Monday, November 15, 2010

Slow start....

I am realizing I may not have what it takes to be a good blogger.
Ie: brevity and consistency.
Each time I sign in to finish the posts that I have already started I get a little overwhelmed by how long and rambling my previous entry seems.  I assume part of this is also due to my inconsistency.  The less often I write, the more I have to say.  In my defense, I would like to point to the inconsistent internet situation and the lack of rhythm in my life at this point.  In the 3.5 weeks I have been in Xela I have already moved 5 times.  For approximately 2 weeks of my time here I have stayed with a family and did not have internet at the house.  Yes, it is true that wireless is fairly ubiquitous here, (I do have my laptop with me), however, that requires going out to a cafe and purchasing something each time I want to use my computer--and the worst part is that my computer is getting a little old and no longer shows any interest in holding a battery charge.  I have already been scolded a few times for plugging my computer in at aforementioned cafes/restaurants.  I am told electricity is very expensive here.  I believe it and I regret not buying a new battery for my computer before coming.

Anyway, no more excuses for my undisciplined ways.  Here is a quick update:

It has been a bit of a rough/slow start.  The reason I have moved 5 times already is because I want it all.  It's probably a combination of:  getting older and less flexible about my living situation, a laissez-faire attitude toward advanced trip planning, wanting to work on my Spanish with a family, yet also wanting internet where I live, wanting other people to cook for me, but kind of hating being on someone else's schedule; and of course the fact that I'm from the U.S. and I have a right to have the very best in life, right?...if a situation doesn't meet my standards: time to move on!

So far I have stayed in a hostel (bed bugs!), with a family that was dishonest to me and to the language school about giving me a private room and instead put me in the kids' room, (with the kids), until the other student they were juggling, (in order to maximize profits), vacated what should have been my room; then back to the hostel because I was mad about the family situation, then to a guesthouse with a shared kitchen and bathroom, then another attempt to live with a family, and now back to the guesthouse where I am happy to be once again (has wi-fi!--but not quite hot showers, everything is a trade-off:) 

I have attended 2 different Spanish language schools and am averaging 2-3 hours of class/day.  I started volunteering at a reforestation project in a rural indigenous community about 30 minutes from Xela.  I travelled to a rural hospital 2 mornings last week to observe in the pediatrics (baby ICU) and emergency departments.  I played with a violin for a couple days last week, have gone to the local steam baths--steam from one of the many surrounding volcanoes, attended weekly yoga classes, visited the cemetery on November 2 to witness the local custom of Day of the Dead, and have had some interesting conversations with my Spanish teachers:  including a discussion yesterday regarding safety in the city and examples of locals taking justice into their own hands because the police and government are so corrupt that no one trusts them to do anything.  Both examples included locals beating up, tying, and then setting the "alleged" robbers on fire.

I attended a beautiful little candle-light potluck Thursday night at my school, something that usually happens once a week to celebrate the "graduation" of students finishing up their language studies.  It was good to talk with some of the other students and realize I'm not the only woman traveling alone, with a one-way ticket, and an open mind.  I have shopped at the local markets, tried to navigate the world of saldo and cell phones (saldo is the credit or minutes you buy for your phones--still working on getting my head wrapped fully around this one--more complicated than I wish it was), have been taught the Spanish words for: kite, pencil sharpener, pencil/crayon case, deadbolt, and the little white cotton fuzzies that stick to your clothes, all from little kids.  A slow start, but everyday is a blessing. 

I will write more soon!

p.s. I'm sure you are all wondering how I am tolerating being way from Wisconsin during football season:  thanks to my dad I have managed to watch all but one of the Packer games--it's not the most beautiful system, but it's all I've been able to come up with so far--my dad points his webcam at the t.v. and we video skype for the 3 hours or so that the game lasts...Go Pack Go!

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