A late feliz dia del Carino from Antigua. For those of you who are elementary teachers, you can imagine, somewhat the chaos that was in the school yesterday on Valentine's Day. There were some marked differences. First, in the upper grades (4-6), all the children were given a single name on Friday, for which each child created a special card for that named person, then bought some chocolate for the person. During the two hour party at the end of the day, the 40+ children in the two sections, A y B, for each grade level, sat on the floor in one room, and monitored by the teachers, one at a time, handed each other the card and gift. As child A gave child B the card/chocolate, they hugged for a moment, then child B gave their card/chocolate to child B, etc. Of course, in the sixth grade room there were cheers and jeers for beso, and only a few ventured a peck on the cheek, which brought considerable howling.
In the lower grades, the children exchanged hugs (brazas), got cups with cards and chocolates, and exchanged hand made cards/chocolates with a single classmate. The school purchased a hotdog, drink, and gave each child a darling cupcake with a paper heart stuck to a toothpick. It was quite a festive event. I received some candies from the lady who assists me in my work, some of the children, and a cupcake from the staff, along with a hotdog and drink. I feel so comfortable there and love going each day.
After school, we had our fifth Spanish lesson. For me it was not so great, for a while, as the setting, a new coffee house, was too distracting for me, but once we were outside sitting on the steps of the cathedral, overlooking the square, things were better. I seem to need lots of mental space to think through the preguntas y fraces, but hope that when we return to a quiet setting tomorrow, I can return to stumbling through pronunciation in the quiet of the apartemento.
Tom and I listened to some accordion music, played live from the government building, north of the square, and then wandered over the Hotel Santo Domingo for an extraordinary dinner. The setting is a 450+ convent that has been restored and serves as both a hotel and museum. The food was beautifully served, tasty, and just a bit different. We found short ribs as good as Sardi's in NYC, so Tom was in heaven. We were serenaded by a delightful trio of two guitar players and maraca player, all of whom sang in harmony, light songs at each table in the place. It was really lovely. The red roses from the dinner are in a vase in our loft, and the memory holds as a very romantic night with my best friend and lifetime love.
Today was a red letter day for both of us. Tom found many new secrets in Antigua and arranged for a walking tour with Elizabeth, and a tour of the Filadelphia coffee farm with the same company. I discovered the secret to the term decimal, as it is used in the Guatemalan ministry of educacion, from which the teachers draw their knowledge. It is a key to what I am studying here, so I look forward to uncovering more of this mystery as time goes by.
On Saturday we greet Adam and Catherine in Guatemala City, for a week of touring museums, etc. In Antigua, life is good. jt