December 20th, 2010

Guatemala: State of Siege

My mother emailed me today, informing me that my aunt and uncle, who teach at an American school in Guatemala* (a school where American expats, and anyone else who wants, can send their kids for a traditional American education, taught by American teachers) have come back to the States, barely escaping with their lives. Apparently, Guatemala has announced a state of siege in the area where my aunt and uncle were, and the military can basically do whatever they want. Somehow they were able to pack up all of their belongings and get out, thank God. My uncle told my mother that it had been a very, very close call and they were lucky to have escaped with their lives. I'm dying to hear the whole story - it must have been really intense for them. Unfortunately, they have lost their jobs as a result, and have now joined the ranks of the unemployed.

* I'm not the only one with wanderlust in my family! My mother's cousin has lived in Columbia for over 20 years, and my aunt and uncle have been all over the world, teaching at American schools in Peru, Jordan, Korea, and now Guatemala. In Jordan they taught the King's daughter, which is pretty awesome.

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Das Leben ist Kein Pony Hof

That's what the sign outside said and I believe it (I would translate it as "life is no pony yard"). And I couldn't agree more, but right now it does kind of feel like the world is my oyster. I mean, I'm sitting in a great cafe in Berlin, with a good job and an iPad, looking for the apartment of my dreams. Things really couldn't be better for me right now.

This morning I called around and tomorrow I'll be looking at two apartments that I think would be perfect for me. I'm just so damn proud that I arranged the viewings in German and they understood me. That's a big step forward. I mean, every phone call that I make here is like a pop quiz in German for me, so if we understand each other it's kind of great.

Today I ran a bunch of errands. I picked up the Laibach tickets that I ordered online, and I got a protective case for my iPad. Plus I made a bunch of phone calls auf Deutsch, which was the big hurdle for me. Buying things is no problem, but communicating with people is.

For instance, there is a guy sitting opposite me but he does not speak English so good. We communicate alright - he is 30 so I am too old I suppose. But whatever. We are going to meet for coffee in a few days, name is Mark. On Wednesday I'll be hanging out with Fabian, and I'm looking forward to that.

Next week I'll be interviewing the artist Willi Tomes, who does _amazing work_ - I saw it in the window when I was going to get my hair done. I spoke to the gallery owner, and now I have an interview set up with the artist. It's pretty cool to be writing for a blog now (in case you didn't know, the blog is sharkforum.org - I redesigned it). Everyone in the art scene welcomes me here, excited to have an international audience. No one in Chicago gave a crap if I was going to write about them because I was no one there. But artists in Deutschland are really excited at the prospect of reaching an American audience. It's really cool.

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