Saturday, April 27, 2013

party or war zone?

Here in Antigua I haven't quite gotten used to the celebratory atmosphere that parades not only the streets, but sky. I have learned that the people of Antigua have much to be celebratory about, yet I'm not always so sure what it is that they are celebrating. Almost every morning I startle awake by the sound of bombs being shot into the sky, starting as early as 5am; and of course at night many more bombs explode over head. Occasionally, I will even hear them during the day. As in right now. I asked my host family and teacher, "por que los bombos?"and all they say is "San Jaun Pedro", (or someone's name). I'm assuming this guy is an important figure in the Catholic church because all of the bombs are shot from within the church walls. There are about 9 churches in the town, two of which are right around the corner from my house. I'm pretty sure after the bombs erupt, debris falls on the tin roof at my house, which creates another surprising sound.
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow there is a parade that will flood the streets around the down town park. This parade is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a school here in Antigua. It is complete with 5 different bands, important men in the church, important graduates from the school, and the children of all grades who currently attend the school. The parade was neat to watch, here are some pictures:

my teacher's daughter above and bellow:

My teacher's son:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Café Urbano

With an urban twist to a latin city, this café plays well into its name;
Café Urbano is rather small, but they offer much when it comes to service. I would have to say this a favorite café if I'm missing home. Contemporary music accompanied by English speaking owners, and the taste of home as well with B.L.T sandwiches and the best kind of fries. I dig the burlap seat covers and hanging pallets that add to the atmosphere of a café in the states.

Friday, April 19, 2013


So I have told you a little about Francisco, but I want to tell you more.
This man is my professor outside of school. My confidant. My friend away from friends. I cherish my time with him. We have begun to meet in the park at 5pm on occasions; a complete hour of talking about life. Well mostly his 60 years of living. He explained to me today, that this past December marked the 23rd anniversary of being alcohol free. He was alcoholic for 10 or so years of his life until he attended AA. During AA the told him he had to stop smoking too. He smoked for 15 years of his life. I also learned this past week that Francisco is a realtor, has two daughters and a son, a bunch of grandchildren, and is a widower. He is a sweet and kind old man. I'm thankful to of met him.

He told me I need to give him a copy of this picture and write on the back, "Francisco's friend Corny" :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

mi casa

I cannot believe I have yet to post about my house here in Antigua!
Well, mi casa is very cute. And the family that resides within the structure is extremely nice and have welcomed me with open arms! I don't live there alone. There are two other students attending my school who are renting rooms. Tim, from Pennsylvania on the journey of a lifetime with his motorcycle. He has traveled from Alaska and will continue on to the tip of central America. My other house mate is Kaiko, a girl from Japan who has come to learn Spanish and live here for two years working with an organization. Two people who have stepped out to explore the world. It amazes me.
Here are some pictures. I'll hopefully post more pictures with my host family.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

La Casaca

Heard about this café from some of the D.R. staff on their journey to study Spanish a year ago.
Located across from the central park, squeezed next to a bakery and restaurant, this skinny café makes up for the width, with hight. Towering over its competitors with a third story over looking the park, this rustic café has crepes that are told to be heavenly. I of course went for the chai. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Café Barista

today I wanted to visit a café that I had been hearing about amongst the students at school. Located on the corner of the square at the central park, layered in brick and inviting open windows; the place draws many tourists as well as locals. 
I was drawn to the word CHAI on their menu.
Chai Frap it was. And I must say it is one of the best I have had. 
I will gladly spend the Q.25 for a taste of deliciousness!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Café Tú Piña

I admire the quaint town of Antigua. The rich culture and worn streets. Buildings that have endured much longer than those that accompany them. How family and friends greet with a holy kiss. And of course the restaurants and cafés that beckon one to relax and savor not only food, but an atmosphere of laugher and love.

As this month transpires, my desire is to visit the various cafés, post a picture or two and tell a few words about what I tasted during my time spent within the walls.
I hope you enjoy reading as much as my taste buds will enjoy the adventure.

