I discovered, quite accidentally, that in Microsoft Word 2007 when you create a new document you can choose between a document and a blog post. With the blog posts, I can connect word to my blog site and automatically publish them when I connect to the internet. This is just one less barrier between my adoring public and me, or between the few people who read my blog and the obnoxiousness that is constant blog posting. ;) The only issue with this is that my blog cannot tell the difference between when I am writing my blog and when I am posting my blog, so I will try to remember to put a date in here somewhere or other to keep everyone on some semblance of a timeline. I have to say that when I am not fighting it tooth and nail, I love technology.

The other big news in my little world is that I have started taking classes with INTECAP in Guatemala City. INTECAP is a national organization that is a little bit like a technical school in that they offer courses in various tracks like pastry chef, mechanic, and hotel receptionist. It is a much-needed service here, and I personally think that they are doing a wonderful job. It seems to have a great impact. In addition to these tracks, they also do continued education for professionals in things like management. They also do training of trainers, and send individuals out into rural areas to teach classes like basic computation to groups of 15-20 students who are willing and able to pay the several hundred quetzals class fee. The class I am taking is a certification of trainers, and the process that they use to certify teachers in this class was ISO9001 certified in 2002 and recertified in 2006. I am not going to go into ISO certification here, but I recommend that those of you who don't know what it is look it up on Google because it is a pretty awesome detail of my class. I am taking the class to certify myself as a trainer with INTECAP so that the English classes that I will be teaching for the guides will count towards their hours of class to keep their guide certification with INTECAP. This is all ending up sounding rather diluted and complicated, so you may just have to take my word for it that this is a neat opportunity for the guides to whom I will be teaching English and me. 

So, aside from all the wonderful benefits of being certified, the classes themselves are amazing! The classroom has huge windows and it is in the capitol where I feel like if I just kept walking South I could end up in Uptown. The instructors are all careful to ask me if they are talking too fast or if I need any help (since I am the only non-Guatemalan in the class), but they have asked me during a break and not in front of the whole class. My classmates are people from all different professions. In the class, there are; a veterinarian who works with dairy cattle, a teacher, a mechanic, a man who teaches English for INTECAP, someone from corporate Dominoes, and a woman who works for a chain of water parks. Saturdays feel like life in the states. I have made many friends in class, and I hope to keep in touch with them throughout my service. I chat with them as I would chat with many of my friends in the states. We go to McDonalds for lunch or bring our own, and we sit on the benches at the end of the hallway near the windows and look out at the city.

I have dedicated this morning to homework, keeping in touch, and relaxing after nine hours of class yesterday. Since I had to be out of my hostel at 10:00 I went to the market and then over to a friend's house where I used my newly purchased pancake mix to make strawberry crêpes. This can be done by following the recipe on your favorite box of pancake mix (NOT the add water only kind) but adding twice the eggs called for. Then, put the mix in the blender with a cup(ish) or two of chopped strawberries (or other soft fruit) and blend as desired. Put butter in a hot pan and spread evenly, then add a dollop of the modified pancake mix to the middle of the pan and swirl the pan until the mix forms a thin layer over the entire bottom of the pan. Bubbles will form on the top. When they have popped and the top of the pancake/crêpe is spongy, it is ready to turn over. You only need to cook it briefly on the second side. The whole process is much easier on low heat. I like to put the rest of my batter in a Tupperware in the refrigerator so I can make one quickly in the morning. Now there is just the matter of the toaster oven I would like to get my hands on and I may actually be on my way to some semblance of cooking. I will have to be careful or I may recoup the 30 pounds I have lost since getting here.

Well, adventure calls. We are heading out on a quick hike to work of the wonderful breakfast that we ate. Then we may be heading back to the market to buy some of the beautiful avocadoes they have there. Guacamole is on the menu for a light lunch. In my album of My Life as a PCV, I have pictures posted of my most recent hilarious attempts at cooking. If you have yummy, easy, and cheap toaster oven recipes they would certainly make the purchase of a toaster oven well worth my while. 

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