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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guatemalan Food

In case you are curious, here is a little about what I have eaten since being here.

I am in a homestay that provides 3 meals a day Monday-Saturday.

Breakfast:
Every day we would have 3-4 of the following fresh fruits: Watermelon (with seeds), banana, papaya, and pinapple.

Other items included rock hard toast, although the jelly was great.  Pineapple is my favorite.  Scrambled eggs, omelets with ham or hot dog, pancakes, and corn flakes.  Often black beans are served with eggs.  I can't eat them for breakfast.  I have hot tea and water.  No coffee.

Lunch:
Always seemed the biggest meal.  Often we would have soup.  Homemade, not heated up from a can.  Pasta, beef stew, and fish.  The fish is awesome. Always have water to drink.

Dinner:
Fresh veggies in a salad with no salad dressing or veggies stir fried.  One night I had a baked potato with some type of sauce (no butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper) and the other half of the plate was spinach.  At least half the time, we have no meat for dinner.  Have had fish, rice, fried plantains. Water to drink as well.  I'm often hungry after dinner so I get a snack around 4, then dinner is @ 6:30.

Resturants:
I've enjoyed eating out here, for the most part.  Sunday's we are not provided food.  French fries are the same.  I swear the ketchup seems sweeter, as do the coke products. (a can of coke is 3Q which is about $0.39)  Chicken fried wantons at the Chinese restaurant were surprisingly amazing.  It had a mango salsa.  YUMMY!!!  I did treat myself to one FANCY meal here.  I had pineapple juice to drink. My appetizer was eggplant with shrimp, mushrooms, bacon, and melted mozzarella cheese.  My meal was a BLT sandwich with chicken and avocado, along with sweet potato fries. This amazing meal costs 133Q, including tip.  Which is about $17.  This is super expensive here.  I did go to Freda's and was very disappointed in the sausage queso but the guacamole was awesome.  I've had 2 pretty good hamburgers as well.  There are tons of street venders on the weekends but I have not chanced eating any of that. 

I found a bar with a Saturday night "all you can drink single liquor" for 79Q which is like $10.

Most places include a 10% tip on the bill so I've learned to look closely.

There are no free refills and the regular is like a kids size cup

For some reason, they do not bring the check after they clear your dishes.  I always seem to have to ask.

Pink ice cream does not necessarily mean it tastes like strawberry.  Not a bad taste, but not American strawberry ice cream.

You can get ceapes made with nutella, strawberries, and banana's in almost every cafe for like $3.  They are awesome.

I have not eaten at McDonald's, Burger King, or Subway.  I have, however, eaten at Pollo Campero.  Apparently they have a few chain stores in California, but I have never eaten there either.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Antigua

Antituga has been wonderful.  I have enjoyed exploring a lot. When it rains however, there is nothing to do there than read.  I'm not complaining, as I have reread books 1-4 of harry potter since arriving.  After my first weekend, languor school had lost its appeal.  I went into the stores and restaurants and attempted to speak Spanish and yet everyone spoke English.  I had no trouble getting what I wanted.  I know that it will no be like this everywhere but, I feel like I'll survive.  

Monday was a holiday here and Spanish class was interrupted to watch a parage.  It was amazing to watch all the school kids with instruments.  Each school seemed to have a band and a beauty queen.  I will post pictures on fb.  Below are a few of my favorites.




On Tuesday, I asked my teacher to skip the verbs and lets go walk around the city.  She agreed and we went to several markets and worked on vocabulary.  I bought a purse, blanket, and hammock chair.  I do hope there is a place to put it.  It was annoying to go to the market.  Everyone wants to give you a deal.  And the actual selling price is usually half of what they first ask.  So annoying to get used to.

I went to a macadamia nut farm Tuesday afternoon.  It was interesting.  I ended up having to ride a "chicken bus." Think 20 year old school bus with 3 people per seat.  My butt bairly fit between the seats.  :)  I was warned never to get on these but I was with a few other students and a teacher from the school so, I went.  Can't say it's an experience I wish to repeat. The farm was okay.  Not as interesting as the coffee farm, but its amazing what they can do with little to no modern technology.  I got a facial using face creams made with macadamia nut oil. One of the workers asked me if I was native American because I had yellow skin.  I can honestly say that I have never been asked that before!

