Monday, February 28, 2005

Hola from Guatemala

Hola from Guatemala!

i will dispense with the capital letters now because it is a bit harder on this keyboard. my flights were all good, and i got to see tim, zach and melissa, anne, and angie in texas. i slept most of the flight from dallas to miami, and part of the time from miami to guatemala. on my last flight i sat next to a canadian couple who were coming down with a group to work in an orphanage. they are going to be in antigua next weekend, so maybe i will see them again. i just found out tht i don{t know how to do an apostrophe on this keyboard.

all of my luggage arrived, and i just walked through customs. there was a man named rolando who picked me up, along with another student who arrived shortly before i did. her name is maki, and she is from japan. but she is in college in germany. she was a day late getting here because she first flew to antigua, barbados. she got there and discovered that she was in the wrong country, so she had to fly to philadelphia, then to miami, then to guatemala city. so of course, her luggage was not here either.

rolando picked up his wife and daughter in guatemala city and then we drove (maybe an hour) to antigua. our first stop was my new family. their last name is porras. it means cheering. living in the house are thelma (my hostess), her two sons, francisco who is 20 and in law school, and diego who is about 12, and thelma's parents, alfredo and lina. but also visiting yesterday from guatemala city was thelma's sister (i found the apostrophe) virginia's family. virginia's husband is adolfo, and their daughter vicky was there, too. vicky is about 22 and speaks fluent english. that made the initial introduction much easier than it might have been. adolfo's family visits almost every weekend, so i guess it's all spanish for me until next weekend.

yesterday evening we went to a procession, which is one of the parades they have every sunday during lent. during holy week (the week before easter) they will have multiple processions each day starting on wednesday. each procession is carried out by a different church. lots of people participate by carrying the "floats". you can buy a ticket to be a part of a procession for about $1.50. the exchange rate is about Q7.50 or Q7.75 to the dollar. the procession we saw yesterday was called Jesus the Nazarene of Jocotenango, which the town this church is from. it focused on the beatitudes.... and of course on Mary. it was interesting, and i took some pictures and video footage. adolfo's father composed the march that is played during that particular procession. so yesterday afternoon, just after i got there, they were remembering him by watching a video they had made from old family photos and videos, and then they watched the video from vicky's 15th birthday party (cuinsiƱere or something like that). each girl's 15th bday is a huge deal with an extravagant ceremony at church and a big party.

everybody in the family is really nice, and they welcomed me well. there is one other student living with them, tj from korea, but he is gone to guatemala city for the week, so i'm alone for this first week.

thelma prepared breakfast for me today - bananas and papaya along with some mueslix sort of cereal. then i went to school and met my teacher, julio. he's a nice guy. i filled out some paper work, took a placement exam, and then we started... at the beginning. we covered a lot for the first day i think, and he gave me some homework to do. he also told me to memorize the vocabulary from the first few lessons. we covered at least part of about 5 lessons today. i had school from 8 to 12, with a 30 minute break at 10. during the break i met a guy from dallas who just graduated from texas a & m. he is a christian, too. he has a job with texas instruments beginning in the middle of may, so he will be here for 10 weeks. there were a lot of other students and teachers at csa (christian spanish academy). everybody was very nice and helpful.

i had lunch with the family, and then made my way back into town to use the internet. the house is about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the school. i live upstairs, on a balcony surrounding a courtyard in the middle of the house. thelma teaches kindergarten. just thought i'd throw that in.

so far, so good. it just hit me yesterday after i arrived that 13 weeks is a long time, but i think it will be good, and it will be worth it. i'm sure once i am more able to speak to people the time will fly by.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The End of an Era

This is a public service announcement: Kent's cell phone number will no longer be in service after Saturday, February 26th, 2005. Upon returning from Guatemala at the end of May, Kent will probably get a new phone number. Until then, you may reach Kent at his yahoo email address, or by simply posting your comments here, on
This has been a public service announcement.

Friday, February 18, 2005

kent's bent on lent

the season of lent has begun and i failed to plan ahead. i didn't begin the observance of this time by giving up anything, and now i find myself asking, "what have i already, by chance, given up for the last couple weeks?" perhaps this approach misses the heart of lent, but do i get any credit for the desire to observe this religious "holiday" of sorts? i'm considering giving up work. so just in case i decide on that one, i went ahead and quit my job at interstate batteries today. ok, so that's not really the whole story, but today was indeed my last day of work. tomorrow i leave for good ol' abilene! i'm going to sing song and lectureship before heading to guatemala. i'm praying that my time in both of these places will be a great opportunity for spiritual growth. throughout history, God has met with His people in the desert. the desert is God's country. like a desert, guatemala has the potential for being a solitary, trying place with hot weather. it's going to be interesting to see how it all turns out.
how about all of you out there in blog-land? anybody participating in lent? what are you giving up? and perhaps more interestingly, WHY are you giving it up? inquiring minds want to know.
for the next three months i plan on posting updates here regarding progress with spanish and guatemalan life in general. so stay tuned for all the latest on, well, my life. and don't forget to tell me about your lent sacrifices. i'm looking for ideas.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

DO or MD

DO or MD, that is the question. as of february 1st, i have two offers on the table: Indiana University School of Medicine and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. and so the waiting shall continue as the hope of financial offers takes center stage.