Hola friends and family!
As I write this, I am sitting outside on the patio at my host family’s house, the sun is shining, and there is a nice breeze moving through the trees. The rainy season is now over here in Guatemala (or at least in Chimaltenango)… and I am perfectly fine with that! I can say with absolute certainty that I am happy not to have to put on a raincoat and tramp through mud every day. I have been taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather by going on walks throughout the city almost every afternoon. Not only is it a nice way to get in some movement after a long day of classes, but it also helps me to familiarize myself with my surroundings!
As you might imagine with working in a school, the past two weeks have been BUSY. In our English classes, the students are finally starting to recall all that they learned the previous year, which is great, because it means we can start building on that material to expand their knowledge. The English teacher and I have incorporated games and other activities in order to help the students memorize vocabulary and grammar, as well as have spent significant time helping the students improve their pronunciation. In the cooking classes, we made blackberry jam from a blackberry tree (yes tree, not bush) that the agriculture students tend (picture #1), pulique (similar to a stew) (pictures #2-3), and polvorosas (a pastry typically eaten with coffee) (picture #4). The cooking classes might be moving up to the top of the list of my favorite classes to help out with because I get to learn how to make so many delicious, traditional Guatemalan foods! I even get to taste test them all which is a nice plus! And finally, in the music classes, the students have been learning the Guatemalan National Anthem on recorder while I accompany them on guitar. We were able to showcase what we had learned to the whole school last Monday during student presentations!
In other school related news, I have genuinely enjoyed getting to know the teachers that I collaborate with. The English teacher, Ms. Aurora, has become my best friend here – she is very joyful, easy to get along with, and has made me feel so welcomed at Monte Cristo. The chef, Mr. Elliott, is kind, witty, and always explains unfamiliar ingredients and cooking techniques to me which I am so grateful for. The music teacher, Mr. Rudy, is gentle and a brilliant artist, and we have lots of fun playing guitar together (picture #5)!
As I mentioned before, Chimaltenango is only about a 45-minute drive from Antigua, which means that my host family goes there fairly often. For example, my host brother, Sebastian, had a soccer game in Antigua on Friday, so we all went to cheer him on and grab some dinner afterwards. When we first arrived at the soccer stadium, there was another game in progress, and I quickly recognized my other host brother, Samuel (from my first host family during my time in Antigua), as one of the players! I was so excited and soon found the rest of my Antiguan host family sitting in the stands. We were able to chat and catch up for about 10 minutes until the game ended. It was such an unexpected, lovely surprise to get to see them again and it definitely made my night!
As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
Much love y hasta la próxima,