Antigua, Guatemala: Update from the Fototeca

Hi all,

Writer friends, do you ever have days where there’s so much that you want to write about, but your mind feels almost paralyzed? I feel incredibly lazy today. I’ve been turning thoughts on death and guns and gratitude over and over in my mind for at least a week now, but they’re sticking up there and won’t come out the way I’d like them to. I’ll leave the death and guns one a little while longer. And maybe I’ll write about gratitude after I’m finished giving you a weekly update.

So! It’s been a good week. My routine is quite set, at this point. I am 2 1/2 weeks into my 8 week stay. How is that even possible? It feels like I just arrived a few days ago.

Working at the Fototeca:

Work has settled into a great routine. We’re still having some difficulty with me blowing through projects much too quickly, but at this point they expect it of me and are finding me things to do at a rate that works. I finished my one month project on Thursday… only the end of my second week. Hm. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing next, but I think it involves renumbering hundreds of slides with my intern partner, David. Sounds good to me.

My Spanish is coming back to me! I’m thrilled. I’m understanding more and I’m starting to bravely dive into conversations. It’s difficult and a bit embarrassing, but it’s getting there. My big frustration at the moment is that I can understand conversations and I know what I want to add to them, but it takes me too long to think of the words. By the time I know HOW to say what I want to say, we’ve moved on. Hrmph. I’ll get there. 100% Spanish immersion is intense, yet it’s working. I don’t have time to take Spanish classes between the intern work and my computer work, but I’m getting along just fine without them.

Check out some of these awesome photos I’ve been working with! These are not photos of the original photos, but are copies of copies. In other words, don’t get me in trouble, please.

If I’d shown up here many generations earlier, something like this would’ve been my ride.
internal armed conflict, Guatemala
Scene from the internal armed conflict. I think? Circumstances were unclear. Looks to be parked in Guat City, so certainly not active in that moment, probably for show at a political event.
Tikal, discovery, archaeology, Guatemala
The “discovery” and initial rescue restoration of Tikal. (Locals knew it was there already)
Tikal, archaeology, restoration, team
The team of archaeologists and workers at Tikal.

So. Cool.

A new friend! (hopefully?)

My housemate arrived late last night! Her name is Erin, she’s studying for her masters in Toronto. I’ve had about five minutes to get to know her. Ha! She seems great thus far. She showed up in a real travel backpack and not much else, which gave me instant hope that we’d hit it off. She’s interesting, fun, no-nonsense. This is her first time in the southern part of North America, though apparently she’s traveled all over Asia and Europe (yay!). She seems to like her quiet space, which is awesome in a housemate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a social person when I make time for it, but I work a lot, I read a lot, and I need to be left alone to think. Erin doesn’t speak any Spanish at all… I’m curious to see how that will go at work. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s just that I was completely overwhelmed during my first week working in a 100% Spanish environment. And I can actually understand most of it. Hopefully it won’t stress her out.

The Exchange Process:

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom… hang in there for the cheese!

Good lord. What a wild ride. Everything is starting to settle down, which scares the crap out of me. Come on, life. What have you got for me next? Bring it, already! I’ve figured out the $10,000 hurdle, I’ll write about that soon. I will likely have housing in Groningen settled within the week. My residence permit will be ready to go soon. Everything looks to be in order. And I’m still panicking every time I think about it. There are so many little unexpected things. Tiny details begging to be juggled and accidentally dropped on the floor. And every little thing seems to cost money somehow. Welcome to adulthood. I’ve seen my parents go through this before a big trip, which is helping. I know that this insanity is actually normal when you’re trying to make something huge happen. I know that if I ride it out, I’ll arrive and it’ll be chill and I’ll have survived the launch phase. Whew. Thanks for riding it out with me.

Big news for the coming week!

Erin, Anais, and I will be taking a day trip to Guatemala City. I’ve never been there before, except to fly in and out of the country. There’s stats about it being unsafe that have kept us out, and smog, and other things. That said, Anais is local. She knows what’s up. She’s going to take us to see exhibitions on Guatemalan history, important architecture, food stops, and more! Can’t wait to report back.

Also, shout out to my friend Lindsey!

Do you remember when I went on the trip to Guatemala this time last year to mentor the Guatemala Girls? They’ve all gone on to do incredible things. Lindsey just started publishing her writing online and is chasing her dreams big time! Check it out: Making Unknown Dreams Your Reality



4 Replies to “Antigua, Guatemala: Update from the Fototeca”

  1. aww Hannah Thank you for the shoutout!! you’re the best girl. Keep up the good work! <3 What you're doing is awesome and incredible.

  2. Bravo, Hannah! I am so thrilled for you! I just knew this would turn out great! Love you! BTW: Will is coming tomorrow for an overnight — so your Mom and Elisha will join us for din-din.

  3. Jodie Salmond says: Reply

    You should put a donate button (is that a thing, I feel like its a thing I’ve seen) on your page so that people can chip in a little something to your travels if they want to. You share parts of your life with people so freely and generously, I’m sure that people would love to be able to contribute to your adventures from time to time. Personally I can’t travel and do the things that you do at this time in my life, but I really appreciate the chance to be a small part of it by reading your blog. :)

    1. Do you think that would work? I feel sketchy as heck about asking people for money towards MY dreams and travels. It seems wrong, somehow. I don’t know. I’ll think about it.

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