Friday, June 5, 2009

Kink in my plans!

So here's what I get for being just a bit too smug about things in general. I find out this morning that I am currently number 43 on a list in the Student Family Housing Department at NMSU. And there are 10 houses available now for summer and fall. SHIT!!! It would've just been too easy, right? Only $575 a month, rent and utilities, including phone and internet, right on campus basicall, which = saving on gas money, a bus that comes right by to take the boys to school. Yup, too damn easy. The lady on the phone was like, 'The soonest you'll be coming up for a house in maybe October or November'. Which is odd, who moves out of student housing in the middle of a semester? So I'm assuming that the earliest will be next semester. So, I'm thinking, not the end of the world, I can go along with this, right? Rent a house or apartment until then, right? And SHIT!!!! again. Money-money-money-money, etc. Lord help me, I'm busted!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How does my garden grow?

Bad-ass, that's how!!

'My' garden is actually a cooperative effort between me and my Nanny and Papa. However, silly, capitalist, westerner that I am, I like to refer to it as "mine". Sick, I know...

However, that is neither here nor there where members of the nightshade family are concerned! The tomatoes are flourishing! The potatoes are thriving! The peppers are doin' a dancin' jig!

We actually have two separate gardens going. Behind the house, there are 10 tomato plants in a bed with 3 pepper plants sprinkled in. It's a great spot, protected, and when it rains (however often that is) half the roof drains right there. There are also two old bathtubs filled with basil, rosemary, parsly, dill, chives, and other various yummy herbs, along with some loose leaf lettuce. In the big plot, we have a couple rows of sweet corn, a row of yellow wax beans, various cucumbers, beets, cantaloupe, okra, and potatoes. We also have a squash and zucchini plant. Mmmmmm, I can't wait to reap the harvest, man!

I've been using some old hay as a mulch in the big plot. Once the seedlings get a decent size, I put the hay up and around them, and along and in between the rows. It seems to be working well both for the moisture retention and keeping the weeds at bay. It's pretty noticeable in the spots that have a good, thick layer of hay versus the spots that were planted later and therefore don't. I'll keep you updated and post some pictures soon.

In Other News

1)So, it's been a few weeks since I've graduated and guess what? I still haven't heard a peep from my dear old dad. Ugh! Irritation. I mean, we've never kept up a constant and close correspondance, but generally we're on good terms. We're both just lazy about keeping in touch. However, I felt that this (graduation) was a pretty momentous occassion. Whatever. I've had a bit of a thorn in my side since a few years ago when I asked him for some help (ANY help) when I wanted to go to Dominica to study abroad. Now, I know my dad's not rich, but neither am I! Or my grandparents, for that matter, and they constantly go out of their way to help me and the boys, when they had no hand in the creation of moi, and, therefore, no obligation really. Apparently, my dad feels that his obligation was $180 per month until I turned 18, with a year of living with him in high school thrown in. Ugh, whatever. It's one of those things that shouldn't surprise you, and you really expect nothing more, yet it still bothers on a very deep level. Blech!

2) I'm getting cabin fever! I want to get on a plane and get out of the country! I'm so restless! Let's face it, gardening and blogging can only take up so much of my time.....:)

A Strange Summer

But lovely, no doubt...

So, I've graduated, completely finished my undergraduate career. After 6 long years, it feels a bit strange and a bit not. Like when you have a birthday and are supposed to feel old but don't. But this might just be better :)

And next up? Graduate school in Las Cruces, Cultural Anthropology. Yay! I'm completely excited and impatient. I'm pretty sure it's going to be amazing, though the last few days have been more numbing in my brain than anything else. I mean, I'm hopeful and pretty sure that things they are a'changin', but after the flurry of classes was over this semester, I went into weird mode. Mostly, it doesn't feel real yet, like when I'm about to travel somewhere new, and I know it, but I just can't fell it. Like that.

Which brings me to this: I'm not going anywhere (that I know of) this summer! Achk! I think it's kinda been seeping into my brain and depressing me a bit. Blech. But I am moving. And I am starting this whole new chapter of my life, with just me and my boys, thrown adrift. Well, ok, not really, I have a friend or two (including one totally amazing one!), a relative or two there, so we'll get on fine, I'm sure. There is worry, however, seeing as how this will be my first time, ever, with just me and the kiddos. I've had either my Mom, or mostly, my grandparents within yelling distance ever since I've had these boys. That's going to be quite a shocker, I'm assuming. We'll see.....

