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Mi vida es torpe

30 de marzo de 2012

 One of the most awkward/most embarrassing moments of my life

 So the first time I came to Guatemala, I was with a group of students from my university. After spending 2 weeks with me, my friend Alex decided that I was the most awkward person he had ever met and he decided on average I have 12 awkward moments a day. Well today I think I had all 12 in one moment. So here you go Alex and Joey.

So today I was on my last chicken bus from Antigua heading back to Chimal. I arrived in Chimal and climbed out the back of the bus (basically making the caller lift me down off the bus). Since it is Friday it is the busiest day in the market and in the afternoon/evening people are running around like crazy. So I was walking in the street and suddenly there was a bus coming beside me and I was going to be pancaked between two chicken buses. So I veered off the street and started walking on a narrow path lined with people selling vegetables, fruits, chickens, etc. I was weaving in and out of people (trying to be as Guatemalan I can). I suddenly had to weave around something and I stepped on a curb/hump. My foot slid down the hump and as it slid I lost my balance. So to try to regain my balance I tried to step forward and I crossed my other foot in front of the sliding foot. This did not help my balance at all and I am now stumbling over myself. Also the weight of my backpack is not helping the situation. With the momentum and my stumbling around I end up falling and literally sitting on the lap of some old, indigenous lady in the middle of the market. I can only imagine what this lady was thinking as this gringa girl comes stumbling onto her almost knocking over her bucket of beans and smashing her vegetables. Some man immediately grabs me to lift me up and says to me very seriously “con cuidado” (be careful). I just popped right up and started saying “lo siento, lo siento” (I’m sorry) and laughing so hard. Then as I am sprinting away from the scene some lady says “pobrecita” (poor thing) and now I am horrified. I was happy there was no one around that knew me, however it is one of those moments where I kind of wish there was someone else there to laugh with me at the absolute ridiculousness of the situation. Needless to say, I am happy that I never have to walk through the market again because I easily stand out and I am pretty sure anyone that saw the incident would recognize me again if I walked through that area.

So I hope that met your expectations Alex, Joey and everyone else. If you need more of a visual I am willing to act it out when I get back home! See you all so soon!


Xela, otra vez

16 de marzo de 2012

“And even if we never talk again, please remember that I am forever changed by who you are and what you meant to me”

I find this quote so fitting for all the people that I have met through traveling and knowing that many of them I will never see again.

This past weekend I made my third and final trip to Xela to visit my friends. Other than Lisa, I have only met most of these people for one or two weekends. Though they are some of the friendliest and most open people I have known. They are so good to me when I come and they want to make sure my trip to Xela is worth it and a great experience.

It was a little change of pace this time when I went. Charlotte (from Norway), Lisa’s neighbor has recently moved in with Lisa with her friend Ana (from Guatemala) and her friend Espin (from Norway). So we were expecting a constant full house with non-stop people and partying. However, Lisa and I were able to spend some time together on Thursday and Friday with just the two of us. Charlotte and Ana went to Guate to see some friends. It was nice because Lisa and I had some great conversations and it was good to have just some simple, relaxing times with her instead of constant adventures (though those are fun, also).

 On Friday morning, Lisa went to her Spanish class and I decided to go to my favorite Xela café, El Cuartito for some breakfast and relaxing time just like I always did very Friday morning this summer. Then I went to the park and read for an hour or so while I waited for Lisa to finish class. I was just starting to head back when I saw Lisa’s dog (yes, she has adopted a street dog and she now lives with her). Cusca was waiting to cross the street so I knew Lisa could not be too far away. And she wasn’t, she was right across the street from me. The rest of the day we just hit up my favorite bookstore and exchanged some books and then walked Cusca all the way to the Bake Shop (of course!) for my weekend supply of cookies. On Friday night, we went to dinner with Denny and his cousin Junior and then went to Pool and Beer. I was very excited about Pool and Beer because it is one of the only places in Xela that makes their own beer. However, it turns out the people that make the beer went away for the weekend, so there were no homemade beers, just the usually Cobro and Gallo. Slightly disappointing, but it was good to be back in the familiar place.

On Saturday, Lisa and I did some walking around town and some baking. We decided to make some no-bake cookies and rice krispie treats for when the roommates all returned from Guate. When they returned, we got ready for a night out in Guate with some amazing Guatemalans and a Norwegian. We went to the “gay bar” in Xela which we went to last time. This place is so interesting to me because they call it the gay bar, but in reality it is a man’s house and he has a bar and dance floor set up in his house. It is a really great place and a definite late night place because since it is not a “real” bar they don’t have to close at 1 am like the rest of the bars.

