Saturday, February 22, 2014

Peace Corps Language Courses Archive

A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Mexico has asked me to share this awesome resource.

It's a collection of text, audio, and video language-training materials for languages from all around the world, that anyone can access and use for free! Feel free to add materials if you are an RPCV and have something that isn't already on the site.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day of the Dead

Although the "Day of the Dead" is traditionally a Mexican holiday, celebrated near Halloween, it is also celebrated in Guatemala. Here, it more commonly known here by it's Catholic name, "Dia de todos los santos" ("All Saints' Day"). Most Guatemalans go to the cemetery during the day to leave flowers on their loved ones' graves, and some will eat a meal there, leaving a plate on the graves for their loved ones. 

Guatemalans also celebrate All Saint's Day by making a delicious dish called fiambre, which is a cold salad made of sliced deli meat, cheese, and vegetables, marinated overnight in a vinaigrette dressing.

Here are some pictures of the newly decorated cemetery in my town:

A mix of Guatemalan an American traditions (Guatemalans don't traditionally carve pumpkins)

Cool orange "flowers"

Cemetery in the foreground, the town where I live in the background

Notice the hole for candles near the top of the grave

Friday, September 28, 2012

Work Update

I forgot that I have a bunch of pictures of me working, here they are:

A student with a booklet with a summary of all the topics we teach.

These girls are too young to be my students but
they wanted us to take a picture of them

Using soccer to teach HIV info to teachers

Myself and another Peace Corps Volunteer leading an HIV training for teachers.

A class where students have to identify and describe one of their long-term goals

Handing out more booklets

A mural near one of the schools I work in.

At a restaurant overlooking Xela.

In a week I'll be home (to visit) for the first time in two and a half years, I'm so excited!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meat-flavored chips. Que?

Again, I haven't posted in a while, but I have made myself a promise to start taking more pictures, so hopefully there will be more blog posts soon! In the meantime, check out these chips:

There is nothing "100% natural" about meat-flavored potato chips. However, they are strangely delicious.

I assume that this is a Guatemala-unique phenomenon, or are there now steak-flavored chips in the US, too?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Life Update

I've fallen behind in blogging, mostly for lack of anything interesting (to anyone besides me) to report. I'm still working at the same job that I started in April - giving classes on sexual and reproductive health to rural, indigenous middle school students in a culturally sensitive yet informative manner - and love it as much as I though I would. I give most of my classes with a Guatemalan girl (about my age) which is so much better than working alone - first of all, her Spanish is (obviously) much better than mine, so she can fill in the blanks in my speech when I get tripped up in the middle of a sentence, plus she throws in culturally relevant details and examples which I can then copy and use in future classes. Also, it's just much more enjoyable to travel and work with another person, especially one who can crack you up by singing a ridiculous song about cows while waiting for a bus in a rainstorm and who doubles as a salsa instructor and travel buddy on nights and weekends.

I have fallen all the more in love with Xela, my adopted "site" even though I actually live about 20 minutes outside of the city. I am slowly becoming an expert on navigating it's windy, rocky streets, know almost all of the words to Xela's "national" anthem "Luna de Xelaju", and proudly sport my Xelaju soccer jersey on days when the city's team has important games (for those of you who know me well, you'll know that me giving a hoot about soccer is actually quite a big deal).

All in all, I feel that life is going very smoothly, and I feel so grateful to be in the place and with the people that I am now, both Guatemalans and Peace Corps volunteers, many of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for over two years now. I have always felt that my Peace Corps experience in Guatemala has been more of a "Posh Corps" experience, mostly devoid of the hardships that one usually associates with Peace Corps, and perhaps it is because of this that I truly believe that come next year, as one of Peace Corps' new advertising slogans says, "the hardest part is (or will be, in my case) leaving".

At the Xelaju stadium