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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008


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Hello everyone,

Michael said we should write about what the life of one of our host families is like, so I am Rosita.

My name is Rosita Santiago. I am one of several siblings (ten actually) and live in a house near the Sak Nik restaurant where my sister works. My sister-in-law and my brother own the place. As you can see, my life has been somewhat- shared by my other siblings. I´ve only got one sister that is younger than me (kaylie) but am now surrounded by loads of grandchildren as well. I haven´t seen much in my life, but occasionally I go to other towns to have some fun when my parents let me.

Yesterday, I went for a walk with my gringa homestay sister Jessie. She needed to get some medicine from her leaders at the hotel which is about .5 a kilo away. We were walking and she was talking in majorly butchered Spanish, but it was just fun to walk and talk. We walked so far that we passed the hotel by .5 a kilometer, and made it all the way to San Andres. Anyways, we stopped and she bought me and herself some water at one of the few open tiendas (it was 9 at night!). She and I visited Emily, a girl from her group, because she needed to pay her back for something or another. Then, we made it to the hotel, where she finally got her medicine. We walked all the way back to the hotel, and then she got dressed and went to bed.

Yesterday was seemingly uneventful, but that walk was pretty fun. Well, gotta go get ready for escuela. Adios.

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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San Jose

Jessie Serrino,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Hello everyone, Michael said we should write about what the life of one of our host families is like, so I am Rosita. My name is Rosita Santiago. I am one of several siblings (ten actually) and live in a house near the Sak Nik restaurant where my sister works. My sister-in-law and my brother […]

Posted On

07/17/08

Author

Jessie Serrino

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Yesterday, we took a boat ride across the Lago Peten Itza from Flores to San Jose, the site of our homestays and Spanish lessons this week. It´s a quiet little town nestled up against the water, and as we pulled up to the shore, we could all feel the excitement and relief of finding a place to settle into for a few days after some long travel days.

Being in the Peten is much like being in a different country. The difference between here and highlands is palpable: the heat pervades, the air feels heavier on our skin, there´s an ease and openness and bustle. Even many Guatemalans feel like there´s a whole different thing going on up here. Women don´t generally wear traje, and the men (for better or worse) are much more vocal. The change from the misty mountains to the tropical heat of the lowland jungle has been striking, but I´m sure our bodies will adjust to this new environment in a few days.

The students have settled into their new set of homestays, and they´re already marking the differences. For one, the families here are more used to having foreign students than in Pachaj and this brings obvious advantages and disadvantages. We told them last night that just because they´re not the first to stay with a family doesn´t mean that they can´t make it a truly unique and special experience. Indeed, these kids are such stars that I have no doubt the families in San Jose will be talking about them for a while.

Internet access is pretty limited in San Jose, but we´ll try to get a post up later in the week. We´ll be with families all week, and we´ll take a day trip up to the spectacular ruins of Tikal on Saturday. We´ll update with next week´s itinerary this weekend.

It´s hard to believe, but yesterday marked the mid-point of our course. We stood on the beach in our now solid circle and talked about the importance of maintaining our team. The students have done a beautiful job of taking ownership and responsibility of the trip, and they´re functioning well as a group. Over the next couple of weeks, we hope to help them find ways to more fully explore themselves and to even more deeply immerse themselves with humility and compassion into the diverse cultures of Guatemala. It was a good opportunity for us all to remember why we´re here and to remind ourselves of the commitments and goals we made a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks again to all of you for your support. Without that feeling, we wouldn´t be able to get quite as far as we try to.

Hasta pronto...

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Settling in to San Jose

The Instructor Team,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Yesterday, we took a boat ride across the Lago Peten Itza from Flores to San Jose, the site of our homestays and Spanish lessons this week. It´s a quiet little town nestled up against the water, and as we pulled up to the shore, we could all feel the excitement and relief of finding a […]

Posted On

07/14/08

Author

The Instructor Team

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We are currently in a town called Flores in the Peten. The town is very pretty and heavily touristed. The group loves it here and wants to return after our 5 day homestay in San Jose along the river in the Peten. We traveled for several days going from city to town to city staying for one night and taking a van to our next location. The transport people have been doing an amazing job getting us from place to place with great deals.

We left Nebaj for Uspantan as the rain was beating down on the windows of our van. From Uspantan we went to Coban where we have a delicious breakfast and then left for Saxayche. We stayed the night and went on an hour and a half boat ride to the jungle to see some Mayan Ruins. Although the mosquitos were flying all around us and annoyed us all the ruins were interesting, although upsettingly the ¨guide¨ did not know much.

We leave for our homestays today and we are all excited to live with another family in a totally different part of Guatemala. The climate, landscape, and atmosphere of the Peten is very different from the Highlands where we were. During the drive from Nebaj to Flores, where we are now, we saw the changing landscapes as the trees became palm trees and the air outside was getting sticky and humid. The roads were no longer twisting around mountains but rather flat and much more comfortable to drive on. The rides were long and cramped as we stuck 27 people into a 16 person van, and however uncomfortable and humid we all look back on the experience and have a great laugh.