Here is a café not too far from home:
Café tú Piña. I am a frequent visitor and enjoy the friendly service. A woman from Norway works alongside a few younger Guatemalans. Their salads and sandwiches are a delight!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

una semana

Its been one week since I've arrived and tomorrow will mark one week of school completed! That's about 25 hours of school thus far. 75 more hours to go.
This week has gone by fairly fast and I feel like it will only go by faster. I am very much enjoying my time here in Antigua. The city is beautiful and I have been fascinated by the doors as well as all the cafes. Pictures soon to follow.

My professor's name is Maria, and she is the sweetest most talkative lady! I enjoy the hours spent with her. We talk about everything. Well she does most of the talking while I add a sentence or two here and there. I'm getting very good at understanding and translating what she says... my speaking however, still needs work. I'm excited to see my progress at the end of the month because I can already see the progress and knowledge I've gained in this month alone.

Well pictures of my adventures to come this weekend!

Monday, April 8, 2013

three cultures. one table

who would have thought I would be in Guatemala with 6 Americans and one Japanese student, sitting down for a Japanese dinner in a Spanish school. well not me of course because I am still baffled that it occurred last night.
The conversation held its weight in Spanish as well as English, and few spoken words in Japanese. It was incredible. As I sat in awe of what was taking place I was reminded of my time in the D.R., and the boundaries that were broken. How the same boundaries are being broken here. I'm not only speaking about the language barrier, but my walls. I'm forced out of my comfort zone. It's refreshing.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

mi amigo

well I met my first friend. Francisco. An older man, possibly in his 50's or 60's today at the park.

I searched for an empty spot on a bench at the park; which is rare during the afternoon, but there is was, occupied by the sun. A completely empty bench. Knowing how Dominicans feel about the sun, I figured it was probably safe to say Guatemalans feel the same. Stay away. Light skin is something to be adored, so the less exposure to the sun, the better. I on the other hand, desire to be dark, so the bench beckoned me closer. I sat alone for a few minutes, thinking no one would sit next to me in the sun. But I was wrong. An older gentleman approached the bench and asked if he could sit next to me, I happily obliged. He asked me my name, and responded with his. Francisco. He asked where I am from, what I am doing there, if I like Antigua. All of which I know how to respond. Telling from his body language I gathered that he wanted to speak more. So I quickly told him, I understand a lot more Spanish then I can speak. He smiled and told me that I can practice with him anytime. The sweetest gesture. He then proceeded to tell me about the history of Antigua, the churches built, and the buildings that fell during an earth quake (I think). He asked a few more questions, of which I was able to answer briefly. I explained that I was a teacher back in the states, and he told me about the school system in Antigua. He then told me he had to go and that it was nice to of met me, I said the same. He said that I was his new friend Corney, (they cannot pronounce the T, which reminds me of my nephew and being in the D.R.). He told me to call him my friend Francisco. Through a hand shake he gave me kiss on each cheek and went on his way.

I loved the candidness of our conversation. The way he allowed me to speak the little Spanish I know. How he corrected me with gentleness. And how he greeted and left the conversation with kindness.
So thankful for my small interaction with Francisco. I hope to see him again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Antigua, Guatemala

Decided to adventure a little off of the known path this morning. Here is want caught my eye. The doors on every building are beautiful. Intrigued to explore what might be behind the beauty.

Friday, April 5, 2013

small world

I walked out of the airport and some guy was holding a piece of paper with my name on it. He grabbed one of my bags and we got in his beat up car. (right out of a scary movie and what you should not do in a foreign country) but I trusted that God had me in his hands. we drove an hour and talked to one another occasionally through my poor spanish and his broken English. I arrived at my house at about 8pm. The lady of the house, man and daughter greeted me and showed me my room and the bathroom. The lady asked if I was hungry, and then told me what time breakfast, lunch and dinner was the next day. the house is super cute. kinda like a villa of sorts with a small open court yard in the middle. when I woke up I met Kiko, the other girl staying and going to school, she is from Japan. how crazy! we ate breakfast and then walked to the school. I met a team from Bethel studying abroad and working with Students International here in Antigua. I paid for my first week of classes today and checked out the school. Went home and had lunch. took a nap during siesta of course. then decided to adventure out by myself. The only place I now the route to is the school, so thats where I ended up.
I'm happy here. I find myself smiling, just because. 
So thankful for this adventure.