Starting to forget English
On the day before Independence day there are many parades of people running with torches representing “The Liberty Torch”. If you are in the group and you are not carrying the torch then you are probably blowing a whistle to announce your excitement of your entire group. This was quite a wonderful spectacle in the city that interrupted traffic and caused the people on the street to stop, look, and take pictures.
I’m finding that the more I immerse myself in the study of the Spanish language, the worst my English becomes! It is quite an interesting and fascinating transition, and for the most part I am really enjoying it. We gringos stick out around here and so I do my best to try and fit in with the dress and clothes of the Guatemalans around me. That means not wearing shorts and t-shirts and instead wearing long pants, and a dress shirt. I have it far better off than the girls in our group though, who are constantly being cat-called, whistled at, and hearing the occasional “Hey Baby! I looove you!”
Yesterday I learned how to wash my clothes by hand. Perhaps next time that I do it I shall document it and make another blog. That would be quite fun.
When I went to buy the laundry detergent (detergente), I made the honest mistake of calling the soap (jabon) sopa, which means “soup”. I went up to the tienda (a little shop/convenience store) across the street and asked him for sopa de lavendaria (soup of laundry) and the guy was SUPER confused. He pointed to one soup of chicken, then one soup of vegetable, and then one soup of ramen noodles. Altogether, we weren’t getting anywhere so I just kept looking down and saying “lavenderia, lavenderia….. lavendiria! Yo conozco hablar… de lavenderia” (I don’t know to say…. of laundry.) So, he laughed at me and eventually figured out exactly what the heck I was trying to say. The detergent came in a container of 200g which, in the US, if there’s any white powder measured in grams you probably don’t want anything to do with it.
I apologize for not posting more often, but this whole “learning a new language” thing is kind of a big commitment.
There is however, definitely improvement. One week ago I was watching the television on the upcoming elections and I could only understand a few nouns every now in then as well as some numbers. Now I understand about 1/4 or 1/3 of what they are saying, depending how fast they are talking.
Soap operas on TV help too. The vocabulary is simple, easy, in present tense, and perfect for someone trying to improve their listening skills.
My host father, Elder, suggested that I go to the market and talk with the merchants who are selling their various arts, crafts, clothing, and food. What I really want to do, though, is to find a futbol field and go play all the time. I think that would be beneficial.
In two weeks I am going to run a 1/2 marathon, so I am more or less training for that.
On Thursday there were many celebrations of Guatemalan Independence Day, which was a whole lot of fun! There were many parades, activities, music, speeches, bands, the whole nine yards!
Tomorrow Antigua City plays another city in a soccer match that I am planning to go to. The cost is 35 Quetzales, which comes out to just under $5. Rather cheap tickets if you look at it that way. Because of this summer I am not really spending any money, because Valerie and I learned the wonderful lesson that you do not need to spend lots of money to have lots of fun and to do lots of cool things. I just sent a message to a CS-er who lives outside the city who runs a chocolate factory that I will hopefully visit. I hope all the things inside the factory are “eat-able”.
On Wednesday we are meeting with the NGO (Non-Government Organization) God’s Child Project that works with a wide variety of social justice problems. I’m super excited about this! I might also have the opportunity to work/volunteer with another organization named Namaste that works primarily with micro-financing. I’m very interested in both opportunities!
Here are some fun pictures!