June already and 3.5 weeks have passed since my arrival in Guatemala. My Spanish I feel is still marginal and I’m a bit frustrated by the school. Perhaps my standards are high and I want too much from my teachers, but the quality of teaching from my past two maestros just hasn’t been what I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong … the two young University-educated teachers I’ve had have been extremely nice, but I think that I’m a bit more needy when it comes to both the conversational Spanish I hanker and my needs and desires for wanting to improve — I’m finding that there are way too many breaks and interruptions for my liking which hampers the flow of my speaking and learning. I’m not sure if this is consistent with or common in all the Spanish schools here in Guatemala? Perhaps I’m a bit slow when it comes to learning and REMEMBERING a new language? Or perhaps I’m too demanding in my native way? These are always possibilities :). Regardless of my abilities and perceptions, I’m going to give Juan Sissay one more week of my carefully guarded time and $, asking for a different teacher to see how my language progression and training goes.
My desire to stay in Xela for at least another week is in part because I truly love both my current homestay and my rigorous daily walking routine, and partly because the indigenous culture here in Xela is more prevalent than the small touristy town of San Pedro (my next planned for stop in learning learn Spanish before I start work at the orphanage). I was incredibly inspired this past weekend and can see myself spending the next 3 weeks after Xela there!
At this moment in time I want to experience life in a warmer climate and right by a beautiful lake. Today is spent studying … I have a HUGE listing of irregular and reflexive verbs to learn for an test tomorrow morning.
Egads … where am I going to be in my spoke language ability in a months time when I need to start my volunteer project?? I truly hope that my Spanish is at a level that is consistent with the needs of NPH and my volunteer position. I gave my word to NPH and all I can do is my best. We’ll see where it goes from there, come July?!
I just had an afternoon snack — chocolate soymilk from the Mennonite Bakeshop … it’s so wonderful to share the interesting treats I find in town with my housemother Remelia and then try to explain what they are ‘en espanol’! She had never tasted soymilk before and the look of surprise on her face when she drank it was priceless. The people of Guatemala are very poor and to enjoy the luxury of fresh milk or cheese and whole bread is a real treat. Nice to give back, even in a small way, for all that they give to me, and more.