The fact that I am going to be in Central America for 157 more days is starting to sink in.
I’m not suffering from crippling bouts of homesickness, nor am I battling the urge to shut out Antigua and hide in my room, nor am I frustrated that everyone speaks Spanish.
But adjusting to a new culture isn’t entirely puppies and sunshine and sparkles, either.
Want to know what my unedited life feels like right now?
I am listening to a few particular songs on repeat (well, I don’t know if that’s a coping mechanism or just a sign of poorly developed taste). Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9NF2edxy-M, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rsD4orsMFw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIOOwhmkoLo, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMGh3Ts5-WQ, and you will basically know the entirety of my music selection recently.
I have been dreaming nearly every night about people back home. I know you can’t really control what you dream about. It’s still disconcerting to wake up and realize that no, even though I feel like I spent a few hours hanging out with them, I haven’t actually talked to that person since Christmas break or interim or whenever. This isn’t unusual for me; my dreams are almost always populated by my friends. But it throws me off, because then for the rest of the day, I will be caught off guard by thoughts of my friends back home rather than integrating fully into interactions with my friends and environment here.
I managed to make it 16 days in Guatemala without stomach problems. But for the last three days, I haven’t really kept anything in my system, I don’t think. It’s hard to tell. I don’t feel hungry, and I haven’t been dizzy or weak. So that is a good sign. Water has not been a priority for me recently, so I need to make it a priority. This bug frustrates me, because every time I do not eat, I feel fine. Great. Chipper. And then, about half an hour after I ingest anything, suffice it to say that whatever nutrients I have consumed leave my body quickly. But I never expect it, because I always feel fine when I haven’t eaten. Sigh.
I have an overwhelming desire to cook a chicken curry. Probably because it’s the last meal I cooked before I left. Don’t get me wrong: I love the food here. Chuchitos, frijoles, queso fresco, plátanos fritos, aguacate, refresco… so good. But it’s not home. And apparently chicken curry means home to me. I’d also settle for venison stew, chili, a hamburger patty with ketchup and avocado and a glass of milk, a Royal Grounds monster cookie, or some good old biscuits and sausage gravy (this last one is one of those unfortunate gluten cravings that never leaves, apparently even when I am 2800 miles away). But now I’ve gone and started thinking about food. A group of us is meeting at the fountain in the Parque at 9, and we’re going out to a restaurant for breakfast. Jolly good times will be had.
1. That I would recover from whatever little nastiness is churning in my stomach.
2. That the other people on the trip will remain healthy (or get healthy, because there are a few who are sick).
3. That we would all be physically protected; I haven’t seen anything too creepy, but I’ve seen enough creepy here and been warned enough that I know there’s unpleasant stuff that happens in Antigua. Muggings, robbery, rape, identity theft… while some are preferable to others, I’d really prefer to avoid entanglement with any criminal activity, and I’m sure the rest of my group would resonate with that statement.
4. That we would all learn Spanish very quickly. I say “learn” because I’m realizing very rapidly that while I may think at times that I speak Spanish, I really don’t. When people speak slowly, catering to me, I understand perfectly and can hold a sophisticated conversation. But when people speak normally, I feel like I was dropped on my head one too many times as a child. I know the rest of the group is struggling with this as well.
¡Que le vaya bien!