Sunday, 25 August 2013

"Don't Tell Jeff."

Bus adventures, helping Jeff move, Stephan’s returning, and more all packed into one perfect blog post for you to read.

In A Nutshell…

On the day that my family flew out of Guatemala, I hopped on a bus from the city and headed back to El Chal. I sat beside a guy my age named Axel. We talked a little bit about life and he practiced his English on me. I didn’t sleep very well for most of the ride home, but at about 10:20 PM, 20 or 30 minutes away from El Chal, I fell asleep, and slept quite soundly until we were ten minutes on the other side of El Chal. Waking up and realizing that I’d slept through my stop was not exactly a pleasant feeling, especially since it was now 11:00 and dark and no more busses were going to be leaving from Santa Elena (about half an hour past El Chal) until 3:30 AM. I ended up riding all the way to Santa Elena and waking up Neil and making him come pick me up. I felt pretty bad, and I don’t think I’ll be making that mistake again anytime too soon.

On Monday of the following week, I went to El Naranjo to help Jeff and Crystal Yoder move. I traveled via microbus, which turns a normally three and a half hour trip into a five-hour trip, but it’s cheap and kind of fun. Up until Monday, I had never before purchased socks from someone through the window of a microbus. When Jeff had asked me to help him move a couple weeks prior, I was picturing loading a bunch of boxes into a truck and then unloading them later in a different location. We did do some of that, but he also wanted me to do some odd jobs around his new place like installing a door here, a shelf there, and putting up a fence for the dog. Anyone that knows me fairly well knows that I’m not much of a handyman. How else does a guy go to Guatemala to be a VS boy and ends up being an English teacher? I like to blame it on my Martin genes. Thankfully, Craig was also there, and he seems to know everything about everything, so he was able to do all the really complicated jobs. When I first arrived at Jeff’s place on Monday evening, Craig was under Jeff’s truck, fixing the brakes or something. I said, “Craig! Good to see you! I didn’t know you were a mechanic.” “I’m not,” he replied, “…don’t tell Jeff.” I wasn’t sure if he meant don’t tell Jeff that he’s not a mechanic or that he’s under Jeff’s truck again, so I didn’t address the matter at all when I talked to Jeff. Despite my lack of handyman skills, I was glad that I got the opportunity to help out for a few days. On Wednesday evening of that week, while we were at a church service in Santa Rosita, the little house Craig and I were sleeping in on Jeff’s old property was broken into. We think that we got back to the house as when the thieves were still there because all the contents of my backpack were on the floor and there were tools from another room in my backpack... but my backpack was still there. Unfortunately, they had enough time to steal Craig’s camera. It was a slightly unpleasant but good reminder that I shouldn’t be too attached to my stuff, because it really could go away at anytime.

My friend that greeted me in the shower
On the Sunday that I returned to El Chal, José Benito came from San Bartolomé to preach for us. Lee Burkholder, a VS boy who is now living in San Bartolomé as well, came along. It was nice to hang out with a gringo my age again for a change. On Sunday evening I got him to help me with a children’s meeting up at the front of the church. We did a lesson on greed, and the kids really seemed to like it. I think maybe even some of the adults liked it. I played the role of “Ricky Martin, hombre un poco famoso” in the skit, and not to brag or anything, but I think I played it pretty well.

On Monday of the following week, Judy left for the United States to go to her Grandpa’s funeral. I helped substitute some of her classes, such as math, music, and study hall. Teaching someone how to find the cube of a binomial is hard enough in English, I think. I’m pretty sure the Segundo Basico class was happy to have their real teacher back after the week was over. Another exciting thing that happened in that week was the return of Stephan and Brenda! It is definitely good to have them around again. A month and a half ago, when they left, Jasmine was just starting to walk. Now she can pretty much run! Jeffery’s hair is longer, and Stephan’s a little wider, but Brenda didn’t change at all. Due to the little vacation that the house family took this past week, I was able to get in on some of Brenda’s cooking again. That was a real treat. I especially like “food” days.

On Friday of this past week, the school had an 8th Anniversary celebration. All of the students came dressed up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were teachers, doctors, nurses, soccer players, detectives, and even a tour guide. All of the boys that came dressed as soccer players were either Barcelona or Real Madrid. It’s almost as if those to teams are the only teams that exist around here. My favourite part of the assembly was when Douglas had the students at the front and asked them questions about their future occupation. Jeffery, although he’s not in school yet, got in on the fun as well, and was dressed up as a fireman. He even had a walkie-talkie with him to call other firemen in times of desperation. It was a great event for all ages. 

This is a random picture of "Spike" our watch dog. He's a really good watch dog because he sleeps during the day and parks at night. 
Top 5 Highlights…

>>Helping out at Jeff’s. Although I’m not much of a handyman, it was still a lot of fun helping out.
>>Teachers vs. Basico Boys soccer match. This past Friday we had a soccer match to see who was better between the male teachers or the boys from grades seven and eight. The teachers won 10-0.
>>Picnic at Benj’s hill. One evening we had a youth picnic at the hill where benj is building his new house. It’s a perfect place for a picnic.

…at the picnic
>>Studying English with Lucio. Estamos ganando con Inglés.
>>Playing tennis with some random guys in Santa Elena. I was in Santa Elena one day with Kevin, Chito, and Stephan. Kevin, Chito, and I went to the tennis court to play tennis, but there were some guys using it. Just before we had to leave they gave me a chance to play with them. It was fun.

Top 5 Quotes…

“When my wife and I got married, we decided that I’d make all the big decisions, and she’d make all the little ones. Well, we’ve been married for four years now, and we’ve only had to make two big decisions.” – anonymous

“You know, I don’t think this Old Spice is ‘Peten’ proof.” – Craig

“Yeah, we had a nearly fatal accident earlier today. Nobody was close to dying or anything like that… but I backed into our washing machine.” – Jeff

“Are you kidding? Go and talk to her? I can’t even talk to girls in English!” – anonymous

“One should always write down good quotes right after they’ve been said. Otherwise, it’s hard to remember five good ones when ‘blog time’ rolls around.” – Ricky Martin

Spanish Vocabulary…

Zorro (SOH rroh) – it means “fox”

Memory tool: You know that “Zorro” guy that goes around wearing a black cape and mask? He kind of reminds me of a fox.

Fun Facts…

>>Everyone around here either cheers for Real Madrid or Barcelona, and the smart ones cheer for Barcelona.

>>If you run over a chicken while driving, you are supposed to stop and pay the owner for the chicken… they name the price.

>>There is a belief here that when a moth flies into your house, someone close to you is going to die… or something like that.

>>One can balance two glass coke bottles on each other.

Pretty cool, eh?
More to Add…

Next week we are going to have a Central American teachers institute here in El Chal. I’m going to be running the snack shop. Free Oreos for anyone who comes from Canada to visit me this week!