Sunday, June 30, 2013

Life in the Guate

As my year winds down, this will probably be my last post as you all know I do not have lots of motivation. However, I may keep my blog and continue during law school. At least my father, Atticus, will read it. 
I will just try to give an overview of my year and how things have changed for me. 
This year I read  books and counting.
I tried many new foods, including chicken gizzard. Not my favorite.
My faith has changed and I have become a lot closer with God. We have a lovely relationship :)
I have traveled throughout Guatemala and met amazing new people, and continue to meet amazing new people every day. 
I have learned how to teach a class of 17 year olds in another language. 
I am no longer afraid to talk in front of people. 
I think the biggest change that happened is my eyes were opened. Being a YAV is an incredibly humbling experience, and I continue to be humbled every day. I have learned about new cultures, and just because somebody does something differently than me does not make them wrong, or my way right. Sometimes people tell me things here and it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, but I just nod and smile, because it works for them. We all have our beliefs about things, and just because ours are different does not make us any better. 

In other news, I will end my rambling now with some pictures of a baby!
I have completely fallen in love with her, even though sometimes she looks like an alien.
Isn´t she precious?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Not a lot has been happening since I last wrote, which is good as about only like four people actually read my blog. 
Marcia (the YAV site coordinator) and Lydia (the YAV coordinator, I think) came to visit my family!
 The only people missing is my sister Elida and the baby, Niky Chiquita, because they were still in the hospital. I was conveniently taking the picture. 

I am taking some more Spanish classes, so I will be a super pro when I return home. Speaking of returning home, time is flying by!

Annie came to visit my family a couple weeks ago to meet my sister and the baby. This is the baby!
 She is so precious, I am completely obsessed with her. The baby I mean. Annie is pretty cool too though. 

In other news, a group from Albuquerque came to the Guate and I was lucky enough to meet with them! So if any of you are reading this, it was amazing to meet all of you! It was so great to talk to people who were interested in what I am doing here, and people that are from Albuquerque! And speak English! It was very spriritually refreshing. 
Also I hung out with some pugs, that was refreshing also. 
I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with pugs. They are just so adorable and I love the way they breathe!

We had another retreat, this one at the Earth Lodge right outside Antigua. It was so pretty! And the food was amazing!
 We only have one more retreat when Kate and Rachel leave, and then I leave in August! Crazy how time flies!

Sunday we all went to my sister´s house for lunch because her and the baby were finally going home. This is me and the baby.
I have to go eat lunch now or I´ll be late for work so that´s all!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Births and Birthdays!

Once again I have failed to update in a timely fashion! Get over it.

This past month..and a half.. I went to Semuc Champey, Panajachel, got ameobas and/or a parasite, celebrated my birthday, celebrated the birth of my sister´s baby, celebrated my sister´s birthday, wasted an insane amount of time reading books instead of planning my classes and cleaned my room..once. Oh I also bought a bunny. His name is Nicolas Cage Blankinship Ventura. 
Here´s a picture of my bunny.

I will start with Semuc Champey. Basically it´s this place really far away with caves and waterfalls and swimming pool like things. If you want a real explanation, it´s probably better to just google it. 
This is the river in Semuc Champey, it was really pretty. 
 There was the rope swing over the river that would be completely illegal in the US because people would die on it, but here it was fine! You swung out over the river, probably about 25 feet high, and then you had to jump as soon as the guide yelled at you or you would slam your head into rocks. Cool right? So of course I had to do it. Here´s me flying through the air.
We also explored this cave, which I thought was terrifying because I watch too many SciFi movies. I kept expecting a monster to come eat me. We went on this hike, which almost killed Kate and I. The view at the top was worth it though.
Then we hiked all the way back to the bottom and went swimming. The water was clear and cold and absolutely amazing! We jumped off lots of cool stuff like waterfalls and this crazy man jumped off a tree. 
If you are ever in Guatemala, Semuc Champey is a must.