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Traveling

Hanna Lee,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

We are currently in a town called Flores in the Peten. The town is very pretty and heavily touristed. The group loves it here and wants to return after our 5 day homestay in San Jose along the river in the Peten. We traveled for several days going from city to town to city staying […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Hanna Lee

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After 2 long days of travel, and a rocky experience involving lots of mosquitos in the jungle, arriving yesterday on the island of Flores was refreshing, and shed light on the very clear cultural differences within Guatemala. Although without a doubt the most picture perfect place we´ve been, Flores is tourist central and a traveler hang out. There is no one wearing traditional Traje clothing, and there are dozens of hotels, hostiles, restaurants and stores. This is nothing like the rest of Guatemala we are starting to learn about, but it has been nice not to be the only foreigner walking down the street, and to find some American security in an ice cream cone. We are learning to live like travelers, something I am not accustomed to; in a matter of days we went from Nebaj, to Xix, back to Nebaj, to Uspantan, to Coban, to Sayaxche and now to this beachy little island, and in a few hours we will be back on the road (actually water) to San Jose where will begin our next homestay. We have all been responsible for respective roles, leaders, transport, chef, camel (water boy or girl) which change every 2 days and figuring out how to bargin for a better bus deal, or find room for 15 at a different hostile every night has been difficult, but no doubt rewarding and something that is useful to carry on in our future travel experiences. It will be nice today to settle into one place for a few days, and meet our new families and teachers, and it will be exciting after that to get back on the road and finish our adventure however way we choose. I am enjoying the radical culture shocks and very tropical weather (only a week ago we were wearing fleeces and warm hats) and I can´t wait to see what else there is to find.

nora

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Flores

Nora Casper,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

After 2 long days of travel, and a rocky experience involving lots of mosquitos in the jungle, arriving yesterday on the island of Flores was refreshing, and shed light on the very clear cultural differences within Guatemala. Although without a doubt the most picture perfect place we´ve been, Flores is tourist central and a traveler […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Nora Casper

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After leaving Nebaj, the place of my last Yak Yak, we decided to go to a small community called Xix (Pr. Sheesh). We hiked a couple of hours to get there through beautiful mountains and lots of mud, and these amazingly colored banks of clay , which were purple, pink, yellow, orange, red and white, and were totally surreal. In Xix we stayed at this gorgeous boarding school, where they take kids from all around Guatemala who wouldn´t otherwise have a chance at an education. After we left there, we started a whirlwind couple of days, filled with lots of travel and different places everynight. We went to Uspantan, chilled there for a night, then went to Coban and then to Sayexche and chilled there for a night and then we came to Flores, this beautiful, beautiful colorful island that is known as a " traveler´s hangout", and is quite touristy, but so nice and so clean and fun. We had an afternoon here, and we went swimming, sipped smoothies and just hung out.

This morning we leave for our next homestays, in San Jose, where we´ll be right next to the best beach on the lake for swimming. Since we´ve moved north from Nebaj, it´s gone from cold and rainy to hot and humid. Yesterday morning we went to these Mayan ruins way in the jungle, which was super dramatic and beautiful and cool, but the mosquitos were overwhelming! They were everywhere, and it was so hot and so sweaty and it was kind of hard to appreciate the ruins when we were so uncomfortable.

I hope my next homestay family is nice. I´m sure they will be. I´m having a really good time, and homesickness is basically a thing of the past. Love you all, India

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Over Halfway!

India Em erick,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

After leaving Nebaj, the place of my last Yak Yak, we decided to go to a small community called Xix (Pr. Sheesh). We hiked a couple of hours to get there through beautiful mountains and lots of mud, and these amazingly colored banks of clay , which were purple, pink, yellow, orange, red and white, […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

India Em erick

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Hi All,

We have had a wonderful trip from the highlands to the low ones. The students have worked together to get us here. The have proved to be amazing travelers. We have had good hotels, transport, and food the whole way. They have surpassed our expectations, they work so well together. They are great. We are headed to homestays in San Jose today. The students are excited and nervous.

I hope all is well at home . We are half way through, can you believe it?

Rebecca, Adelaide, and Michael

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Jungle Notes

Instructor Team,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Hi All, We have had a wonderful trip from the highlands to the low ones. The students have worked together to get us here. The have proved to be amazing travelers. We have had good hotels, transport, and food the whole way. They have surpassed our expectations, they work so well together. They are great. […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Instructor Team

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the past few days have been very hectic and fast to say the least. As the first ten days of the trip moved extremely slow i began to catch myself askin ¨a whole month here? well, the past few days have been extremely different. we went from day ten to the halfway point in what seems like five minutes all. of this travel after pachaj has been so hectic, uncomfortable, and most of all, it feels like real guatemala. the switch from the highlands to the lowlands has been a wet, humid change. i like the change because i can now physically feel that we are traveling thoughout guatemala instead of just looking at a map and seeing the difference, i can feel it. we have been in so many places and hotels in the past few days its hard to soak up my month in guatemala. i am glad that we have this upcoming homestay week for an opportunity to absorb the world around me. until then, guatemala is going great and has exceeded all of my expectations.

