Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chapter 6: Nomads Don't Have Homes, They Have Shelters

there is just too much. too much i have seen, smelt, dealt, done, been. i kinda of resent the modern age, technology, my stupid blog. you get a fragment of me, advertised and publicized. nothing is personal anymore. face to face. i feel pushy. like if i don't have what i want now. i mean- now. this instant this second this very moment, all my cells will combust and i will explode bigger than any guatemalan firework lit in the earliest of morning hours.
okay. i'm being a bit dramatic. but what ever happened to diaries or storytelling. i guess it all died with anne franks and people who lived before this time. i am a blog of contradictions. because i firmly convince you that i am somehow am beyond the present. that in someway i resonate with something ancestral. this clearly is not the case. i am as transparent as plastic wrap. the very fact that i update my blog, my web pics, makes me in it. i just resent that i can't give an accurate depiction of my life. what are the facts... i am stilling currently living in guatemala city, i am in my second year of teaching the third grade in a private bilingual school, i love with all my heart being a teacher and constantly fret that i am somehow not cut out to be an educator of young minds. i socialize them. i teach them right from wrong. it is my job to insure that they utilize their creativity and intelligence. who am i to be doing these things? what makes me so privileged to be so accountable for their minds, bodies, and spirits?
i don't have solid answers to these questions. i am just a dreamer who believes that the world is full of infinite possibilities waiting to be experienced, embraced, and loved. sometimes there are people who are dreamkillers. i am not a dreamkiller hater though because i understand that people who kill the dreams of others have at one time encountered the killing possibly mass murdering of their very own dreams.
all this babble probably sounds irrelevant and uninformative. you might be thinking to yourself- what the fuck does this have to do with living in guatemala, traveling, or life in general. well i don't really know how it all adds up, but i feel destined upon a path a journey of self discovery. you don't really have to fly to central america to live. life is happening whether you like it or not. and it is up to you whether you participate in all its badness and all its goodness. of course it is very thrilling to pack your bags and step into the great unknown. i have begun to realize that the strange and unfamiliar feels like home. i am no more foreign here as it is foreign to me.
in a few simple words... inside vida i am where i want to be.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chapter 5: Viajar - To Travel

