12 enero-miercoles 2011
Rayos! or Wow! Yesterday marked my 5-month anniversary of stepping onto Guatemalan soil. The celebration was sweetened with the arrival of 3 Xmas packages from family and friends…Mom, thanks for the potholders and sweater, Roger for the warm slippers, and Donna for chocolate-covered pretzels and book!! A snail’s pace better than nunca.
Actually the packages had arrived days earlier and were being held hostage for my signature..but the mailman hadn’t met me yet. He showed up in my office yesterday asking if I was Teresa Wright, so I was then able to retrieve them. Being known by the locals is very important (personal service may depend on that)!
What is my experience so far? Hmm… An appreciation for Guatemalan culture, including its idiosyncracies and colorful traditions…. As volunteers, we attempt to embody the 3 main goals of Peace Corps which include: teaching host country nationals about Americans and in turn, educating Americans about other cultures.
Some choice facts that Guatemalans have learned from me:
- There are 2 Washingtons…not just D.C! Like Guatemala, WA State has volcanoes (some active), earthquakes, an indigenous population, pine trees, and the Pacific ocean
- Some Americans (of all ages) are crazy about dancing, like me!
- Food, accents, ethnicity, and culture vary greatly in the U.S…. “no somos los mismos”
- Personal/private time and space is wanted/needed by us, but that doesn’t mean we’re antisocial
- Hay muchas religiones, e.g., Unitarian Universalists (like me)…not just Catholics and Evangelicals
Now a quiz for all of you (there may be multiple answers):
- At each meal, what food is served that can also double as a utensil or napkin?
- What is the Guatemalan name for a bus? What has been the maximum #people on a bus bench with me?
- What is the 2nd largest city in Guatemala (and site of my favorite dancing)?
- What technology do most Guatemalans use?
- What are the names for the west and east part of the country? In which region live most Mayans?
- When are fireworks likely to be popping off?
- What is the most important holiday in Guatemala?
- What is the Spanish name for the insect that relentlessly keeps pursuing me?
- What is a musical instrument typical of Guatemala?
- What do Guatemalans say to others at the beginning or end of meals?
Possible answers: 7, occidente, zancudos, pita bread, marimba, guagua, que le vaya bien, washing machines, coche, la semana santa, Quetzaltenango (Xela), flute, tortillas, computers, buen provecho, TVs, camioneta, la buena noche, oriente, 10, Antigua, anytime, 11, primer dia del año, cell phones, navidad, birthdays, Dia de Independencia, pulgas, guitar, bon appetit, norte, sur, Huehuetenango, chuchos
Await my next blog posting for correct answers. If you get 50%+ correct I will be very impressed!…. Hmmm, since Toto is the nickname for my department of Totonicapán, then maybe I am Dorothy transported here for a whirlwind 2yrs.….well, signing off from the highlands of Guatemala!