Monday, April 2, 2012

Lovin' this lovin' ♥

Hi everyone

Someone donated a bag of toys to the unit!!! Yipee.
Friday was a really long day at work. Afterwards all I really wanted was some peace and quiet!! We got home and had a really nice lunch outside with all of staff to say goodbye to Dona Mari (the cook) because it was officially her last day. It was so emotional because she has been around since the program had started and everyone was sad to see her leave (especially her). She has served 1,311 volunteers since she has been the cook. How awesome is that?!

After lunch I took a long nap and chilled out for the afternoon. Our plans to leave town and head to the beach ended up not working out. Everything is so packed and booked due to most everyone having the week off for Semana Santa. So, we said oh well and I got to take the afternoon off to do absolutely nothing but nap, shower, watch a movie and eat. :) It was nice.

Later that night after dinner we decided we wanted to go see The Hunger Games at the VIP theatre... because we really wanted to see what the VIP theatre was like. It had been storming most of the afternoon and it ended up being really difficult to get a taxi because the radio wasn't working. Nothing has been wanting to go our way recently! So we decided to walk two blocks (me, Lili, Clark and Joe) down to Tacontendo and get some drinks and hang out. Debbie was visiting Tikal for the weekend since it was her only weekend in Guatemala. We all ended up coming home afterwards and staying up pretty late playing Taboo.

Funny story: Clark was trying to describe a word and said it was like an explosion... he then precedes to say "annndd......." and Lili and both respond at the same time "BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE". Both of the guys just stared at us like we were crazy and now they think Texans are even more hick (because of the way we said it). But really we were just quoting that youtube video of that poor sports reporter haha. It was pretty funny.

Saturday morning we slept in pretty late and woke up just in time for lunch. It was great. Then we decided to go check out this artisan market by the airport that we found online (btw that's never a good idea) and once we got there we realized it was a tourist trap. Everything was way overpriced and thankfully we had been in Guatemala long enough to know it was a rip-off! BUT even though we traveled all the way to Zona 13, the trip was not a bust...... because the ZOO was right next door. Heck yes. If you don't already know this about me... going to the Zoo makes me act like a little kid again. I have way to much fun. This one was even more exciting because I had assumed it wouldn't be that great and I was totally wrong. Example: there was a freaking white tiger. Here were some of my favorite pictures:

I was walking around like... "omg monkeys, omg bears, omg giraffes..." etc. It was so much fun and it was a beautiful Zoo. Way to go Guatemala.

After the Zoo we had plans to meet up with the boys to try once again to go see The Hunger Games at the VIP theatre. We had trouble meeting up with them but eventually found them once we got into theatre. So we didn't get to sit by them but oh well because LOOK AT WHAT OUR SEATS LOOKED LIKE! I was so pumped. I love movies and I have never been to a theatre like this one before (even though I know they have them all over Texas).

We ate before but they were serving all kinds of food, drinks, candy, snacks, etc. It was really cool and super cozy. It reclined also. So we watched the movie in style and I (for the most part) really enjoyed The Hunger Games. I think I'll have to read the books now.

Sunday we woke up late again :) and then headed down the the Central Plaza area to do some market shopping and check out the scene. It is always crazy on Sundays and since it was Palm Sunday we knew there would be some cool things to see! We got there just in time for a precession.

Sunday night I watched a bunch of random movies that Netflix has been recommending to me. Most of them were good. It was nice to relax and not think about anything except for Ben Affleck and Ashton Kutcher.

