Cinco dia (martes, enero 31)
Either the rooster had synced with my sleeping schedule or I had blocked it out, the way I did the trains when I lived next to the train track for 5 years. 5:30 am rooster alarms, I can handle after a good night’s sleep. I went down to the cocina (kitchen) and made my chai tea and I managed to squeeze some yoga in before breakfast. (Mom would be pleased that I am not neglecting my health.)
Toast with marmalade and cantelope fresca for breakfast washed off with freezly squeezed jugo naranja (orange juice) and we dash off to nuestra (our) escuela.
A view down one of San Pedro’s steepest streets
My mastreo has picked a better classroom. Apparently, the teachers get to pick their classroom on a first-come-first-served basis. Antonio picked one of three classrooms on a second level with the view of the whole school yard. Me gusto esta clase (I like this class.)
I learned about numbers and verbs and some sentence construction. We went back to conversations about India, Canada and my interests. It’s hard to explain why I’ve switched or co-worked multiple careers even in English, let alone in espanol. Antonio shared that the tuk tuks in Guatemala come from India. No wonder I was puzzled by the similarity with the Indian rickshaws.
For snack we had corn tortillas stuffed with refried beans enhanced with pimiento sauce. We chat with an older student from Saskatchewan who is living with a poorer family and not the elaborate meals we luck out with.
We go home and are faced with another feast. I need to tell Alejandra, “La comida es fantastica pero simple es aceptable.” Our host responds with, “Alejandra es feliz (happy),” implying I needn’t worry. Another lesson to program into my head, “Rashmi es feliz, Rashmi es feliz.”
Laurel leaves for her weaving class. I do the daily ablution and laundry and decide to continue my studying and writing at a hippie coffee shop with free wifi. I indulge on chai and a too-sweet gluten-free brownie. I am glad to be able to upload a couple of blogs.
My chai sanctuary: Shanti Shanti
I come home and have enough time to get back to class for a special presentacion on Los calendarios Mayas.
Our teacher was keen but with just 2 days of Spanish vocabulary and no ability to switch on the subtitles, all I could gather was the Mayan calendar had 18 meses (months) and each month has 20 dias (days). Plus add 5 more segrado (sacred days) and it adds to 365. There was 2 other calendars he talked about but I was catching only one word every three sentences and these were usually un-insightful words like ‘have’ and ‘know.’ However, I got something when the maestro used the universal language of hand gestures and described how in the Mayan calendar, time is not linear but cyclical and some gifted Mayans can heal fractures. I was left with a lot of questions I had no way of asking.
I was frustrated at my progress and had to remind myself that I am working this year to cultivate more patience.
Tired from 5 hours of classes and 3 hours of studying and writing, I greet Alejandra with “Hasta Leugo.” – See you later. What the? My brain couldn’t even work out simple phrases.
Another gorgeous meal and Laurel announces she has a sentence to describe our ride into San Pedro. She reads seriously from a piece of paper, “El camino es muy dificil.” Honestly, Laurel’s demonstration of the road to our host on the first day by going around the kitchen with arms going up and down complete with sound effects like a five-year old was way more entertaining since Alejandra had noted then, “Laurel pha-neee.”
I ask when her husband Pedro will come for dinner. She tells us “Pedro mucha trabaje.” Pedro works a lot. He is a nurse that visits people at home when they have ailments. After a 7 am breakfast, he leaves to make house calls, comes for a lunch and conversation with his wife around 1 pm, back for coffee at 5 pm and then dinner at 9 pm. Pedro had worked in a government hospital until 15 years ago but found it challenging as patients were not supported by medicines because of lack of money. So he became self-employed and buys the medicines and visits his patients much like a community paramedic. If people are poor, he waives his fees. I am horrified at his long work hours and Alejandra gestures with her right index finger circling on the right side of her head, “Pedro loco.”
I file away loco especially to use with my 11-year old nephew who messed with my head the day before. We had both started working on learning Spanish around the time I visited him back in November. So we were texting back and forth using some Spanish last night. We had been on the same level more or less and now his texts were more advanced than my vocabulary and I was in escuela espanol. I was confused and started asking him how he managed to surpass me. Then suddenly it dawned on me – the nutcase was using google translate to come up with fancy sentences. (I had attributed the pauses to slow wifi!) Of course, Vehaan was tickled and finally wrote, “My asthma is acting up after laughing so hard.” And I fell for it! Well, I guess I am willing to play naive if it makes my nephew laugh.