Oh, The Pages!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh my.

Today was our second to last day in the school with the kids. It's enough to break one's heart.
Except, of course, for mine. My heart is NOT broken. It's shattered into a trillion pieces, and you'll see why when you see the pictures that we were able to take from a borrowed camera. 
Today after school, we headed off to a coffee plantation. Yes, you heard me. A coffee plantation. Luckily, we were able to go on a guided tour. The guide explained everything; how the coffee was roasted, and the long and intricate process of 'fixing' the beans. First comes the picking of the red coffee berries. Then, you dry the beans. After drying them for a few days, the papery covering is removed, leaving greenish whitish beans. Then they are baked, medium or dark roast. We got to taste a few beans of dark and medium roast, and then taste some hot chocolate powder. It was amazingly delicious.
Next, we headed to a music museum neighboring the coffee plantation. We learned about the materials and the ways the Mayans made their instruments, then watched a short film about the music and the dancing culture.
We drank chocolate as our beverage for dinner.
As you can imagine, I'm pretty hyper, but calming down quickly.
and the pics.
Me and my frizzy hair (humidity :P ) playing a game of connect four with some of the students. 

Some of the kids and I posing for a photo shoot.

Peeling potatoes. This is the first one-fourth of Nina and my day, we spend it in the kitchen.

The pepto-bismolbile/pinkanese van. This group of us are just heading back from a museum filled with ancient Mayan artifacts.

These are some of the ruins in Antigua. We had fun climbing on them and such. It used to be a monastery, until four earthquakes in a row destroyed it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Oh my goodness, I haven't posted in a while, guys!
I'm sorry, we've just really been busy with school and learning Spanish.
Anyways, today started like any other day. We woke up early and I groaned for a few minutes before finally rolling out of bed. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that I'm on the top of a bunk bed.
So...that didn't end well.
At school today, we constructed props for a fourth grade class that was learning how to sing "the wheels on the bus." We grabbed two cardboard boxes and began cutting.
"Arck.....these...kiddie scissors....not working for me." I said, trying to cut the thick cardboard. So, the generous principal, who speaks English, said, "Would you like me to get you a blade?"
In hindsight, this was not the best answer. "Oh, yes please!"
So five minutes later he came back with a small razor blade. The cutting edge was thinner than a hair.
"Ooh, thank you!" It's so shiny and sharp and pretty!
SO...I started cutting the cardboard.
I didn't feel a thing as the blade slipped, just scowled, but then Nina gasped. "You're bleeding!" Indeed I was. Just a little, though, on my pointer finger. "It doesn't even hurt." I said, shrugging. I grabbed some hand sanitizer and squirted it on my finger. "There. All better."
I was cutting out a wheel when it happened, again, but this time it was a bit more...extreme.
The blade slipped and glanced off the top of my wrist. Again, I didn't feel a thing, it was too sharp for that. "Oops." I said, pulling my sleeve up to cover the cut. And then it happened again, when I was slicing out a circle for the steering wheel. "Ouch. Ahaha...."
So now I have a bandaid on my right pointer finger, and two on my left wrist. The second one on my wrist hasn't even bled through the bandaid yet, it's all good. I just found it entertaining how sharp objects and I share a love/hate relationship.
After school, we hopped on the pepto-bismolbile and headed, again, to Antigua.
We went shopping, and I got a journal. It is blue and woven and pretty.
Guess what else? So, this is kinda hard to explain and all, but I got this cool thingee in my hair....so, I'll show all of you when I get back.
Until next time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Yo. Erm.....Waddup...uh, dawgs.

