It's been hard to keep up the blogging energy as I have been out of the country three times in the last month -- once to visit Occupy Wall Street, once for a conference in San Diego, and most recently for a conference in Montreal. But I'm back, and will not leave Guatemala again until I leave in January to return to my regular job teaching at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
It feels as though I have been playing catch up since the start; there are events I had meant to report but didn't that are now months old, like the Rabin Ajaw election in Coban back in August. Will I get around to doing it? Don't know for sure. The blog has been useful for me as an aide-memoire; it sometimes has taken the place of field notes (I'm notoriously bad at those; usually when I finish up a long day and get back home, make dinner, wash out clothes and clean a little, I have little energy for anything more strenuous than checking up on the news).
Now I'm in Antigua for the day; I arrived last night late and had no plans on driving up to Quiché and arriving at 3 in the morning. Those winding, narrow, steep roads are not pleasant or easy to drive during the day time, and although I've not read of a lot of armed assaults in the wee hours on those highways, I don't want to be the target of the first one. There was an announcement in the papers that the transportistas (drivers of collective buses) are blocking the highways again today, from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., so it seemed to make sense to stay here for a day and try to catch up on writing. I will treat myself to a yoga class this morning and then try to get some work done. I feel a wee bit guilty: although I've hardly been lounging around, I have been away from the field a lot this month and I am beginning to feel the crunch of my time here winding down and a bit of dissatisfaction with what I've been able to get accomplished, or rather what I have not been able to accomplish in terms of my own research.
Thanks to the internet, I am never far away emotionally even when I am out of the country. I usually am sending messages on Facebook and text messages via mobile phone in the departure lounge of the airport, and stay in touch with my dear friends here throughout my stay abroad if I have access to the internet. I've gotten spoiled but having a USB modem here which means I can log on just about anywhere, and this contact with my dear ones in Guatemala has become an essential lifeline, and I hope that will continue once I return to the U.S. I was about to write "return home" but this has become home, in a way, too, and I am dreading the process of uprooting myself in January (although I will continue to return here as regularly as I can) and relocating myself back in the U.S.