Update – Daily life in Antigua

Hey you people.

Well, I’ve officially settled in at this point. I’ve been in Antigua for a week and a half now and all is going well. I’ve been working away at CIRMA. We’ve been having a bit of an issue with me working too quickly and efficiently, which makes me look like a complete asshat. I don’t know if my job is less complicated or if it’s simply that I’m so used to managing my own time or what, but I’m working too fast for the team. I haven’t found a good solution yet. If I work at a slow, acceptable rate, I’m bored, frustrated because I’m wasting time, and also I look like a jerk because I’m poking around while everyone else is at top speed. If I work at an average rate, where I’m being sufficiently diligent but not going at my top notch, I’m working too fast, it’s stressing my teammates out, and I end up being sent home early because they run out of documents for me to translate. Hm. I’m contemplating asking for Wednesdays off and that way there’s a solid buffer of work for me to do. But then again, won’t that make me look even more annoying? Please, give me some ideas! Ha!

The work itself? Fabulous. I’ve been trying to take second-hand pictures of the photographs for you guys, but some of them are restricted access and no cameras are allowed. That said, a list of some of the things I’ve worked on recently:

  • Tikal, Tikal, Tikal. So many amazing collections on Tikal.
  • Photos of volcanic activity in the 80s.
  • An exhumation that took place across three villages where the de facto government murdered hundreds of men, women, and children. The most sobering thing I’ve seen.
  • Pictures of presidential families’ daily lives.
  • Multiple archaeological digs across the country
  • Pots, textiles, artwork.
  • Beautiful portraits of Guatemalan people across the country, dating back to the 19th century. So much history, so many traditions and places that no longer exist.

All good things. I called my grandparents today to wish my Grammy a happy 70th and we ended up talking about the archive. I think I need to convince Anais to take them on as interns. ;)

As far as how I’m personally doing… still tired. A sort of sluggish daily depression has set in. I realized it today and have decided to fight back with healthy food, sunshine, and more time interacting with people. I’m quite lonely, is all. Did you know that this is my first time ever doing solo travel? I’ve traveled without family in the past, but never without friends. I am completely immersed in a different culture with a different language. It isn’t completely unfamiliar to me, there’s no culture shock. But I miss being able to sit down to dinner with a friend or have a conversation in English or go out on an adventure.

However! I have a housemate who should be arriving sometime this week. I know absolutely nothing about this person except that she’s from Toronto, and she’s female. That’s it. Still, I can’t wait to meet her. I’m hoping that we click well in person and can do some exploring / cooking / conversing / adventuring together. Yay for socializing!

Expect a few posts in the next few days, there’s a lot on my mind. Don’t worry, mostly good things.

I wanted to leave you with this. This guy came to Queen’s University on our frosh week and spoke to all of the new students. His speech made quite an impact on me and I just found it on TEDtalks an hour ago. It’s fate! You are destined to hear it as well! Enjoy.


7 Replies to “Update – Daily life in Antigua”

  1. michael finberg says: Reply

    I was in Tikal 37 years ago in the middle of a brutal civil war. Cruel murder and ancient ruins.


    1. I’m learning all about that war, though I knew a bit already. Intensely sobering. It happens on every continent. :(

  2. There’s a great This American Life podcast on one of the villages you speak about (I think) called ‘What Happened at Dos Erres’. You should check it out.

    1. Thanks, I’ll look it up!

  3. Hi! How do you find these kind of jobs? Especially for foreigners! They are so cool!

    1. Mine is an internship that I lucked into. One of my profs noticed I was writing a lot of papers on Guatemala, so when the archive contacted him asking about an intern suggestion, he gave me the opportunity. I’m not getting paid, but my lodging is covered. Because I can take my online work with me wherever I go, I’m still earning my usual income.

  4. Jodie Salmond says: Reply


    Its great to hear that you’re doing well! I commiserate with you, pretending to work at work when you’ve already done all the work is the worst. I wanted to tell you something that I wish I’d been told a long time ago about traditional employment, if you are a smart, sassy, enthusiastic and interested girl, then entry level jobs will always be easy for you and your main job is never really the work you are doing. Your job (esp as an intern) is to do things without creating more work for others. An internship is an opportunity to learn some things but mostly to network and make contacts for later on. Unfortunately being super efficient means that your workmates have to do more work to find you work. Its not the most politic approach in an entry level position, even though you’re not meaning to do your job badly by being so good at it. I encountered this all the time when I was younger and it really was boring, but I’m sure you’ll navigate it much better than I did.

    I love reading about your adventures, thanks again for all your generosity in these pages.


Leave a Reply