It's about time I say something about the place I call home these days. As I've mentioned earlier, I live in a community called Yanacoto, about 35 minutes by combi from our training center. I want to write about it because I want to share how much I enjoy living here. Aside from the gorgeous scenery, the best thing about Yanacoto is the sense of community. The people here are the kind of people who greet you with a "hello" or "good morning/ good evening" every time they see you. Even if you're a gringa doing something crazy like running around in athletic clothing. This community is very accustomed to us trainees, as they have hosted us for some time now. The ladies in the bodegas and the fellows at the internet cafe are always eager to ask how I'm doing and how things are going, how I'm liking the climate, the culture, etc. I feel very welcome and safe here, and that's awesome. I know I'll only be here for about 7 more weeks, but it is a pleasure living here and I'm really happy to have been placed with the family I live with in the community of Yanacoto.
An example- Last Thursday when I was sick, I went to the bodega two houses down from mine for some Gatorade, animal crackers, and spare toilet paper... just in case, of course. Toilet paper is often not supplied in public restrooms here, so it's best to always be prepared. Can't fault someone for being proactive. Anyway, Irene is the lady who runs this bodega and she is very sweet. When I asked her for my needed items, she gave me a questioning look with the hint of a smirk. I thought she was going to make a comment about the toilet paper or not understand the way I say Gatorade here. I still haven't mastered the Spanish pronunciation of the word "Gatorade," no one ever knows what I'm asking for; they say it differently here and it throws me off every time. I was wrong. The point she was making was better than I could anticipate. Animal crackers here are called animalitos... and this is what set off her sense of humor. After tossing me that suspicious smirk she said, "You can't have animalitos. You're a vegetarian." My first thought was, 'how the hell did she know I was a vegetarian?' Then I remembered that this is Yanacoto, and she lives 2 houses away from me. I'm sure she knows everything there is to know at this point. Here's where my Greenwood roots come in handy. It doesn't bother me at all that she knows things about me. In fact, it kind of makes me feel appreciated in a weird way. My second thought was, 'Dude, that was really clever. Irene is someone I should know.' So there you have it. My new friend and her sense of humor. This is just one example of how fantastic the people have been so far. I'm in good hands.