View of Xela from the school roof.
I woke up to the sound of the eternally barking dog outside my window, wondering for a moment where on earth I was. I checked my cheap plastic travel watch and it read 6:50 am. The sun had yet to light up my bedroom and I was exhausted after a fitful night’s sleep. I tossed and turned, continually stuffed in my ear plugs and cranked my white noise up yet nothing seemed to help drown out the symphony of noise from the Guatemalan city life. Unfortunately I’ve always been a light sleeper which got worse after I became a mother. I swear I sleep with one eye open, listening throughout the darkness of the night for someone to call my name.
My first day at Spanish school was in a little over an hour and I was so tired I had no idea how I’d function, let alone function in another language which I hardly understood. When I turned off my white noise the sounds of a bustling kitchen filled the room. I inhaled the delightful aroma of fresh Guatemalan cooking. Breakfast would not be long.
I slowly cracked opened the door and shyly peered outside. My room for the week was right next to the kitchen and the family-shared bathroom. I was still in my PJs in an unfamiliar house with unfamiliar people. I wasn’t ready to go tramping out the door in plain view of my Guatemalan hosts! That I reserve for only close friends!
When the coast was clear I made a run for the bathroom and brushed my teeth in a glass of purified water. There was no way I was going to risk getting another parasite like I did in Costa Rica! Thus I took every precaution given to me by the travel clinic seriously. I avoided fresh fruits and vegetables. Did not drink the water, and brushed my teeth as well only with the bottled stuff. I flipped on the strange looking shower and got ready to jump in, thinking how good it will feel to wash my hair after a long day of travel. Maybe the hot water would even wake me up and make me feel better! I needed any kind of pick me up to start my day in another tongue.