The bed was rocking like a sailboat in a storm while the headboard clanged against the wall and two people screamed for all in the 12-person hotel to hear. Unfortunately, I was in bed by myself, Audrey was upstairs on the roof, and we were in the middle of a 6.9 earthquake centered just 60 miles away. Apparently two women down the hall were experiencing their first terremoto.
It was unsettling so when the shaking stopped and the stone building was still intact, I ran down the hall to the boy’s room. It was Decker’s first rumbler and he was visibly shaken. I laid down with him and talked about what was happening until his nerves calmed.
Decker, more than any of us, will be pushed further and go deeper into his un-comfort zone. If given the choice between Same or Different, he will always, always, choose Same. This trip is all about Different: Foods, beds, weather, smells, sounds, transportation, and the list goes on.
Different is hard. Sometimes different is fun. Sometimes not. But different is when you learn and when you grow. So far he is doing well but it hasn’t been without a few tears.
Colin, on the other hand loves to venture into the unknown and helps his brother along the way. So far the two are getting along really well and spend a majority of their time talking about Minecraft. Even while on the road, the iPad is a source of contention. I explain to the kids that if we were home, they would have less iPad time. But, they still want more.
We have currently broken their time into three different categories: 1) Play which is mainly Minecraft; 2) Productivity which includes reading, texting with Grandparents, Duo Lingo, Typing Tutor and other mind-enriching tasks; and, 3) Building Machu Pichu in Minecraft. We felt this last component was a good way to learn about some of our future adventures while feeding their Minecraft needs. They think it’s cool.
For the past two weeks we have been studying Spanish: Four hours a day each of us with a private instructor. I’m exhausted because the last time I was in a classroom was 18 years ago when I was finishing up my Masters. And, it is very different being 1:1 with a professor speaking in a different language as compared to sitting in a classroom with 25 other people when your mind can wonder. Originally we planned to spend three weeks studying but have changed to two weeks so we can visit a few sites during our last week in Guatemala. Audrey, Decker and I like the plan. Colin would rather study.
I had several years of Spanish in Elementary and High School so am the most fluent. And I use ‘fluent’ very loosely. For those who have seen “The Pink Panther” (2006) where Steve Martin is learning English with a private instructor and is having difficulty with the word, “Hamburger.” Well, I have had several “Hummbooooger” moments. But each day I get a little better.
Audrey, who studied German, and couldn’t tell the difference between cabeza and cerveza is doing quite well. She, of all of us, spends the most time studying after class. Between the two of us, I’m optimistic that we will make it through South America without causing any major international incidents.
The boys seem to be enjoying it because there has been another kid in class. And, they spend a fair amount of time playing Uno which here they call, well, Uno.
When traveling for a week or two, it is easy to go…go…go and see all the sites a country has to offer. But, when traveling for a year, it is important to pace oneself. So, after 4 hours of Spanish class then lunch, we come back to our hotel and relax on the rooftop terrace. We use the time to read, play Minecraft, manage finances, call friends and family, or just hang out. Earlier this week, we watched “Romancing The Stone” on Netflix. I thought it was appropriate given that it takes place in Cartagena which is where we fly to in a week.
Tomorrow we are off to Lake Atitlan to experience some of the Mayan culture then Semuc Champay to play in the river and climb through some caves.
(Check out a few pictures from Guatemala)