I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast yesterday about garbage. Stephen Dubner is on the phone with a study abroad student in Taiwan, poking fun at the fact that the "poor kid" has to listen for the trash truck to beep so that he can run outside with his refuse. What a preposterous idea, right? I'm sure you can sense my sarcasm, because for reasons then unknown I was offended by Mr. Dubner's cackles.
Every Wednesday, anywhere from noon to 4 pm, the ironically white trash truck beeps incessantly as it descends towards our house. Our ears perk as we run from room to room consolidating 10 garbage cans, and scrambling to meet the passing truck. At first it was a hassle, but now this whole process has found a cozy spot in our Guatemalan routine, as have many other seemingly bizarre rituals. These were especially apparent over the last few weeks while we hosted groups of college students on their spring breaks. We explained that it was safe to travel in the back of a pickup truck, perfectly sanitary to share a bus seat with a chicken, and that gold grills aren't just for rappers, because this has all become quite normal to us. And perhaps that's why I furrowed my brow a bit at Stephen's reaction to the preposterous act of chasing down the garbage truck; he was making fun of my
way of life. But then again, am I really so proud, and thus defensive of Guatemala in all its cultural idiosyncrasies?
It was a sudden, but friendly reminder, that I have taken to calling Guatemala my home.
The past two weeks were incredible, seeing Guatemala through the eyes of 30 anxious newbies. It made me yearn for a new experience, something exciting to once again bring me out of my comfort zone; but then, their fresh points of view and general enthusiasm were enough to reignite my love for my home.
So, I guess I'll forgive you, Stephen.
PS. We're recording Program Director interviews for Kat, Hudson, and Ginny next week and we need your help. We want to ask them questions they never saw coming. So if you have any funny stories, inside jokes, or completely random questions for any of them, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can write them as a comment to this blog post. Thanks for playing!
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