My Guatemalan Family
Meet my Guatemalan family, Helene, Juan, Domingo and Hermelinda
My first day of Spanish class was over and it was time to meet my Mayan guest family where I would stay during my Spanish course at Lago Atitlan in San Pedro.
Domingo picked me up with a great welcoming smile and after a short 5-minute walk to his house I got introduced to his lovely wife: Hermelinda and Domingo’s dad Juan and Mom Helene.
While we had our first lunch together we got to know each other. My Spanish was not great at all that time, I barely knew a few words but luckily Domingo spoke quite a bit English. That made getting to know each other a bit easier.
Juan, Domingo’s dad is a Beekeeper and grows produce and coffee beans. Helene helps out Hermelinda in the busy householding and cooking. I wish that time I could speak already just a bit more Spanish because I was so fascinated by how the family works together. To understand each other and how they live their life a bit more. I think we had as many questions as smiles to each other!
Back to school
For one week long I had every morning 4 hours Spanish class with a one to one teacher. He was an incredible young teacher and thought me really wel in such a short time. Thanks Marlon!
My Spanish improved really quick, maybe because I love languages and I know already quite a bit of French what made it all bit easier. Also, Domingo helped me so much. He wanted to learn as much English as I wanted to learn Spanish so he did so much effort to help me speak the language!
Don’t get me wrong, my Spanish was not amazing but enough to get around.
To buy food, to bargain, to have small conversations and of course to understand directions.
I was now confident enough to go traveling on my own. In this countries, you have to make an effort to speak Spanish. Most people don’t even speak English and it’s just nice to be able to mingle with locals. Time flew and I had a great time in San Pedro at Lake Atitlan. Was it now already time to go???
Another week with my Mayan family
Living with the family was really nice. They were so kind, helpful and really the purest people who left such a great impression. I learned so much more than Spanish.
From the Mayan culture to culinary traditions and many more things, I only can describe as beautiful moments in life… I felt we had a really good connection and when they invited me to stay for another week with them I was more than happy to extend my stay at Lago Atitlan!
Domingo is really an amazing guy! He walked with me around the village. He showed cool places and beautiful spots. We really hang out.
He knew I was crazy about fishing and one day he organized to go fishing with him and his cousin. We went out in wooden dugout canoes where the bottom almost had rotten away.
Along the lakeshore, we peddled to the shallows where we started to bait a few hooks up and fished the shallow weeds. Domingo and I didn’t catch any fish. We just caught life and had so much fun! The cousin of Domingo caught a fish but nothing to keep for the dinner table…
My new pants
I had told the family I was so impressed by the beautiful traditional pants the older local man was. I asked the family where I could find one of those pants. After going to his grandpa and another family it looked like it was hard to get one of those pants as the tradition pretty much ended. Apparently, it takes as well a bit of work making this pants and I would not be able to get one before I left. The grandpa was so nice he offered one of his but I as a 1.85 m Dutchie I had to long legs…
I ended up getting measured by another family member and got a tailor fit cool as pants which I still often wair!
My stay in at Lago Atitlan was now really finished and it was time to say bye to my new family on this side of the world.
We said bye and hugged each other and hoped to see each other once again.
Until this day I still have contact with Domingo what makes me happy!
I can truly recommend studying Spanish before you travel to Central America. You will not get labeled as one of those Gringos who doesn’t want to speak the local language. You also will be able to mingle with the locals and save a lot more money as you can bargain and make the locals understand your not just a rich traveler but a backpacker who wants to be part of the culture for a certain time.