Snate's Six-Month Sojourn travel blog

Our host family (left to right): Marvin Jr, Nancy, Marvin Sr, Lucky...

The view of the Santa Maria volcano from our terrace

Me studying in our incredibly large, incredibly warm room

The sacred Maya lake, Laguna Chicabal

A volcanic eruption near the Santa Maria volcano

A group of Mayans placed this offering in the water

Nancy loves chicken

Okay, so you've been getting Nate's side of everything, now it's my turn to rant a little bit. This has been a difficult and humbling experience so far. Does that mean I want to go home or wish that we'd not gone, no. The food has been great, our host family is super cool and Quetzaltenango is awesome, with that said, it has also been muy frustrating for me. So, my backpack is missing in action, which has left me with close to nothing. One pair of underwear, one pair of pants, one shirt, one sweater (thank God, it's cold at night), one pair of socks and a one month supply of my medication; everything else was in the pack.

Underwear, or ¨bloomers¨in español, are incredibly scarce. They either are thongs, or thong like (sorry, not a thong girl), or the largest granny-panties you can imagine. One rather embarrasing moment was when Gustavo, our host in Guatemala City, had to take me and Nate around to various shops where the customers stared while we asked for ¨bloomers¨, they were all small and he had to ask for ¨grande¨, which they didn't carry. This would lead one to believe that there are no large Guatemalans, but they seem to be either small or stuffed into small clothing. Guatemalans, in general, are shorter than Americans, and it's a funny site to see Nate waiting in line at the super market and everyone else coming up only to his nipples. This shorter stature has made it really fun trying to find pants. My $70 bathing suit was also in my backpack and we only seem to be able to find teeny-bikinis or long skirted old lady suits. I was incredible bitter about the bag, but am working on moving on because, we were told that someone picked it up and that we must file a claim now, which could take only God knows how long.

If Nate were writing this, I'm sure he'd now discuss the beautiful hike we went on Saturday on a volcano to a sacred lagoon where the Maya were performing religious ceremonies. Beautiful it was, but damn was it difficult. Quazaltenango is in the western highlands, so we're much higher up. The altitude, steepness and the holiday malaise kicked my ass and I was the slowest hiker that 25 other hikers had to wait for. So, to recap, I have no backpack, I cannot find underwear, I was that annoying slow hiker who's heart nearly exploded, oh yeah, and I started class on Friday and discovered that I'm retarded.

So, enough complaining, we're having a great time and that hike was really cool. We have class from 8:00 - 1:00, 5 hours a day is a lot! It is very difficult for me, i feel a little helpless sometimes, but I'm working on it. We have breakfast with our family at 7:30, lunch at 1:30 and dinner at 7:30. Do you see any problems yet? Lord knows that Nate needs to eat every 2 hours, so we've been having a second lunch in the hobbit fashion. Also, our family doesn't eat very much, so we're learning to get by on a little less. The kids are great. Evelyn, the 7 year old, is like Yoda, she's into everything, but she's fun. People are very friendly and we like our neighborhood. It's hard to gauge the safety factor, but we've walked around at night. We've heard tell of people being robbed at knife point, but I feel safe. It's very intersting sharing one bathroom between 7 people. The ¨hot¨water only remains lukewarm for 3 minutes, so showering is a bracing experience. Which is what I need to go do before the sun goes down because after dark it feels even colder.

more to come . . . Adios!

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