The slides at the park

 On Sunday morning, we were a little slow to start the day and I was planning on heading back by three or so to Chimal. However, through some convincing (not much at all) I decided to stay another night and leave early on Monday so I could get back for work. I was so happy I decided to stay because we had such a perfect afternoon.  We went to a park right outside of Xela called Baúl. It’s a normal park, with swings, teeter-totters, bbq pits, and an amazing view of Xela. The real excitement of this park is the slides. They have these smooth, concrete slides (they kind of remind me of alpine slides) that you slide down. There are four right by each other and you can race down them. The locals have realized that in order to go faster you can sit on cardboard and ride down on that. Or if you want to go even faster you sit on a smashed plastic two liter bottle and go down. This is definitely not the safest thing, but it was so fun. These younger boys wanted us to keep racing them down the slide, so we said yes. One time, Lisa decided she would try the bottle method (I only would do the cardboard) when we were racing. She was determined to win the race, so when she was flying down the slide she did not want to try to stop herself with her feet because then she would lose. So at the end she flew off the slide and then just kept sliding on the concrete on her butt. It was hilarious, but she was definitely in some pain. But she was such a good sport about it. The rest of the afternoon we spent cooking out and laying and playing in the park. Denny and Ana prepared some pretty amazing food for us, in a true cookout in the park. We had some grilled zucchini, eggplant, peppers, green onions, baked potatoes, tortillas, black beans, and avocado (and they had meat of course). We of course did not bring any plates, so we all just stood around the grill and ate our delicious meal. It was so fun to spend the afternoon doing something so relaxing and simple with some amazing people.

Gibson and me going down the slides

I know I have probably said this before, but I am truly grateful for Lisa and the amazing people she has introduced me to in Xela. My experience this time in Guatemala would have been completely different and honestly not nearly as much fun. It was so great to be able to get away for the weekend. I have been to many parts of Guatemala so sightseeing was not one of the things I really want to do this time. Instead I was able to form more relationships with Guatemalans and see a different side of Guatemala and Xela that I did not get to experience before. I have made some great friends and I have gotten to experience some pretty great adventures with Lisa. I am truly blessed and grateful and I could not have asked for a better experience.

Our amazing and delicious food

Charlotte, Lisa, Cusca and me laying in the park

View of Xela at sunset

Mi vida en Chimaltenango

Posted on

8 de marzo de 2012

Almost another week down and the days here are dwindling fast. Finally, my Spanish is getting to the point where I can hold conversations (I just talked to one boy just now for a whole hour! I was so surprised that it was so long and that he understood me and I understood him (and that he had the patience to suffer through my mispronunciations and incorrect verb tenses, but hey it doesn’t matter). Finally the projects are picking up right as we need to be attempting to wrap stuff up. But that’s the way it always seems to go.

So I thought I would give everyone a rundown about a typical day here in Chimaltenango.

View of the market from our building.

 En la mañana: So usually, I wake up by 7 because there is no such thing as sleeping in here. There is a literally a market outside our front door 4 days a week (and the other days it is only like a block away). So there is constant buses honking, trucks backing up, roosters crowing, and music blasting (and if we are really lucky we are serenaded by on off pitch women singing Spanish songs). We truly are so lucky to have the free entertainment. So anyways I am usually I am up early (though compared to the boys, it is late.) After showering and breakfast I usually start working because I am so much more productive in the mornings. I usually work translating on my own or entering data into the computer.

 En la tarde: After a full morning of work, I fix lunch because I don’t eat with the boys since their lunch is usually around 10:45 and there is no way I could last until our 8:00 dinner. The good thing about living right in the market is that it is very easy to get fresh produce, and for really cheap. Por ejemplo, the other day I went to the market and bought two pounds of tomatoes (so 10 or so) two bunches of green onions, a small tree of cilantro, and an avocado for 8Q (so $1.03). Not too bad at all I’d say. So that is nice to be able to easily buy the produce for the day and then fix lunch. After lunch, I tend to be a little slow to start. But I get back to work eventually.

