In the last couple of months I have become culturally fluent in a couple of areas. One is snapping my fingers together like I am tapping a can of chew. Everyone does this down here, even the women. If you want to fit in around Guatemala you need to learn this action. I don’t mean you need to learn how to chew, but how to snap your fingers. This isn’t a regular snap and to achieve the action you must touch your thumb to your middle finger and whip your hand up and down resulting in a popping sound. I learned how to do this in the seventh grade from a hispanic kid. Who knew I was learning how to be fluent in another culture.
The second area I have become fluent here in Guatemala is Fantasy Football, American football that is. Okay to be honest this isn’t really a Guatemalan thing, but more so an IAS teacher thing. I am still fundamentally against the game. I drafted a few players that play for teams that I hate, Justin Fargus and Darren McFadden, whom I promptly traded for Tony Scheffler. I decided that if I was going to play a game that forced you to cheer for teams you typically hate I would fill my roster with Broncos. For the first two weeks this worked beautifully. Since then I’ve gone winless. I have a good team, but they just haven’t been performing well. I bring this up because this is what “we” do down here. From the bus drops us off at school to the time it picks us up at the end of the day you can find someone working on their fantasy roster. When a trade or some other type of roster move you might see one of the teachers snapping their fingers together like a Guatemalan.
Right now I am not snapping my fingers together like a Guatemalan or enjoying fantasy football. My status among the teachers is slipping. I might be connecting with the students and teaching them how to speak correct English, but I sure can’t seem to pull together my fantasy team. Living in another country sure is hard. I feel like I’m being stretched like too little butter over to much bread. From teaching to fantasy football to figuring out how to fit into Guatemalan’s culture I don’t seem to have a minutes rest. I am loving it though. I know I’ll look back at this experience and smile. Maybe I wont win my fantasy league. Maybe I’ll never learn the language and only be able to communicate with my Guatemalan friends through the finger snap. But even so God is creating something in me. I can feel it and I am excited to see what it is and where all of this goes.