Monday, July 18, 2011

Any Given Sunday

I can’t sleep. I got into bed, watched Airplane, played a few, alright, a dozen hands of vacation solitaire on my Nokia phone, even brought my guitar into bed and strummed away until my fingers began to sting.

For the past few months the Holy Bible has been my cure for the occasional nighttime bout of insomnia. Tonight, I’d rather not pick it up; too much bloodshed, burnt offerings and judgement for this rainy evening. To clarify, I am reading the Old Testament, figured it’s the one I should start with. I’ve found it to be a very depressing read. My heart sinks a little bit every time a city is burned and its inhabitants, men, women and children, are all slaughtered. Where is the love? I want to skip to that chapter. So, this eve, the good book has been kept shut and placed on my lap where it is kindly propping up my computer as I type away.

I really haven’t thought this post through yet, so I guess I’ll just tell you about my day. Woke up, did a little 30-day shred exercise sesh with Jillian Michaels, showered and brought a load of laundry to Mirna’s house. They bought a washing machine in January and have let me do a few loads in exchange for explaining to them how to operate the appliance. Try explaining the “hand wash” cycle to a Guatemalan housewife that bought the apparatus precisely so that she wouldn’t have to hand wash. Not easy. Ever since they got the washer, I’ve been alternating between hand and machine washing. If I have calculated it properly, and don’t have any major stain mishaps, this will have been the last day I will have to do my laundry in Guatemala. Next week, I’ll be home for my brother’s wedding (yay! can’t wait- Yosemite here we come.) When I get back to Guatemala on the 3rd, I’ll have 14 days remaining as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I definitely have enough clothes and undies to keep me fresh for those last two weeks. It may seem strange that I am divulging this information, but you must realize that, aside from the produce section at Whole Foods, the washer and dryer are the material things I miss most about the States. My last wash was a big deal.

It was quarter to 1:00 when I had all my clothes hung up on the line to dry. Time to watch the Women’s World Cup final. I don’t own a TV so I went over to Fernando and Seño Lili’s house to watch the match. The sound of sportscasters calling the game filtered through open doors and windows as I made my way through the dirt streets to their house. I couldn’t help but think, “there are probably more Guatemalans watching this game than Americans.” I hope I was wrong. When I got to the house Mattihus was in the living room, with remote in hand, switching between the USA v. Japan women's game and Brazil v. Paraguay men's match. I took a seat on the couch and started watching but quickly became frustrated by the constant channel changing. Before the first half was over I decided to depart and watch the game at my next door neighbor Flor’s house. It seemed more fitting to watch the Women’s World Cup with a fellow woman, anyway. I made it to her house, invited myself in and plopped down on the end of her bed. "Bed?" you may ask. Yes, Flor, like most Guatemalans, doesn't own a couch. Her TV is in her bedroom so we watch it from her bed. I watched the match while she spent the next 20 minutes putting on make-up. I asked if she was getting ready to pasear (go out), but, she said, “No”. Maybe it is just her daily routine.

I’ll go ahead and fast forward 130 minutes to me, with fly swatter in hand, taking out my frustration with the US’s loss on the mosquitos in my shower stall. After I had killed all the skeeters I could find, I let off more steam by washing dirty dishes. It turned out to be a very productive afternoon.

At 4pm I made my way over to El Rinconcito de Mario, the town restaurant next door to Seño Maritza’s house. There the preschool was celebrating “Dia de la Familia” (Family Day). Maritza had asked me to stop by and play a song on my guitar for the kids and their parents. Before I got my guitar out, though, I was called on stage to participate in a dance competition. Side note: I’ve garnered some local fame for the Shakira dance moves I displayed in a dance competition at Brenda’s baby shower. I won that competition, and today’s as well. Guatemalans love watching a white girl dance. The prize was a red cylindrical plastic container.

Directly following the dance-off, I was called on stage to perform with my guitar. I dar-ed (gave) a few palabras (words) before I played. I thanked all those present for their hospitality over the past two years and for being my Guatemalan family. I got a little choked up, this "saying good-bye" thing isn’t going to get any easier. I also took the opportunity to make it be known that it was the first time I had ever played for a crowd, along with a pre-performance apology for singing in English. It went all-right. I messed up the lyrics a few times but it didn’t matter much because no one knew what I was saying anyway. They were a very forgiving audience. I guess I couldn’t have been all that bad because they did ask for an encore performance.

At 7pm I was back at home, made dinner, dilly-dallied, got into bed, watched Airplane, played a few, alright, a dozen, hands of vacation solitaire on my Nokia phone, even brought my guitar into bed and strummed away until my fingers began to sting...


  1. You are amazing! I love reading your posts about your adventures, even the ordinary days. It's so hard to believe that your time there is just about UP! I am so glad we met you when we were there. I know you brightened Barrett's time in the PC. Have fun at the wedding and in your last days in Guatemala.
    Gay Bumpas

  2. "red cylindrical plastic container" = a cup. You have been gone a while!

  3. This is a really wonderful picture of what day to day life is like here: mundane, strange, and exciting. Thanks for sharing, and best of luck.

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