Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kamikaze Pig Farm

Well, I am back in Guatemala, and the month of January is quickly coming to an end. As promised, the end-of-the-month blog post his here for all to read and enjoy. You will notice a few changes I made to the style in which I summarize the past month… if you were an avid “Guat’s up” reader last year, that is.

In A Nutshell…

To put everything that has happened to me in the past month in a “nutshell” would require a rather large nut. The first half of the month I spent in Canada, enjoying the short time I had to spend with friends and family. I had a very wonderful, relaxing time at home, and witnessed a complete Canadian winter (ice storm, huge blizzard, and meltdown) all in the span of three weeks. Also, my good friend Ian Roth got married to my good cousin Tamara Martin. I was the best man, which of course made the wedding more exciting for everybody. I could write a lot more on these things. I could write about how I got to play hockey, did not go snowboarding, spent time with my girlfriend, and gave my brother the gift of leaving his presents on his birthday (usually I take them). But since this blog is called “Guat’s Up” and not “Canuck’s Up” or something witty like that, I will jump right to the day I arrived in Guatemala.

On Monday, January 13th, my parents and I left for the Buffalo airport at about 8:30 AM. We arrived in good time, and I breezed through security and made it Atlanta without any problems. Before boarding the plane for Guatemala, I ate one last meal… at McDonalds, of course. On the flight from Atlanta to Guatemala, I sat in the emergency exit row, and there was no seat in the row in front of me. No one was in the seat beside me, but a fairly grumpy lady was sitting in the aisle seat of my row. She put her carry-on under the seat in front of her and it extended into the region under the seat next to it, where I had my backpack. She asked me if it was all right if she took up a bit of space under the middle seat. I responded with, “Yes, that’s fine.” She then said, “Well it better be… you’ve got all the leg room you want.” I’m glad I didn’t say “no.” Thankfully, I was able to “overcome rudeness with good” when she couldn’t get her headphones to work for the movie and I kindly helped her.

I landed in Guatemala at 8:30. Galen and Craig picked me up and headed straight for the bus station. Steve Steckly and I traveled to El Chal that night. I arrived in El Chal the next morning in time for day two of a little teachers institute thing that was held at the school in El Chal. I struggled to stay awake during most of the sessions. It wasn’t because they were boring… they were just too Spanish, and I was just too tired. We played soccer during one of the recesses and Douglas made sure that I was aware of how much my skill level had decreased. He kept making comments about the snow that was still in my shoes. The following day went a little better. I was more awake and I got more out of the sessions. It was that day (Wednesday, January 15th) that I realized that school started in exactly one week. I knew before I left for Canada that I was going to be the homeroom teacher in grade seven this year, but being back in Guatemala made it seem more real… and scary. The following week went by really quickly. It was filled up with things like making “Bienvenidos” posters, moving desks around, painting, and getting used to Guatemala again.
It mean's "Welcome"
My Classroom

On the morning of the first day of school, I was feeling slightly nervous. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had never been a homeroom teacher before, and certainly not a Spanish-speaking homeroom teacher. And then it was 8:00 and my twelve students filed into the classroom. They all sat down and looked at me like I was in charge or something. That is when I remembered, “Oh yeah… I AM in charge!” So I welcomed them all to another year of school. I asked them to tell the rest of the class their names. Then I tried to say all their names back to them. I didn’t get them all right, but I do know all of them now. And that was pretty much how my experience of being a homeroom teacher started. So far, I have really enjoyed it. The kids I teach really seem to be enjoying school as well. I know that I still have a lot to learn, and there might even be times when I say to myself, “Why am I teaching? I’m not a teacher!” But I think I am going to enjoy this year.
A typical scene at school

Another new thing in my life is my new brother. Samuel Molina is teaching third grade this year, and he is living at the mission house with the rest of us. It’s always nice to have another guy my age around. He is a year older than me, but a bit shorter than me, so I call him my “hermanito grande.”


>>Riding with Steve Steckly to El Chal. That guy makes me laugh. Plus, I didn’t sleep through my stop in El Chal this time.
>>Iced coffee for desert. It was good, and it reminded me of Tim Hortons. Not that I’d remember or anything… I didn’t actually drink any iced caps or iced coffees while I was home because it was too cold.
>>Being a part of “Las Grandes Ligas.” Douglas likes to tell me that I’m in the “Big Leagues” now. It’s quite an honour, really.

Not So Highlights…

>>Spike finally killing a pig. Since I’ve lived in Guatemala, pigs have frequently entered the mission grounds and have barely escaped the wrath of our watchdog. One day however, a little pig entered and didn’t get out alive. The owner of the pig soon showed up wanting money for the pig that our dog killed. There were different opinions on if we should pay the full price or not. I mean, the pig came into our yard and the dog was just doing what he was trained to do. I guess the key is take responsibility but not give the owner so much that he starts sending his pigs through the fence on suicide missions. The last thing you want is a kamikaze pig farm across the street.  
>>Marshmallow slingshot.  Dylan got a new slingshot and I had the brilliant idea that we could use marshmallows instead of rocks and have a war. This was out of the question of course, because that would be a waste of perfectly good food. One evening however, Dylan and I finally convinced Lucinda to let us try it, but only one, and only if it was aimed at Spike. I was curious to see if a marshmallow would actually fly. Dylan tried shooting it, but it wasn’t working very well. The marshmallows were actually flying backwards. I was pretty sure that I could do better, so I gave it a try. I aimed at Spike and let it fly. It was heading right for spike, but veered off to the left and hit Lucinda. That was the end of the marshmallow war.

>>Chi- Hubener. I was explaining to my class that here at this school, we don’t use nicknames. We call people by their real names. Hubener then raised his hand. “Sí, Chi- uh… Hubener?” Whoops.

Top 5 Quotes…

“When the soccer ball is square, Guatemala will qualify for the World Cup.” – Marvin (Sounds about like Canada’s soccer team)

“I could say something, but it would sound too much like Tricia.” – Dylan

“My buddy used to tell me that I made my eggs so raw that if you’d put a Band-Aid on one of them it would cluck and walk away.” – Kenneth

“It almost makes me want to do a load of laundry.” – Lucinda (On a sunny Sunday morning when the previous week and been dreary. She is a great house mom)

“His name is Durrell and I don’t like him.” – Jeffrey (After I asked him who his new friend was)

WOW from Ricky…

>>I think that a good, balanced diet is pancakes for breakfast, tamales for lunch, and hamburgers for supper... And eat a grapefruit at about 3:00.

>>One should not use the snooze button if the “Snooze” and “Dismiss” buttons are very close together.

>>Everyone should have to learn a new language at least once in their life.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" …even learn the words to "In Christ Alone"

More to Add…

Well, that is all for now. I hope that you were able to deal with the slightly revised style. “WOW” stands for “Words of Wisdom.” And just because the “Highlights” section is shorter than the “Not so highlights” section, it does not mean that I had a bad month. The “Not so highlights” are just more fun to write about. Have a great Febrero, people! Remember me in your prayers as I continue to teach.

1 comment:

  1. I love surprise blogs when I wake up in the morning :) I especially liked the marshmallow story :)