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Post number 3

Dillon DuBois,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

the past few days have been very hectic and fast to say the least. As the first ten days of the trip moved extremely slow i began to catch myself askin ¨a whole month here? well, the past few days have been extremely different. we went from day ten to the halfway point in what […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

Dillon DuBois

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    [post_content] => so the past few days have been pretty busy.  we've gone from the village of XiX (sheesh) back to Nebaj, and then to Usbantan, then to Coban, then to Sayaxche, and now im here in Flores, which is an island in the middle of a large lake.  yesterday morning we took a boat ride down a river through the jungle to some mayan ruins , which was amazing.  the ruins themselves were not that impressive, because although it was a really large site, only 2 or 3 of the ruins had been excavated.  more interesting was just being in the jungle.  its really amazing, all of the trees and sounds.  a lot of people had a terrible time because of how bad the mosquitos were but they actually didnt bother me at all and i had a great time.  after tha we took a mini bus ride to Flores.  the ride was really funny because they happened to have a working cd player so we put on the beatles and bob marley and everyone that wasnt in our group looked really confused. this town is perhaps one of my favorite places in guatemala so far.  the town is beautiful and yesterday we went swimming in the lake, which was fun.  there is also this really cool place called los amigos, where we hung out and got nachos and gigantic glasses of homemade hibiscus iced tea, which was really good.  im having a lot of fun.  just hanging out with people i  like and exploring a cool place is better to me than a home stay or spanish lessons.  speaking of which, we go to our new homestay families today so im sorta nervous about that but not too much.  also, im not very homesick, but i am mos def missing the food.  guatemala does not have a terribly good variety of native dishes.  im sick of rice and beans and tortillas.  other than that, im having a great time and im going to try and put some photos on here so i hope that works
    [post_title] => already half way over
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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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already half way over

sam anderson,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

so the past few days have been pretty busy. we’ve gone from the village of XiX (sheesh) back to Nebaj, and then to Usbantan, then to Coban, then to Sayaxche, and now im here in Flores, which is an island in the middle of a large lake. yesterday morning we took a boat ride down […]

Posted On

07/13/08

Author

sam anderson

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    [post_date] => 2008-07-12 00:00:00
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Well, heres a quick update.

We left Uspantan to go to Coban then Sayache the next day (haha, that RHYMES). Lets just say that traveling conditions in between these locations was less than pleasant. From Uspantan to Coban, we managed to spend half the time on an unpaved road, an entire hour and a half packed into what would be considered an already full van. However, during a period of time during the bumpy ride, I just sat to myself and smiled. This was the epitome of Guatemala. A bunch of people packed into a van for 3 hours while our regular breakfast (in this case prebreakfast because we had to get up early) of peanut butter and bananas was passed around. A pleasant brunch, followed by a stressful scrounge to find another ride to Sayache. I was particularly stressed out, because I had the duty of transport. Then, we found a ride with the guys we had turned away before, managing to fit , no exaggeration I counted, 26 into a van for a 4 hour ride (its a bit shocking considering it only intended to fit 15). After a night in Sayache, we woke up a little early and went to the Mayan ruins in Ceibal. Then, we got some ice cream (yay) and went to Flores. I went swimming, and just took a shower. I honestly don´t think I could have had a better day here though. I LOVE the feeling of being clean, after several days of that not being the case. Not to mention, swimming conditions were perfect. A bit slimy at the bottom, but warm and just extremely relaxing.

Yeah, I feel awesome right now. And Michael says its time to go.

Hooray,

Jessie

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Flores

Jessie Serrino,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Well, heres a quick update. We left Uspantan to go to Coban then Sayache the next day (haha, that RHYMES). Lets just say that traveling conditions in between these locations was less than pleasant. From Uspantan to Coban, we managed to spend half the time on an unpaved road, an entire hour and a half […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Jessie Serrino

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-07-12 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Yes, Yes, Yes! Finally it feels like summer. Summer is my favorite season of all and when I found out that we were in the rainy season, I have to admit, I was pretty upset. But now it is hot and we get to wear shorts , it´s great. I also am more of a jungle person instead of a mountain person. So seeing the flat land and the plam trees was amazing! Today we got bit alive by the misquetos is the jungle on the way to see some small ruins. But we had to walk threw the jungle where i felt like I was in the Disney movie Tarzan. Nora and I , when walking back to the boat we spread out in the middle of everyone so no one was in sight. I said that if we got lost I was going to change my name to Jane, make a leapord skin dress to wear and live in a tree house. It was really funny. We have home stays tomorrow for a week, I hope that they are a lot of fun. We´ll see.

Sabrina

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Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

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Change in Season

Sabrina Hansen,Guatemala 4-week, Group "B", Summer 2008

Description

Yes, Yes, Yes! Finally it feels like summer. Summer is my favorite season of all and when I found out that we were in the rainy season, I have to admit, I was pretty upset. But now it is hot and we get to wear shorts , it´s great. I also am more of a […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Sabrina Hansen

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