It rained all day Wednesday and most of Thursday.  Didn't do much but read.

I'll write another blog soon about the food and people I've met.  Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday - Day 3 in Antigua

I am totally in my element today.  Total nerd.  I will admit that the hour by hour blogs will not be the norm forever but with so many different things happening, I have no idea how to include them all.

I was awake at 5am by this annoying bird.  I put my ipod on and attempted to go back to sleep.  I got up for good at 6:30.  Got dressed, reviewed my verbs, and was ready for breakfast @ 7:15.  Breakfast was scrambled eggs with red peppers and onions and black beans that look like refried beans.  All mashed up.  A side dish of fruit was also there.  It is the same everyday so far: banana, papaya, pineapple, and watermelon.  I left for school and had class from 8-12.  I really am not gelling with my teacher.  She has no personality and I'm getting bored.  We had to take 3 breaks this morning.  I need more of an attention span.  But, I did kill her in the opposite match game :)

While at school, I got an email from Amy that my niece Kayleigh was at Schotish Rite with a broken arm and concussion.  My heart sank. I knew there was a very real possibility of stuff happening while I was away but was not expecting it on day 3.  I looked at buying her a gift basket or flowers to send but in the end, just sent her a heartfelt email.  What more can I do?  She has been released and is recovering at home.  She was horseback riding bareback and got thrown off.

I came back to my house for a lunch of soup, pork, and salad.  Then, out the door I went.  I went to the ATM to get some cash out.  Most banks have an armed guard at the entrance of the banks.  I guess to help keep everyone safe.  I then went to the super market. 

I bought an iron and blow dryer for $56!  I think that is crazy.  But, it was needed and is the only place in the city to buy it.  But, I got a 20 oz coke at the exit, and it was about $0.80.  Not that its even but really, how weird is that?  In Georgia, home of Coke, they are like $1.59 now. 

I made it home just for another 2 hours of lessons.  My afternoon teacher was Sara.  I like her alot better.  Instead of drilling me with my own flashcards, she does a question and I have to answer, using the verb and vocabulary in context. 

At 4, I left the school with another teacher to go to a presentation.  From 4:30-6pm I listen to a lady present on the Mayan calendar.  Supposedly, the Mayan calendar has reportedly "predicted" the end of the world to be December 12, 2012.  But, that is not true, according to the speaker.  The 26,000 year Mayan long calendar does run out on this date and then just starts over.  The sun will be in the center of the milky way.  (Yes, I'm a dork and don't care.)  Also, astrologically, the Mayan calendar is only off by 33 seconds!  Anyway, I listened to the presentation in english, then in Spanish.

I toldmy house mom that I would not be home for dinner so I went to a resturant very close to my house.  I had a hamburger, french fries, and 3 beers for $13!  Woo hoo!  My waiter spoke perfect English and was from Germany.  I also met 2 other patrons of the bar, a guy from Pennsylvania and a girl from Boston.  While I spoke to them only in English, I had a great time. 

So, it is now 8:45pm in Antigua and I have yet to start my homework.  But I am totally satisfied with my day.  Minus not being able to talk to Kayleigh during her traumatic experience.

Side notes: 
-I have yet to see a single person adopt the "pants on the ground" style of dress so its good to know its not spread world wide yet.
-Pineapple marmalade is awesome
-I have refused to ask what any food is until I taste it.  I ate a plantain stuffed with beans tonight.  It was great! 
-Pictures are on fb from my first 2 days and where I'm staying.
-I'm planning to book a trip to hike the volcano soon! 
-My spell check for Google is now in Spanish since I am logging in from Guatemala.  Need to figure out how to change that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First 24 hours

 
Things could not have gone better during my first 24 hours in Guatemala!  It was not perfect but nothing was too terrible.  Getting to the Atlanta airport was great.  Thanks to Amy for a ride.  When I got there, I had learned that all of my bags could have been up to 70 lbs, not just 2 but hey, it all works out.  I LOVE flying Delta Business Class.  Too bad I can never afford it with my own dime.  I sat next to a  nice gentleman who travels a lot and gave me some places to visit and was super positive.  We had mimosas as our before flight drink.  A stupid lady got up and went to the bathroom while we were taxiing to the runway so we had to stop the plane.  People can be so stupid.  Every announcement on the plane was in both English and Spanish.  We actually had an amazing lunch of steak and shrimp and chocolate cheesecake!