Then every day around 4 I meet with Moy (one of the boys in the house that is on his year of service before university that works for the Hermanos Mayores program) and work on the translations with him to make sure I understand all of the surveys. This is definitely my favorite time of the day. We have so much doing this. Some days we are really focused and we get the work done fast and that’s it. But other days we get so distracted talking about other things and teaching each other new words or phrases. Like today, our translating session last 3 hours because we kept getting off track and doing other things. But I don’t mind, and I don’t think he minds too much. Today he even said it was fun! So I think we have the same feelings toward our meetings. It is my Spanish lesson everyday and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to get to know one of the boys so well in the home. Usually, at least one other boy comes in the office while we are “working” and I can get to know more of the other boys through this also.  I am sad because I only have two more interviews to translate and then I will have to create something else to translate so we can practice together and hang out. Also, my favorite part of our meetings is when we try to teach other slang words and then I try to say them to the other boys later and they are always so excited I know the words.

 En la noche: So after our translating sessions, I attempt to do homework, but it usually results in my skyping someone. Then at 8:00 (mas o menos) is dinner. The usual menu is frijoles (beans) and arroz (rice). Todos los dias. I do love frijoles a lot and arroz is usually my comfort food, so I am usually okay with this menu. Though like last week we had beans and rice 4 of the 5 days. Maybe a little more variety would be nice, but at least it is something I love and can eat. Also, I am lucky because they rarely ever cook meat. So I never have to worry about that. Dinner is also usually a good time for me to practice Spanish. Though I kind of hate it because whenever I talk at the table, even if it is just to one boy (usually to my bff Marcellino) I feel like the whole table stops talking and I have 20 boys trying to hear what I am saying. And usually it is only something like “tú aprendiste much a la escuela?” (did you learn a lot at school?) or “cómo fue  tu día?” (how was your day?). So that’s always a bit awkward when that happens. After dinner, I usually attempt to do homework or I end up skyping or reading. I have read 9 books since I have been here. Apparently that is what I like to do when I do not have TV. Maybe, I should consider getting rid of TV at home….but probably not.

So that is my typical day here. It’s pretty much the same every day. Except for usually one day a week I head to Parramos to the main house with my laundry in my backpack and do my laundry. The boys do their laundry by hand. I wouldn’t mind doing this, but the only problem is that I would have to dry all my clothes on the lines in the house. Again, I would not mind except for I do not really want all my underwear hanging out in front of 20 or so high school boys. I can just imagine what would happen with those. Also, today I tried to wash some t-shirts by hand and I decided it was a lot of work and the 50 cents and the hour long trip to the main house is definitely a better option.

 Well, I hope all is well with everyone. I can’t believe I will be stateside in 3 ½ weeks and I will be seeing some of you!

A veces necesito algo de ‘USA’ en mi vida

Posted on

1 de marzo de 2012
I cannot believe it is March 1st and I only have one month left. It is going fast and I am finally feeling at home here. I am so sad already to leave. And as I get to know the guys better here it is going to be even more difficult. But hopefully I will make the best out of my last month here.
So I have not done many exciting things since the last time I wrote. I have just been spending some time in Chimal working. The projects are coming along. I spend most of the days translating the questionnaires that are completed and then in the afternoon I usually go to Moy who helps me translate the parts I do not know. It is great practice for my Spanish and we usually have a lot of fun while we are doing it (or at least I have fun, he may feel differently). No but I think he does like it too because he can work on his English a little bit. So we have completed the university questionnaires and we have about 11 Hermanos Mayores questionnaires. There have definitely been some cultural differences with the work styles here. We are so eager to get questionnaires completed and we want them to contact as many HMs as possible. Whereas they are a little more relaxed and slower when it comes to setting up the meetings. So I have come to accept this and realize that the new goal is to get 20 completed. I think that will be very successful. I am hoping next week to start working on some new projects they want help with which will be helping to develop some programs. I have never done program development, but it will be good practice (plus it is one of my assignments for class, so I can be getting that done and helping here). It’s so convenient.
So I do not have much more to say for the past week or so. Last weekend I went to Antigua for the day to get away and relax some. Going to Antigua is always a nice reminder of home. Sometimes it is good to feel like I am back home for the afternoon. I knew I had found the most American place when I was sitting at a restaurant eating a black bean burger, sweet potato fries, drinking a Brooklyn lager, and watching college basketball. It was a great afternoon I have to admit, but I would not want it every day. Though I am sure I will return back sometime before I leave. And by the way the restaurant is called Monoloco (crazy monkey)! How perfect is that for me?! No wonder I love it so much (well and they have the biggest nacho platter ever!)
Well, hopefully my next blog will be more exciting. I hope everyone is enjoying this early spring that you are having. I am incredibly jealous that I suffered through 24 years of horrible winters, to miss the only one in the last 25 years that has been so nice. I swear if I have to read another facebook status about it being 60 degrees….. No but I am happy for you, I promise. I hope all the Dominican people have a great spring break. If you feel like coming here, I am sure we can manage a bed or something.

