Saturday 17 Dec
Learning the lingo
Following our adventures around Lake Atitlan, we returned to Antigua to start Spanish scool for a week. My teacher, Maria, was great and I learned as much about Guatemalan life as I did Spanish. She was very interested in mine and Rob's relationship, which was obviously quite different for a young married Roman Catholic woman with two kids who all lived in the same house as her mother. Apparently, the norm in Guatemala.
With one to one tuition it was pretty intense, and the four hours a day plus three hours homework made my brain hurt but it was worth it, and we were progressing slowly. Rob's teacher was a bit of an odd ball, and they had a slight argument about the fact Rob felt they were going over stuff he knew and Rob wanted to move on. I think he stuck to the prescribed program more than my teacher did. In fact, the more Spanish Rob learns the more arguments he seems to get in, especially with taxis drivers.
We stayed the week with Rosita and her grown up children, a Guatemalan family who lived just outside the town centre. They were lovely although had two crazy fat cocker spaniel dogs she called her 'princesses' who had to be locked away every evening. It was a relief to actually settle down and stay somewhere for a week, not having to keep packing the bags.
We had a small room with a table (for our homework!), and the beds had matching traditional Guatemalan style embroided Winnie the Pooh patterns on the blankets.
The homecooking was a welcome relief from the crap we'd been eating in dodgy cafes. I didn't think I liked refried beans and tortillas much, but when they're cooked well they're surprisingly nice. Rosita was proud of her kitchen and we enjoyed a banquet of traditional Guatemalan food every day.
It was also quite comforting being around a family who were gearing up for Christmas. Our Spanish is finally improving and we both now feel able to hold a conversation, if only a simple one.