I am not sure if it is because the sun rises at 5 a.m., or if it is because I am back in school and having to use my brain, but I am pooped. Sitting at the dining room table this evening helping three kids with Spanish homework, I found myself ready for bed at 7:30. Language school started yesterday and we all agree that it is pretty great. We have class in a lovely private garden filled with trees and flowering plants. At the moment there are roughly 40 students and their teachers. We all sit at individual outdoor tables under awnings, under trees, or out in the sun. There is a resident cat that makes his way from lap to lap each day and apart from the occasional mosquito, I’d say it is just perfect. From 8 am to 10am we sit one-on-one with our personal Spanish teacher learning and/or reviewing Spanish vocabulary and grammar. From 10-10:30 we have a break and head straight for the outdoor kitchen and buy amazingly cheap fantastic food. So far we have tried 2 varieties of tamales, tostadas, frozen choco-bananas, frozen chocolate covered strawberries on a stick, a form of arroz con leche, strawberry liquados, and flautas. Each item costs less than 50 cents and everything is delicious. We then head back to our teacher for another hour and a half of conversation. As for myself, I have jumped straight in to the complexities of the subjunctive tense and it is crazy difficult. I think perhaps the last time I studied this level of Spanish was that ONE semester in college when I MIGHT have slacked off a bit. It turns out that the subjunctive tense is used ALL of the TIME and I have just been conveniently avoiding it. The kids think it is amusing that I am struggling with my Spanish. Right, very funny.
After class lets out, we have been heading to lunch and then walking around town. Yesterday was quite entertaining. We made our way to the Parque Central where and were greeted by many official looking men standing on the street corners with machine guns. Now, while this is totally normal in many countries, we had yet to see it in Guatemala. Turns out, the Presidents of Guatemala and Mexico were about to arrive in Antigua, and we were in just the right spot at the right time. We all sat down on the steps lining the street to wait for the big arrival, when all of a sudden we heard yelling and horns blaring down the street. At first it looked like a huge procession, but as they approached, it turned out to be about 20 people pushing ice cream carts. They came down the street yelling and screaming and stopped right in front of us. (Little did we know that we were sitting in front of the city municipal offices.) They were protesting a city tax being imposed upon them and asking the alcaldeza (like the mayor) to lift it. I’m not sure if it was a coincidence that they chose the same exact day and time as the president was due to arrive, but it certainly added a bit of drama to the scene. It started to rain and we ended up leaving before the presidents arrived, but it definitely was exciting while it lasted.
Today after class we took a tour with our school to a macadamia nut farm. The farm was beautiful and we had a great time. I think the best part was probably our first ride on a chicken bus, where the boys had to stand for 20 minutes due to the extremely crowded conditions. The macadamia nut pancakes were quite good as well.
We still have Salsa dancing lessons and cooking classes in store, so that should be entertaining.