So, hello friends. Seeing how nobody has commented besides Siri, you are all dead. That's rather unfortunate. I'm sorry about that.
So, since Siri is the only one who has not been
(((a) kissed by a dementor,
b) eaten by Shadow or Gladamier,
c) pushed off a cliff, then had your entire house changed to ONLY stairs,
d) had a face-to-face encounter with an angry bear))),
 how are you? I'm doing fine. I just got back from Antigua today. The hotel we stayed at had a giant jacuzzi. It was the most amazing thing ever, I can't even tell you how awesome it was.
For someone who has worked with kids, that is. I'm not saying working with kids is unpleasant, I'm simply saying that it's rather hard work indeed.
So, Siri, since you are the only one alive, is Gabriella still alive?
Did everyone just disappear?
I'm freaking out a little. It's quite disturbing to think that everyone has
(((a) seen dead people
b) found out that Darth Vader was your father
c) visited Davy Jone's locker
But seriously.
Don't you DARE
I'll be mad, and then sic Mr. Puffin on you...and then sic, uh, Voldemort on you.
I'm dead serious.
That was my serious face. Here it is again.
Except for this time, bigger but still to-scale.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Yes, everybody IS looking forward to the weekend, if you'll excuse the lyrics of that HORRIBLE, AWFUL song.
Today was our last day at the school, that is, until Monday. I'm blogging earlier today because we're heading to Antigua and spending the night there, and we won't be back until tomorrow. So yeah.
Also, today we saw every class do their act for an upcoming talent show.
The first graders did the hokey pokey (Bluh, I had to teach them how to do that. It was awful.), the second and third graders sang 'old McDonald had a farm (Oh, and I had to teach them that, too. No me gusta cantar.), ' The fourth graders sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." The fifth, sixth, and seventh each did their own little dance thingees. The eighth and ninth graders? Oh my gosh, this is so awesome. The danced 'Gangnam Style' and 'Gentleman.'
Oh my goodness, they were awesome. It was hilarious!
Yes. It was hilarious.
So.....how's everyone there? Good, I hope.
Sorry, gtg for now.
Bye guys! Talk to ya tomorrow.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I should start a collection.

I'm serious. First one from Toledo, Spain, and now one from Central America.
It's very shiny. Plus, I <3 sharp objects, as I'm sure Anna could tell you all.
I'm sure that by now you can guess what I'm talking about.
Yes, my pretties. *Cackle* I have bought a beautiful Guatemalan knife.
I should begin from the beginning. We did school again today, working with different volunteers. I spent the day trying to convince them that cucumber's pronounced (Kee-oo-come-burr) instead of (Koo-koom-bear).
Very entertaining.
After that, we went on a day trip to a place called Aguas Calientes. Despite the name, there aren't any hot springs there anymore.
First, we explored the ruins of an ancient monastery. It was very beautiful, and we took lots of pictures. Unfortunately, Nina dropped her camera (and it kinda died), so I don't know if we'll be able to upload photos or not. If we can, I'll put them on tomorro-
*moment of panic*
Okay, done with that. Sorry, there's like a large thunderstorm here. Lotsa rain. Very humid. :P
Right. So if I can upload photos, they'll be on tomorrow's blog.
After our group was finished 'going on an adventure' in a monastery (with 100% DEET), we headed to....uh, how do I describe this....? It was like half of a house, one big room, made of cinderblock, with a dirt floor. The upper walls were made of stalks of bamboo tied together, the top was sheet metal. It was, as described by our driver, a "Mayan Experience."
First, I was surprise-chosen to be a volunteer in weaving some cloth, which was very difficult. I only did a few threads before we moved on to the rest of the demonstration.
Next (TRANSITION WORDS HA), we held a mini-example-traditional Mayan wedding. It was very entertaining, seeing some of our fellow volunteers pull on the beautiful traditional clothes over their jeans and T-shirts. Nina was one of them, she was a 'flower girl' of sorts. I got to watch and laugh at her.
So, they explained the (year long) planning process of a Mayan wedding. I listened, fairly interested, but mostly hoped I wouldn't be chosen to volunteer to wear. A. Skirt.
Luckily, I wasn't. *Sigh of relief*
Then some of the volunteers sprinkled flower petals on the 'bride' and 'groom's' head.
Then, one of the Mayan women brought out two smoking bowls of something. I couldn't smell it, but there was lots of smoke everywhere, rather thickly, and everyone kinda started laughing. It was really funny, for reasons unknown to anyone. We later wondered why we spontaneously broke out laughing.
Personally, I think it was the smoke.
Lastly, we made our own tortillas, drank strong Mayan black coffee, and shopped around the place, where I proceeded to buy my knife for 50 Q's.
Luckily, I have it, erm, WITH me, so I can take a picture of it. *Lightning crackles*

First of all, this is the carved wooden hilt and the position of the knives. There are two, by the way. A small one and a big one. 

 He he he. Enough said.

