Who would have guessed?

11 10 2009

Well, I’m sure y’all would never have had any expectation of this … but … that’s right, my plans have changed.  Not that I have any history of that.

It’s a little different this time.  During the first month in Jalapa, I offended in several points – some of them unwittingly, and some, I admit, carelessly.  If it had not been for the careless ones, we could probably have resolved the unwitting ones.  As it is, we had a long talk a week ago last Wednesday.  Several of the things Lee and Sharon brought up, I had already become aware of.  I thought we had cleared the air, and I worked on correcting the areas I needed to.  (This being a rather public forum, that’s as specific as I want to get … They weren’t anything “shocking,” if you’re curious!)  However, tensions had been running rather high beforehand, and it didn’t get resolved that easily.  I guess they also felt that I wasn’t making the corrections I needed to.  I disagree on that point, but so be it.  I was actually rather relieved when they suggested I move up the time of my departure.  One person said there was another factor or two, like (I guess) the new granddaughter’s due date moving up to just a few days after my leaving, and so I went back to Guatemala City on the same day that a director visiting from the US had to leave.

They were a little worried about what I would say about the mission, so I want to make clear that I never felt anything out of the way from any of them. As I mentioned above, if I had not been at fault in those areas, we could probably have resolved the other areas.  One thing that makes me feel a little more confident that it was partly a misunderstanding is, that I have heard one of my supposed faults charged upon my mom in exactly the same words.  And I guess I have more confidence in my mom than in myself, but I think that if her reaction in a stressful situation could be misinterpreted in that way, it is just possible that her daughter’s could.

Moving on. I just couldn’t give up the trip to Tikal.  I presented the idea that since I would be doing it at my own time and expense, it didn’t really matter which date the return flight moved to, and so I was able to set it for this Wednesday (the 14th).  We drove into Guatemala City yesterday, Saturday.  At one point, traffic was held up for half an hour due to a head-on crash between to flatbed trucks (about the size of cargo vans).  That isn’t too unheard of in the US, but when you go by, there isn’t usually a partially covered corpse lying in the road by one truck.  It was pretty sobering.

I had made reservations online for a bus with Línea Dorada to Flores, near Tikal.  (Tikal is an archaeological site).  However, I didn’t get any email confirmation, and I was rather nervous about getting my seat.  I told them I would rather get there early than have them buy my breakfast (especially at Burger King, but I didn’t say that).  Wherever there are hungry people down here, there will be someone selling food, but not necessarily bus tickets.  Sure enough, not only did the confirmation not exist (that they mentioned), but the “luxury” line didn’t even run at that time.  I think I finally figured out that it is just that it is a sleeper bus and runs only at night, so I rode in simple “first class.”  It was hardly more than half full, so my worries were for nothing.  But I did enjoy buying my own little box of pineapple juice and a sort of strawberry-jelly turnover, and eating it in the terminal, more than sitting in Burger King with a “barely-clad” woman gyrating on the television.

I know that my anxious to experience it at close grips is unreasonable for someone who actually lives in that culture, but I don’t have to time to absorb it by osmosis, to let it just soak in a drop at a time.  I know that what I’m “experiencing” isn’t really more authentic than, say the local Burger King.  But still, that gyrating woman really doesn’t attract me over there.  And it makes me use my Spanish.

Now, I am going to say that this post is long enough, and share with you, in the next one, some stuff that I wrote yesterday.

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