After 1 month of language learning in Guatemala.. which really ended up being 3 weeks of Spanish classes, I filled in the blanks of some grammar questions and can confidently speak Spanish. Do I make mistakes? Of course. I am learning that mistakes can be fun and you have to make them to learn.
An English girl I met in San Pedro La Laguna told me about her frustrations of learning Spanish after a week of classes. She said she was demanding the price of something to a Mayan guy and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t answering her. Later she realized she was asking for the time, instead of the cost.
Taking the few weeks to study Spanish was very rewarding. It’s a great feeling to communicate with someone in their language, knowing that if it would never be possible to connect with this person without the knowledge of the language.
I spent time with 2 wonderful families.. one in Xela and one in San Pedro. Very different families with one being Mayan from a small town and the other from a large city, but both similar in the fact that they fed me frijoles, eggs, and tortillas 2 meals a day. 🙂
During my last week in San Pedro, I spent much time speaking to as many people as I could. I made fast friends with the gal selling juice on the street, spoke with Pedro, the tour guide, and spent all my meals speaking to the family at the kitchen table. With 5 hours per day with my teachers, many topics were covered and I can honestly say I practiced as much as I could. I even got in a couple visits with locals I met through Couchsurfing.org.
My month in Guatemala was an experience to remember. The people are kind. The poverty tugs on your heart. The landscapes are incredible. And the culture and spirituality among the Mayans are amazing. I will definitely return to Guatemala. But for now, I am glad to be home.