P.S. As my Spanish is slowly improving, my English is getting worse in both speaking and typing. Entonces (so), on the last post when I said Nena was a puppet, I meant puppy. I mean there are times when I like to act like she is a puppet, but she is actually real. So yea, hang in there through my errors and I apologize for any mistakes. Luckily Kraig and my parents are always on top of it and tell me when something is really bad. Like the puppet incident….Dios mio!

Some more Xelaxin’ and life in Chimal

 20 de febrero de 2012

Hola! So I know it has been a little while since I last wrote, but things are finally getting steady so therefore I do not feel like there is as much to write about. But of course there is always something to write about here.

Lisa and me overlooking Xela

I will start with the fun side from last weekend when I went back to Xela. Once again, I went to visit my friend Lisa and this time I was lucky enough to meet her neighbor Charlotte from Norway and her Guatemalan friend Anna and spent Friday night driving around Xela and truly having a carefree and fun time with them. Anna took us to the best tostada place in Xela where the lady makes around 1200 Q a night and each tostada is only Q. So needless to say, I think she is definitely the most popular place in town. After that tostada, we went to another tostada type place and ate more food. I thought those were better because they had tons of vegetables on them whereas the other ones were only meat and sauce, so I just had sauce. But it was definitely fun seeing more of a local side of Xela that I completely missed from this summer. On Saturday we went with Denny and his cousins to the town where his whole family is from, Sibilia about 45 minutes outside of Xela. It was definitely out in the campo (the country), but it was gorgeous as it sat nestled in the mountains and surrounded by farms. First we went to the town fúbol game for awhile and then headed down toward the center of town to the carnival they were having that weekend. We spent the afternoon walking around, eating (possibly a chocobanano…), visiting some more cousins, and meeting some people that had lived in Cleveland. Small world huh?! But, at least when I said I was from Ohio they actually knew something about the state. After eating at this awesome Mexican restaurant we decided to head back home because we were exhausted from Friday night and a long day of walking around and having fun. I loved, once again, meeting some more Guatemalans and more of Denny’s family. It was great to see a town that is very far off of the gringo trail. On Sunday, we spent the day walking around Xela taking pictures for my awesome Valentine’s Day project for Kraig. We all got pretty into it and it was fun exploring the city a little bit more. So once again, I had another exciting and perfect weekend with Lisa, her friends, Denny, and his cousins. I truly feel so lucky that I have this outlet here to be able to go and not just take a break, but learn more about the culture while meeting and spending time with some pretty wonderful people. I cherish those weekends so much and I hope to make it back one more time for a final weekend. I will let you know what fun adventures we come up with for that weekend.

Nena is just too cute not to put on here! The puppy who sometimes lives at our house.

Back to Chimal and the real reason I am here, our project. We have completed 14 university questionnaires, and that is probably all we will do for those. I have been working on translating them which has been challenging, but a good experience. We started the Hermanos Mayores questionnaires and we have completed four of those. I know that sounds small, and it is, but at this point I think it is a good number. It has been challenging to get this project off the ground. There have been some communication issues between our supervisor and Alba, and between us and Alba. I was under the impression that the project was not clear to Alba and she had other ideas in mind for what we could work on while we are here. So through connecting Alba with Leticia (our Spanish speaking professor) through Skype, we were able to work through some issues and have a clearer understanding of everyone’s expectations. We have come to realize that the Hermanos Mayores project is probably not going to be all that we thought it was going to be. We definitely are not going to complete as many questionnaires as we hoped, but I am okay with that. Alba let us know of some other projects that she would like help with, so I think we are going to start working on those as well as our project. Hopefully, this will help us to feel a part of the organization and projects here, but also try to help them develop the program through our own project. I am excited to see how this week goes and to see if we are given more work to do on their projects.

