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Heading to San Juan and the first night of homestay/spanish classes

¡Bienvenidos a San Juan La Laguna!

As we said our fairwells to IMAP, we packed our bags and headed off to San Juan La Laguna. To get there we took one of the most popular forms of transportation, the Chicken Bus. It was an experience. The drivers rushed all 14 of us in less than 30 seconds onto the bus. As we drove away, the men were still on the roof strapping our bags down, while calming music was playing in contrast to the speed of the bus. We then got off the bus and hopped into a boat heading for San Juan. Upon our arrival we had feelings of nervousness and excitement for meeting our homestay families. After many introductions, we all headed off with our new families.

The following morning we all met up at the Eco Spanish School, and shared our past night experiences in our home-stays with each other. Each of us had many different experiences; most were content and some were still unsure. We then took a long placement test, and were separated into our respective spanish levels. After meeting our teachers and having out first lesson, they made us some delicious tostadas, with guacamole and picante, accompanied with fresh coffee.

As lunch got closer, we headed to the base house for Dragons. Sunday is our first x-phase outing,where the students plan everything including food, transportation, and activities within a budget. When we got to Dragons base house, we immediately started planning. Afterwards, we enjoyed  a wonderful lunch and discussed that it is already MID-COURSE! Which is crazy, we know. There are feelings of home sickness, excitement for what is to come, and the sadness of what we will have to leave behind. One of the main aspects that the instructors touched on was the importance of gratitude. In light of that, we continued with an activity. Each person in the group wrote on paper petals, something they were grateful for. The petals were then attached to make a flower for each person. That afternoon, we headed to an Internet Cafe, where we filled out our mid-course surveys, fulfilled our music needs and wrote emails to our friends and family. When we finished we all headed back home, exhausted for the day and awaited the next day.

The following day, we all headed to our second day of classes, which were concluded with fresh donuts and coffee. We then headed back to the Dragon house and learned about the different genres, importance and facts about music in Guatemala. It was very nice listening to a variety of music. After, the group had a traditional meal in Guatemala with chicken, vegetables, rice, and an a sauce. This meal was called “Pepino.”

Today began the first day of our ISP (independent study project). Each student chose a different task that they wanted to learn and spent 3 hours being taught this task. It was an interesting experience to not have someone translate for you, and that you needed to communicate independently with the student or resources around you. Some of the different projects were Mayan Cosmo Vision, weaving, learning to play the Marimba, and so much more. We then returned home after another eventful day, and awaited the adventures of tomorrow!