 Oh my gosh. This is a picture of our Second Graders. I love them all so much! And today, they were all, "No, Sara! Don't leave! Noooo!" And they kept hugging me and not letting go. 

So, that's all folks, for tonight. 
Bye till tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

EVERYBODY DO THE FLOP. (The title's for you, Gabriella. *Sighs in annoyance and kicks Gabe* Ha.)

Today, we got up in the morning and went to school. Spanish class was my favorite, and ONLY, class.
Yeah, guys. I'm going to school, too. And don't you be all jealous of me and/or think I'm not learning, because I am SERIOUSLY learning. My Spanish level (of comprehension and application) has increased from a ten to about a forty in THREE DAYS.
Working with kids is tough, but it's very very VERY rewarding. I almost cried today. Yah. Me, the one who only cries during shots/panic attacks/broken or almost broken bones/leaving you guys, almost CRIED. Wanna know why?
Because. A little girl, in second grade, wrote me the sweetest note I have ever received. It was in Spanish, yes, but, uh....IcankindareadandwriteSpanishalmostfluentlynow, so I read it when she left.
"Sara, I love you with all of my heart and all of my love."
*Sniffle* she didn't want me to leave....who knew that little kids could love me?
I certainly didn't know. I've always had a one sided relationship with kids. Usually a love-hate relationship. Not usually the "love" side.
My goodness. Everyone, please comment on this post. I don't really know what to do or how to feel. This....is crazy. Just insane. *Sigh* I can't believe it. I...I just can't.
Well, I have to say something else besides venting and freaking out. So...how are you guys? Leave your comments so I know what's up in the big US of A.
More specifically, the big PC of UT.
So for now, I have to say the big BYE.
(No, not BYU.*shudders*  :P)
(Adios, mis amigos.)
Oh, wait! One more little informational tidbit.
I brought my iPod Shuffle with Imagine Dragons songs and other music on it, and it's saved my life.
American music. Who knew.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being a Teacher

klajdhsfj dskfjhdsalruyelwkryalhlsd
I'm trying to figure myself out. Because, like Bailey pointed out in the comments.....
I have figured out a hidden side of me that I never knew existed. A side of me that likes serving others, and likes speaking Spanish.
And likes....
NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, I DON'T NORMALLY LIKE KIDS. In fact, I try to avoid children as much as possible.
But...the kids are so.....
Well, for one, I'm helping educate children with math, English, and drawing.
Today was pretty much the same as yesterday. We went to the school and helped out. We're not allowed to bring cameras, because they may get lost. Or stolen. Or broken. So sorry for the lack of pictures, guys. You'll just have to make due with the occasional picture of the city.
One thing that was different about today was that we helped out in the kitchen. We started the day by cleaning up. I swept, and after that Nina and Mom mopped.
"Aha. Done." I said. I then saw a cockroach scurry across the floor.
Of the kitchen.
Take it in.
Anyways, I almost screamed. "Eeeeep-" but since that wasn't very Sara-like, I cut myself off. Quickly, I grabbed the broom and whacked the cockroach. Hard.
Well, it was pretty gory. They could film it and make a cockroach horror movie on it. But just as I was sweeping up the dust, crumbs, and dead bug into the dustpan....the thing came alive again. It seriously stood up, shook itself, and I swear it winked at me before scurrying off to whatever hole it came from.
Soon after incident cockroach, we washed our hands. And we started sorting through about five pounds of black beans.
"Rock. Found one." I mumbled.
"Me too. Wait. That's not a rock...."
"Say no more. Please."
After that and helping some kids learning to read, it was on to....more beans. Green beans this time.
"Just snap off the stem and the bottom." said the cook, in Spanish.
Snapping off the stem and the bottom was rather difficult for one who doesn't have fingernails.
"Ha, I have LONG nails. It's easy."
"Ouch. Something just bit me."
And so it had, and now I have quite the mosquito bite on my arm. Oh well.

