Saturday, May 06, 2006

Updates, etc. v.1

At Home
When I walked outside my door yesterday morning, there was a herd of goats! RIGHT THERE!! Not down the street or across the street, AT MY DOOR. That was so surreal. I love this place.

I am struggling a bit with balancing social activities and studying. I turned down going out with the girls the other night so I could study. I feel a lot of pressure to learn spanish, so I feel like I need to really focus these first couple of weeks. I am wishing now that I could be here for longer. I take 7 hours per day of spanish classes and do homework and that leaves weekends to be social and travel outside of Antigua. When I begin teaching I will have to be planning lessons in the evening.

I am grateful that Violeta and Rafael speak slowly in Spanish. They are used to hosting students by now, so I'm sure that is something they are used to doing. They are very patient with my stumbling around in their language.

Building Construction
I asked Lorena about the building construction here. Her husband is a metal fabricator. Everything looks like it is concrete but she said that its CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit for those non-architects) with concrete or stucco-type finish. (She didn´t know the word in english.) The roofs (as far as I can tell from my bedroom ceiling) are wooden beams about 48" O.C. (+/-) with rafters ripped to a very shallow slope with corrugated (usually rusty) metal on top. If you are lucky like me, you get a translucent ¨skylight¨for a portion of your roof. I was assured many many times when I arrived that the house I am staying in is very ¨safe¨- with all the earthquakes, that is.

Today, Sabado
This morning I went to the market to buy some more shirts. I brought with me about six and I realized that that wasn't enough. I also needed to get some workout clothes....I got three poorly made, K-mart quality tees for Q75 or about US$10. I actually had a hard time finding things that were "Hecho en Guatemala" especially at the boutiques, which is ok because the clothes there are muy caro! I did get some pretty cute workout pants at one of the boutiques though... for about US$25, ¨hecho en¨ U.S.A.

This morning, I walked by a barber shop with the lights off. Daytime electricity is very expensive in Guatemala, but of all the places to save some money....

This afternoon I joined the local gimnasio. My pants are tight and my arms are flabby and this is not ok with me. It was about half the price of my gym in Portland and it is about 3 blocks from my house. It seems just like an American gym- same equipment and everything, only nobody speaks english and they blare spanish music. I can´t wait to get back on the elliptical!!!

My friend Joanna and I found out last night that Buena Vista Social Club plays here every week. Apparently they live here in Antigua. I love them!! If you haven't heard of this band, go to iTunes right now and download some of their stuff. Next Friday!!

I have booked a trip to Lago de Atitlan (Atitlan Lake) for tomorrow. It's only a day trip, but it will be good to get away. If you can, you shoudl look up this lake. It is gorgeous. Adios!


At 4:29 PM, May 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicole, Hi there, sweets! It's fun reading about your exciting day to day there. Sounds like an amazing adventure. THinking of you and wishing you all the best on your journey! xo-suzanne

At 4:33 PM, May 06, 2006, Anonymous Suzanne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:33 PM, May 06, 2006, Anonymous Suzanne said...

Me again...sorry about the redundant comments. So, I've figured out how to use this now and it won't happen again. -suz

At 4:35 PM, May 06, 2006, Anonymous suzanne said...

.....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sorry!

At 3:41 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger nicole said...

No worries! Thanks for reading! How's the wedding planning coming along?


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