Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Diferencias

It's late, I'm tired, droopy eyelids + laziness......I don't wanna write much so...
here's a piece written by fellow volunteer and friend Jaycie.

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Top 10 (or so) things you didn’t know about Guatemala(ns):


• In comparison, they make me feel tall…… Call it genetics, excessive coffee consumption, whatever you’d like really, but they are definitely a bunch of shorties. So, for all my tall friends out there, I wouldn’t advise a mail-order husband from here.

• There is no such thing as a personal bubble here. Although, sometimes it’s kind of cool how people aren’t afraid to have touch contact with each other, like we can tend to be in the states. Teachers can hug their students without lawsuits, etc, etc.

• Sleeping well at night can be a bit of a challenge here. All kinds of noises go on during the night from dogs barking to kids crying to fireworks at 3am to animals walking on the roof to heavy rain to birds making noises including this rooster who crows every morning. Luckily, after two weeks or so I started to get better at sleeping through it all.

• There is quite a bit of American influence in clothing. They seem to wear a lot of shirts made in the US. I’ve seen Cubs tshirts, university hoodies, American eagle clothes, etc. etc. My favorite was a teenage boy at the school here wearing a shirt that said “I (picture of shovel)=dig Cowboys.” Doubt he knew what that meant. Doubt he really digs cowboys.

• There are two classic Guatemalan greetings: The common polite one is to hug & kiss each other’s left cheek; the other more man-ly one is “slap & tap” which involves a sideways five and then a “pound” (or puña in Spanish) AKA bumping fists.

• PDA is pretty big here, especially among the adolescent and young adult population. You’ll see them holding hands everywhere in public, kissing on benches in ‘el parque central’ etc. Evidently it has a lot to do with it not being very accepted in homes with more conservative value parents, so they just bring it out onto the streets.

• Breastfeeding is not nearly as private as it is in the United States. Okay, actually it’s not private whatsoever here. Woman basically breastfeed at anytime in practically any situation. When baby is hungry, baby is hungry I guess. I’ve even seen several women walking down the street breastfeeding. Call it the ultimate multitasking skill I suppose?

• Hair gel is a HUGE trend here. Pretty much every guy with hair gels it every day. And the habit starts young, like 11 or 12 years old. You see big family size tubs of hair gel being sold everywhere.

• La gente (the people) here are extremely resourceful in general. Prime example….who needs traffic cones, they just use rocks. Another example, if you can’t afford a barb wire fence, just glue broken bottle pieces to your wall or roof with sharp ends sticking upward so that no one will want to try to get into your property.

• Their zippers are afraid of heights. Seriously, I guess their pants are poorly made here or something. Everyone’s constantly having to check their zipper.

• No one refrigerates their eggs. Evidently it’s not necessary? I’ve eaten a lot of them so far and haven’t gotten sick.

• Speaking of huevos, in the US when we see two guys riding around on a motorcycle, we might tend to point, laugh, or make jokes about their manhood. Not here. Perfectly normal and quite common. Many people own little scooters/mopeds/”motocicletas” instead of cars and drive their friends around. Also, Guatemalans appear to have some sort of contest/game of “how many people can we fit on one little motocicleta?” 3, 4, 5?

• Finally, despite all the differences; people are literally the exact same here as they are in the US on so many levels! We really have so many commonalities with other races/countries, it’s amazing. People are people no matter where you are in the world.

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