Then we had our April retreat in Panajachel. We stayed at Casa Del Mundo, which was so beautiful. We went swimming in the lake (hence the ameobas) and went kayaking and ate tons of amazing food. We also celebrated Annie and I´s birthday with cake.
 Then our retreat ended and we had to go back to the real world. Aka work. I didn´t go to work on my birthday, because nobody at CEIPA does, so I went to the hospital to visit the newest member of our family. My sister Elida gave birth April 23rd to a beautiful baby girl named Elsie Nicole. I helped pick the name :). She weighed only 4 lbs and 6 oz. I will not even begin to discuss my extreme anger at medical care in Guatemala, but I guess that´s what happens when medical care is socialized. Take notes, US government.

I am completely and totally obsessed with her.

I celebrated my birthday with my family and a cake!
Some of my sisters and now the whole family. Minus Elida and the baby. And my dad. And my brother.
There´s a lovely tradition in the Guate that involves biting a birthday cake. It´s very strange, but everybody does it. You have to bite the cake first before anyone can eat it. I bit mine and then got my face shoved in it. Thanks to my lovely sister.
Frosting in the nose is not a pleasant feeling.

Then it was my sister Evelyn´s birthday! I shoved her face in the cake. It´s a never ending cycle.

 Last night I took her to see Iron Man 3 in theaters. It was great and I even understood what they were saying. Ha! 
Okay, well I am sure by now you are extremely bored of reading about my life, so I will end it while I am behind. 


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week

I wrote this blog post in my head on Thursday while sitting in church for three hours. Yes, you read that right. Three hours. I can only imagine how long it´s going to be tomorrow. When you are sitting in church at home, and you are getting grumpy because it´s Communion Sundy and church has been going on for an hour and ten minutes instead of an hour, just come on down to the Guate. When you get bored during a prayer that lasts over a minute, just come on down to the Guate. It´s quite normal her to have a prayer that last 40 minutes while everybody is praying outloud. Complete with sobbing and/or weeping. All of this while standing the whole time. Anyways, I´m done with my rant now.

I have more to add to my ¨You know you´ve been in the Guate too long when¨
- your idea of dressing up involves a faded old dress and chacos
- you no longer question the food you are eating, you just eat it

Let me elaborate on the second one a little bit. For example, there is a food called longaniza. There may be an r in there somewhere, I´m not sure. Anyways it´s kind of like sausage. I am not sure what animal it comes from, let alone what part of the animal. I could probably look it up but I don´t think I want to know. So if you know, please don´t tell me. 

We had baptisms last wek. I didn´t get baptized but I did get thrown in the pool. Then I had to put on some random clothing that was not mine because aparently wet clothes in the Guate would be fatal. Anyways, it was lots of fun.  I wanted to put pictures up...but the computer I am using does not seem to be at a high functioning level.

Yesterday I made my singing debut in church. Just kidding, kind of. My sister Sonia decided that her, my other sister Evelyn, and I were going to sing a song for Holy week in front of the whole church. Lovely. I would have curled my hair for the occasion, but I have no curling iron. My sister Karla curled my hair once using a curling iron someone had left at the house, but it caught fire in the middle of doing my hair. Typical. I have a lovely picture of me singing, aka staring at the wall behind me. What a pro.

In other news, my birthday is coming up! Since I know you all love me and want o send me things, send cards to this address:
Jensen Blankinship A-528
P.O Box 669004
Miami Springs, FL 33266
I know it looks wierd, but its a courier service and they will actually arrive. 
If you want to send me packages full of lovely things or anything lavender scented, send them to this address:
Jensen Blankinship
Apartado Postal 41
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

I checked news pages for the U.S. recently and I noticed that the U.S. seems to be falling apart without me. Either that or it´s still George Bush´s fault.

P.S. I got in law school at the University of New Mexico! yay!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Six Months

It's really good that I am not a professional blogger, as updating once a month would earn me about zero dollars.

