Sunday evening I arrived in San Pedro after 28 hours of nonstop travel. That is not a typo. And most of it went more smoothly than expected. There is not a sense of urgency in Guatemala; the bus may or may not leave at 10 pm but it will eventually, the taxi driver assures you he knows where he´s going (but he has no clue, driving into a questionable area when dusk is settling in), you arrive at the school and the director forgot to set you up with a family to stay with that night. It works out. It´s a lesson even more important to learn than Spanish.
It seemed like such a good idea to sign up for classes six hours a day, five days a week. And stay with a family that speaks only Spanish. I go in from 8 am to noon, then 2 to 4 pm. The teacher, Antonio, and I talk for a couple of hours, mostly about family, things we like, very basic chit-chat. We were able to talk about how the education system needs to change to something that can be used in the real world, and how change will never begin with the government because that´s not what governments are set up to do. The big surprise was that I could understand a lot of what Antonio said, and he clarified what I didn´t, mostly in Spanish. Then for a break we practiced the alphabet and pronunciation. Then grammar for a couple of hours. And I have homework tonight, a lot of it. He covered grammar that I only know from French and English, and I know it is intermediate level. So I am learning useful phrases, but I don´t know the basic forms from which they´re derived. So that´s on the list for tonight too. If you squeezed my head right now, a stream would run from my ears and puddle liquid Spanish on the floor.
Did I mention my Spanish vocabulary is extremely limited? And it doesn´t necessarily work to add a or o to the end of words. Although I did score that way a few times. Ending with -cion also works sometimes.
There is another student at my house, Ann from Germany. She started two weeks ago, and can have basic conversations with people, which gives hope. She also helps me communicate with my family and covers the ins and outs of living in the household. Which I will cover another time, because it is more different then I could possibly have imagined.
Meals are served promptly at 7:30 am, 12:30 and 6:30. I can´t remember the last time I ate on a regular schedule, so I´ll try it out for a while. It is certainly a treat to have every meal ready, though! Voy a comer ahora! *
* I´m going to eat now!