This is my last week of work so I'm feeling pretty weird about it! Time has seriously flown by like I knew it would. There have been so many days that I have to ask myself how I'm going to make it through, but I'm happy to say that my last Monday was a really great day. Everyone was energetic today and happy. That's always a great start. Most of the little kids are really starting to open up to me... hug me, hang on me, ask to sit by me, hold my hand, etc. It's really sweet and I love it!
Ingrid has so much energy and is pretty much the life of the party in the unit. She loves playing keep it up with a balloon, coloring, hiding from me, getting pushed around in a wheelchair, and laughs at everything. Even if it's not funny she laughs. It's really cute.
One of the greatest things about today was that I finally got to hang out with and speak with Christian (the 15 year old boy). He seemed like he was feeling okay today so I took the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to play some cards with me! He thankfully accepted the offer :). I taught him War and Egyptian Rat and he loved both of them. It was fun to play with him because he was actually really competitive about it. During the games he was asking me about my family, my friends, where I live, if I played any sports... These are the only conversations I can really have in Spanish so I was excited I was able to talk with him a bit! He was telling me about his siblings and the town he is from. He was excited to see pictures of my family and friends that I had in my back pack. I told him to guess my age and he said 19 so he was laughing when I told him I was 23 and told me I was old. Sigh. But it was really cool to finally get to know him a bit! Also I'm pretty sure he was asking me if God blessed Texas ? I wonder if he's heard the song or what. But of course I told him... yes!  ;)

Viki Bale sent me a goodies package with some magazines, a book, candy and some fun things for the children. This is one of them. We were laughing about it because it was suppose to be fun for them but it really turned out looking really creepy when you put it on. None of the kids really wanted me wearing it... but they all wanted to try it on!

Isaias was being really funny today. He has started walking around so much lately which is amazing progress from his usual laying in bed all day and/or only getting up in a wheelchair. He has basically decided he is the king of the unit (because he is much older than most of the children.. except Christian of course) and so he started stomping around today and giving everyone orders. He was going from person to person making sure they were having fun and if they weren't he would demand I gave them a balloon or played with them. Then if anyone did something he didn't like he would take them (usually it was me) and put them in "jail" and "lock" us up. If you left jail without being "unlocked" he would attack you with a pillow. It was really interesting and I kept getting all the other kids to steal me the toy keys he had and he was loving the little game. It brought a big group of me/kids together and it made for a really fun morning.

Good news on the little boy Brayan who I told you originally hated my guts (the one I'm holding up above).... he loves me now! I think he was having a hard time adjusting to the hospital and I think he thought I was a nurse so he was scared of me. Now he knows I am there to play with him he gets really excited to see me and followed me around all day today haha. Success!
One of the nurses was handing out stickers today and for some reason they love putting them on their foreheads (and mine)... so that explains that. Stickers are always a good time. This time they were Sesame Street.
And my little love, Carlos. His mother has been acting really odd recently though. She doesn't like when I am around him anymore and I have no idea why!! So I only play with him when she's gone. Weird stuff... still love his face though!

Brena's last day was on Friday so that means that was my last day of work with her. She has the whole week off for Semana Santa. I am pretty upset about that because I have really enjoyed her company! It was really cool to get the inside look into a 20 something life of a woman in Guatemala City. I have learned so much about their culture (marriage, family, friends, children, work, life, etc) and I am so lucky to have had learned it from someone so beautiful inside and out. She doesn't even know but she taught me a lot about myself just being a good friend and non-bias listener! I know she is going to do great things in her life and I hope we keep in touch!! Even though I know we will. :) Thank you, Brena for everything!!

So overall - I am so happy that this last Monday turned out as great as it did. I really can only hope that the rest of the week goes this well....... Any ideas on what I could bring/do for my last day? Let me know!!

They ordered us Chinese food for lunch which was really scary for my tummy..... but it turned out to be really yummy. Now Lili and I are trying to decide what to do with our free afternoon. So I guess as usual, thanks for checking in and I will talk to you soon.

The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's official, I would not make a good Mayan woman.

Alright here we go again:
WORK: Wednesday at work was different than usual Wednesdays because Brena had a district meeting and wasn't there. So that was two days in a row that I was basically unable to communicate with anyone in the unit. It's getting better though... only because everyone is finally realizing that I absolutely don't know any Spanish. To give myself a little credit.... the kids usually understand my awful attempts at their language, so yay.

