Friday, July 17, 2009

It's a canícula out there!

This week I've been attending Spanish class each afternoon for 4 hours at a local school, Escula Maya, where the generous owner provides long term volunteers with a 2 free hours of class a week & significant discount if we wish to study more. It's really such a sweet thing for him to do, as we volunteers don't have much extra time or money to study, but really want to work hard on becoming fluent. Well this week just so happened to be a bit slow for me (but I have a mega-team just around the corner), so my lovely Letonian boss Viola agreed that my time could be well spent practicing Spanish......since we pretty much speak English all day long in our office.

Anyway, the weather here in Antigua has been unseasonably strange for the past couple of weeks and when it came up in conversation between my teacher and I, she used a word I was not familiar with - Canícula. You see right now is "winter" (the rainy season) in Guatemala and it usually rains every afternoon/evening, but lately we've had fabulous weather with warm temps, blue sky days and nights where a sky full of stars is visable. This might not sound so odd to you, but rainy season here is generally dependable - it will rain everyday. And along the same lines, when rainy season ends, all of the sudden one day it is just over - no more rain for 6 months.

So I did a little research on canículas (because I have found that often times when you ask a Guatemalan to explain something like this - vocabulary we are not familiar with- you get their version of a definition (ie. a bit wives-tale sounding!). For example, the explanation I was told that is a period of strange, hot weather during the rainy season. There are ususally 2 each rainly season - 1 in June & 1 in July, each lasting 3 weeks.

Here's what I came up with:

Canícula: a period of the year when the heat is most strong. (www.wordreference.com, www.wikipedia.com). Babelfish (which is highly unreliable) directly translates canícula as "dog days" - interesting. Strangely there was no mention of the period being during the rainy season on either site.

So, maybe you knew, maybe you didn't, but either way, now you do. And wherever you may live, I hope when you have your canícula, it is just as enjoyable as ours!

2 comments:

Horacio & Nicole said...

Ben and Krista, I hope you guys are doing well. I have been thinking about you guys. As I read your blog it looks like you guys are having a great time, any thoughts about staying down there longer? Horacio

Bibi said...

Hey Krista

We also say "canicule" in French. We use it to talk about an unusually hot period of time (even if it's during the summer).For example, in the past years, we've been having regular "canicules" in May/June in northern Europe.It's basically a heatwave. It comes from the Latin "Canicula", which is another name for the star "Sirius", which supposedly rises et sets at the same time as the sun during the warm season.
Anyway, hope you guys are well. It's always nice to read you news!

Keep well,
Justine