I’ve only been in Antigua for 4 days now, but it feels like it’s been forever, in a good way. I am loving it here and easily flowing into the routine of things. Spanish class is great and I am learning a ton.
My host family and house is absolutely amazing. I pretty much live in a big car wash/garage. You literally have to walk all the way through the car shop to get to my front door. Like many things in Antigua, the front of the house doesn’t even give a clue to what is inside. Hidden treasures lie behind closed doors.
You walk through the door and pretty much enter a garden. The house is set up with a huge outdoor patio in the middle with all the rooms set around it in a square. There are beautiful plants and trees everywhere and a huge group of super tall trees right in the center. There are many covered areas to sit too, so you can still be outside when it rains. It’s not like anything you would ever see in the US. I love it!
My room is not fancy, but still very nice. I have a big bed, a desk, and my bathroom is absolutely huge! There are literally plants growing in my bathroom. I also have a TV. Watching Pretty Little Liars in Spanish is quite the experience.
There are eight other people living here. There is a family from California who have three teenaged kids and a friend’s son tagging along with them as well (Stewart, Jendy, Katie, Katherine, Jason, and Zander). They are doing all sorts of volunteer work here but are taking the week off to go to Spanish school. They’ve been to Guatemala 7 times to volunteer as a family. It’s pretty incredible. There is a woman named Joyce who is with the same volunteer group and has a daughter that has moved here and there is a 65 year old super energetic man named Robert who is just getting his teaching degree in Texas and wanted to improve his Spanish.
Annette and Carlos are the parents of our host family. Annette is a retired principal and now owns her own catering company. Carlos runs the garage outside our house and works at the restaurant next door. They are so much fun. Carlos has named me Perdito (loosely translate as little lost one) due to my mishap the first day. Annette cooks the most amazing food ever. It’s a million times better than when I was here last time. Her food is for sure the best I’ve experienced anywhere in Guatemala. She also gives us shopping advice and is always making us laugh. She speaks zero English.
This trip is a much slower pace than my last one, and I am really enjoying it that way. My last trip was amazing, but this one is too in a different way. I have much more time to wander around, drink coffee and read, and really get to know all the people living in my house. None of the people are close to my age, but that makes it interesting and different as well.
My last trip everything was super exciting and active and rushed and this time I can just breathe and soak it all up, and after a very busy school year I couldn’t ask for anything better.
“Love Song” -Sarah Barielles