Isaias was in an extremely bad mood on Wednesday. I think I jinxed myself because I had just gone on and on last blog post about how awesome things have been going and I hope it continues. Nope, it was back to the same 'ol stuff. I actually watched him bite one of the mothers that was trying to help his Aunt clip his finger nails. Yes... he bit her! So that makes me a little nervous. I don't know how often he feels the need to bite someone and I don't want to find out.

Christofer was great with me again. He likes to show me his phone that is playing music and I'll do a really ridiculous dance for him and he laughs at me. Also like I said last time he is obsessed with my camera so he has been playing with it A LOT. He dropped it today and I was scared to look if the screen was cracked (those of you that know me well... that's totally my luck) but thankfully it was fine. So I've been trying to stay nearby when he's using it. I think he really gets a kick out of seeing if he made the face he wants to and he made me delete one that he wasn't smiling in. Pretty funny!
Carlos is still doing great!! His new favorite thing is to make videos on my camera and then watch them. This makes for some pretty embarrassing videos of me, but hey it's worth it! He cracks up laughing no matter what the video is. My camera is really coming in handy when other entertainment isn't pulling through. Go technology! But we also have fun old school style too. We made a "telescope" out of a toilet paper roll and some clay. Pretty impressive stuff, I know. OH YEAH!!! and recently he has also started giving me kisses on the cheek and wanting to hold my hand. I guess we are getting pretty serious. No but really, I am so thankful he has opened up so much because it's helping me get through Jose leaving me! And obviously I love to see him smile... and oh my gosh his big brown eyes are wonderful!
There is a new boy in the unit named Brayan that doesn't like me for some reason. I think it's going to be an interesting last few days of work trying to figure him out. He tricks me and acts like he wants to play with me and once I bring him a toy he chunks it at my face. I can't get angry, but it does bother me that his mother just watches him act that way and doesn't say anything. I know these kids are going through such a difficult times though so I think I'll just keep trying and see if he ever gives into me! Balloons didn't even work on him though.... who doesn't like balloons??

ANTIGUA FOR THE AFTERNOON: After work on Wednesday we went to Antigua (I love Antigua!!!) to visit a Coffee Plantation and a Mayan Music Museum. We got to see how all the different coffee's were made and the difference between each of the coffee's. Honestly it was really interesting and the tour guide had a funny sense of humor. It was a good time... and of course like everything else here... it was beautiful!
The different stages of the Coffee Plant

Pure cocoa
Coffee Flower - only lasts 3 days
We got try some of the coffee once we were done if we wanted but they would not let us put any creamer or sugar in it! They owner of the plantation had a saying...

"Coffee should be black as night, strong as passion, sweet as love and hot as hell".
The coffee was pretty good too :)

After that we walked right over to the Mayan Music museum which was really interesting. They had all of the different instruments that the Mayan people have used over the years and one of the woman was able to show us how to play almost all of them! Here is a video of her playing one of the oldest instruments, concha shells.
We also got to watch a extremely well made video of examples of each instrument being used in celebrations, precession's, etc from all over the world.

Our next stop in Antigua was to one of the local churches that is already preparing for Holy Week next week. Most people are already starting their vacations tomorrow. They have one of the Vigil's set up and a carpet below it made of painted saw dust, fruits, foods, etc. All natural. It was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen... And we will get to see them being made when we head to Antigua next week... yesss!
The pictures aren't as great as I would have wished but the lighting was very dim and because the church was extremely crowded with tons of people coming to view the Vigil. I can't wait to see more!!
Once we left the church we were able to catch one of the greatest sunsets I've ever seen right over the hills and by the Volcano in the streets of Antigua. Wow.
Awesome, right? Virginia took us out to eat after the day was winding down in Antigua because it was already so late.... and guess what? She took us to an Italian restaurant!! The food was amazing... they were playing 90's pop music... and we all got to spend some quality time together. Virginia gave us a little reality check that our trip was winding down and how much of an affect it's actually going to have on us. It was pretty sad to think that we only have a short time left here... but some of the best parts of the trip are still to come!