On another note, Erykah Badu has become the soundtrack of my summer, I think. Or part of it, at least. Along with Manu Chao and Lila Downs, my summer is groovin', yo! Blissful!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mas Guatemala!

I distincly remember that bus ride from Guatemala City to Flores. Up to that point, the city was all I knew, and even though I knew the place was holding out on me, I had no idea. I was enthralled, I was enraptured, I was in love before I even knew the place's last name. The countryside was mountainous and green. So blasted green! Being from the desert, I have a deep reverence for anyplace so wet and vitally alive.

We stopped for lunch at this little gas station/restaurant. I was on this journey alone, but I felt completely fulfilled. Stepping off the bus around 2 in the afternoon after being on the bus since 9 that morning was amazing. The balmy air hit me in a burst, and I just couldn't keep a smile off of my face. Even though we were at a gas station (surely not glamorous), it was a fairly isolated one, the trees grew right up to the edge opposite the road. "This is it," I thought, "I'm getting to where I want to be."

I walk towards the bathroom and have my first, and only, experience with public toilets that require payment. Only 1 quetzal, but still. I was trying to be thrifty on this trip. However, the bathroom attendant lady (administrative restroom professional?...) was very nice. I think so anyway, since she didn't speak English and my Spanish, strangely enough, still sucked. I then went the little restaurant there, walled in on two sides only and completely absorbing. The weather was cooperating that day, though, it might not have been as charming when the sun was beating down in extreme mid-day heat. I have no idea what I ate, but it was delicious. This was also my first, though definitely not last, with the corn tortilla/s. They were to be one of my constant companions on my entire trip, luckily enough.

After lunch, the bus ride passed in a blur. We got held up when crossing into Petén, and I'm still not even sure why. The guards were looking in the luggage holder for a while, but then it turned into us waiting for someone to bring something to fix something on the engine of the bus. I think. After this, I was only ready to get to Flores, my next stop. I was planning on the bus making it by mid-afternoon, but it was dark well before we were near Flores. By this time, I was getting tired and crampy, and a bit uptight about my next move. I was planning on playing it mostly by ear, I had a phone number to call in San Andrés (where I was going to volunteer and stay) but I felt it was too late. All I wanted was a safe, comfy bed. And, of course, since it was only my second night away, I was feeling homesick for my boys already in a very achy way.

As soon as the bus stopped, I was thinking only of wanting a taxi. Luckily, about a dozen guys were standing around offering their taxis for the road-weary. I grabbed my bag and the first taxi driver I saw. I hopped in his little white car. I was far from feeling adventurous now, so I gave him the name of a fairly touristy looking hotel that I had seen in my guidebook. "Si, si," he said, he knew the place. I don't remember this dudes name, but his friendliness and helpfulness were a godsend at that point. We find the hotel, and I find out it's ridiculously overpriced and so ridiculously bourgeois that I couldn't stomach it, no matter my state of mind. Nice taxi driver tells me he knows a place. I place my fate in his hands (luckily for me) and we head into Flores proper, an island on Lago Petén Itza connected to the mainland by a bridge. It was a lake I would come to know very well over the following weeks.

Here's a map of Santa Elena/Flores in Petén

My driver takes me to a small hotel on the shore (most of the town is on the shore...), someone he knows and probably gets money from for sending clueless travelers their way. I get a small room with a bed, t.v., A/C, and bathroom with a shower and hot water. Luxury, for sure, and only about $15, definitely my priciest stay of the trip, which I gladly paid. I locked the door behind me. I just didn't have it in me at this point to dredge up enough curiosity to do anything more. I could feel homesickness and sadness setting in; it's a pattern, I get crazy homesick/sad/depressed the first 3 nights I travel alone. So I knew I'd get over in a couple of nights and just let it come, but I tried (kinda unsuccessfully) not to let it drag me down. I take a hot shower with a very strange contraption indeed (pictures next time), put on some comfy clothes, tried to write in my journal (the short entry for that day talks of nothing but my despair that nite...), then turned on the air conditioner and tv, watched Pride and Prejudice and had a good cry, then went to sleep. Maybe my brain would start wrapping around this in sleep.

Next up: Welcome, Krysten! Here, shovel that dirt!