Ray in Guatemala: Journal Entry #5 - 1 Week After Ray’s Return to North Carolina...
It has been one week since my return from Guatemala and I must say, I MISS GUATEMALA! It became a home for me while I was there and my host mom reminded me of my own mother while there. Waking up each morning, to smell a freshly cooked breakfast was everything. Each morning our breakfast would consist of either: pancakes, eggs, cereal, omelets, and a lot of fruits. Each morning, breakfast was at 7:15 sharp. It would have been impossible for any of us to miss breakfast because our host mom, Mrs. Amanda, would come down the hallway to both boys and girls room saying, “desayuno es hecho, hora de despertar!” Which simply translates to: Breakfast is done, time to wake up.
After breakfast we would pretty much start our day, with a rundown of how it will be ran and the different times we needed to be back home for lunch. I remember the morning that we went on a tour of a farm in Guatemala with our host mom, but no one told me about the bus ride up and how terrifying it was going to be. The farm was on top of the mountain, El Alto, and this was not something that I could do every day without taking something for my stomach. Going up the mountain was terrifying because we had to go through sharp turns and to me, we looked close to the edge and we would have been coming to our deaths with any mess up. Thankful we got up the mountain safely and without any problems. We were able to see how beautiful the landscape was when getting there and saw sights that we couldn’t see back home without going out of town. We also visited a family that had a nice size farm and everything there was organic and carefully grown. They did not eat anything that they did not grow or raise. I talked about going up that mountain, but going down was more terrifying than going up. In Guatemala, they have set speed limits, but that does not mean that everyone is going to abide by the law. Just to make it to the bottom of the mountain, I had to go to take me a quick nap.
Lunch was one of my favorite times because we were able to eat and nap before class. Lunch was my favorite meal of the day because we would always have rice and whatever else mom would make. Lunch would also consist of tortillas that started to taste better than bread and it was a time for us to calm down from what we did earlier that day and to start getting ready for class. Class started at 2 pm and didn’t end until 6 pm, but that four hour class wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My teacher, Carmen was wonderful…she helped me to perfect my Spanish and also helped me to love the language even more.
After school we would sneak away and get ice cream so our host mom would not know, because she would fuss at us for eating junk food before eating dinner. Dinner was always a great time in Guatemala because we would talk about different things, from comparing Guatemala to the U.S. or how crazy it was that time is flying by and we would soon be heading home.
I had different experiences this year that I did not have in the previous year that changed me. A classmate and I taught English to a classroom full of students and they got a sense of how hard it was to learn a new language and could understand where we were coming from if we did not conjugate a word properly. I also remember walking down the streets and men asking me if I wanted to buy some weed or women. For me that was not normal and it was not something that I’m used to. But in that country, that is something that goes on all the time and people don’t really pay any attention to it.
Overall, Guatemala is a special place and is somewhere that I will travel to after high school. Guatemala is much more than some third world country. It is a place that can bring out the better in a lot of people with the wonderful landscapes and staying true to it roots.