Monday 7/2/2012 - Spending Time with the Family

We woke up at around 8 a.m. Yoselin and Yasmin hadn't come in to say goodbye before school (we think Humberto and Paulina had told them to let us rest, though we actually love seeing them first thing in the morning.) We got dressed and just after Craig had given himself his daily injection, Aracely came in to say good morning.

We played in the room for a while, and then went over to the dining room. Like Vanesa, Paola now goes to school in the afternoon, so both she and Vanesa are around the house in the morning. Paola did some homework at the table.

Paulina cooked us a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, cream, and black beans "on parade". The family now has a little electric coffee pot, and they brewed some up for us. While eating breakfast, the family was watching the news on TV. There was a protest going on in Zone 9 in Guatemala City. Students were protesting against the latest move by the Minister of Education, which would require a mandatory extra year of school. Students who thought they would be graduating would suddenly be expected to complete a whole other year, which seems like a valid reason to be upset. The police were in riot gear and students were throwing stones at them. The cops responded with a firehose and tear gas.

Aracely had been askng if we had brought more presents. Today, a school day for all except Aracely and Eddy, seemed like a good time to give our two godchildren their special gifts. At New Year's, Aracely had talked about wanting a doll. She had even written it in English in a letter to Santa. Since she hadn't received one, we had brought her a baby doll dressed in her favorite color (purple). She was very excited. She took out her gifts from Saturday night and used the hairbrush to brush the doll's nonexistent hair. Then she had the doll look at itself in the little mirrored compact.

She then told us that she was going to "organize" the case that the doll and clothes had come in. We are sure the word "organize" is used quite often in the classroom, but her casual use of the word impressed us. She is well on her way to fluency. We weren't yet used to being able to converse with her at such a level.

We gave Eddy a little 4-wheeled ATV. If you pulled it backwards, it would drive on its own across the table. Eddy loved it, calling it his "moto." He and Craig sent it back and forth at one another.

During the course of playing, Eddy rolled up his tongue. Being able to do this is a genetic trait, and I am not able to. Aracely, Eddy, and Craig all did it, and told me to try. They laughed when they saw that it's impossible for me. I don't think the kids really believed me.

Paulina and Eddy went to the market and we stayed home with Aracely. Paola ironed her school uniform on the kitchen table. This is the first time we had seen an electric steam iron in use at the house. She ironed her white blouse and plaid pleated skirt. Vanesa was now in tourism school and instead of the traditional schoolgirl uniform, she wore a polo shirt bearing her school emblem with a pair of black pants.

At around 11:45 it felt like someone bumped into my chair in the dining room. I turned to look, expecting to see Terry the dog, then remembered he passed away. My second thought was Eddy, but he wasn't even home. Craig saw me looking around confusedly and said he had felt it too; that a shockwave had rippled through the ground in what must have been an earthquake.

Paola saw how excited we seemed to be and asked what was wrong. "Terremoto!" we said. Earthquake! She looked at us like we were crazy. Here? Now? Yes! But she remained skeptical. We texted Craig's brother Steve at home and he checked the USGS web site for us, but nothing had been reported.

However, once we got home and I was able to spend some quality time with Google, I found this Earthquake Report for July 2, and it lists a Jul 02 17:42 PM (GMT) earthquake as 4.4 on the Richter Scale at a depth of 75 km below Escuintla, Guatemala. It's not at all uncommon for earthquakes to occur in this land of volcasnoes, but it was the firsyt time we had felt one while here.

Vanesa ate lunch early today because she had to leave for her 30 minute walk to school at 1 o'clock. With so many people in the nuclear family, plus two gringos, space is tight at the dining table. Eating in shifts becomes the norm as the kids grow up and follow their own schedules.

Before we knew it, it was 12:45 and Yasmin and Yoselin were home from school already. They arrived with choco-bananas, frozen chocolate-dipped bananas on sticks. We played with the kids and about half an hour later, we ate lunch.We had spinach mixed with hamburg, onion, and tomato served with fresh guacamole, tortillas and home-made lemonade. It was delicious.

Paola left for school at 1:45. Her school is on Santander Street, so it takes very little time to walk there. The kids played in our room while we had a nice conversation with Paulina. We caught up on family news, finding out that her sister Estela had a new baby girl 7 months ago. It seemed that every time we came, there was a new baby somewhere in the family! She also told us that Aracely doesn't speak English to the students who come to stay in the guest rooms; she says she will only speak it with her padrinos (godparents).

We went into our room and horsed around with the kids. Aracely typed English words on the computer (cat, dog, pig, etc.).She asked us to read them. She then typed some nonsense-words. She asked Craig what it said and when he said he didn't know, she said that he needed to get his glasses! It's really interesting to observe how she is assimilating English.

Paulina was trimming Yoselin's hair outside. Yoselin had changed into a cute little dress, and we wondered what she was dressed up for. As soon as her haircut was done, she changed out of the dress.

There was no rain this afternoon, so Humberto thought it was a good time to get his mother out of the house. He returned arm in arm with her from next door and sat her down in a chair on the patio. He handed Yoselin some quetzales and sent her down the street to the store, to buy refreshments. She returned several minutes later with fresh bread and a bottle of orange soda.

Abuelita drank some pinole (the drink made from ground roasted corn and canola) and the rest of us drank the orange soda. The kids even dipped their bread in the sugary soda. We had not seen that before. Aracely showed Humberto and Abuelita her new doll and Eddy showed them his moto. Abuelita looked on with interest as the moto rolled across the patio.

A neighbor came over with tamales for Abuelita. His wife had recently died and he was distributing food to the people in the community who were mourning her. We always find these local traditions to be very interesting.

The kids' cousin Neli came over and the kids played in our room and listened to music. Later we went into the room with them. Yasmin's friend Yoselin (how confusing is that?!) came over we gave each of the kids a piece of candy. They watched the videos they had made on the computer. Aracely had made an adorable video commercial for the guest rooms. She conducted a video tour and described the amenities. The private bathroom was definitely a selling point, and the camera lingered on the toilet for emphasis. It was too funny. Eddy was beating up on the new Yoselin while they watched the videos, and Yasmin called him out for it. Maybe he "likes" her.

Then it was time for dinner. Paola wasn't home from school yet by the time the family started eating. We had fresh squash soup, garlic bread, and tea. Aracely played with the computer, and Eddy played with his Tonka garage and firehouse as well as his moto. He kept saying "vroom vroom" and revving it via the handlebars.

Paulina and Humberto looked at the pictures that the kids had taken on the blue camera. As we walked to our room at 10 o'clock, the moon shone brightly through the puffy clouds. I wrote in the journal, and copied photos to the computer for backup. We went to bed at 10:45.
Watching videos on the computer

Watching videos on the computer

Steph gives Eddy a piggy-back ride

Steph gives Eddy a piggy-back ride

Yasmin, Steph, and Aracely

Yasmin, Steph, and Aracely

Yoselin's new haircut

Yoselin's new haircut

Abuelita joins us

Abuelita joins us

Craig and his godchildren

Craig and his godchildren

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