Hola readers, I am sitting at the edge of lake Atitlan simply enjoying the moment. Guatemala is most certainly the land of eternal spring. Today, I want to convey my opinions on life in Guatemala. What I mean is that time in Guatemala is vastly different from America. I will try my best to describe it, but you just might have to be here to believe it.
To begin I’ll start with my current life in Texas. My day begins with a workout at 6:00 every morning, followed by a quick breakfast at 7:30. Shortly after breakfast, I attend classes from 8 to 11. After class, my workday begins, which generally goes through lunch. Following work, I train in the Corp of Cadets until 7:00 at night, and I’ll study until 11:00. Repeat that five times a week and that is my life. The corps’ lifestyle is like warp speed compared to Guatemala. Let’s convert my day into Guatemala time. First, take that 15-20 minute breakfast and multiply it by five, maybe six times. If you think that is long, dinner can start at 7:30 and end at 10:00; there is no rush here. It is certainly a lifestyle I could get use to. You may chalk that up to a vacation-like atmosphere that a tourist might attract, but from my observations that could not be farther from the truth.
The moment I discovered that truth, the moment I was convinced that it wasn’t just a façade, was when working with Don Enildo and Alexa. Don Enildo is a pea farmer in the Zacaleau cooperative. Alexa is a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to help increase production at this post. When we showed up, Alexa had created a work plan while we visited. Alexa, an American working in Central America for a couple of years, miscalculated the time it would take eight motivated Aggies to finish the job. With not even a year in country, she was functioning in Guatemalan time. I would say in a total of six hours we had built five A-frame levels, set contour lines in Don Enildo’s farm, made compost piles on-site, and were able to pick an entire field of peas. We were there for two days folks and only did six hours of work, and a whole bunch of talking. As a side note, we also made a little pizza for lunch (10 pizzas actually).
That night, I realized life here in Guatemala has a different frame; most are content with the speed of their universe and have no desire to speed it up. I could give you a million examples of the slow tranquil Guatemalan lifestyle I have observed. I would rather enjoy it for as long as I can and it’s something I believe you must experience to truly appreciate what I’ve discovered.