Well, we have made it to Guatemala after a
whirlwind tour of
relatives in the southeast US. We were blessed with a good trip and all
suitcases making it more or less intact.
If any of you can engineer a suitcase that can truly survive
international travel and would guarantee it for at least 10 years,
buy it. With the weight limits going down, it wouldn't have to be huge,
flexible and indestructible. Unlike Armenia where we were in in
Colombia, Guatemala City has about two million people and all the
extras like Walmart, Taco Bell, Wendys, Subway, Chilis, and even
Quiznos. The Guatemalan culture is very evident, but so is the Western
influence. Good for us in a lot of ways, bad in that it is a little too
This is us leaving Colombia on our private bus with our 14 pieces of assorted luggage and carryon.
If you've ever wanted to trim down and learn to
live with the minimum, move overseas and change countries every couple
years. You will find out what you really need and want and learn to
make do with what's available.
I don't see myself making many cookies here as
ingredients are hard to find and expensive. Too bad for the new
staff but I can always return to Colombia where I'm sure I'd find an
to eat them. I actually had to go to a
pharmacy to get baking soda because apparently it isn't a cooking item!
is no Coke Zero for Steve so he is having to find other alternatives.
He was so
excited when it came to Colombia but this seems to be a Pepsi place so
holding out hope. We saw some of the Sub20 Futbol finals in Armenia on
TV as Guatemala was playing and got a little choked up as they showed
promo commercials of Armenia; new adventures are good but so are old
Martin nesting island
So far the driving in Guatemala has been better
with very few motorcycles
and more roads, but we have driven in quite a few circles so far trying
from point A to point B; we have found ourselves at point L and had to
way back. The problem is that when you miss a turn, you have to go
across town to find a place to go back in the other direction. People
to follow some rules of the road though and are overall courteous. The
city is designed in a spiral with zones 1 to 15; but, that doesn't mean
zone 2 is next to zone 1!
Our visit to Belleville, PA saw a few Amish
buggys on the roads and lots and lots of farmland.
One of the biggest advantages to coming to a
new place is
that you have the chance to start fresh and try to correct your
where no one knows you yet. For me, the book of James has been a good
a "new life" in that I really want to work on being more Christ-like
and less me-like, especially with my attitude and what I say. I looked
I said and did in a given day and didn't like what I saw. It wasn't
things, but a lot of little things that were judgmental and not
others. I go back to what Thumper's mom said to him in Bambi, "If you
can't say something nice, say nothing." Even if I said nothing all day
would be better than saying things that could make others look bad or
I think one of the reasons the disciples didn't want Jesus to go was
while he was right there, it was probably a lot easier to stay on the
track! We are supposed to be spreading God's message and that is hard
when what comes out of your mouth doesn't make you seem like a good
representative. I never really thought
about the little things I was commenting on or griping about being
if it made someone else look bad or created a negative impression in
else's mind of someone they might not even know, it
I thank God for forgiveness and second chances over and over through grace. So my goal is to think about what I can do to get myself and others closer to God through actions, deeds, listening, or sharing. Think about how your words can open or shut an opportunity and remember that once the words are out, it takes forever to correct a misspoken comment. Make it a goal to be known as someone who builds up, listens, and encourages others. I don't know about you, but that takes a specific focus for me because I don't find myself as that kind of person naturally; I try to be generous and hard working, but not always compassionate or patient.
Steve was very excited about the chocolate covered bananas for .14 so he got two!
It seems that we will again be able to have
flowers very inexpensively as there are vendors on many corners selling
dozens of roses for $3.00 - 4.00. The bus looks like quite the
adventure but not one I am interested in participating in!
The buses were crazy the day we went to San Juan Sac but they didn't have any live animals on the roofs.
If you ever decide to go abroad and have a beloved pet you want to bring, be sure that you really really love the animal because it isn't easy. We helped another teacher to retrieve her dog from the airport and it was an all day, lots of paperwork, and visit every possible office to pay another fee event. The people were all really nice and helpful so it at least wasn't painful in that aspect, but it was about six hours of going in circles and waiting in lines. We have been to the craft markets in Guatemala City and found quite the cornucopia of items. The one market had three floors of food and produce, crafts, handicrafts, clothes, and who knows what else we didn't see! I'll bring my camera next time and try to capture the essence of the scene.
This is the view from our apartment. Like
Quito, you can see several volcanoes. Guatemala is different from
Ecuador and Colombia in scenery and unique in its combination of
natural elements. We are looking forward to exploring the country more
and visiting the sights. Below are a few bird sightings, two in
Guatemala and one in New York.
The carpintero in Guatemala and a rose breasted
Grosbeak in upstate New York
A San Blas Jay in Guatemala
We look forward to starting at school next week
and finding out what God has in store for us here in Guatemala. We have
been truly blessed in our lives and hope to be a blessing to those
around us. Pray that my throat gets better from my surgery a
couple weeks ago so that I can actually talk to the students! (For
those of you who didn't know, I had to have oral surgery to remove a
suspicious patch in the back of throat and they took a piece of the
soft palate and the uvula. The biopsy was negative so that was great
but I still feel like there is a marshmallow back there I an trying to
talk through and oxygen and liquids are still trying to figure
out how to get in and out!)
Cathy and Steve Carpenter