Since we last touched base in Guatemala City, the Quetzal group has traveled to two more Spanish schools and we’re currently stationed in the beautiful (and rather chilly) city of Xela. Before arriving here we studied in a sister school located in a charming city in the mountains where we shared meals with host families and got a closer look into rural Guatemalan livelihoods. There we had many opportunities to involve ourselves in immersive and enlightening activities surrounding Guatemalan history and culture including multiple presentations from locals, an indigenous spiritual ritual, a tour of a traditional coffee and cacao farm, and a visit to the local cemetery on the celebratory Día de los Muertos. In the afternoons we studied Spanish one on one with a wide range of characters we called our Maestras and Maestros. It was a rarity when laughter was not erupting from our little classrooms (bamboo huts) and the relationships we made with our teachers indefinitely shaped our experiences at the Escuela de Montana. Along with the staff at the school, we shared our space with another student group from Norway who we quickly adopted into the Carpe Diem gang. All these newfound friendships only made our departure more difficult as we left Sunday morning for our current school in Xela. After an abundance of hugs and thank yous and selfies (the Norwegians iPhones were almost alien to us after nearly 2 months sans cellular devices) we were off in the familiar cramped micro bus.

From here we went straight into new homestays where we will live in pairs for the coming week. After a brief orientation the next morning at the PLQ school, classes and activities have been in full swing. This will be our final week of Spanish school and despite the slightly daunting 5 hour class periods, the group is excited to push themselves in our remaining time and get the most out of this incredible language learning opportunity. (That’s not to say we aren’t all grateful for the occasional coffee and sweet bread breaks.)

In other news, it’s Election Day and currently in motion are arrangements for a projected screening for our group and a handful of other foreigners studying at the school. Despite being out of the country, it’s evident that American culture and news influence communities on a global scale and we are in many ways, just as immersed in the political energies here as you are at home. We’ll all be watching history change together tonight.

But for now, it’s lunch time. Stay tuned for more updates later in the week!