unfortunately or fortunately depending upon the way you look at it, i have become anti-picture taking. it is not that i don't want to capture my experiences in a visual dimension, but that i want to relate to myself in a different way. i can here my baby brother's voice mocking me as i reveal this aspect of my character. "Vida, why do have to go around and be sooooo 'different.' My name is Vida and I am 'different.' Stop getting 'different' and start getting real like everybody else." Kusha is so cute and cuddly like the little nazi capitalist 24 hour fitness trainer that he is. He makes me want to find a ferocious sweet soft koala bear and snuggle with it.
okay back to my 'different' international lifestyle. because i have boycotted having a pictorial trail i sense i owe it to friends and family to explicitly document my ongoings. i wonder sometimes from all the people on my e-mail list who get access to this blog who really reads it. that being said i think it is my duty, no, my responsibility to those that take time to scan vida's minute existence, that i write something worth your precious life seconds. you should laugh. you should cry. you should get the best of me.
now i am intimidated because i have to deliver. i think i also owe it to my loyal family and chums to spare you the boring long labored details. have you ever read a fellow friend's blog and wanted to hang yourself? through the computer screen you shout Friend! Friend! Get to the fucking point. This is not a publishing of a novela, it is just a fucking blog.
Shhhhhh... i can cyber hear you. i am getting there. To vida's fabulously 'different' international spiritual awakening way across the american boarder. when you are an international resident like myself chakras open up that you never thought you had. i don't even have to meditate anymore because i have arrived at eternal nirvana.
okay okay enough of my own self amusement. guate. what is up and what is down. i have currently returned back to the classroom from three glorious weeks of vacation. man, words can't describe the ultimate gloriousness of my non-working period, but i will attempt to illustrate the impossible.
i am not a well crafted plan way in advance kinda girl. i tend to feel out what i want and roll them dice. so i went home from work that friday that officialized my winter break and said to myself what is it gonna be ms. vida. with the help of my muchachos i planned house, guate city to rio dulce to livingston to flores/tikal to antigua. so that was the guatemalan half of my trip, but the excitement doesn't stop there. i don't feel fully international or a spirit buzz unless i get some stamps in my passport. so mexico it was...antigua to san cristobal de las casas (chiapas for the culturally illiterate) to oaxaca to puerto escondido and back again. i bused. i shuttled it. i backpacked it. it is rough at times, but well worth it. my feel sorry for myself blog that i wrote last was quickly remedied by a countless number of wonderful people whose paths crossed mine. and i was able to see, touch, smell the most breath taking and i mean steal my breath from straight out under me natural majestic environment. From rivers to hot spring waterfalls, to beaches and oceans, to the top of volcanoes. this my friends is what separates me from the meditators and people who claim to want to know life. you either live or you don't there is no in between. i don't really know life i just want to feel it. i have to live up to my iranian spanish given name la vida... the life.
yes of course no more gloating or self bloating. remember the bloggers that make you want to commit suicide, i will spare you the rope by downsizing my vaca. some die hard vida fans (probably only my mom) are frowning at this point. turn that frown upside down mom because i am going to share a vacation story that shant be forgotten.
this is actually harder than it seems. do i describe to you the exhilaration of standing on the volcano and roasting marshmallows near its lava trails. or sharing odd cultural life circumstances that endowed me with newly made friends.
hmmmmm...i think we shall have a little romance. dim the lights. light some fragrant candles. and put on some mood music. all the spots i visited had their charm, but san cristobal de las casas of chiapas definitely wooed me. maybe it is the zapatista revolutionary spirit or the countless number of fabulous artists young and old, indigenous and urban. i think my last night sealed the deal, yes i am definitely in love with this place.
san cristo was also refreshing because it was like a latin portland, something guate lacks. buzzing creativity and self expression is sadly not available on the same level in most of guatemala. that does not stop me from being a die hard chapina, it just makes me have a little infidelity with the southern region of mexico.
so my last night. i try to chat with locals hoping they are interested to hit the town and show me what it is made of. i made friends with this guy who sold me my jamaican jacket much like an adidas zip up. he was nice, the kinda guy who makes a good guy friend, in other words no attraction on my part. we hit up the revolution bar that had incredible live music. then we met up with his friend and trailed around town looking for another location to hang at.
entering another fabulous live music site we sat back and i observed my surroundings. i like to watch people and try to figure what there story is. an odd sensation ran over me when i saw this one gentleman. he was wearing a jacket similar in make up to mine, but the colors were different and it read Argentina on the back. i felt this strange impulse to make a comment to him. i leaned towards him and asked in spanish of course if he was argentian. my universe collided with his universe creating incredible fireworks across space and time. he smiled at me and responded in a voice that had me. he was definitely attractive upon visual contact, but it was the sound of his vocal chords that made me want to bare any and all of his children. i have never been so magnetically charged by sound. he told me he was from san cristo and the jacket was a gift. i felt horrible at this point because as soon as i made connection with him i was drawn away from my company and i could feel their disappointment. as we danced and danced and danced, a little bit latin,a little bit middle eastern, a little bit american. we laughed. we talked about who we were and wanted to be. i don't know if i did the right thing but i chose to devote my time to him. my last night night in mexico.
if you haven't killed yourself by now i know that i did my job. i shared just enough to keep you informed and in my life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chapter 4: Settlements

i am a horrible blogger. and a horrible picture taker. i have a handful of pitures that i have yet to post on my web. i enjoy guate alot. i can't say it is better then other parts of the world. in fact for me it was just the relocation that was necessary for my life. i don't find myself planning or plotting out my next destination or move. i like discovering myself here. i am finishing the first trimester of being a teacher and now as i write this i should be in process of entering grades, but i am not.such a naught teacher i am. i am by no means proficient in spanish but i can get by and i have become quite the spanish text messenger. my location is also quite nice because i have a great access to various other locations for travel. there is so much to do and see and experience.

