Wed, August 5th:
Well, I had an interesting first day yesterday. I met Marlo (my United Planet coordinator/guide/friend/savior) at the language school in the morning. There are lots of people from all over the world studying Spanish there. People of all ages, each one of them doing something different and interesting with their lives. I met an older man who grew up in Brooklyn, not far from where I live. I must say that it was nice to talk to someone who knows my neighborhood! Small world, huh?
I went to the shelter with five other volunteers where Ariella, the coordinator, showed us around. It was pretty empty and quiet...until she took us over to the day care center and we all fell in love with the children. All of them, between the ages of about 2 up to 5 years old, all said in unison, "Buenos dias" (in that super-cute way that only a little kid can say it.) That was it for me; instantly hooked. Even better, they have tons of Legos there, so I knew it was going to be a fun time. After leaving the room, I immediately signed up for a field trip we´re doing tomorrow, taking them to the park to play. I really can´t wait. I know it´s going to be a.w.e.s.o.m.e.
Today I´ll be making lunch for everyone, despite the fact that I´ve warned them of my extremely liberal use of garlic (ajo) They seemed fine with it. My kind of people.
I wanted to quickly mention (again) that my host family is amazing, I really cannot imagine any other family being better than this one. Catalina and Antonio are literally like a mom and a little brother to me. Such warm, kind people. Man, will I miss them when I leave.
I had my first one-on-one Spanish lesson with Palmenia yesterday too. She´s excellente and I started to remember the Spanish I just learned last semester (and got an A in, btw.) I still can´t make sentences, I´m still intimidated, but I´m beginning to find out that I don´t have a choice in the matter (Especially if I plan on getting lost again...see next paragraph)
So, after getting lost and wandering around town for about an hour, I was very fortunate to meet an extremely friendly older couple and their two teenaged daughters, who not only helped me get back to the house, but they insisted on driving me there in their car! I am so incredibly blessed to always manage to find the kindest people in this world. Catalina and Anotio were sitting in front of the house waiting for me. I didn´t understand what she was saying, but it wasn´t hard to figure it out, because she kept touching her heart and speaking rapidly. The she started to hug and kiss me. I felt like such a fool, but I promised myself that that isn´t going to happen again. It´s par for the course for me to get lost at least once on every trip anyway, so at least I got that over with right away.
After dinner last night, Antonio and I read from his science book, so we helped each other with our homework, so to speak. Antonio´s the man!
Tonight I´m going on an overnight full moon hike up the volcano (Volcan Santa Maria) Am I crazy? Absolutely. Am I psyched? Absolutely. I have altitude sickness pills, so I think I´ll be okay. I´m going with about 30 other people from all over. I heard it will be FREEZING up there, but you only live once, right? How can I turn this down? You know there will be photos and I´m going to video tape it as well.
Check back tomorrow, assuming I am able to wake up and post.
Miss you all.