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¡Hola! Yo quise aprender un otro idioma por mucho tiempo. Yo estudie francés en escuela pero yo no aprende nada. Muchas personas yo conozco saben muchas idiomas. A veces yo estoy celosa. Yo aborrezco hablar en inglés solamente. Cuando yo decide viajar en centroamérica yo quise comenzar en Guatemala y estudie español por 1 mes en Antigua. Hay muchos escuelas en Antigua. Yo escogí La Academia de Español Sevilla porque yo leí en mi guía turística. Yo pensé la escuela parecía bueno. Yo quise aprender Español porque yo voy a viajar en Central America. Muchas personas no habla inglés aquí....

There's a lot to see and do in Antigua. But, to be honest, after studying for four hours each morning, I kind of wanted to do nothing many afternoons. One day, determined to see as much as humanely possible, my friend Charlotte took some of us on a guidebook-led walking tour. And a few other afternoons I managed to squeeze in some sightseeing between school, being lazy, and school run field trips...

KIDS Restaurant is a restaurant on the outskirts of Antigua staffed almost entirely by children. The kids shop for food, cook, serve, and entertain. In Americaland we'd probably call it a sweatshop. But here, it's called a charity. Kidding aside, it's actually a wonderful project. Kids are brought in to learn and practice English, social skills, and business. Our little server was shy and quiet, but he was adorable. Our French-themed 3-course meal included onion soup, orange-glazed chicken, and a crepe. Plus we got to witness a fake wedding and a little bit of break dancing....

Remember those bus-safety drills we used to have to do as children? The ones where they'd pile us all onto a bright yellow schoolbus one afternoon a year and we'd have to practice hopping off through the back door in case we ever rolled off a cliff and the front was blocked by a roaring fire? Seventeen years later, those drills have finally become useful. Don't worry, I haven't rolled off any cliffs (yet). But I have already had to hop off the back of my share of packed to the brim old schoolbuses while taking day trips here in Guatemala....

"This reminds me of a music festival," my friend Charlotte said to me as we sat on a color-stained curb with four brochures outlining the day's procession routes open in front of us. "We need to figure out where each procession will be so we can plan our day to see them all." Almost every day for the two and a half weeks I'd been living in Antigua I'd run into a Lent-induced procession somewhere in town. They grew in size and number during Semana Santa - Holy Week - the days leading up to Easter. Larger and larger groups of...

Throughout Lent, and throughout Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Antigua, the streets would be covered in elaborate alfombras carpets, made out of colored sawdust, fruits, vegetables, and a wide range of other materials. Some were quickly thrown together. Some took hours upon hours of work. Some families would stay up all night preparing their own. Some of my favorites were my favorites because of their ornate patterns and delicate details. Some of my favorites were my favorites because of something clever. Using children's toys to reenact Noah's Arc. Little fluffy lambs. 3-d renderings of whatever religious whatnot you could think of....

Horns were bellowing a death march. A loud drum kept the beat. Boom. Boom. Boom. It was an eerie orchestration that had been the soundtrack to Antigua throughout lent. If you weren't hearing it from a procession you were hearing it from a boombox in someone's window. The air was thick with smoke from lanterns of copal incense children swung in tune (and often out of tune. And often in any direction they chose). Men shrouded in purple tunics swarmed the avenida. My heart was racing. My hands, trembling, pink. Tears were welling in my eyes. One step. One moment....