Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh hey blog. Sorry for the radio silence the last week or so. I (Kelley) have been sick and laying pretty low. Nothing too serious but enough that I spent a good three days en mi cama. Luckily God provided me with some divine medicine before we left Seattle so I felt better just in time for mi cumpleanos!

Last weekend we took a little weekend excursion to the beach to celebrate which was awesome. It has been a fun last couple of weeks. Gregg will tell y’all more about the beach hopefully this weekend but heres a preview picture to make all you cold, wet Seattlites jealous :)

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

The Wednesday before we were able to go to Yalu with nuestras maestras (our teachers) to see the village and the feeding center. It was so great to see everyone! We are excited to visit about once a month and help out when we can.






We also had a somewhat surreal experience here a few Fridays ago when we celebrated Festival de Octubre at the only German bar in Antigua. Apparently there were quite a few Germans that fled to Antigua during the war and never left. Though they all speak Spanish and are fully integrated into Guatemalan society, once a year they put on their Lederhosen, dust off their accordians and celebrate like they are in Berlin instead of Antigua!



The celebration here also included beer(of course) and a roast pig on a spit. Definitely a night to remember...










Below is a video of the awesome accordian performance. The video is really dark because it was outside but really the singing/playing is all that really matters :)

video

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grado A fue Pan Comida

Gregg passed his level A test! Bravo bravo! Ahorita onto Grado B = past tense, irregular verbs, and lots and lots of vocabulary! Usually it takes students 3-4 weeks to pass a grade but Gregg did it in less than 3! Muy inteligente :) We are both improving poco a poco each day. Orginally we made a rule that we couldn't speak English to each other between 7am and 7pm but that lasted about 2 days before we wanted to kill each other (translation: Kelley wanted to kill Gregg). So now we have adapted the original plan to a more realistic and sanity friendly one. Between 7-7 we try to speak solo Espanol as much as possible but if someone doesn't understand or doesn't know how to say something we don't make a big deal out of it. Definitely mejor! Besides its not like we aren't speaking enough Spanish already :) Right now we are in school 4-5 hours/day, then do homework for 2-4 hours, then talk to our house family only in Spanish during all three meals. A mi, esto es suficiente! 




For passing his test Gregg got his first Guatemalan gummy worms. This is pretty much that only thing he's been craving from the States so I searched and found the only store that sells them in Antigua. Its hard to go from eating something almost everyday to never! 


Well vamos a estudiar! (we gotta go study) We'll be back this weekend though with a more thorough update. Love and miss everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

La cucaracha, la cucaracha


Just a quick post to share a little visitor we had the other night...you're welcome for making the picture so large. I wanted you to get the whole effect :)  Luckily Gregg recovered (after initially screaming like a little girl and jumping up on the bed) long enough to smash the thing with a broom and get it outside. Of course, the indestructible little bugger didn't die but at least it will think twice before visiting us again! Aye la vida

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some Observations From Our New Home

Hola from Antigua!  In this edition of blogamos I thought I would jot down a few common, kinda comical, occurrences we’ve experienced in our short time here so far.  Keep in mind, Guatemala can be kind of crazy, but it all adds to the experience.  The experience is best described by each of the 5 Senses:

Smell

      1) Our breath – apparently there’s something in the water, or not in the water, but we both noticed pretty quickly that each other’s breath is truly “kickin’” since we started living here (could it be a lack of fluoride in the water?)
      2) The Smog – where we live is much better, but arriving to Guatemala City (aka “Guatemala” to the locals), this is the first thing you notice when you get out of the aeropuerto.

Sight – so many to list, but here are some highlights

      1) Volcanoes – Antigua is surrounded by volcanoes and it’s truly a beautiful site.  Vulcan Fuego is the most active and you can see it spouting off smoke in the distance almost every day.


      2) Explicit Feminina Fountains – I don’t know why, but the biggest fountains in the most public parks and many others feature women emitting water from their bare breasts; it’s umm, interesting.



      3) Perros in packs – the dogs stick together here, it’s common to see 10 dogs taking a siesta on the sidewalk in the middle of the day.  We have yet to see a canine West Side Story develop in the alley, but for some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.


