Settling into Xela life.

Published: August 16th 2002
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For $125 US a number of Spanish schools in Xela will give you 5 hours of one on one tuition, a home-stay with a Guatemalan family and arranges activities for the afternoon. I booked into Sakribal a Spanish school which I had been recommended by some girls in Mexico city.

Returning from Sanajchel on Sunday afternoon I was to meet my new family. For the next 2 weeks maybe one month I would stay with them. At the school I waited to meet one of my new family. Francisco, the father of the family came to meet me on his bicycle. "Hola" followed by a lot of words in Spanish that I don't understand yet, but he was extremely friendly gave me a huge hug and welcomed me to his family. Fransico is a primary school teacher, he retires in a years time but currently teaches 47, 6 and 7 year olds every day.

Back at the house Irma the mother of the family was also really friendly, their grand daughter Rachel (Raquel) a beautiful 11 month old baby, and there sons and daughters, Pablo and Carmen.

Another student is also staying at the house, but currently he is in Tikal. Sounds a really nice guy, plays guitar and has a digital camera also, we should get on. I spent the even with most of the family around my laptop, pointing at maps and showing them photos from around the world. Irma cooks really well, she even makes beans taste really great, the place is really clean and the family friendly - I can't really ask for more.

My first morning of intensive Spanish, I met my teacher for the next week, Eddy. Eddy is cool, 29, plays a little guitar and likes many of the same bands as I do. Though he likes Bon Jovi - I told him Bon Jovi is for girls. Tomorrow, I'll take my guitar to class. Today though was letters and grammar. The little Spanish I do speak has really helped. Most of the lesson was conducted in Spanish, Eddy speaks enough English to help out when I get really stuck.

Met some of the other students, Natillie from England, Sharron from Scotland, Lisette and Chistian from Denmark, Tucker, Jason, Heather all from California.

Found time to update my journal - you're reading it now. Forgot to take the disk to the Internet café - hence now is slightly behind reality. At 3.30pm I went to the school to take another Salsa lesson. I hope to impress the ladies in Cuba at some point. Danced with two German girls, Eva and Michelle, the guy Jerone who teaches the lessons is really good, makes the whole thing seem easy. Had Eva spinning by the end of this lesson. Met Gordan also from California.

Well tonight will be a visit to the Internet café to post this and tea with my new family. Not as crazy as my trip so far but completely different, a new chapter, chapter four.

Another couple of days have passed till I write this. Right now its the August 15th. I have had three days of intensive Spanish lessons from Eddy. I´m getting on really well with him. Yesterday we chatted about music for a hour or so, we like a lot of the same bands, many 80's British groups such as "Duran Duran". Today we chatted about the history of England the bits I know and in return Eddy told me all about the history of Guatemala, mostly about the "vain war". Between 1956 and 1999 a civil war was fought between the US backed government (they'd kicked out the popular government of Guzman in 56) and the rebels. Basically due to American coroporate interests. The pope was instrumental in bringing the conflict to an end - part of the reason he is so revered in this part of the world.

The family I stay with are still great. At one point they left me entirely alone playing with the baby (she's nearly 11 months not 2 months - mistranslation earlier) - but they watched from the over room without my knowledge - came back laughing.

I have had two more Salsa lessons, am getting better everyday have actually managed to spin girls without tripping them, which is an improvement. Dance with a brazillian nun, had no idea she was a nun, she kept pulling away - and I was trying to tell her that this is the pose for dancing... but she speaks no English, I very little Spanish. She was so bad at dancing I wouldn't be suprised if that was the first ever time she had danced with a guy.

I plan to stay at least two weeks here but may extend this to a month as I make more friends and get to know the area - at the weekends I plan to take trips out to some of the ruins and interesting places.


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