I have been in Antigua, Guatemala for just about one month! I couldn't believe it the other day when I was writing in my journal and wrote October 1st on the top of the page. I have had three and a half weeks of classes and already I feel so much more comfortable in the language here. My days are packed with four hours of classes, group trips, and homework that I have finally reached the point where I have a routine in my life down here in Guatemala. Oddly enough, I enjoy that feeling. I feel like the days are just now starting to go by quicker. I only have two more months until I return the the states and I feel like there is so much more that I need to learn and experience! I want to climb a volcano and go horse back riding through the mountains. I want to buy a bunch of gifts for people, and zip line through the rain forest. I want to dream in Spanish and be able to hold multiple conversations with people without looking confused or lost. It's a bittersweet feeling just knowing that I have one of my three months done, but it will be sad to leave in the end.
Two weekends ago I spent the night in Guatemala City, and boy is it a different atmosphere than Antigua. People are always in a hurry and they don't have time to be as polite as they would be where I'm staying. For example, we had to walk to dinner in the pouring rain, and most people would assume that if you're in a car and someone was walking, you would let the person cross the road to get out of the rain faster...well in Guatemala City that doesn't happen. We had to cross the road and as I was doing so, a person in a car kept inching forward on a red light and actually touched my legs with their car. They were so impatient that they didn't even want me to cross the road in front of them! It was definitely a different atmosphere than what I am finding in Antigua where everyone says hello and cars wave you across the road when they have the right away. The other major experience in Guatemala City was the continuous need to divide our large group into three small groups so we wouldn't draw more attention than necessary. I wasn't afraid to be in the city, but it definitely took me out of my comfort zone even more than before.
With my stay here, I am learning so many cultural differences that I never imagined existed. Daily things that occur in Guatemala are opening my eyes to the lack of education that I have received in the United States about other cultures. Yes, some is taught in school, but our selfish attitudes in the states prevent us from opening up and experiencing new things that may even help us in the long run. Luckily I haven't had any negative experiences with my stays besides the occasional cockroach (which my host mom kills for me) but it makes me wonder how I will start to think when I return to the United States in December.