My favorite quote of the day:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bluh. *Confliction*

Today, we woke up at about six AM. As in, in the MORNING.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm not a morning person. I'm not a morning person AT ALL.
So, in the morning, (and I'm on the top bunk,) I fell out of bed after grumbling and flopping around for a few minutes. Not fun. Fortunately, I landed (mostly) on my feet and just sort of crumpled to the floor after that.
Now, on to the rest of the day.
Today, at school, I had a difficult first rotation. The second graders only spoke Spanish, and I only speak a little Spanish. Mostly, I just had them copy down vocabulary words and their meanings in English in their little journals. That was effective, and they paid attention to me for the most part. After the first bell rang, Nina, Mom, and I had a mini rendezvous. Apparently, Nina had had a difficult time with the third graders she had been teaching. One broke a table.

"This isn't going to work." said mom. (Way to state the obvious.) "We have no materials and we need structure." Nina nodded in agreement. "I don't know what to do."
As we walked down the hall, Mom and Nina were in front of me. I trailed slightly behind, thinking about the level of respect the children had had for me versus Nina.
One of the little kids I had just taught, the only girl, ran up behind me and gave me the biggest hug I have ever received from someone so tiny.
Mom and Nina were oblivious to the situation going on behind them, and I stood there, rather speechless.
"Gracias." Said the little girl, before giggling and running off to her friends.
I blinked once, twice, rooted in place. I then took a few steps, paused, and then ran to catch up to Nina and Mom.
"Do you have any idea what just happened?!" I practically squealed. The shook their heads no. "I JUST GOT A HUG FROM THE LITTLE GIRL." I said, still in shock. They both smiled.
"How sweet, Sara." said Mom, and we walked off to round two with the kids.
I was in high spirits, having just been hugged. I was fairly confident of my teaching ability at this point, having been taught some new Spanish words and pronunciations by the little girl.

At this point, Nina and I were both assigned to the same (and only) first grade class. "This should be fun!" I said, almost excited from the prospect of actually doing something, very happy from the hug.
"Uh huh." Said Nina. She had been assigned to the first grade for the rest of the day.
We arrived at the classroom, which was in the basement, and the teacher promptly introduced us to the class and gave us two little children, a boy and a girl.
"uh.....bililoteca?" I asked. The teacher nodded. Yes, take them to the library.
And so we did, although we had no idea what to teach. I had to go back to the room for a pencil and some paper, also snagging a pen for Nina.
"Vamos a dibujar!" I said. Let's draw. Nina and I conversed for a moment over what to draw, then decided on foods.
We would give them each the paper and pencil for a turn, then tell them to draw something. Then, we would label and tell them the word in English. They would then repeat after us when we pronounced the word.
The bell rang. We went back down to return the kids, the teacher disregarded our flimsy paper schedules and sent up three more kids.
"Bibiloteca." She said. Take them to the library again. So we did. And this group? Two small girls, a boy. Each had a different personality. All three of them were adorable and sweet, the sweetest kids by far. We drew, we read, we laughed. They helped us with Spanish, we helped with English.
At the end of the day, we tiredly shouldered our bags and sadly left the children.
"Difficult." Said Mom.
"But....rewarding. My gawsh, it was worth it." I gushed.
Yes. Me.
Take it all in.
Long story short, we made it back to Base safely. Then we had to go on a City Tour, but I'm too tired to write about it right now. I'm sorry; maybe I'll explain it tomorrow.  Too much has happened today. I saw a side of me that I never thought existed, and I felt how great it was to help people, and I know this sounds strange, but it's the best feeling in the world, to do these things.
Thanks for tuning in, friends.
'Surprised at being compassionate' Williams

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Heroes will PREVAIL.

The title? Oh, that. It's a long story. But it's a really, really cool one. Before I begin that story, however, I would like to begin the story of my day. In a first person narrative format.

