So I’m living with a family here in Guatemala. Some parts of that feel very familiar. I lived with a host family in France, too. But some parts are uniquely Guatemalan. (Or more accurately, Central American.)
For example, the front of the family’s property is a mechanic and car wash. Car washes by hand, that is. We walk through this area whenever we go out or come back home. I frequently get wet feet in my sandals! 😆
Walk in through the door of the house, and you are in a lovely courtyard. The common space is all open air, as is the entire school, too. When the temperature is around 18 to 24 all year round, that’s pretty doable!
We’ve got a lovely dining room, with a big enough table for all seven students and the host “parents”.
And that’s what we really need to talk about. My host has the gift of hospitality. She ensures that our every need is taken care of, starting with amazing food at every meal. I didn’t start taking pictures of food at our first meals (good manners meant I didn’t take my phone to the table!😆), and I regret it because those were some impressive, beautifully presented meals! Each meal is delicious and beautifully plated for us! Here are a few to “when your appetite”, so to speak…
Each meal also comes with a different fresh juice – many which I’ve never had before. Strawberry juice? I’ve had that out of a juice box as a fake “flavour”, but never juice made from fresh strawberries! Blackberry, papaya, cantaloupe, hibiscus tea… and the desserts! You can see in one photo above the individual dessert crepes we got at lunch yesterday.
(Side note: at the start of a class, both morning and afternoon, my teacher will often ask how my day was and what meals we ate. I do not have the Spanish vocabulary to adequately describe what we are experiencing. So I can say we had chicken and rice last night for dinner and chicken and rice today for lunch, but he has no idea that those meals were totally different gourmet food.)
Annette’s hospitality goes far beyond food. The first morning of classes, one of my housemates came to breakfast with a wrinkly shirt. Annette immediately demanded that she hand it over so it could be ironed before we left for classes. That happened again this morning, too.
Annette has made sure we have extra blankets for the evening chill. She has called the school to make sure we’re showing up on time for classes. She gives advice about what tourist sites and villages are worth going to and which experiences are not. She affectionately calls us “mis niños“, my children, and she has made us genuinely feel like family, at home in a foreign country. She is a truely gracious host, and I appreciate her so much.
Basically, we’re being treated like royalty here. Going home to real life is going to be a reality check!