Once we landed, everything went exactly as Kelli had told me.  I went through immigration and then got a FREE cart to load my bags on.  They wouldn’t all fit but I made due.  People don’t wait in lines though, but I made it.  Had my bags x-rayed and 3 had to be hand searched but nothing was confiscated.  I got out of the airport and found both of the people picking me up.  I signed the paper work for my car and gave the driver from CAG 4 of my bags.  I took the other 2 with me and my driver, Julio, took me to Antigua.  It was about an hour drive.

American places I noticed on my drive: McDonalds, Wendys, Burger King, Texaco, Shell, Chuck E Cheese

As we drove by the shacks, I realized that this is not an industrialized country.  It was amazing what people live in and call home.  It instantly made me more grateful for what I have.

I arrived at my language school and was greeted by Erick, the owner. He walked me 2 doors down and took me to the house where I will be staying for the next 2 weeks.  Senora Tina is the landlady.  There are 2 other students here.  Stella is from Taiwan and has been here for 5 months already.  Amanda is from Belize and is learning Spanish in order to go to medical school. I got unpacked and had some lunch.  It was some beef, carrots, and potatoes cooked in some red sauce with rice.  I have a decent sized room with a twin bed, an amour, a dresser and a desk.  The roof is not connected so technically I have to walk outside to get to the bathroom, dinning room, and the front door.  I have my own keys that lock the bedroom door, amour and dresser. 

I attempted to take a nap but it is way too loud. So, I got up and asked one of the girls how to get to the supermarket.  Basically what we would call a super Walmart but they actually had appliances as well.  So, all alone I made my way through Antigua to the supermarket to buy some shampoo and conditioner.  I was quite proud of myself for the trip going off without a hitch.  I bought a coke light but it did not taste like diet coke.  To me, it is sweeter. 

I came back and read some on my kindle.  Then it was time for dinner.  I have no idea what I ate but it was decent enough.  Dinner conversation is suppose to be in complete Spanish so I was a little lost but they tried to include me and the other students helped translate.  It is a very warm household.

It gets dark here a lot sooner than I would have guessed.  By 7 it was pitch black.

Breakfast was toast with pineapple marmalade and fruit: pineapple, paypa, banana, and watermelon.

I have had 2 hours of my first day of Spanish lessons.  I guess they are going okay.  I’ll have a better feel for my learning speed after a few more days.

I am planning to go on an afternoon outing today with the school, however, I don’t know where it is that we are going. 

So, this is basically my first 24 hours.  I am alive and well and have not cried.  My new adventure has begun.

Love you all!!!!
Pictures will come soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Florida Vacation - countdown 10 days

I'm in the the final hours of my 17 day Florida vacation and I have enjoyed it but honestly, have not been able to really relax much.  So many "to do" items running through my head.

I made my first trip to Key West with Colleen, an old college dorm friend, and had a great time.  Did some touristy stuff and some local stuff.  We stayed with some friends of Colleen that I can now call friends of my own.  A big thanks to Johnna, Ed, and Will for being great hosts.
                                                                Sunset Cruise

I then spent a few days in Tampa with Nia and Lisa.  I was also able to visit some great friends that I have managed to stay in touch with.


I ended the trip in Indian Rocks Beach with the Caldwell's.  I babysit for them a lot and this is my third time joining them for vacation.  My patience was a little less this time.  I think it had to do with my brain always over drive. But no one died and we had a pretty great vacation.

I leave in 10 days.  It crazy to think about.  I'm still excited.  Not sure when to pure panic will set in but I truly expect it any day now.  I have triple checked and confirmed my arrival plans.  I'm going to language school in Antigua, Guatemala for the first 2 weeks but at the airport, I'll be met by two people.  My job will be getting my extra luggage and have me sign some paperwork for my car and then I'll jump in the shuttle to Antigua.  With no passport I might add.  that scares me a little bit but, I'll have a copy and try not to break any rules.

For those in Atlanta, my going away party is Friday, July 15th.  If you didn't get the email, the evite is linked to my facebook page.