Saturday, February 11, 2006

Home again

After a glorious two weeks back "home" in the States, your correspondent is now back "home" in Guatemala and ready as ever to share all variety of wisdom with the reading public. It's a bit funny to think of Guatemala as home, but I suppose home is wherever the government puts your bed. Maybe if we were stuck somewhere sleeping on a government bed for two years, it would never feel like home; it would just feel like two years in a hotel.

The District of Columbia and its nearby Virginia neighbors was not a bad place to be for a couple weeks. Although many good friends there are scattering like the place was going out of style [point of information: DC never was in style - ed], it was great to see everyone who was still around. Among the other delights of our nation's capital:
  • Thai food, Ethiopian food, Japanese food, &c. &c., up to the Indian food I had the night before my departure, which I ate despite the waiter's warning that it was "extremely spicy." Unlike most restaurant spiciness warnings, which are like the proverbial boy crying wolf, this one was accurate.
  • Beer with actual hops.
  • Almost Guatemala-like temperatures in the 50's for the whole week.
  • Two indie-rock shows at the Black Cat, including Oakland stalwarts Deerhoof, who were preceded by a Laurie-Anderson-meets-Fame performance art/dance ensemble and a bunch of crummy experimental animation films, which were a pleasant surprise even if I wouldn't have gone to see them by choice; and the best band to start making records in the last few years, the Hold Steady.
  • Finding renewed amusement in Americans walking around with cell-phone earpieces in and thinking they're talking to themselves, which you just don't see down here.
  • Having to come up with a list like this of "things that I miss about the U.S." for everyone who asked about it. Not to say that I don't find the U.S. my most favorite country in the world, but there's just not that much stuff that I feel homesick for. Which you wouldn't be able to tell from the extra 50 pounds of crap I brought back to Guate, but really, it's true. I suppose I ought to have a list of "little things" about the US that I missed, but nothing ever sprung to mind. It's nice to be able to reasonably expect that a restaurant will have almost everything on their menu at any given moment. It's nice to be able to take public transportation and not fear for one's life. That's pretty good. It's nice to feel like I'll realize if I'm saying something stupid or committing some social blunder, which I'm always on the precipice of in Guatemala, and never sure that I'll notice when I fall off.
  • The deliberate pace of life one can enjoy while "in training." Despite being obliged to pay attention and not do crosswords during class, there is only so much burden of responsibility one can suffer in a classroom environment.
Now I'm back in Guatemala, where the responsibility level at work is slightly higher. I managed to not completely forget Spanish while I was in Washington, so at least I can say with certainty that the training didn't make me any worse off.


EEK! said...

So what kind of crap did you haul back?

I enjoy lists.

Matt said...

Two (2) 14-oz packages rice crackers;
Six (6) 12-oz bottles of Dogfish; Head 60-minute India Pale Ale;
One (1) 750 ml bottle Hess Syrah;
One (1) blue shirt;
One (1) paisley tie;
One (1) leather belt;
Three (3) compact discs;
Two (2) books;
One (1) tube of some expensive face washing stuff for The Lovely;
One (1) copy of Turbo Tax;
One (1) Madden Football 2006 computer game;
And, costing more than all the above combined, one (1) iPod, black.

I think that's all. But I'm probably forgetting something.

EEK! said...

Much obliged.