Field School: Day 2 First Day of School


Oh god its early. The town starts making noise at 5am sharp and the church across the street has some really loud bells at 6. Waking up might have been a welcome relief from the bed though; I normally sleep with a very thick pillow and mine here is maybe a half inch thick. I slept with my airplane neck pillow. I’m sure I’ll become accustomed but it’s a sharp change from Hotel Barceló.

I just had my first “hot shower”, which involved Doña Maria Louisa waking up early to heat up water on the stove and put it into a large bucket in the bathroom. Then I used a small bucket to dump the hot water into myself. Invigorating! I need shower shoes, and it seems that my brand new travel towel has found a new owner.

Time for breakfast and the walk to school! My host sister Glenda and host nephew Daniel will be walking me to school the first time so I don’t get lost… Daniel goes to school there too so we might be walking there together a lot!


My brain hurts. The q and the k noises are really difficult to differentiate and make noises unlike anything in English. We’ve learned how to do greetings for the morning, afternoon, and the night, and when we return from lunch and buying cellphones we’ll do “My name is…”.

There were demonstrations of the salutations and then were plucked to greet each other, which was a little anxiety provoking when you can’t wrap your head around the noises quite yet.


Xseqër k’a – Good morning
Xqaq’ij k’a – Good afternoon
Xokoq’a – Good evening
ütz – good
matyöx – thank you

Person 1: Xseqer k’a. (Good morning to you.)
Person 2: Xseqer matyöx. (Good morning, thanks.)
Person 1: La ütz awäch? (How are you?)
Person 2: Ütz, matyöx. La ütz awäch rat? (Good, thanks? And how are you?)
Person 1: Ütz, matyöx. (Good, thanks.)
Person 2: Matyöx k’a ri’. (Thanks for asking.)

There’s lot of thanking and such involved in greeting people, apparently. Very formulaic.


After 3 hours of congregating at the phone store, we all have Guatemalan phones or SIM cards! We’ve exchanged numbers and have started texting each other and our homestay families. I also picked up a little modem so I can use the internet on my laptop, which will be super helpful when I find the time to actually grade assignments for the class I’m TAing (it’s Intro to Psychology so there’s tons of assignments and graded discussions and quizzes). I wasn’t looking forward to grading exams from my phone, to be sure. Anyways, now if we get lost in town we can call each other for help. It took so long we didn’t get to return to school for more class. It’s the first day and we’re behind already!


There’s been a lot of walking today. My homestay family lives about a 15 minute walk from the school and a 20 minute walk from Don Pedro’s place, and I went back and forth a few times (including going once with Doña Maria Luisa to the mill to get the corn ground for tortilla dough.

Daniel is reminding me more and more of Bana and Catie simultaneously. He played the Endless Spanish game on my phone for a while then got distracted and tried to start playing other games and messing with my bank app; I think I need to download some kind of child lock on my phone!

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