Part of a week long stay while learning Spanish in Antigua is the stay with a Guatemalan family. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I was questioning my sanity in deciding to do this: would we have to use outside facilities? What if we had to eat rice and beans all week? What if the family wasn’t nice, or there were other students, young and more advanced, who would be conversing in rapid Spanish all the time?
I didn’t give too much ear to my worries, and I’m glad I did not: we were extremely lucky. The owners of the home, who I’ll call Senor and Senora, were retired. He had a little coffee farm to keep himself occupied, and went there every day while Senora kept the home. One of their daughters lived with them together with her husband, a 7 year old boy, and their very adorable little one year old girl. The only time we saw the family was at meal times.
The home, like most others, was behind a wall and two or three other residences. It was built in what formerly was the open courtyard.
At night, everyone’s cars lined up in the driveway with only enough room to walk by. I always wondered how they decided who was going to be first one out in the morning!
After you walked all the way down the long drive, a turn to the right took you to a small yard where the entrance to the kitchen and dining room was, and then steps up to two small rooms, each with a bathroom, so Linda and I each had our own rooms. The view from our little concrete deck was amazing, as you can see in the top picture and in the others below.
We were so excited to wake up and see a smoking volcano! We took pictures of it every day because the view was always changing. Our joy at this became tempered with the realization that this was none other than Fuego, the volcano that cost so many people their lives and did so much damage in June of this year.
There were other things to look at off the deck, too, besides the ripening of the oranges that you see in the tree in the above picture.
Our hosts, sometimes just Senora, would eat with us and converse through every meal. They were warm and welcoming. Yes, we most often had beans, rice and tortillas, but it was always served with other foods, deliciously prepared, never too much or too little. We learned the names of the foods we were eating and all the fruit served at breakfast: banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, mango and pineapple. Most of it is available year round in Guatemala. My sister enjoyed Senor’s coffee, fresh from his farm.
I will admit to one flaw in the whole thing: I am a shower-in-the-morning person, and I like my showers HOT. Most were tepid at best, cold at worst. But everything else being what it was, and my little room so cozy, it was not much to complain about. Except at 6AM!
Up Next: A Day in Colorful Chichicastenango