Saturday, June 14, 2008


I just thought I would throw it out there that last weekend I ate ants. They are in some places a local delicacy that come out when the rain starts and get fried up with lemon and sugar. Don’t worry, it mostly tastes like lemon and sugar.

I also just found out on Tuesday that I don’t have school for a few weeks because of teacher trainings and mid-year break which means I have two full weeks of no plans at all. I think Melanie is coming to visit me up here in C***** and I am also planning to make my triumphant return to Alotenango sometime at the end considering I haven’t seen my host family since I left 3 months ago.

In the meantime, I went with Sara and her friends that were visiting from the states to climb Chicabal, a volcano near Xela that has a lake at the top. It was a beautiful short, uphill hike that left me exhausted but it was TOTALLY worth it. I am realizing more and more what a beautiful country this is. We got to the top and you had a view of Santa Maria, another volcano, and on the other side straight down into the lake-filled crater of Chicabal.

We also climbed down a zillion stairs to get a closer look at the lake. It is a sacred Mayan lake and they perform rituals there a lot. That means you aren’t allowed to swim there but it was completely breathtaking and totally worth the climb.

In the afternoon we went up to Fuentes Georginas, a hot springs outside of Xela and relaxed. In the evening we had the whole place to ourselves and got to make hamburgers and lay around in the warm water. It was like a giant swimmable hot tub. We stayed in the water for way too long and I have never seen my skin that pruned before. It took several hours to get my toes and fingers back to normal. It was great to just relax in such a beautiful place, especially after volcano-climbing.

So, the new plan is that I am going to relax here in C*****, make some bread, do my laundry, and watch movies for the next few days. Life is good.

Oh yes! Happy Fathers Day! Daddy, you are the best father in the whole wide world!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stuck in the mud

Today I was on my way to Xela and my bus got stuck in the mud left over from the tropical storm which cancelled school twice this week. It resulted in switching drivers to a man I waited at the bus stop with (meaning not a bus driver...). He got us unstuck after a few minutes of fishtailing and kept on driving. It turns out he is the sort of bus driver that likes to race other buses to make up we careened the rest of the way through the mountains, swerving to miss other buses and sliding down the parts of the road that are still unpaved. Needless to say, I made it, but it was one of the more exciting bus trips I have had.

I have been assured I will grow to hate the rainy season...but I am sure I will continue to enjoy how green everything is during this time of year. Yesterday Sara and I hiked up to one of the highest points around the town (an hour long uphill hike...geez...) where there is a lime (the mineral) mine and we had a view of the whole valley and it was time I will take a picture. Sara says that hikes like that make her love where we live and I agree.

What I don't live about the rainy season is the cough it gave me which I took antibiotics for which were pointless because the throat culture I rode all the way to the city to get showed that it was a virus. The antibiotics made me vulnerable to another sort of infection which I cannot get tested for yet but am taking more just-in-case-you-have-it medication for...and if that doesn't resolve it I have to come back to the city to get tested...lame.

Good news: they are paving the road to the city so it will be a lot faster/safer in the future...
Bad news: They raised the fare from Q24 round trip to Q30 round trip...Q30 is a liter and a half of beer or a giant box of cornflakes or 10 lbs of broccoli or 30 packages of other words, a lot.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sick Miller

I know some people (you know who you are) who have mastered the art of the sick person. They lie on the couch, cry out for glasses of water, and milk their pathetic infirmity for all it is worth. I myself am here to admit that I am horrible at being sick. I hate missing things, I get bored at home, I inevitably cry over something, and I don’t like to listen to myself complain.

Last weekend I was sick to my stomach. I have traced it back to the meal I ate at a comedor on Friday. Really, stomach-sickness is fairly common here. It happens to almost everyone at least once every few months. We talk to each other about things like Diarrhea in ways that I would have never even talked to my best friends about. It is a fact of Guatemalan life. Anyways, I forced myself through a birthday part on Saturday and let myself skip school on Monday to speed my recovery and by the time Tuesday rolled around I was feeling good as new.
On Tuesday, I woke up to a sore throat and a headache. I took an ibuprofen and went to school. During the day, my throat improved as my headache got progressively worse. By the time I finished lunch, I didn’t even want to move. I took the maximum amount of ibuprofen possible and tried to relax. In the evening, I scoured my room for my peace-corps issue thermometer to check for fever and it was nowhere to be found. I decided to go to my friend Gary-the-doctor’s house and borrow a thermometer (and a cup of sugar…). Temperature: negative. Ever the thorough medical professional, he looked at my throat with his doctor-light thing and kindly informed me that I had a throat infection and I should be on antibiotics. Things just kept getting better. That night, I woke up with my headache worsening and lost four hours of sleep because of it.

In the morning, I called the lovely Peace Corps medical staff who asked me to go to the city to get a throat culture. I admit I suppressed a few tired tears (I am sensitive when I am tired/sick) when I went to the health center to tell Gary-the-doctor. I hate being sick. So, with a diminished but still present headache, a took a five hour round trip bus ride to the city to spend 30 seconds at the hospital with a lady shoving a stick down my throat. The good news is, I got some migraine medication that was to make my head stop hurting.

My throat culture is still growing in the city and I am back out here. I am on antibiotics just in case it is not a virus and my head stopped hurting. I missed 75% of my school days this week due to illness, including a birthday party. I am avoiding travel this weekend just to be safe. I wish I could relish in the all-day-movies that this allows me, but I am just not a good sick person. I can say that right now I am right back at 90% and I am relieved.