This is the first of what I hope will be many entries about my adventure in Guatemala. Thank you for all your support and interest in what is going on here with me! I (obviously) arrived safely in Guatemala after two days of orientation in Washington D.C. Orientation (also called staging) was great and I have met a lot of really wonderful people so far. One of the guys here used to live in D.C. so he took us sightseeing and my roommate, Jan, is really cool. She is in her 50s and really adventurous and down to earth. I am glad we got paired together, she was a great encouragement to me.
It has also been a rough week saying goodbye to everyone. I am a little bit homesick and I am missing all of my friends and family a lot. I made some phone calls during our layover in Miami yesterday and it was really tough. I know it will get better over time though.
So here I am at the Peace Corps training center in Santa Lucia de Milpas Altas. We got here yesterday afternoon and have had several training sessions and spent time getting to know each other a little better. I also had my Spanish interview today (I was muy nerviosa!) and it went alright. They will be grouping us in training communities according to job and Spanish level for the remaining 3 months of training. This means we will have on-site small group sessions and lots of hands on experience which I am looking forward to. I also found out that the Peace Corps office is moving from Guatemala City to here so my address will be changing already (sorry!) but not worries, they are keeping the other address open for awhile so don't quit writing me letters! I need them!
My host family during these 3 days at the training center is at a lady's house who is called Dona Marleny. She has two beautiful children named Maria Jose (7) and Carlos Manuel (2). They are really cute and very smart. Jan and I are staying there together and she has been really welcoming. My Spanish allows me to communicate fairly clearing but I am still pretty shy. Dona Marleny says it is good but she may just be being polite. Last night she made us spaghetti and pancakes this morning which were delicious (althought not so traditional) but it smells like they are cooking something really great here at the training center for lunch.
The scenery is beautiful. The montains are all around us (it is 7000 feet here) and all of the hills are really green. We can also see three volcanoes from here and the rumor is that you can sometimes see lava there! Also, they have been having some small earthquakes this week which I hear is pretty normal for this region.
Other than that, there is not much happening yet. On Saturday we will be sent to our training communities and I will have an idea of what life will be like for the next 11 weeks. I am a little anxious about it but everyone here is kind of in the same boat so it helps a lot and there is a lot of support. All the staff are really open to us and ready to help wherever needed. They want us to succeed and they don't want anyone going home so it helps.
Well, lunch is being served outside and I think I am due for some vaccinations (fun!) so I have to sign off. Write to me, I miss you!
Muchos gracias y te amo!