¡Guatebuena!

July 17th, 2012

So I can do a lot of random things kind of well—well enough to be better than the average American, perhaps, but not well enough to be actually, like, good. I can make my fingers trip and slur through some Bach and Mendelssohn and sing well enough to solo in Sacrament Meeting, but I’d never be accepted into any kind of music school. I can ride at least 25 miles on my bike without much effort (on flat roads) and run a few nine-minute miles at a time, but I’m no athlete. I’ve visited 22 countries, but I don’t know that much about many of them (though I can sing Finland’s national anthem) and I was in some of them for less than a day. My bachelor’s degree means that I know L is the only English lateral and I could once quote 100 lines of Shakespeare, but literature classes don’t build on each other the way science or math classes do, so it’s easy to forget stuff. And when discussion turns to politics, economics, and religion—all things I feel obligated to know about but don’t—I just let the wicked smaht folks talk.

The same is true for languages. I’ve always found them fascinating, and I can say a lot of random phrases in various tongues (“It’s not about the onions” in Korean; “He says that is my sheep” in Icelandic; “I can’t carry that on my head” in Shona; “Shut up and kiss me” in Spanish, German, Icelandic, and Finnish [would that I had a reason to use this last phrase again, in any language {sigh}]). I used to be able to talk about allergies in German (it helps that the German word for “allergies” is “Allergien”), and I can carry on a conversation in Spanish as long as it’s about the gospel. But despite taking four semesters of Spanish in college and living for three months in Germany five years ago, I’ve never become fluent in either language.

Thus it is high freakin’ time I sat down and got good enough at something to be useful. An idea has been flitting around in the back of my mind for a while now, and it finally broke through to consciousness a couple of weeks ago. Some friends of mine have taken language immersion classes in Guatemala, and they’ve loved them. When the idea first began to crystallize I was somewhat dubious—I hate hot, humid weather! (The past week or so in Boston has been AWFUL.) However: Quetzaltenango (also known as Xela [shay-la]), Guatemala has a temperate climate year-round, and several friends have relatives and/or have served missions there. Quetzaltenango also has several inexpensive homestay language schools that also offer volunteer opportunities. Since I’m not working full-time right now, I’ll be able to study one-on-one with a tutor for several hours every day.

Current plans are to be there from September through December, returning just before Christmas. And things are coming together beautifully.

I CANNOT WAIT.


3 Responses to “¡Guatebuena!”

  1. Rebecca on July 18, 2012 9:56 am

    I love that you are living life to the fullest! It makes me so happy to read about the exciting things you are doing. I’m so proud of you for jumping in, because some days I totally wish I was you.

  2. Shana on July 18, 2012 4:00 pm

    That sounds AMAZING!!! I hope you can blog while you are there and keep us all up to speed!

  3. Lara on August 1, 2012 10:07 pm

    My sister just moved from Mexico after living there 2 years, and this spring they made a 6-week trip to Guatemala and have a lot of American friends living there. If you need some connections, I can ask her. They’re all hippi Americans who have just said no to the American dream and are living elsewhere in the world. My sister is one of them. 🙂

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