Sunday, March 24, 2019

El Calcetín Rojo (The Red Sock)

I've had two teachers thus far for my Spanish studies here in Guatemala -- Cintia and Mary. Cintia did not assign homework; Mary did. I would like to share my favorite homework assignment with you.

At the end of one of my Spanish sessions, Mary wrote the following on the whiteboard:

"S/he spent an hour looking for the red sock."

My homework was to develop a story from this lead. And so that is just what I did. Later that afternoon, I sat down at my desk and flipped my brain switch to Spanish-mode. My pen began to dance across the lines on the page, spilling out ink...

that formed into words...

Thursday, February 28, 2019

No More Bitter Fruit

Within a few days of arriving in Quetzaltenango, the owner of the yoga studio, Kevin, asked me if I was familiar with bitter fruit. Hmm, bitter fruit. Like grapefruit?

Nope! Kevin was referring to bananas.

I never knew bananas could be so bitter!

Kevin then handed me a bootlegged copy of Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer. The book was lent to me with an open return date. Books about history, war, and politics typically don't hold my interest, and so I was afraid I would be returning the book -- unread -- at the end of my three months in Guatemala.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Reflections on My Year of Self-Love

Today marks the completion of my Year of Self-Love. Today I reflect on my intention to establish positive life habits that promote the well-being and happiness of my mind, body, and soul.

"Roots hold me close; wings set me free."
This drawing, which I made many moons ago,
represents my embodiment of self-love.

One month before embarking on my Year of Self-Love, I had an ultrasound to monitor the physical manifestation of a disease I've had for more than fifteen years. For the first time in those fifteen years, the ultrasound revealed numerous nodules of a concerning size and questionable constitution. I was certain this disease was attributable to unhealthy coping habits I had developed early on in my life. Given the ultrasound and awareness of my coping habits, I established the motivation for my forthcoming Year of Self-Love: to create healthier habits and to heal my body.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Keeping the Tummy Happy While Traveling

This is my tummy. And these are my hands makin' a heart 'round my belly. I love my tummy, and I love when my tummy is happy -- especially when I'm traveling.

I love when my tummy is happy -- especially when I'm traveling.

A couple of folks have asked how my stomach is holding up here in Guatemala; my last trip to a developing country didn't fare so well for my tummy.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Gettin' Into My Guatemalan Groove

I spent the first few days in Guatemala slowly getting acquainted with the rhythm of things. Now that nearly two weeks have passed, I've gotten into my Guatemalan groove.

A wandering jew grows in the courtyard where I am staying.

I'm spending three months this winter in Quetzaltenango. Also known by the Maya name Xela (pronounced "shell-ah"), the city is located 7,640 feet above sea level and is surrounded by a dramatic panorama of volcanoes. With a quarter of a million people, a majority of them indigenous, the city is the second largest in Guatemala. Xela is quite possibly the ideal Guatemalan city. As Goldilocks would say, the city is not too big and not too small; it's just right.