Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Growing Pains

We’ve been in Guatemala for three full days now. It's been a challenging few days but good overall.

It's frustrating that we can’t communicate very easily with people. Being very social people, we feel trapped inside brains that can’t make sense of everyone else’s words or find the words to tell people what we're thinking. AHHHHHH!

Making arrangements or trying to figure out anything new is a laborious and frustrating task. We also have a lot of uncertainty as we learn basic day to day living.

We've been walking the city quite a bit, just to get to know each street, businesses etc. It is a little annoying when we walk, we are regularly approached by people selling handcrafts. They are lovely but we just don’t buy a lot of extra stuff so we are constantly turning down some pretty persistent people.

But at last, day by day, hour by hour we are figuring out how to live comfortably in Antigua, Guatemala.

Now for the good stuff. The family we are living with is absolutely fantastic. Reina, the lady of the house, is a sort of grandmotherly figure. She spoils us like crazy by attending to our every need. She also happens to be a wonderful cook. She lives two doors down from us and we simply walk over and join her for three meals per day. Reina's daughter, Claudia, watches Harold everyday when we are at class. Claudia has a boy, Diego, who's just a few months younger than Harold. They have lots of fun together. Did I mention we have our own apartment? Unheard of! It is small and very basic but more than adequate for the next three weeks.

We have had our first day of class, which went very well. The tutors are patient and do a great job of making us feel comfortable and not too much like idiots.

Here’s our typical day.

6:00 a.m. -- wake up (it's hard not to wake up since the church bells ring like mad from 6 - 6:30 a.m.)
7:00 a.m. --breakfast with the family
7:45 a.m. --leave Harold with family, go to class
8:00 – 12:00 -- one on one Spanish tutoring
12:00 – 1:00 – rest up for lunch
1:00 p.m. lunch with the family
2:00 p.m. siesta (Harold's nap)
3:30 p.m. walk around town and do one or more of the following:
drink coffee
sit in the park
eat a snack from a street vendor
do homework / review lessons from a.m.
take a tour near or in the city
7:00 p.m. Dinner with family
9:00 p.m. Go to bed

Pretty intense huh? Or not. Is it possible to be totally relaxed but stressed out at the same time? That’s about how we feel now.

We’re feeling the growing pains of learning a new language but we're glad we are here.


Nancy M. said...

I remember being in Mexico and getting a little aggravated because people would always come up to us and try to sell us things.

I can see how that would be stressful to not be able to communicate like you want. I am sure it will get easier.

James and Charity said...

Do you think Reina would share some of her bean recipes?


The Rudstroms said...

I asked Reina about her bean recipe and since I don't know too much Spanish it was tough BUT what I got was . . . she cooks the black beans in the crock pot. I think there's something about cooking them in a frying pan too. Then she purees them with some onion and garlic. Oh . . . maybe the garlic and onion is cooked in the frying pan, then added to the beans. They're served as a side dish with most any meal, even breakfast. They're delicious.

The Rudstroms said...

You were right, it's getting easier. =)