June 30: The past couple of days have been really great.
Spanish Classes: Learning one-on-one with a tutor is great. I try to share some of what I’ve done the previous afternoon with Rosa Maria at the beginning of our time together. It helps me practice, and it is fun to recount my adventures en espanol. For any of you who might be interested in learning more about the school, it is called Centro Linguistico Maya (CLM).
Salsa Lessons: This was a lot of fun, even though none of us were all that graceful! The instructor was very patient, and it was great to laugh and hang out with some of the other students. We pushed couches and tables to the sides of a big room on the main floor of CLM. Lessons are offered every Wednesday, and I could probably go every week and still not have the rhythm and flow of our teacher!
|Salsa lessons. Our teacher is in green.|
Finca de Macadamia: CLM offers excursions every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Today we went to a Macadamia nut farm. I got the Okay to ask Haley and Miles, and so they came along, too. We piled into a school bus and traveled around 15 miles south of Antigua. It was fun to see a little of the countryside.
It was interesting to see the very low-tech but effective ways of harvesting those delicious nuts the farm used. We got to sample the nuts, roasted & salted, as well as in chocolate. Yum!
|Macadamia nut sorter. Several students from Japan |
are at CLM.
We found out that there are ten varieties of macadamia nut, but only two are consumed. We also learned that Guatemala is the fourth largest exporter in the world.
|Valhalla Macadamia Nut Farm|
Oscar: After the farm, Haley, Miles and I decided to explore some more of Antigua. We headed to the center of town and visited La Cathedral. This was first built in the 1500’s, but has survived several earthquakes. The area currently being used for worship is one very small part of the entire complex. Most of it is filled with broken columns and domes.
As we were walking around, a small man walked up and began to talk with us in excellent English. He asked us if we wanted to see the most important parts of the cathedral. We kind of looked at each other and decided Yes. Oscar was Mayan, and very proud of his heritage. He spent close to an hour showing us around, pointing out the various parts of the ruins. One of the most fascinating things was to go down into the catacombs under the building.
|l-r: Me, Miles, Haley en La Catedral.|
Here there were the remains of an underground chapel area, with two additional rooms, one to the left, and one to the right. Important people of the Mayan Catholic faith had been buried on the left, of the Spanish Catholic faith on the right. Why separately? I asked. Oscar explained that it was because of the conflict and animosity between the two.
|In the catacombs. Notice the 'Mayan Eyes'.|
Just this morning I was reading in John 17, where Jesus prays to His Father that believers would be one so that the world would know He had sent Him. How sad to think that even in death the disunity was so great that believers of different backgrounds would not be buried near each other!
Uno: First of all, let me just say again how thankful I am for my two new housemates. Not only are they both super cool and fun, but they are both Christ-followers. What a gift to be able to share our stories of how God has been at work in our lives. I feel so blessed by these two new friends in Christ.
|Oscar y yo by the fountain in El Parque Central.|
After dinner tonight we invited Dona Cristi to play Uno with us. We could tell she was interested, but was also hesitant because of the language barrier. Haley found the instructions, and they were in English and Spanish! My old housemates had told me that the dining room table was off-limits except at mealtime. Dona Cristi asked us if we wanted to use the table to play!
We played a round with our cards face-up to help show her how to play. It was so great to be sitting there attempting to explain the rules, seeing her laugh and enjoy herself with us. When we finished she wanted to go to bed, but asked us if we would play again tomorrow night. I think we all felt really good about that. She is such a dear, and it’s been great to sense her warming up to us.
Now, I’d best get to my homework! Yesterday I had to write out 15 sentences, tonight 20. Until next time, Dios te bendiga!