Today was a long day. I was woken up early and in a really bad mood, since it was early, of course. After a light breakfast of strawberry yogurt and granola, it was time to begin the day at last. I grumbled to myself, not really listening as my fellow volunteers learned what we would be doing.
Since today is a free day, (one we don't have to work,) our group had decided to go on a day trip. I wasn't paying attention to WHERE we would be going, I was surprised as I was handed a bag with water bottles and rain jackets and hustled out the door.
Waiting outside the doors of the Base, there was a very interesting vehicle. VERY interesting.  It was a pink bus, not as big as a school bus but not as small as a van. Then there was the fact that there were Japanese characters in white paint on the outside of the bus.
That woke me up pretty quickly.
"Uh....what?" I asked as my family and I, not to mention most of the other volunteers, hustled onto the bus. "Where exactly are we going in this thing?" See, I didn't speak the last part. Just thought it, for obvious reasons.
Our driver, Victor, hopped into the driver's seat and said, "Iximche."
"Gesundheit." I said. Again, not out loud.  Out loud, I said, "Ah. Gracias." I then promptly turned to Nina, who was sitting in the seat behind me. "Uh. Where are we going...?" I finally asked, after the initial rattling and shaking of the starting bus.
"Didn't you hear? Iximche. (pronounced Each-IM-cheh.)"
"Yeah. I heard. Where are we going?"
"Mayan ruins."
I then proceeded to look out the window. The city was dirty, polluted, and poverty stricken. However, the people seemed relatively happy.
A big, rusty bus rattled past us. "Yeesh. It smells like gas." Grumbled Nina.
 "Ha." I replied. "HA."
I then had a major 'HA' moment.
On the back of the rusty old bus that had passed our pink one, I saw.....
"OHEMGEE YES." I said, attracting strange looks from various volunteers. But it was there, clear as day on the back of the public transportation. The Bat Symbol. 
Ha. HA.
Now, I'mna skip to when we arrived at the ruins. They were very, very big. And it was hot out, but seeing the ancient Mayan culture was totally worth it. There were pyramids and plazas, and a ball field in which the losers were taken to a larger city and sacrificed to the Sun God.
Yep. It was very interesting.
One of the most interesting things was seeing a tree, that, despite the others, was the only one with woodpeckers. In fact, the tree was completely covered in woodpecker-beak-peck-marks. It was insane. 
After spending some time there and getting a guided tour, our group of about twenty headed back to the pink-an-ese mobile. Victor was taking us to a restaurant that he had dubbed as "safe."
I got some delicious tacos. Oh yeah, they were tasty.
On the ride back, I spotted two batman T-shirts and fistpumped. HEROES. THEY WILL PREVAIL.
Yeahz they will.
We headed back to the Base, and here I am, eating a frozen banana and talking. Tomorrow, we will be volunteering at a school. With kids.
*deep breath*
Please wish me luck.
And guess what?

A small bit of the patio at the Base. It's really nice, and a bookshelf with some classics are in the opposite direction. Cozy.

The family at the base. *Glares at picture* ROTATE, YOU!

 A residential area of the city, as seen from a bridge. 

 Again, a residential area, seen from the window of the bus.

 Some of the natives of Guate, seen from the window of the pepto-bismol-mobile

 Had to put this pic. See the cows? Yeah. Now see the sign on the upper left? YEAH.

 Steps in the Mayan ruins.

 A special 'alter.' Blood, chocolate, and honey went in the hole. At the same time. At this point in the tour, I quietly remarked "yummy." I got a few glares.

 Ze tree with ze woodpecker holes. Fascinating.

 Our family, standing in front of the Ruins.

 A market we visited after the ruins. It was a very local market.

 A goose and her goslings at the market.

 Notice how all the food is on the floor?

A fourth and final picture, this one of the market. 

Thanks for tuning in!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And so the blog begins again. With Guatemala. Woo.

Hello, fellow humans/narwhals/ninjas/unicorns/cyborgs/anime characters/plants or zombies/proteges.
That was a little longer than I intended it to be. Sorry.
Well, hello again. This is Sara Williams addressing you (formally) from South Central America. *Glares at strikethrough'd 'South'*
So, I know I haven't blogged in a while, so sorry again, but I applaud the singular person who has viewed it today. As opposed to the hundred views I would be getting about a month ago.
This ol' blog ain't what it used ta' be, forks.
We should change that, hmm?
Yes. Yes we should.
So, we are staying at this place with about twenty other volunteers. Most are girls, most of those girls are college students. However, there are two college-student guys.
Way to tough it out, you two. *applauds*
So, anyway. We've been eating South----AGH-
We've been eating CENTRAL American food.  Such as tons of beans. And coffee. Which is nice.
AS you all know, I truly do enjoy coffee. owO
So it's been nice.
It's really hot here. Like, a lot.
Sorry. Had to complain there.
Uh, I hope I get some comments! I'll be WATCHING.
Like a hawk.
-The one who is ALWAYS watching