Orgullo Chapin, also known as Guatemalan Pride Day, is one of the many traditions celebrated the at LIFE School. Everyone in the school dresses in traditional traje, or typical Guatemalan dress. Many teachers and students borrow traje from parents and other students. Some rent clothes for the day, and others buy. We did a little of everything. I was able to borrow a Guatemalan shirt, skirt and belt from a parent in Tag's class (she is the same parent that does our laundry weekly). We rented a traditional skirt, belt, shirt and scarf from a classmate of Elle's for Q30 (about $3.75). Tag is always more complicated when it comes to special clothes. After much discussion, cajoling, bribing and getting his teacher to talk-it-up, he agreed to a pair of bright red pants and a shirt that we bought ($12).
There was nothing normal about our school day. It started with the whole school walking to the lake edge for class pictures.
We returned to school for a snack and a little free time before the dance presentations. Every class performed a traditional Guatemalan dance that they'd learned in Spanish class. Tag's kindergarten class, along with the preschool kids, sang a song and did some movements. Honestly though, most of the kids just looked around and "danced to their own drummer", exactly what you'd expect from a bunch of 3-5 year olds.
It's worth watching the video to see all the different traje the kids are wearing.
Elle's class performed some sort of engagement ritual. By the time they performed it was near lunchtime and they seemed to enjoy the bread, drink and sauce that was their props as much as the actual performance. I wish I could tell you more about this, but the narration was done in Spanish. I was clueless as to the significance of the dance for most of the presentation! An hour and a half and 7 class performances later, it was over. Nothing moves quickly in this culture.
Did you like the fireworks in the video? Guatemalans love fireworks. We hear them day and night.
The little girl in the pig tails is a younger sibling to two other students. She and another little boy joined several of the performances. They were quite entertaining and, in my opinion, didn't detract from the presentations.
All of the students, along with many parents, returned to the students' classrooms and enjoyed a potluck with many traditional foods. Elle is always hesitant to try anything new. She enjoyed some chips, a piece of watermelon and a strawberry/banana/pineapple smoothie. Ken attended Tag's classroom potluck and observed a mad dash for the food even before everything was ready to be served. One mother clobbered her way to the ideal spot where she slowly and deliberately fixed her son a beautiful plate of food. She maintained a football player stance and didn't allow anyone to jostle her.
After lunch, everyone went home. The teachers stayed another hour to help clean up the school and the week was over.
The next day was Valentine's Day. We hadn't mentioned it to the kids and there were no Valentine's Day celebrations at school, but there had been cursory talk about it. We intended to almost ignore the holiday and enjoy another relaxing, unscheduled weekend. However, the minute we were awake on Saturday morning, Ken and I were yelling, "Happy Valentine's Day" to the kids. This quickly followed with a special breakfast at Mister Jon's for pancakes and eggs. Before we left the house, Elle and I were researching sugar cookie and powdered sugar icing recipes. Obviously, we're incapable of ignoring a kid holiday, but it was still low-key.
I love waking up to empty days and filling them with those things that make us happy. Pancakes, making sugar cookies from scratch, cuddling, listening to the kids play with legos and Monster High dolls, an iced latte from Crossroads Cafe and a brief stop at the market to pick up ingredients for homemade spaghetti sauce are some of the little things that make our life carefree and full.
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you from the four of us. We hope your world is full of love and happiness.