Today I practiced time: hours, days, months, and seasons. Imagine my surprise when I learned I am now smack dab in summer here! I think that´s because it gets up to 75 degrees some days, instead of the typical 72 degree days in winter. Before my head could stop spinning from that bit of info, I learned that Guatemala only has two seasons. Yes, two. The big difference, from what I can gather, is rain. It seems to rain hard for about an hour every afternoon; in winter it rains a lot.
San Pedro is a small town on a hillside on a gorgeous lake, next to a volcano. There are many small streets running in all directions, paved with a variety of cobblestones. Then there is a maze of smaller alleys off the main streets, which wind through neighborhoods of houses crowded together. The alleys are lined partially with concrete or paving stones, and totally with mud. Because of the afternoon rains, you see. I have to solve a puzzle every time I walk home, but landmarks are becoming familiar — a little variety store with a Sylvester and Tweety Bird mural on the outside wall, the dog that barks and the one that doesn´t, the casa with the red-dotted white curtains on the left. Sometimes two puppies come out to say hi at the last turn, but they are not dependable.
My walk to school takes about ten minutes downhill. Most of the buildings in town are directly on the street, but the school has a lovely, grassy alley way as an entrance. It´s on a hillside overlooking Lake Atitlan and the San Pedro volcano. Our classrooms are grass huts with a desk and two chairs with a view of all this. A set of stairs going down toward the lake lead to a common area with the school office and a meeting place with coffee and tea. There is a snack at 10:30, and there is a few minutes to chat with the other students (my teacher probably uses this time to go in the office and cry). Today our snack was a baked corn cake with sauce and chicken in the center, muy delicioso. But the best part was that it was wrapped as a tasty little gift in a corn husk, with a little husk tie on the end. It´s a very nice place to spend the day, although the way home, up up up the hill, is a challenge.
This is the school: http://cooperativeschoolsanpedro.com/
The neighborhood is lively, small and peaceful. The biggest danger (for you worrywarts) is tripping over an unseen step, or cracked concrete, or walking off a staircase with no railing over a 20-foot drop. That, and the crazy tuk tuk drivers. And the big buses that barely fit in these streets. There is much incentive for staying conscience at all times!