This year I spent my first Christmas in Guatemala. The tradition here is to eat tamales and drink punch at midnight Christmas eve and send up lots of fireworks. Actually here there are fireworks for just about every occasion. A loud bang outside your door at 5am? Oh, it's just somebody's birthday. That's a separate story though and this is about the holidays that have already passed and are quickly being replaced by the new days that life keeps putting in front of us. Can you tell I'm realizing that I'm a little behind in keeping in touch?
Anyway, since I was here I asked the kids what they wanted to do to celebrate Christmas. I knew that eating tamales and drinking punch was not what they would have in mind and after vetoing a second trip to the zoo, we settled on a trip to the pool. Yes, we can swim here in December but it's not the type of warm that's good for drenching your full body in water and standing around. But you know how it is with kids -- they don't mind a little cold when there's a chance for fun.
None of them can swim and we did try to teach them a trick or two but it's a bit tough when someone is holding you around your neck and can't get the idea of how to be horizontal in the water. The boys were convinced they could swim as they walked on the bottom of the pool with their faces in the water and their arms moving about. I wish I had a picture of that. They had the first part right though in that they could hold their breath with their noses submerged. We had a nice splash fest, which is a requirement when you swim with children, followed by a meal of fried chicken at Pollo Campero and a quick romp in their playground.
And so now as I walk through the park, children who I have never seen before come up to me and call me by name as if we are old friends and say 'Vamos a la piscina'? Try to say 'no' to that. Unfortunately, for now I have to but maybe there's a way to expand the group to include more kids. Vamos a ver (we'll see).
Special thanks again to Joe Collins who paid for the food and Catherine who swam with us and made sure there were eyes on all seven kids at all times.