Sunday, May 5, 2019

Introducing Shirley Too & Her New Dynamo

Sometimes the best things come in cardboard boxes. And sometimes a delay in opening those cardboard boxes makes the contents even more appreciated.

There was a long wait to get my hands
on the contents of this cardboard box.

What's inside, what's inside, what's inside, you ask? Be patient, my friend! First, some backstory...

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Reflections on My Guatemala Trip

I spent two and a half months in Guatemala earlier this year. It was supposed to be three months, but for various reasons, including the fact that I wasn't enamored with the country, I came home early. Of the twenty-four countries I've visited thus far, Guatemala ranks near the very bottom. Here's what I enjoyed and didn't enjoy about my time in Guatemala.

What I Enjoyed About My Time in Guatemala


A Little Earthquake Excitement


Located on the Ring of Fire, Guatemala is prone to earthquakes. During the first week of class, we had an earthquake that hit 6.6 on the richer scale. I was impressed to see how quickly and safely the locals responded. At the same time, it was an eye-opener for me to realize just how vulnerable I would have been, as a traveler, had the earthquake been more significant. From then on, I expanded my supply of extra food and water.

Immediately after the earthquake,
my teacher's Facebook feed was bombarded with quake-related posts.

In my remaining time in Guatemala, I was hyper-sensitive to anything that resembled a quake. I awoke on March 8th at 2:50am in the morning, thinking we might be experiencing another tremor. As I lay in bed, eyes wide awake, I tried to muster up the energy to head out to the safe zone in the courtyard. Just as I sat up and swung my feet onto the floor, I heard what sounded like heavy breathing. This was no earthquake -- the "tremors" were from my neighbors upstairs enjoying a little mid-night love makin'. Geez, Louise!


Friday, May 3, 2019

A Photo Journal: My Time in Guatemala

Here are some of my favorite photos from my time in Guatemala:

The market offerings were colorful, made more so by the dilapidated.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Bout of B - O - R - E - D - O - M

Many have asked: So, how was your Spanish study in Guatemala?

Here is the short answer: While I bettered my Spanish a bit, I bettered my understanding of myself a whole bunch of bits.

Before providing the long answer, I would first like for you to envision a spectrum. At one of end of the spectrum is flow. Flow exists when one is completely absorbed in what they are doing. Indications of flow include a deep sense of concentration, total immersion in an experience, and loss of the sense of time.

What it Feels Like to Be in Flow.
Adaptation from the "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
Pinterest Pin by Alexius Chua 

Flow is where people are the happiest. Popularized by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow exists when the level of skill matches the level of challenge in which that skill is utilized. As the time in flow lengthens, skill typically increases and challenge typically decreases. When this happens, we either push ourselves to stretch our skills or develop new challenges for using these skills. Being in the state of flow thus often leads to growth and discovery -- both cyclically fulfilling developments.

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...