The new roommates, Joe and Debbie.
The Man - Don Fransico!
 So... yet again another GREAT adventure to Antigua. I cannot stress how cool that little town is. Excited to spend Holy Week there!!!!! Can you tell?
Oh my gosh and I almost forgot... check out the toilets at the nicer restaurants here in Guatemala. I've seen two of them now. Genius for those that have trouble balancing while trying to hover a sketchy toilet seat (like me).
Turn the handle before you use the toilet and a brand new, clean plastic wrap appears. Oh yeah. Haha! Sorry. I had to share.

WHOOPS: Work today was veryyyy interesting. It started out shaky because as soon as I walked in I stumbled upon Christian (the 15 year old boy that is majorly burned) without his legs wrapped and I was not prepared to see what I saw. He barely has any skin right now and not only did that take me back but he was embarrassed that I saw it and he became very upset. I was really shaken up by that and it took me a while to calm down. I feel really bad for him and wish there was something I could do to help. Please remember that the unit must be kept very warm due to the burn wounds and the windows aren't being opened recently... I think it may be because some of the children are sick? So it's hot and there is like zero air-flow! After that I had about an hour to calm down (even over the usual Thursday scream fest) and about that time the new little boy Brayan was having to take blood. The med student missed his vain and he freaked out and the blood went flying EVERYWHERE! This is where I think I hit my limit... it all finally caught up to me! I immediately felt myself getting light-headed and falling back into my chair. Yep, I fainted. The mothers were trying to get me water... from the sink (not happening)... and the nurses were basically trying to ignore me because they are lazy!! I really don't like them sometimes haha. But without going into huge details about the next hour... I ended up having to leave work early because I was still feeling extremely nauseous and shaky. I have given ya'll so much good about work, but the reality of my job here is that a lot of the time it is a very difficult place to be and I see a lot of things I never really thought I would have to see. It has opened my eyes more than I ever imagined.... but has also reminded me that I will never be able to actually work in a hospital :). So anyways, I came home... the cook made me some soup and I took a shower and a nap and felt perfectly fine after all of that. I think I was just overwhelmed from everything going on around me.

Lovin' the Mayan Culture: This afternoon we got to go to the Mayan Popol Vuh museum up at one of the private Universities! I have been wanting to go see one of the Universities here so bad. Unfortunately the museum wasn't really in the heart of the University so I didn't get to see it at all. The guide we had had been at the museum for about 15 years and literally knew everything about the collection. This was truly one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The ancient Mayan culture blows my mind! The museum was set up in chronological order so we saw the artifacts from the oldest documented to the newest. Sorry though.... we couldn't take pics! After the tour we were able to make our own pottery the way the Mayans did. Let me just say.... from everything we've done on this trip... I make a crappy Mayan woman.
Finished project... Haha I tried.
So I'm really glad that we got the chance to visit that museum. I really enjoyed it. It's nice that CCS plans and pays for these types of things for us. I love this program!

Mucho Traffico: On the way home we hit a ton of traffic.... it's been like that recently. I think it has a lot to do with the protesters that are in town and also the random precession's that have been happening. But honestly, I never know. But thankfully we documented a little bit of it so you can see kind of what we go through here in Guatemala City.
Whelp: Tomorrow I am the only person that has to go to work. Everyone else's placements already have off for the Holiday but because the hospital doesn't exactly take off... I'll be at work in the morning. I think everyone may be going to check out a Jazz band tonight in Zone 10 but I'm not the biggest Jazz fan and I'm exhausted.... and DON'T want to be tired or feeling bad at work tomorrow so I'm staying in. Blah. But at least I'm trying to responsible?
Well that was a ridiculously long update, sorry about that. I got a little carried away but I guess a lot has happened. I'm excited that tomorrow is Friday and I think Lili and I may be trying to head the to black beaches for the weekend. I guess Lili is going to figure that out during her morning off tomorrow. If you made it this far in the blog... you are officially dubbed a loyal reader.

And last but not least here is a video of the wonderful Carlos...

BTW this is what I do when I'm not doing anything else here: You're welcome.