the challenge in being here for me is that no matter where you go you are still you and you revisit the same hang ups you had from somewhere else you were living. i get along with many people but i don't really have any best friends. i don't have many friends in portland either but when you start all over you tend to cling to people or be kind of a loner, like myself. i would rather be alone than in the company of people who i have very little in common with or perhaps that my values don't align with. so there are two sides to me- a crazy socialite and a introvert that wants her own privacy. i am kinda lonely, but before you begin to feel sorry for me it is not as if i could not make friends. i am kinda selective. i want to speak and practice spanish, but guates are not like portlanders so when i hope to find some bohemian like locals i find it quite hard.

dating is a whole another ball game. i don't deeply desire to date an upper class guate but it is also difficult to date outside my own class. here in guate i am considered very wealthy. if i try to date the working class they tend to be very jealous and envious of my position. you can't also judge someone by their job or class. we might look at someone in the US and say he is a bartender or waiter he could be doing so much more with his life. the opportunities here are minimal and the people don't dare to think outside the box.
so no hommies and no papi chulo.
it is okay. i have what i need. my charm.
espero que son salud y feliz. espero que van a ecritire y llamarme tambien. mi corazon necesita afecto y amor. i hope that you all are healthy and happy. I also hope you will write me or call me (011-502-5349-8142). my heart needs affection and love.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chapter 3: Teacher- Maestra

I was hoping to take the time to be thoughtful about my life and experiences in Guatemala or Guate. Time and technology works against this intention. Because my internet is touchy like the sensitive little bitch that it is I will try to keep things concise. Who wants to read about peoples lengthy worldly experiences anyway.

How shall I entice you on visiting? My apartment building is called Con Vista – With View. The name serves it justice. You step inside and an immediate tranquilization hits your veins as you breath in the panoramic scene. You forget your worries, your thoughtless chatter at the door and watch the clouds drift by. Night time is my favorite. Especially when it storms from time to time and I have a front seat to a natural laser light show. I warmly welcome you into my humble abode so that you can decide for yourself what is what in Guatemala.

I am not actually on vacation which can easily be misconstrued when I have not yet shared about my occupation. Yes I indeed did come here to work, teach in fact. It has officially been about a month and a half. Surprises- teaching comes naturally to me. For the most part I can solve my classrooms problems or see to what my classroom needs and I can talk to parents. I have this voice and presence that sometimes spooks myself. I sound official like I am a legitimate teacher. Then there is a reality of creating routines, grading, assessing, and jamming as much education as I can from 7:30 in the morning until lunch at 11:40.

I love my school because...

-I co-teach with Tatiana Borrayo my favorite Guatemalan

-I have a huge classroom, bathroom included

-teamwork is for real here

What I miss about American schools...

-access to resources (but you get creative when you don't have what you want)

-not much really

I don't miss working in isolation, the inflexibility of time and creativity, and teaching in a monculture.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am more than an educator. I am a social movements leader. Don't you wonder who Baraka and Bush and McCain's 3rd grade teachers were? I do. When my students enter the classroom they look to me for direction and guidance. Hail Ms. Vida's little revolutionaries.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chapter 2: Guatemalan Immigration

i don't know where to begin. my impression of guatemala is my impression. that seems like a given, but if i tell you stories or simple observations you will be pulled into a belief that is only true for me. with that being said here is my guatemalan tale... i got off the plane and headed for customs (wait rewind) back at PDX the man checking me in for my flight asked in a stern manner why my flight was a one way. naively and excitedly i explained that i was to be a 3rd grade teacher. as if this guy gives a flying fuck. then he pumped fear in my veins...will guatemalan customs be aware of this? if you are unprepared with the correct information they could ship you right back to the united states. thanks airport friend for your friendly cautions and insight. i was going to shit myself as i stood in line with passport clenched in my hand. then it was my turn...stamp. stamp. bienviendos. the tension in my bowels settled as i grabbed my baggage and headed to meet my administrators. i had no fucking clue who these people were. all i could do was keep my eye out for a sign that read American School of Guatemala.

