In ganna ach

(“I love you” in Chu’j)


Classes were canceled this afternoon in honor of Eulalia’s (a fellow teacher, and the only female Guatemalan teacher) graduation.

Licenciatura is about equal to a bachelor’s degree– Eulalia is now the one licenciada at the high school. Needless to say, it is a very big deal that she has received her licenciatura, both personally for her and for the school. And, as she told us, she is now eligable to begin Master’s level training if she wants.

The ceremony was really interesting– it was the first time I actually took “Field Notes” per-say!! I mean, I’m not going to be taking notes when I’m teaching… and while I try to write up a little refelction on class each day/week… it doesn’t always happen and it’s not always the same.

Perhaps since there are many fewer undergrads graduating (?) and they tend to be older than in the USA, the ceremony was long, formal, and recognized each individual. It seemed more similar to a doctoral ceremony in the states (and at first I thought it was) with each person getting “robed” and “hatted” by a professor, taking a vow, and lots of long speeches.

At first I thought it was a doctoral ceremony, because of the robing and the hatting…

The candidates were graduating from U San Carlos, the largest university in the country, which is based in Guatemala City. It was a local ceremony for students who lived in the area and usually traveled to get to classes at nights or on the weekends (in Santa Eulalia… the USC has a branch there). Maybe this is why there was a more personal/formal feel to it?

Marimba music played steadily in the background, louder before the ceremony and as the candidates entered, and softly continued during the speeches and robing/hatting. At the end, the music changed to electronic MIDI files of American pop music and KidSongs played off of the Casio keyboard… oh boy. I’ve never heard “All For You” or “The Ants Go Marching In” quite like that before!

After the ceremony, we congregated out in front of the high school where it had been held. Juan Jacinto suggested that I run and buy some rechargeable batteries while we were waiting.

Not only did the store have rechargeable batteries— they process film too!! Mental note: if I decide to switch to film later on, the place to get it processed is just an hour and a half away. Sweet!

As we were walking back to the high school, we met up with the rest of the group, which included Eulalia’s extended family, friends, and co-workers (us). We walked through the little town (which somehow felt much larger than San Mateo does) to a comedor.

We could only fit half of the group in the comedor at a time, so we ate in shifts. Chat, Jess, Angela and I ate at once and could hear them hacking the rotisserie chickens apart behind the divider at the end of our table. Yummy.

Dinner was rice flavored with chicken broth, black beans, fresh tortillas and part of a rotisserie chicken. The tortillas were whiter than they are in San Mateo… and stayed soft even when they were cold. Interesting… I wonder what was different about them?

We all piled into a busito that we had rented to drive back to Mateo… we had the requisite 2-extra people crammed into the 20-passenger bus. Sure! No problem! Winding through the mountains at night, camionetas trundling past us on blind curves. Who needs an amusement park when you can just hop in a moving vehicle and drive home?!

Please don’t think that I mean that negatively… because I don’t. I really do get a kick out of “how things work” down here. It’s a huge lesson in patience and relaxation for folks from the Great White North (meaning the States). More on this topic later!

So in the bus, we were all speaking English and our Guatemalan counterparts were all speaking Chu’j, and we realized that the hour and a half was ripe for language exchange!

What’s the first phrase we asked for? Well, Fer and Chat asked how to say “I love you” in Chu’j, and then “I could loose myself in your eyes.” Hmmm, what’s their motivation?! 🙂

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