become acquainted with and I have already found my happy spot so it's day 3 and I'm already content.  I have a cell phone, but either forget it or don't feel it vibrate so I almost don't have a cell phone.  We all have gotten the exact same ones so we are able to get a hold of each other if we need to.  It's a really fantastic group and I'm excited for this semester and all our little adventures.  The Americans went hiking up an active volcano yesterday so I'm dying to do that too ☺ volcanoes surround us.  It's absolutely beautiful. 
I try not to stand out too much when I'm here, but my blondish hair and pasty skin make that impossible.  I used a backpack yesterday, but have decided that I don't like how touristy it makes me look.  I think I'm just going to get a little bag from a local artisan –their work is so beautiful!  I feel ridiculous that I was so nervous for coming here.  So far, I feel really safe here, particularly during the day.  At night, I am definitely less comfortable but the sun sets at 630 so there really isn't any way to avoid the darkness.  I live close to a lot of friends so that has made it easier to stay out and then walk home after.  We seem to feel that if we knew our city a bit better, it would be easier to distinguish which are the areas to avoid and which are fine.  My area seems to be one of the more calm areas than others I have been in so that makes me feel better about walking home.  They don't really have taxis here and it isn't recommended to take the little floppy ones after dark. 
In our wandering, we have found a gym, a cinema; cafes that show movies, and an Irish pub apparently run by a Jamaican-American who doesn't speak Spanish ☺.  I've been to the markets – one that was a super market, one that was more traditional and insanely busy, and some that have been touristy.  The food here is fantastic and fresh.  I have become more relaxed in what food I will eat since going to Peru, but I will still never eat street food.  Some things have been recommended to me, but my taste buds can survive without. 
Anyway! I've totally written heaps and I've barely done anything yet!  I haven't taken pictures because I have the 'I have lots of time' mentality right now so hopefully I'll take some in the next little while. Anyone can make comments on this site or ask questions.  You can email me as well – kangaroo_012@hotmail.com or just use facebook? or my number here is country code 502 - 42487984 if you dial 01150242487984 apparently that works. 
Take care all!!! 
p.s. Brie (travel mate) and I have found a book store and we bought a couple books to read and trade with each other – I bought the Alchemist which I HIGHLY recommend to people who would consider themselves on the same brain wavelength as me.  One quote: "People from all over the world have passed through this village?they come in search of new things, but when they leave the are basically the same people they were when they arrived.  They climb the mountain to see the castle, and they wind up thinking that the past was better than what we have now.  They have blond hair, or dark skin, but basically they're the same as the people who live right here."

 

From cheryl briggs on Jan 5th, 2009

Glad to hear you are safe and happy Meggsie I'm sorry you are still traumatized by our " domestic wildlife" here in OZ. Soak everything up and enjoy. We are really looking forward to learning more about the country of "Bealinda" our World Vision girl. All I have been able to find out about where she lives is that her language is Mam, Northern. World Vision help her and her community through the Santa Barbara Project I hope that makes sense to you if not don't worry. I'm glad you enjoyed the Alchemist Greg Lisa and read it a while ago. You're on the right life path Meghan. Enjoy your time there. Lots of love Cheryl n Greg xxxxx

From Jillian. on Jan 6th, 2009

i'm so happy you're loving it! i didn't read your post, because it's long and i'm procrastinating. so my punishment is not allowing myself to read it. i just spent an hour responding to month old emails. ahhhh. but i'm going to come back and read it and i just wanted to say hello and have fun. and to tell you that my mom bought blueberries for christmas and all i could think about was captain morgan and stinky feet the whole time i ate them.