Other than school work and the interviews, not too much has been happening. I have been hanging out more with boys in the house and building relationships in the house. I am definitely feeling a little more comfortable here and not so much as one of the weird gringo girls living in their house. We have played some cards and talked a lot about music (they really like Pitbull here and occasionally I will hear some Bieber playing though no one will admit they like him) and it has been fun getting to know them. I am sad that my time here is over half way done (only 40 days left!). I know it sounds long, but the time is flying by and I feel like the projects have only just started (well, because they have). I am determined to enjoy my last 40 days and really take advantage of the Spanish all around me (because that of course is not where it needs to be) and try to get involved with the projects here as much as possible. I really want to make the best out of this experience and get to know the people involved with the organization.

I hope all is well at home (Ohio and Chicago) and feel free to skype me anytime at betsy.brown21. I love talking and would love to hear what is going on in everyone’s lives. Adios!

It’s all about being flexible

5 de febrero de 2012

It’s all about being flexible. That’s what I keep reminding myself. I like to think I am a pretty laid back person, but this has been a rough week adjusting to new things and still waiting on the project.

So the beginning of this week we packed up and moved to Chimaltenango, about 15 minutes from San Andres, and moved into the bachillerato (high school) boys house in the city. This was a very big transition. One moment we are in the country surrounded by mountains, grass and trees, little children, and other Americans. Now we are surrounded by buildings, markets, high school Guatemalan boys, and sounds of fireworks, market animals, and buses. The move has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I still have not sorted through them all.

Our new NPH home in Chimal

Sometimes I love the new location. We are right next door to Alba’s office and the Hermanos Mayores office so in theory we should be able to get a lot more accomplished. We get to speak a lot more Spanish because we are getting to know only about 13 boys, instead of trying to get to know 300+ kids. There is a market right outside our door so I feel like I am more in Guatemala. We are definitely living more like Guatemalans than when we were in the guest house at NPH which is great for cultural competency (I’m always thinking like a social worker). But then there are some times when this transition seems a little more difficult. We have yet to have a working shower since we moved here. Marianne is getting creative, but I am just being lazy and not showering. However, that needs to change and will probably result in me dumping buckets of water over me for a shower. Also, the buckets are coming in handy as we have to carry a bucket full of water up the stairs to dump in the toilet so it can flush. But at least we have a toilet which is better than a lot of people. Also, it has been difficult because they have expressed that they do not want us to leave the house without one of the boys or Alba with us. This has been so difficult for me because as many of you know I am very independent. I also do not like feeling like I am a burden on other people when I can easily go buy carrots on my own. But it is taking some adjustment and hopefully they will see I am okay going out to the market and to the buses on my own. So the transition has been very interesting. But one thing that is consistent is how nice everyone has been. It has not all gone smoothly, but they are so nice and helpful to us here.

The kitchen that we share with the boys.

We are seeing more of the Guatemala culture too, which is definitely a slower pace than what we are used to in the U.S. When they say something will get done tomorrow, that probably does not mean tomorrow. So far I have understood that everything will get rescheduled at least one time. Last Friday we were supposed to go to the capital to interview university students and by Thursday afternoon, that had been postponed to some point next week. Luckily, I had anticipated this so I was not too surprised and disappointed when it happened. I am learning to be a little more proactive and a little more forceful if I want something to happen. This is good for me because I am usually very passive and here that means I would never get anything accomplished (or so it seems).

The courtyard at the house. Our room is upstairs overlooking the courtyard.

Our project is still going slowly. However, we did get two interviews done with two university students. I know it is small, but it is a start and we have some data. The plan is to go to the capital and interview 13 more university students on Wednesday. I have a better feeling about this, so I am thinking it is going to happen this time. The goal is to be finished with the university questionnaires by the end of the week and then we can focus on the Hermanos Mayores for the rest of the time. Hopefully it will go something like that….

Our new room

The week has been full of moving to the house, moving to another room in the house (making it our fourth and hopefully final move), and transitioning to the new house and environment. I will say that I think my Spanish is improving. I talked to one boy today for a good fifteen minutes and I think he understood most of what I was saying. The conversation was not deep by any means (mainly about food) but I have to start somewhere. I am excited to get to know the boys more and hopefully get past “Cómo te llamas?” (what is your name) and “Qué profesión estudias?” (what do you study).  I will keep you up to date with the advancement of my conversations.

