I live alone. Well when I am not in Florida with my parents. I like it. I have never been much of a roommate type person. People in my personal space tend to annoy me and of course I don’t like to wear clothes a lot. So living alone suits me fine and I feel like I am a pretty independent person. However, over the last year or so I have discovered something about myself- I hate eating solo. Hate it. I like cooking for others, hate putting forth the effort to cook if it’s only me. This is crazy coming from a girl who spent most major holidays eating in her room rather than eating with her family. I often skip meals or eat extra light since it’s only me. I find myself offering to pay for people food so I can have company. I tend to gain weight when I am home in Florida and lose weight when I am in AZ or someplace living/eating alone. My disdain for eating alone is precisely the reason I loved my time in Tactic so much. I never ate alone. Nabila’s parent’s house was a 4 min walk from her house. Her sister, Amanda lived within shouting distance. I would wake up in the morning- chill in Nabila’s house, read and listen to music. She would be at work and her daughter at school so I got my “personal” time. Then either walk to Nabila’s parents or sister house for breakfast. By lunchtime Anatye, Nabila’s daughter would be home from school and we would all eat lunch together. Some days I went to Coban and had lunch with Nabila while she was at work. I usually ate dinner at her parents’ house with the whole family. We would all walk back to our respective houses at the end of the night. I never had to eat a meal alone, which made me very happy. I spent the rest of my time on “excursions” with various members of her family, everyone wanted some “Tab time”. I went to a restaurant name Lo Ranch with her father, where the owner got camera happy with my camera and took about 40 photos of me “modeling”.
I hiked to see the church on the hill with Nabila’s brother new wife Lili (7mths pregnant), Anayte (7)and David (3). Anayte and David taught me how to pray to Jesus who was on a cross in the middle of the church with a really bad wig surrounded by flowers in a glass container. He had a little box for money behind him. They showed me how to give him the money and the Catholic way to make the cross after you pray.I suggest staying home and praying, a hour hike uphill is ridiculous. I am sure God understands.
I went shopping in Coban with Nabila, Amanda, Anayti and Amanda’s friend Nellie. I went walking around the stadium at 6:30 am with Nabila’s mother, Carmella and Amanda. They ran, I walked. It was a beautiful morning though.
Oh and of course I spent too much time playing with David, Anayti and Christian, who thought I was the best playmate ever. I really enjoyed how close the family was. Since Nabila worked and Amanda did not, Amanda would clean up Nabila’s house and do her laundry for her. There was always some adult checking Anayti’s homework after school or picking her up from school. I couldn’t imagine cleaning my sister house for her, mostly because I don’t have a month to dedicate that process.
Everyone pretended to understand me and whatever language it was that I was speaking. I won’t disrespect the Spanish language and call what I was speaking Spanish. They really made me feel like I was part of their family. Just a bit taller and Black. Nabila’s mother told me I could come back anytime I wanted. I have my choice of houses to stay in. Hopefully, I can repay their hospitality when they come to the states.
Nabila walked me to the bus stop to head to Guatemala City. As we waited I felt something drop on my head, it had been raining a lot so I assume it was water and tried to brush it off. Nabila looked at me and asked what was in my hair. Turns out a bird took a crap on my head, which was now also on my hand. We clean my head and hand up the best we could with a combination of tissue, water and hand sanitizer, just in time to get picked up for the 4.5 hour bus ride. Once I arrived in Guatemala City I took a taxi to another bus station “Tica Bus” for my trip to El Salvador. We left at 1:30 ish and got to San Salvador at 7:30 pm. We spent about 2hrs doing immigration and getting our passport checked by Guatemalan and El Savadorian officials. Some people got their stuff searched; I guessed I did not look like a big enough threat to get harassed. I wrote letters as I waited. Remember, I still have the remnants of poop in my hair and I had been up since 5:30 am, I was tired and dirty when I arrived. It felt so good to see Carmen waving at me, ready with her car to pick me up.
Wait, who is Carmen? According to her profile she is a World Language teacher and a vegetarian. There were other things but that’s all that I remember. But most importantly according to her messages she was down to let me stay with her while I was in San Salvador. Couchsurfing is a website where travelers from all over the world can find people who open their homes to traveling strangers to crash for a couple of nights. When I first heard of this, I thought it was crazy and only for white people or people who wanted to get killed/robbed by strangers. It is actually pretty cool. A lot of the time you don’t sleep on people couches, it can be a floor or a private bedroom. I have my own room and bathroom at Carmen’s house. As well as access to her computer, kitchen or whatever else she has in her house. Oh did I mention this all for the free, it is supposed to offer some sort of cultural exchange. Last night she took me to dinner, I got some “authentic El Salvadoran” food- pupusa’s.Today, I went with her to work and will be exploring the city solo. Tonight I am going to a party with her and some of her friends. So far so good. I am not dead yet. And I am not eating alone.
Randomly: I have gotten quite used to “chicken buses” and being crammed in a mini-van with 50 people. I have also gotten quite used to people breastfeeding in front of me. I was totally ok with Yohana feeding her baby in front of me when I visited her in Coban. One night on the way back from Coban we were extra packed on this bus, a man’s crotch was 3.5 inches from my face. I could not even reach in my pocket to pay for the trip. To my right was a lady and her baby, the baby was fascinated with me- ok my earrings from the moment they sat down. The baby would grab my hand and try to reach for my earrings. The baby was probably about 5-7mths but I am not a good guesser when it comes to baby ages and it was a really big baby. The mother proceeded to take out a breast (of course the one closest to me) to feed the baby …I promise you I could literally smell the milk coming from this woman’s breast and the whole time her child yanked on my hand. Considering I never plan to have a creature come out of me, this is the closest I will ever be to breastfeeding a child.