Sunday, November 11, 2012

Terremoto is Earthquake in Spanish

Howdy all I apologize again for not blogging for so long. Hopefully this has been a beautiful fall for you and life is going well. We have had a very eventful few weeks here in Xela: lots of traveling, earthquakes, and preparations for the holidays and finishing up the semester. It is still a very exciting life here. There is never a dull day.

A couple weeks ago, we traveled to Tapachula, Mexico so we could get our passports stamped. We drove about 3 hours to the shocking heat that none of us are used to any more. We enjoyed a few hours on the beach, ate, and shopped. This was a very nice and relaxing trip. It was also fun getting to be in and experience another country.

Liz, Devin, Sean and I in Central Park in Tapachula.
Last week, Latin American countries celebrated Day of the Dead or All Saint's Day. We got a couple days off school, so we took a trip to El Salvador. This involved about 12 total hours of travel. We rode about 4 hours to Guatemala City, then caught a bus to El Salvador. We stayed in an amazing hostel that was right on the beach. It was quiet and very uncrowded. We had all our meals cooked for us and built a bonfire right on the beach. We did a lot of reading and relaxing. We also went into town one night where we ran into Miss Guatemala, ate pupusas, walked on the boardwalk, and walked through a cemetery while people were decorating for and celebrating All Saint's Day. We had a very nice trip and were not quite ready to go back to work the next day.

This is the view of our hostel from the beach.

We met Miss Guatemala!

This is our sunburnt but very relaxed group on our last night in El Salvador.

This last week brought probably the most shocking and unexpected event. Many of us experienced our very first sizable earthquake of 7.4. It was about 10:30 in the morning, many of us were teaching in our classrooms. When the earthquake happened, my students responded very well. I was confused for a good ten seconds about what was happening. But my kids quickly got into the crouching position and did what they were supposed to do. The most frightening thing was seeing shelves almost get knocked over and my students calling out my name. I haven't been that legitimately scared in a long time. School was canceled the next day so our school building could be inspected. Other than being shaken up and a few cracks in the building, everyone is doing okay. The epicenter was not far offshore of Guatemala. Xela experienced very minor damages, but there were severe damages and even deaths in nearby towns.We were fortunate to lose power for only a few minutes that afternoon and not have any aftershocks. I didn't exactly have "experiencing a 7.4 earthquake" on my bucket list, but I had to add it just so I could scratch it off.

Thank you for your prayers especially after the earthquake. Please pray that I will continue to put everything into my job, even though I'm getting tired and I'm ready for the holidays. Please especially pray over the next few weeks as it is somewhat difficult being away from home during this time of year.