Anyways, lets see what has been going on..
I have been working about 50,000 hours a week, which means that I usually sit at a desk all day and do nothing. How typical.

I was planning on just looking in my journal to see what I was going to blog about, but it seems that I have not written in my journal in about two months. Also typical.

We celebrated valentine's day at school, Dia del Carino, except the n has the little squiggly over it which I cannot find on this computer. I received a teddy bear and a note from a student asking me if I liked him. My U.S. mom thought it was cute until I told her how old the student was. In case you were wondering, he is not a little kid. It was a bit awkward. Anyways.

Also some of the teenage boys decided to pierce their ears with a needle in class, so that was a lovely experience.

I have been in the Guate for over six months, which is absolutely insane. Time is just flying by! I really thought I would be miserable and counting down the days until I return and weeping all the time, but I have yet to weep at all! And for those of you that know me real well, I make countdown calendars for everything and I have not made one for my return!

I have made a list of "you know you've been in the guate for too long when". I got my inspiration from the "you know you're a redneck when" jokes by Michael Foxworthy. Anyways, here they are. You probably won't understand them unless you have been to the Guate, but I still think they are entertaining.

You know you have been in the Guate too long when:
-you don't think twice about eating candy from the bus ayudante (the guy that takes your money on the bus)
- you try to hot glue ten dollar target sandals back together
- you eat your pasta with a tortilla instead of a spoon
- you eat your salad witha tortilla instead of a fork
- you stop using utensils altogether
- you no longer care if your pants are zipped or not
- you can go to the bathroom anytime, anywhere
- you buy food on the bus from strangers

I am sure I will think of more at some point, I just find myself so hilarious!

Also, we went to Belize for our six month retreat! It was sooo amazing!!
This is us on the boat in Belize! We went snorkeling off the coast with sea turtles and fishies and sting rays and sharks! It was so amazing!
The YAVs and I relaxing on the was white sand! Soooo pretty!
I love Guatemala, but I also love Belize. Belize was a lot cleaner than Guatemala, and people seemed a lot less afraid than the do in the Guate.
In other news, I tried liver last week. This is it raw. I touched it. I tried it cooked though, do not worry. It was very soft. I think I will stay away from it in the future.
That is all for now!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I am really slacking on this whole blog thing.. whoops!

The YAVs had our January retreat at Monterrico..aka the beach! It was super pretty even though it had black sand. And the hotel had air conditioning! The first air conditioning I have seen since being in the Guate. 

This is us at the beach! 
We ate tons of amazing food and then we got to release baby sea turtles!
This is me with my baby sea turtle. I look a little crazy´s the Guate.
My turtle peed on me but I still loved him. 

School started again, so it has been mass chaos! I am teaching English and Math and its certainly an adventure..I literally had a child hanging off my leg the other day. Im not sure what he was doing. 

In other news, I went to my cousins house with my mom to see how they make traje. They only make corte, which is the skirts. I will steal a picture off Annie´s facebook to demonstrate the traje. 
Annie is the tall white girl, obviously. Pictures don´t really do justice for traje, but I think it is absolutely beautiful.
Anyways, my cousins are making me my own corte! It´s going to be dark red and cream colored, but it´s not finished yet. While I am waiting for it to be finished, an amazingly nice lady at my church lent me her traje!

I look very awkward and slightly pregnant...but it´s the Guate. 

I think that is about it..our February retreat is to Belice so I will definitely update you guys on that!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Travel in the Guate

My lovely parents came to visit me after christmas! It was amazing to be able to share the Guate with them!

First we went to Lake Attitlan and stayed in a little hotel. We explored Santiago and Panajachel, and took boat rides!
My mom and I in Panajachel

Next we went to Xela and they met my family and we went to church about four billion times. 

Then we went to Tikal! I saw lots of monkeys!
Tikal was about four billion degrees with one thousand percent humidity and we almost died of hotness. But it was cool! We climbed lots of stairs and saw lots of old rocks...

Well I must pop off to the post office now...