      4) American Products in Weird Places – We’ve witnessed several of these, from a Guatemalan man wearing a sweater proclaiming “I love Belgian Chocolate” , to a semi truck with a sign indicating “baby on board” which isn’t too unbelievable actually.

Notable mention: 1) My water bottles disappearing  2) me being extremely quiet at all meals/me looking like a dork in front of the 4 and 5 year-old girls at our house (no hablo mucho Espanol yet, but I’m getting better), 3) sunrise at 6 am & sunset at 6 pm – like clockwork, 4) Up to 5 people on one motorbike (including small children cuidado!), or the dangerous undertaking pictured below...(why can't he just ride the bike?? Quien sabe!)


Sound

      1) Boisterous Birds – Alfred Hitchcock may have received his inspiration from the birds hanging out in the trees on Santa Clara Avenida where hundreds of birds squawk all day, sounding as if they’re engaging in some sort of warfare (they could be warning the dogs to stay off their territory)
      2) English is Funny – Brave locals (usually young boys) murmur English phrases as we pass which are then followed by giggles (“howdy partner…hahahahaha”).  It’s funny because they know more English than I know Spanish J

Taste

      1) Mama’s Cooking – I love the food we have in our casa.  Our Guatemalan mama’ always keeps us full with the typical Guatemalan fare (black beans, rice, veggies, tortillas, and mucho mucho pan dulce – sweet bread)



Touch
          
      1) Do I still have my toes – the dog at our house (Camillo, some kind of terrier) is friendly by day and extremely vicious by night.  I feel lucky that we still have our 20 toes in tact 


As you can see we are definitely immersing ourselves in the Guatemalan culture; nevertheless, we’ve still found quite a few opportunities to be Americanos down here:

1) Mc D’s stop – I might get in trouble for sharing this one, but we did indulge in McFlurry’s at one of the nicest McDonald’s in the entire world – no kidding, McDonald’s has a gorgeous patio area and is probably the nicest dining establishment in the entire city

2) As for sports, there’s some great sports bars where I’ve been keeping up with NFL/College football and theBaseball Playoffs (just saw the Giants take the lead with 2 outs in the 9th after the Braves hit a go-ahead HR in the bottom of the 8th!).





In conclusion, we are truly loving our time down here.  We decided to switch Spanish schools and we started at the Christian Spanish Academy today, we love it there.  Thanks again for all your prayers and for keeping up with us.   Adios!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

La Escuela

We had our first day of school yesterday y estamos aprendiendo mucho! We are both studying 5 hours/day, one on one with un maestro. Unfortunately we aren't 100% sure how we feel about the actual school yet. We are trying out a different school than Kelley went to last time she was here and we admittedly had a lot of expectations. This particular school seems to have great teachers but there was no entry test, no real 'levels', no workbooks, and no homework! Pretty nice right? Unless you actually want to learn something :) So...we are praying about switching to another school that is more expensive but seems to have their stuff together a little more than our current school. Any and all comments, suggestions, and especially prayers for wisdom would be appreciated! Gracias! 


On another note...we have been failing to bring our camera with us because Greggs a little paranoid about getting robbed :)  I like to live on the edge however so I will try and get more pictures up here for y'all pronto. 
Abrazos y Besos!



Friday, October 1, 2010

Estamos Aqui!

We made it!! Praise the Lord our trip down was uneventful and full of encouraging experiences. God has been so good to us already and we have only been here two days. Kelley's Spanish is a little rough but has been getting the job done so far. Gregg is starting to learn slowly but surely. Our host family is amazing and we are getting very spoiled so far. Check out our picasa album for a few pictures of our house! (also has pictures from the going away party which awesome...thanks friends!)


http://picasaweb.google.com/gregg.a.brown3


Another highlight was in LA. We had a long enough layover to sneak out of LAX and have one last American meal...Can you guess where...

In & Out por supuesto!




Anyways...Unfortunately our internet situation is not quite as reliable as we thought it would be so we aren't 100% sure when we'll be able to get back on. We will try our best to keep in touch and keep everyone in the loop. We are very excited for what God has in store in the coming future and want to know whats going on with all of you also! We love and miss everyone and are keeping you all in our prayers. God Bless and Hasta pronto!