i didn't want to walk into this country or experience with any demands. so i prepared myself with a patient mentality for situations that may present themselves with my needs being unmet. maybe the school is highly disorganized- my housing blows, my work environment is chaotic and overwhelming. maybe i would be tortured with loneliness so excruciatingly bad that i would want pack my things up and return home immediately.

then the unexpected happened. i met my new life in guatemala. and it was the unimaginable. i met the other teachers and staff. i thought originally i was by my lonesome and everything would be in spanish, spanish, spanish. wrong. i am surrounded by many americans or people fluent in english. now while this is a slight pleasantry or affords comfortability it works against my goal of learning spanish.

to combat the gringo trap i have put a concerted effort in befriending the locals and spanish speakers. the beauty in this country is that it is so easy to be friendly. the people respond very easily. though i am native to a state that also presents a level of warmth, i have to say that guatemalans by far from all my travels are the most affectionate and endearing. everything is buenos dias, buenas tardes, and buenos noches (i haven't figured out accent marks on my key board yet and my spanish spelling for the time being will be off- i apologize). many of the workers have a common phrase- para servirle, which means i am at your service or here to serve you.

i love it here. the weather here is permanent spring. beautiful sunlight and a pleasing overall temperature. sometimes it has a tropical down pour and the sky explodes with thunder and lightening. the thunder is so loud that i have jumped or quivered with fright.

before i paint a very romantic and mystical picture for you i also have to level with you. it is difficult to live merrily and go about my life because i am the bourgeoisie and the elite. guatemala is a very poor country because it has a very unstable infrastructure that allows for few people to live within their means. this also puts my life in slight danger because when you are as poor as the people are here you get desperate, so desperate that you will target those with wealth and attempt to rob them blind. a gringo has very little security here. to a poor guatemalan a gringo, an american, light skinned, english speaker is dollars and money. they can't look at you any differently. they believe you have what they don't.

at this point you are probably unhappy and anxious in my decision to move here. to set your mind at ease remember that i camouflage. one glance at me and they think latina, in fact it is so unconscious that they don't even consider my presense. so i am not afraid and i understand that i have to adjust culturally and do things differently then i might do living back in oregon. for example i have become a stasher. i hide things in various obscure places so that if someone does have the opportunity to rob me they can't steal everything and i try to avoid carrying large sums of money on me and at night i try to go out with a group of people. see, i have my wits, and i do my best to do as the locals do.

no worries. mi vida, my life is a learning experience and a humbling one at that. as i learn spanish and customs i am in a constant upheaval of embarrassment. i mumble. i mispronounce words. i do the most awkward things possible in an attempt to connect and relate to the guatemalan culture.

every time i want to shrivel in shame or stay warm and snug in my little american comfort zone i remind myself why i came here. to explore and develop as a spiritual being, so i keep my heart glowing, hope for the best, and forgive in the worst.

i wanted to keep things short and simple, but how could i give you an honest international peek without any detail. in fact there is so much i left out. like my first attempt at being my own teacher that is soon approaching. i will just have to keep you posted...
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chapter 1: There is No place like home

Portland i miss your bridges, your bicyclists, your first thursdays, your last thursdays, your North, South, East, and West. i miss all the people that i made memories with the good and the bad. i miss all the people i will not get to know.
But Portland, Oregon if I may call you, we are better off this way. Going to new places and trying out new people.Your roads were too familiar and I was beginning to take you for granted. One day I shall return with a fresh perspective and terms of endearment. That you were more than a location. You were an infinite space within the confines of my heart.
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