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Love in the time of University *warning: this message may rant*

Written on: Saturday January 10th, 2009

A journal entry from: Guatemala, mi amor.

Hola y que tal!

I hope everyone is staying warm in Saskatchewan!!  The weather is always the buzz around here.  It is true, I have a sunburn, but only minor – I'm mostly just getting tan.  Strangely enough, the Guatemalans thinks its cold here!!  It's 20 degrees!!  I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to finding out what they think is hot!  

Things are good here on the Guatemalan front!!  The dog Quecho greets me at my bedroom door every morning and pretty much mauls me until I pet him.  Its usually a 10 minute ordeal to leave my room because if I stop petting him, he pounces, so I always try to take a few steps in between maulings.  I have actually had to book dog petting time into my morning routine!  I really don't mind though, the other night there was a creepy noise outside our house and he jumped in front of my like my little protector.  Little though, is an understatement.  If he were to stand on his hind legs with his front paws on me, he would come up to my chest!  I also have to pet him at night (he's in the garage during the day I guess?which is sad actually) but I pretty much have to pet him into a coma so I can go to bed.  It's actually hilarious.  

Unfortunately, my two little spider roommates had to be assassinated.  The one was getting a little too bold and was crawling toward my bed, so he had to go.  I figured the other would get revenge so I commissioned Luis to just off them both.  For the record, they think I'm completely nuts for being afraid of spiders!

I haven't done too many tourist things as of yet.  The group was thinking about going to the beach, but that has been kaiboshed.  Some were thinking about climbing the volcano tomorrow so I may tag along (depending on the homework situation – more on that later).  We have found a great nightspot that can house our whole group and isn't too pricey so that has been fantastic.

One of the volcanoes here keeps spitting out little mushroom clouds of ash!  I call them volcano farts ☺ The volcano is called Fuego and its definitely not close enough to us to affect us, but it is definitely super active.  The communities around it apparently refuse to leave when there's apparent internal volcanic activity.  It seems unusual, but I think I understand.  

Love in the time of University.  For those who have heard of Love in the time of Cholera, you would likely recognize that I am comparing my experience of the past week to Gabriel Garcia Marquez' famous novel.  Haha, and our university to an enteric disease.  It is a little extreme, but in my mind, dealing with the university has been a somewhat adverse experience.  I had taken several university Spanish courses in Canada. But still felt that my communication skills were/are lacking.  I was forced by the admin to take the literature class because apparently my comprehension was 'suficiente'.  But even before leaving home, I requested that I only take a conversation course that is also being offered to others.  The university admin said and is saying that it is not an option.  I recognize that they feel they have our best interests in mind, but when the director of the Spanish school agrees that I (and two others) should not be in the literature class, obviously our best interests have been lost in translation.  Right now, I am translating a 60 page excerpt from a Mayan tale by Popoh Vuh and the Spanish is archaic and difficult. I don't want to go to class unprepared, but it is incredibly time consuming.  In Canada, I wouldn't have minded sacrificing things in order to get my work done, but here, that kind of mentality is beyond stupid.  I'll be working on it for the rest of the day and if I don't get it finished, I can't do anything fun tomorrow until it is done.  Had the uni allowed me to simply not take the course, I wouldn't have to make the choice or sacrifice.  It is incredibly frustrating to have a university administration as?inflexible?as ours is.  I'm just going to, as one individual has told one of us to do, suck it up and just do the work.  I have been doing it with a smile on my face, but I can't help but be a little disappointed.  

Anyway, rant over.  I am definitely learning how to deal with people of that nature and I think its going well haha.  I had actually written this whole blog already and it deleted itself so I have learned and am writing it on a word document before posting it (thanks for the advice Brie!).  Despite the university, things truly are great here.  While writing my last entry I had a near miss with a bird – it was about 3 inches away from smacking me in the face!  They also have MASSIVE bees here!!  They're at least twice the size of the bees at home.  I'm sitting on the roof of the school and will one day post pictures of the view.
I truly hope you are all doing well!!  Thank you for your comments and emails!  I love receiving them ☺
Muchos Besos,

p.s. Since I had a quote on my last note, I'll keep with the tradition and post the quote that my dad (aka: the undefeated champ of Settlers of Catan ☺) sent to me:
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich." (Tao Te Ching)


From Pam Armstead on Jan 10th, 2009

Your entries are VERY entertaining, Meghan. I love reading them. Glad to hear that everything is going well.. :) hahaha.. RIP spider roommates . Thinking of you! Pam

From William on Jan 18th, 2009

Hey Meghan, sounds like you've got quite the setup! An active volcano! You have no idea how jealous I am. I hope that you are settling nicely. I can't wait to here about the people you are meeting and the work you are doing! On another note, be careful with that dog situation. You might have to get someone to teach it some manners (I know that sounds kind of mean, but I could imagine getting sick of that routine real quick). Keep in touch! I look forward to more blog posts!