I think that is all for now. I think I may attempt to shower with the bucket. Or maybe I will just go outside and try to buy some jugo de naranja (orange juice). That sounds more appealing and will be probably be what happens. Also, I have to get ready to tune into the Puppy Bowl online and the Super Bowl tonight. I doubt it is going to be on here, but luckily Kraig is going to skype with me and put the camera to the screen so I can watch it and act like I am at his Super Bowl party. He is so thoughtful. Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday and go Patriots (I guess)!

Xela: El mejor fin de semana

30 de enero de 2012

Hola! So I just got back from an amazing weekend in Xela. For those of you who don’t know, I studied Spanish in Xela for ten weeks this past summer. It was a fantastic summer so I was excited to go back and visit. My friend Lisa is staying in Xela for now and has an apartment with her Guatemalan friend Denny. So I decided to venture to Xela for a weekend away from NPH. I was feeling really stressed out and a little aggravated about our project starting so slowly, so I figured a weekend away would do me some good. About 3 or 4 hours and three chicken buses later I was in Xela. Denny, Lisa, Denny’s cousin Gibson, and Gibson’s cousin Junior picked me up which was awesome not to have to find my way to their apartment (which also meant attempting to speak Spanish from the beginning of the trip). Their apartment had a beautiful view of Xela and was located really close to Parque Central which is a really fun place to be with all the restaurants and bars.

When we got to the apartment, Denny immediately started to cook something and Lisa said he was going to surprise us with a meal. He made me tomalitos! I was so excited. They are not very common here around Antigua, but very common in Xela, so Denny whipped some up so I could have a proper Xela meal when I arrived. That night we drove up to a restaurant on the side of the hill to see an amazing view of Xela at night. I can’t believe I never did that when I was there this summer because it was beautiful (but of course I also didn’t have a car this summer).

Lisa and me overlooking Xela

On Friday, I wanted to go to a few of my favorite places in Xela. We went to the Bake Shop which is a Mennonite bakery and loaded up with homemade peanut butter, coconut cupcakes, and cookies. Afterwards we decided to go to Denny’s cousin’s house to meet his family (but first we stopped for some chocobananos on the way). As Denny was guiding the way I kept noticing we were heading the same direction as Marina’s house (my home stay this summer). When we arrived at his cousin’s house it turned out it was 4 houses down from Marina’s house and I walked past their house at least 6 times a day. It is such a small world! I am constantly amazed by things like this. So anyways we spent some time at their house and they were all so welcoming and nice and it was great to be around a family again.

Excited about my Bake Shop goodies. (Denny approving my purchases in the background)

On Saturday, we woke up and Denny told us to get ready and we were going to go somewhere for the day. He only told us to bring our swimsuits and that we were driving somewhere. Gibson and Junior picked us up and we headed out of town. About an hour later we ended up at this place called Xocomil and Xetulul. I was still confused about what this was until we walked in and it was a water park and amusement park. I was so excited because there is nothing I love more! We spent the morning in the water park and then spent the afternoon at the amusement park. There were not a lot of people there so we never had to wait in line (actually we usually had to wait for more people to fill up the rides). I had so much fun and I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in one day. It was literally the perfect day and probably one of my favorite days ever.

Me at Xocomil going down the first water slide of the day


On Sunday I hung out with Lisa and Denny in their apartment and went back to NPH in the afternoon. It was a little hard to come back because it was so fun being in Xela and being with friends. I am definitely already planning my return trip in a couple weeks. I felt like this weekend I learned more about Guatemalan culture and saw a different side of Guatemala. I feel like so often people (including myself) focus on the poverty in Guatemala. Sometimes it seems like everyone must live in poverty, especially in social work this so often tends to be the focus. However, this weekend I saw some sides of Guatemala that are not often seen by the normal tourists that come through Guatemala. The water and amusement park was definitely the biggest thing that stood out to me. But we even went to a Target type place with a lot of nice stuff that would be in America. Again, so often I think everyone must buy there stuff in the markets and second-hand, but that is not the case.  Even visiting Denny’s family I saw a different side of Guatemala. They are not a poor family and they have a very nice house with nice things. They are definitely not the 1% that controls the whole country, but they are definitely a middle-upper class family. I think this is more common than a lot of people think, including myself. I feel like this weekend gave me another side of Guatemala that is not very different than America. It was a great experience for many reasons and I am excited to go back to enjoy some different Guatemalan experiences in Xela to learn more about this amazing culture.

But, for now it is back to work and there are definitely some changes happening. I will let you know with my next blog once those changes are complete. That is all for now. Adiós!