Today, I decided to write a description of an average morning at my host family’s house. I figured I needed to update my blog, and I didn’t want to bore you with my anxiety surrounding the impending site assignment (It comes down this Thursday! October 14th! In the A.M.! I find out where I’ll be living for the next two years!)
Anyway, so I usually get up anywhere between 5 am and 8:30, although I rarely sleep past these times.
I awake to the slight beeping of my travel alarm clock, which rests on the plastic stool next to my bed. Sunshine filters through two pieces of plate glass in the wall high above me, which were included by my host father Francisco in the house’s original construction. It’s the closest thing I have to an actual window, which is too bad, as it represents pretty much a single square foot of translucence. None of the bedrooms in our house have windows, so I asked why and Francisco explained that neighborly privacy, both yours and theirs, dictates that most rooms are windowless. I guess I can understand why – buildings tend to crowd one another here.
My room is concrete, both the floors and walls, with a pair of latched metal doors that open inward. The room is about 12’ x 12’ and the floor is smooth, covered with a scuffed layer of deep red paint. The walls also have blemishes, accenting an off-white tint that covers a rough finish of coarse sand and plaster. I have a small table, an armoire, a plastic trash can, a 5 gallon bucket where I put dirty laundry that my host mother will wash by hand, and the bedside stool (which doubles as my desk chair). I’m the only person in the house with a room to myself. It smells faintly, damply, so I try to keep the doors open and air it out whenever possible.
I sit up in bed and turn out of the cocoon I form each night before going to sleep. When my host mother ushered me into my room for the first time, she gave me two thin blankets and I hesitated for a second, knowing that I sleep cold. But they appeared sufficient and I’ve haven’t asked for another layer thus far, both out of respect and as a sort of personal challenge. I’ve been fine. On frigid nights I pull on my long underwear and appreciate that my sleeping bag is also available. Most nights, though, the two blankets are fine - I fold them lengthwise, and once under the sheets I roll side to side, tucking the blanket edges under my body and making a little impromptu sleeping nest. It never seems to get below 50 degrees here and I’ve gotten used to the weather. I will, however, buy myself plenty of blankets when I get my own place.
I stretch my feet towards the floor, slip my toes into the wedge of my flip-flops, and then I begin to collect the things I need to brush my teeth……
(I’ll write more about my mornings another day – here’s the best pictures from the trip I took out to the department of San Marcos last week….)