Thursday, 21 October 2010

Indecisions, indecisions....

I am currently in Xela, or rather Quetzaltenango, in Guatemala and have been here for almost 2 weeks enjoying the freezing cold weather and a lovely cough-inducing cold...

Although the above is true (well, except for the enjoyement part), this is a cool place. Quite a big city, the 2nd biggest in Guatemala after Guaté (or Guatemala City), it's beautifully placed with mountains and volcanoes surrounding the city in every direction. And the school I'm in is really cool with good direction (I really like one of the 2 directors, named Jocelyn, an GB girl who's been living in Xela for 4 years, but who is only 30 years old and always with a great big smile and cheerful attitude), and nice coordinator, and my main Spanish teacher, Susan (yep, they like to give American names to kids here) is really super nice!

The family stay is also working out well. The mother of the family is nice, cooks well, and

Friday, 15 October 2010

Too tired for real blog entries, so here's a super quick update

A normal day of mine in Xela, Guatemala since I arrived on Saturday, or scrap that, since I started school on Monday, looks something like this:
- Wake up at 6h30 by myself (still on Cuba time? because this is so not me!)
- Spanish from 8am to 1pm (5h!!!! but usually goes past fast when I have classes with my fun teacher Susan, however today and tomorrow I had another teacher, and counted the time and felt for the first time that 'I hate Spanish'...)
- 1h for checking emails and getting home for lunch
- Cuddles, diaper changes, kisses, breaking up fights, cuddles, cuddles and cuddles with 'my' 9 children from 2pm to 6pm - there are 3 babies and 6 kids from the ages of 3 to 6 including one autistic who acts much like a baby - and yep, quite often I am alone with them....
- home, washing my hands a few times (just a bit paranoid), short cuddles with the kitty, dinner, and then about 1h of reading before dying in bed at 9h15 pm....

So fairly different from a normal day in Geneva, or even in Cuba, but good, albeit exhausting. Getting a bit better though as I am recovering from a cold probably due to the extreme weather change going from 35 degrees with around 80% humidity where a cold night meant I could wear jeans and a t-shirt with my flip flops, to here in Xela where a really hot day means I can wear jeans and a t-shirt with closed shoes if I stay in the sun.... Around 5 degrees at night and no isolation or heating in the houses, although the worst is in the school where it gets really cold in the mornings. A bit warmer during the days, but still rather cold.

And just an hour and a half from here, down by the coast in the South, the climate is supposed to be like in Cuba!! The reason? Well, Xela is at 2'300m altitude so really up in the mountains, hence the sun is very strong when it does shine.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

I'm in freaking Central America!!!

Cuba has felt somewhat like a fairly bizarre vacation in a beautiful country with a lot of nice people, and some very very exhausting people, loads of other tourists, a bizarre two-currency system that it has been fun to play with seeing how far I could survive using only MN (national pesos), a lack of many of the products one would expect to find in supermarkets, although most products can be found if one has the money, a country of contrasts between those who have access to CUC, and those who have not, between the country side and the cities, between rich and poor, although this of course goes completely against what the revolution was supposed to stand for.

But it has felt like a vacation that I for some reason decide to go on by myself, perhaps because Nuno had to work. It has rarely felt like the beginning of a year of travelling, of experiencing many different places and cultures. And those few times when I have realised that I have actually left for a year, it has mostly been with a feeling of sadness and nostalgia.