Saturday, February 17, 2007

Guatemala #5- Wow, two months goes by fast!

So, it's now been officially almost two months since I last wrote...that's very hard to believe! It's still difficult to summarize, and I have a whole list of things to write about. We´ll see if I can actually do it!

I finished my three months of language study on Feb. 16th, which has several implications. One, that I don't get constant help and reinforcement with my Spanish anymore. However, I'm feeling pretty confident, as well as finally getting some fluency in my speaking ability. I find Spanish words coming to me more and more often when I'm trying to speak English, which is a really good sign. Two, it means I'll have a whole lot more time, but a whole lot more responsibility and actual work to do. Three, it means that I'm moving closer and closer to being really settled here; I know how to get around, how to speak the language, and it's feeling like I'm here long term. (which is good because I will be here relatively long term) We'll be looking at apartments soon for me to live in...which is exciting as well! Four, it means that I've been here for about 3 1/2 months which is very hard to believe. If I was here for a study abroad program...I would pretty much be done! You get such a different perspective, or it’s such a different feeling, when the time period is years and not months. I still feel like I’m beginning, and to think that these three months could have been my whole time here is very strange.

I moved in with a new host family at the beginning of February. I was living in Zone 6 of the city, now I’m in Zone 7 Mixco, which is actually not part of the actual capital city. Mixco is another municipality right together by the city. The neighborhood is called La Brigada, and there is also a Mennonite church there. I moved to the new family to get to know this neighborhood, after having spent 2 ½ months in Zone 6.

Many of you have been asking how music and teaching has been going. Really, I haven't done any teaching yet! We've been planning, and trying to imagine what will work best. I'm working with a young woman who is a member of one of the local Mennonite churches here. Her name is Isabel, and she's a music teacher, just starting out teaching. (as am I!) So that's been fun to get to know her. What we're working on is a plan for how to use the resources we have in the best way to be able to open opportunities to study music (theory, instruments and singing) to people from the 9 different Mennonite churches BUT in a way that's sustainable, open to participation from each of the 9 churches, organized and of good quality. I'm feeling fairly young and inexperienced, but there's nothing I can do about that but get some experience by doing this! We've been doing lots of planning and we're hoping it will bring some good fruit. There are a lot of excited people, very interested in learning music, which is one of the biggest positive things, and one of the biggest challenges (to live up to expectations).

I’m hoping I can get some pictures up in the next week…pictures really add a lot to blogs, I’m noticing. Another entry is coming relatively soon, which has some (hopefully interesting) observations about life in Guatemala.

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