Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Freezing in Central America

Last week I attended the national teachers conference hosted by the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano (another binational center kind of like Centro Cultural Salvadoreño, where I'm at). Guatemala is FREEZING in November and December, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I no longer own any closed-toe dress shoes, and was seriously regretting this, but it also got me in the mood to do my Christmas shopping, which I'm proud to say I'm almost finished with. The Christmas cooking is more of a problem, since no grocery store seems to stock all of the baking goodies I need. Semisweet chocolate and canned pumpkin have alluded me so far, but I found cream of tartar in Antigua (yes, little things like that make me happy). Antigua also gave me lots of yummy chocolates, some of which were supposed to be gifts, but which ended up in my stomach.

Anyways, this was an excellent conference, and I came back motivated to try out some new ideas, and having gained some advice and ob
servations on hosting a conference (ours at CCSA will be in July). I now know that you can make ice cream in ziploc bags with groups of over 250 teachers, that the number of Americans who adopt Guatemalan children and then stay at the Marriott hotel in Guatemala City is scary, and that there's lots of really neat people who travel around to present at these conferences. My sessions went well, and it was much easier having Internet access to talk about blogging.

I was also amazed that I could increase the amount of food that I ate, but lose weight at the same time. The difference between healthy food and food in El Salvador. Or maybe I frooze off the food. Guatemala is different in so many ways from El Salvador, even though Guate City is less than four hours away by bus, including the time that you get stopped at the border. When I got back, El Salvador was also a bit chilly, but not frigid!

National Pupusa Day

Sunday, November 11, in addition to being Veteran's Day, a Salvadoran day of remembrance marking the day in 1989 the fighting moved into the city, the day that the FMLN formally announced their presidential candidate for the 2009 elections (which I know because I'm about a half block away from the stadium where all this was happening and got to hear all the fireworks), was also National Pupusa Day. And November is national pupusa month, even though people eat them constantly, all year round.

In a workshop I gave on Monday in Santa Ana, I had teachers brainstorm and categorize all of the things you can put in pupusas. Here's their list:
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Chicharron
  • A mix of any of the above
  • Loroco (a flower)
  • Mora (some kind of leaf)
  • Chipilin (another kind of leaf)
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Ayote (a kind of squash)
  • Shrimp
  • Fish
  • Conchas
  • Tuna
  • Beef
  • Spinach
I can add green onions, garlic, plantains, and green pepper to the list, which I've tasted and/or seen in San Miguel. Tasty bits of goodness, but I'm still not sure how people can eat so many of them here! Once a week is more than enough for me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween

This was our new supervisor, for two days of Halloween fun. He will soon become my very own pumpkin pie, since he cost $13 at PriceSmart.