Update–Salem

Today is another hostel day. We work from 7am to 8pm on Saturdays. You would think we would hate going to work on Saturdays, but we both really like it. We love meeting new people and we get to hear about different places in Guatemala and around the world. We have a very nice older lady from Toronto staying at the hostel and we spent about 30 minutes talking to her yesterday. We’ll probably talk to her more today. Our job is to make the hostel feel like home and make our guests feel comfortable, and most of you know Loren likes to talk, so he’s a natural!

Yesterday our co-worker Sofi asked if I could teach her some English. She doesn’t think her English is very good, but it really is. She has been working at the hostel for eight years and has to talk to English-speakers every day, but she’s trying to speak English correctly. She is very dedicated to learning, too. She has five books that she learns from at home and she took classes last month. We’re doing an exchange on Friday afternoons where she will help me with Spanish and I will help her with English. It’s a pretty nice set-up, because that makes lessons free and all either of us really needs is practice in conversation. The funny thing is that we both have problems with the past tense. In Spanish there are two past tenses, so I have trouble deciding which to use. In English the past tense has the most irregular verbs (the rule is to add –ed to the end of a word, but we have ate, ran, was, had, left, met, etc.) Every Friday (or maybe every day that I’m there) we’re going to ask the other person to describe what they did the day before. The nice thing is that Sofi will correct me if I ‘m wrong, because most people just laugh or act like I said the right thing. I really want to improve, so she is helping me a lot even though we have only had one lesson.

In the meantime we are trying to fill the last 25 or so days that we have left. Sometimes it feels like we have so much time and sometimes it feels like we don’t have enough. The girls at the hostel are trying to find some discounted trips to Tikal for us, since the lowest price we have is $225 per person. Sometimes it’s great to work at a hostel! We’re also applying for jobs in the US and in Guatemala. Yes, we’re already thinking about coming back. A few days before we got here, and even the first days that we were here, I kept thinking, “What did I get myself into?” I had read all the warnings about Guatemala and I was afraid there would be someone around every corner who was out to get me. Now I realize that although Antigua is not completely safe, neither is any other city in the world. I’m definitely more comfortable here and would like more time to explore the area and the rest of Central America, too. Maybe we can visit Costa Rica again, since our last trip was pretty horrible. So we’re going to apply to the school I’m teaching at now and also a new American school that is planning on opening in the fall. People here keep telling us we should open our own school, but we think we should probably have some teaching experiences first.

If we do end up moving to Guatemala, we want you all to visit! It might seem like a huge trip, but Guatemala is a very inexpensive country for Americans. Restaurants are about $5 per person, hotels run from about $5 per night to $100 per night (ours is $7 for dorm beds and $10 for a private room). There’s also a lot of non-profits that you can volunteer with and the church we’ve been going to hosts a lot of mission groups. The flight runs about $500, but you can stay for a week and only spend $100 if you really wanted to.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the last few days here:

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Our landlord made us cookies!

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Loren on his way to work.

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Kinder all ready for Olympics at school.

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National Anthem time!

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Lighting the Olympic torch.

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Watching the pre-primary performances

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Some of my girls

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This one was sick all week, so she didn’t get to perform, but she got to watch with me!

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Friends

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Walking back to class

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She was being “Miss Salem.”

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Silly kid

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Me and Lia

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Birthday party time!

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Scooby doo cupcake holder!

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Cake mustache

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G.I. Joe party favors

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Our landlord’s cake oven… where the magic happens!

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