The Coldest Night


Last night I woke up a dozen times in the middle of the night not able to sleep because I couldn’t feel my toes. I even have a space heater in this little “hotelito” I’m staying in which I cranked on high for the entire night. I have a wool blanket doubled over, another thick blanket, long underwear both top and bottom, another pair of pants, a long sleeve shirt and a jacket, and two pairs of socks. I still was freezing. This isn’t even the coldest month of the year, nor is it the coldest room I’ll be staying in in my two years here. Yesterday I saw the outsides of the two available houses for me to rent – both are incredibly small but absolutely beautiful. When they say about businesses “location, location, location” I can’t help but think the same thing about these houses. The first three months I’ll be staying with a family but after that I want to move out on my own, and because there really isn’t much of a selection of available single-person houses here, I’m guessing other options really aren’t going to come up. I only saw the inside of one of the houses, but it has basically two rooms maybe 12x12 each give or take. There is no bathroom inside nor is there a kitchen so whatever I need I’ll be responsible for hooking up water lines and stuff. There is electricity, though, and it has a dirt floor. The other house looked a little more modern from the outside, so it may have an indoor bathroom but I don’t know. I do have the blueprints for building a composting latrine so there’s always that option for building one outdoors. I don’t think I’d mind that. It’s a small compromise to make to have such beautiful surroundings, to be able to wake up every morning to a beautiful view of either mountains and clouds or a meadow and stream. If I can get inside the houses again I’ll show pictures.

Tonight I fell asleep in church. I lasted about an hour and a half before conking out, and then I was in-and-out for another good 1 ½ hours. I will consider it an accomplishment if I can teach just one Guatemalan person how to sing from the diaphragm rather than the nose. Most of the people I’ve heard sing here actually can hold a key, but they just don’t know how to control the pitch or how to make it sound anything but whiney. Everybody who sings here sings at the tops of their lungs while figuratively plugging their nose, seriously, that’s exactly what it sounds like. It makes 60 year old women sound like they’re 6.

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