Susana is an Argentinian who’s been living in Guatemala since 1989. “I arrived with the expectation of meeting a long lost cousin, the kind that everyone has in their family. I migrated because of the economic situation that we had in Argentina that left me unable to support my son’s education.
The impression that I had once we arrived in Guatemala was charming, I arrived a few days before Easter and I didn’t understand the religious passion that the Holy Week meant because we don’t have that in Argentina. We have two or three days of Holy Week, but we don’t have that fervour that Guatemala has.
I remember that once we went sightseeing and I saw some people with costumes, so I asked my cousin if it was for a carnival because back in Argentina we only dress up for carnivals, but she told me that the people were dressed like that because of the processions for Holy Week.
Another time, we were out walking around the neighbourhood and I kept hearing people clapping. The clapping was constant and at different times of the day, so I told my cousin that people in Guatemala always seem happy and partying because they were always clapping but she told me it wasn’t the case. The clapping was because people were making corn tortillas.
Susana also found differences with the food and the peculiarities of the Guatemalan people. “Argentinians are used to grilled meat and empanadas, that is fundamental for us, but it’s not the case here. So I had to get used to tortillas and beans. Also, Argentinians are more straight-forward when it comes to saying what we think, Guatemalans are more diplomatic in that sense.”
Nowadays, Susana works with the Guatemalan government as the Director of the Art Archives.
“For me, my work is priceless. As an Argentinian, I feel privileged to be able to work in a place like this. Not just because I’m helping this country with my work, but because in here we have Guatemalan art archives. This is an important place to be and, to top it off, I am working in something that I love.”