One of the goals of our world trip is to get to know the people and the culture of the countries we travel to. And as we consider language as the key to access people and their culture, we decided to stay in San Pedro at Lake Atitlan for two weeks, live with a local family and go to Spanish school for 10 days.
We stayed with Maida, Mauricio and their 6 year old daughter Aweex and dived deeper into their lives and culture than we would have ever expected. Every morning after our work-out Maida surprised us with a different breakfast and practiced with us our Spanish before we left for school. Sometimes Aweex also joined in, joked around and corrected our misuse of the Spanish language.
Then we had classroom training with Elvia at San Pedro Spanish School. Well, classroom training is probably the wrong expression as our classroom was a beautiful hut at the lake, big enough for the three of us, in the middle of a beautiful garden.
Every day after school Maida surprised us with a different local dish for lunch and gave us the chance to practice what we had learned at school. The afternoons we spent exploring lively San Pedro and its surrounding villages, like artistic San Juan, stoned San Marcos or Santiago Atitlan with its beautiful dresses and craftsmanship.
But we had to make sure to be back by five as then the conversation club at our school started, followed by a changing program of salsa or a demonstration of the local chocolate production.
In the evenings Maida surprised us again with a local delicacy and also Mauricio joined in if there wasn’t an important basketball game to join and hold some quite advanced conversations with us.
But it wasn’t just the conversations we hold with them, that gave us a lot of insights into the Guatemalan culture, Maida also invited us to her brother’s birthday, to her mother’s church celebration, to a hike to the Indian nose, a sauna evening with the entire family, showed us San Juan and connected us with her cousin who gave us a cooking class. What an amazing and unforgettable experience.