Joe's Thoughts on Living In Guatemala Thus Far
It’s just under 2 months since I arrived in Guatemala and the “honeymoon” is sadly over. That period of time when it still felt as if we were here on vacation has now come to a close. With the girls in school 5 days a week and Adrienne taking Spanish classes, the time has come for me to settle into a routine for full-time living in Guatemala.
As I look back on how I felt when I first arrived and how I feel now, I’m slowly starting to shed my “tourist” skin and regrow my native roots. It helps to be forced to go out of the house constantly whether it be to drop off the girls at school or grocery shopping. On the other hand, this city has evolved so much, that it’ll still be a while before I’m fully back to feeling just like a local. The biggest change has been in the number of malls, shops, cafes, grocery stores, etc. that have sprung up seemingly on every corner. Each mall more beautiful than the next. I’m not really sure how they all stay in business, when there’s 50 locations of the same store within a 10 block radius; then again, Starbucks seems to have a healthy business, so what do I know.
It all sounds good and fine, but here comes the part where I explain (not complain!) some of items I’ve had to come to terms with as part of living in a developing nation. For one, the traffic is horrendous. I’m dedicating a whole post to my feelings on this, so more to come on that. Then there’s the home internet service and how it’s never a given that you’ll have the speeds you paid for or working service at all! So that’s been fun. And you can forget about trying to complain your way to better service or even a permanent fix. Folks around here look at me like i’m crazy when I talk about how this kind of inconsistency isn’t an issue back in the ol’ USA, unless there’s been severe storms and thus power outages that would explain the lack of service. But here, the answer is more like: “who the hell knows, just wait a while, it’ll come back”. There are just some things that are the way they are. Always have been, always will be.
All in all, I just have to accept that this is a different world. I’ve been gone for over 15 years, so sure I’ve become accustomed to different surroundings and the way things work. Besides polishing up on my Spanish, I’ll definitely have to fine tune my abilities to be patient and have understanding when things are taking longer or being done in a completely illogical manner. After all, I keep being told “welcome to the jungle!”.