ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion
aroraborealis

Friday

Friday was my graduation day, and a generally very full day, at that. In the morning, after checking email, I went to the market here to get a new battery for my watch, and while I was there, I wandered through the food area to find the vendor from whom I'd bought the chili cobán the other week. She was out of the powdered stuff, so I bought several ounces of the whole chilis, and then she told me she had another kind that's spicier, so I got some of that, too.

Then I took a microbus up to Zona 3 to make some cheap phone calls (.75 centavos/minute! woohoo!) home and to ilean, who wasn't there, the rat. Since that gave me some extra time, I wandered around the market up that way, which is bigger than the one down here (several blocks vs. one block), broke down and bought some of my favorite mangoes (which didn't have worms, yay!) and found a stall selling chili cobán in powder. (That, itself, was kinda an adventure. I asked a woman in a shop if she had any and she said no, check the people with stalls selling chilis. The first stall I went to didn't have it, but pointed me to another down the way. They didn't have it but pointed me down two more stalls. He said he didn't have it but then the woman next door told him he did (it was a kid, I assume standing in for a parent who knows the stuff better) and so he did! He asked me how much I wanted, and I htought about it for a moment, and the woman next door said I wanted 1 quetzal worth (1/2 ounce). I said I wanted more, checked my wallet to see that I could afford it, and got half a pound, thereby astounding all the vendors around me. I tried to explain about my family's propensity for picante, but they all thought I was a little weird. :)

With all the running around, I didn't do my homework, but I had a nice afternoon with my teacher, Bety, on my last day. There was a conference at 5 that got postponed until almost 6, and since Gabe, the guy whose job it is to translate the conferences, had to leave at 6:30 (he said), he asked me to do it. I'm always happy to translate, and I was planning to attend the conference, anyway, so I said sure.

It was a fascinating conference on a new Mayan city that's being excavated in the Peten (tropical rainforest region in northern Guatemala). It looks to be the biggest Mayan city yet found (massively larger than Tikal) with some really well preserved artifacts. I'm now dying to go there, despite warnings of man-eating mosquitoes and impressive swamps.

It was also the most challenging conference I've yet translated. The speaker spoke fast, and very excitedly, and with lots of archeological terms which, oddly enough, I have't learned yet! But I did well, and in the end, I had even more of the exhausted/electrified feeling I always have after translating. It was a nice way to end the trip translating-wise, as it felt like a real test, and one I passed.

Then we had the graduation ceremony, during which I sang with the teachers, and, since I hadn't prepared an act or anything to say goodbye, I just stood up and talked for a couple of minutes about my time at the school and thanked my teachers and such. It went over well, and I figure it counts for something since I didn't write it out beforehand.

I feel like such a part of the school community that even though I feel like I'm done with the school context of learning Spanish and on to the "I need to speak Spanish only for a couple of months to really make my next stride", I feel sure that I'll be back here in the future, in some context or another. That made saying goodbye much easier.
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