Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Still Getting Surprised

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I think I'm feeling a bit of culture shock. Not sure if that's the right term or not. It's not like I miss home all that much -- although I do wish I could see the leaves change. It's more like these days I've been more aware of the constant tiny underlying anxiety of not being in a familiar place. It's not a feeling that is at the forefront of my mind most days but it's always there.

I don't know this place.
This place is not what I'm used to.
I am not at home.
And most especially: I don't speak the language.

It reminds me of spending time in Quebec back in Canada. I knew some French but there was just that slight irritation of not being able to do the simplest things, like reading a sign.

Here in Guatemala, my lack of Spanish vocabulary was brought to my attention when Calvin, our foster dog, escaped the yard. I went out to the street looking for him and had a conversation with our neighbour.
She said, "Qué buscas?" (What are you looking for?)
I replied, "Mi perro." (My dog.)
She asked, "Qué color?" (What color?")
At that point I went... uhhhhhh. Calvin is brindle. I know people who don't know that word in English! So I just shrugged and said, "No sé la palabra." (I don't know the word.)
She laughed at me in disbelief. Who doesn't know what color their dog is??

When I told Bert the story, he laughed at me too and said, "Why didn't you say tigre?" I face-palmed. Of course! Tigre (pronounced tee-gray, meaning tiger) is what the Guatemalans basically name any brindle-coloured dog! I'll remember that for next time.
And for those learning Spanish, the word for brindle is abigarrado.

In spite of my weird uncomfortable feelings the past few days, Panajachel surprised me yet again today while Bert and the dogs and I were out for a walk. We came across these guys standing in the middle of the main street into town!
Vendors selling fresh shrimp and lobsters in the street.
Panajachel has a fresh seafood drive-through! Always surprising, this town. The vendors got a kick out of my amazed face. They smiled and brought their smelly catch to me to show me up close! :D

On a side note, that green VW bug? I see it everywhere around town, driven by a very elderly gringo lady. I wonder how long she's been in Pana?

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