Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Semana Santa is here

Semana Santa or Holy Week is officially here! Jason is off work for the week and we head to Antigua tomorrow to take in the incredible, intricately designed sawdust carpets that are made each night, covering entire streets only to be trampled by processions the following morning. It should be a sight to see. Here in Pana, small "carpets" made of pine needles have been appearing already in preparation for Easter Sunday. I love that people here still see value in creating something beautiful that may only last for a few moments. There is something so moving about that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Turning ONE in Guatemala

After his 3rd birthday party in one week, I think we have finally reached the end of parties for Luke, for now. We have been so so incredibly blessed by the outpouring of love from our friends as they have celebrated Luke (& us) completing our first year as a family.

Luke's first party was with Jason's 4th/5th grade class on his actual birthday. The students have been asking all year about having a party for Luke on his birthday. Turning one here is a big, big deal here.  When we arrived at school, some of Jason's students were waiting at the gate to unlock it for us and then ran to hide in the classroom so that they could yell "surprise" which of course scared Luke to tears. The students are so intrigued by him and shower him with love; especially (& perhaps surprisingly) the boys.  One student even brought a cake to help celebrate and the students made a piñata so that he could have a real Guatemalan birthday!

Later that same day, my Mom's group came by with their sweet kiddos and we had a second celebration. I had decided that having a Quetzal themed party would be fun since the Quetzal is Guatemala's national bird as well as the name of the currency. In real life, a Quetzal looks like this:

We had pin the tail on the Quetzal, a Quetzal egg hunt and build your own Quetzal. As always, Luke loved playing with his big-kid friends.

With my rendition of a Quetzal ... ha ha, not a great replica, but it was fun to try and worked well for pin-the-tail.

Monday afternoon was the grand finale! Two of Jason's sweet co-workers hosted a party for Luke at their house. Most of Jason's co-workers were there, plus some of our friends from our church group at Porch de Salomon. With all the stimulation, Luke wasn't at his best (he was even frightened of the piñata!), but it was a fun-filled afternoon with our Panajachel community.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh Fireflies, how I love thee!

I don't exactly know why, but I LOVE Fireflies. Perhaps it is because I didn't grow up with them around -- are they anywhere on the west coast, do you know? I still get childishly excited to see them. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to walk home just as it was getting dark and I was treated to the most fantastic show of Fireflies that I have seen in a long time! There are onion fields along our road in the flat space before the steep mountain begins and these awesome beetles were darting all over the place above the field and in the forest up the mountain, flickering their wonderful lights on and off. It was such a good reminder of why I love being in a place where walking is my primary mode of transportation -- you get to experience so much more. I would have missed seeing that if I'd taken a tuk-tuk and I am so glad I didn't.

I would have dearly loved to capture them on film, but I don't think my camera could do it and it was so much better to just drink the beautiful sight in,giving praise to our Creator for giving us something so wonderful to enjoy!

I do have a picture of Luke getting into the lake this past weekend ... and getting very dirty in the process :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Xelaju - Quetzaltenango - Xela (shay-lah)

Although the official name for this city is the mouthful, Quetzaltenango, most people here choose to call it by it's original Maya name of Xelaju or simply Xela. Thank goodness!

We had a fantastic time wandering the streets of this city which has been conquered and destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt. Some of the streets felt similar to the lovely Antigua, but with a grittier, real-life feel to them and LOTS of hills throughout the city. The 7500 feet in altitude made made my lungs & heart notice those hills as we walked around and I couldn't help but think this is how San Francisco would feel at the same altitude.

I am in love with doors here --

The hostel we stayed in (Casa Renaissance) was a huge highlight -- the cleanest place we've stayed in since coming to Guatemala and such a sweet spot.
Our quarters:

Jason thought maybe this was supposed to be "market" ??  But the word peleteria seems to have something to do with fur, so .... poor cats?

The real market --


And, inside -- I got to see cow lungs, kidneys & stomach (yummy) and much, much more!

Never been this happy to see a Walmart! Ha! It was lovely to be in a nice big store, with neat, clean aisles. As much fun as it is to check 10 tiny tiendas in Pana for one item, it was so so nice to walk through a store that had everything in one place. Of course, now that we're down to less than three months left here, there was very little that I could justify buying at this point, but it was fun to look.

Some of the local women in traditional outfits - we enjoyed checking out the differences in their clothing from what is worn around Lake Atitlán.

Jason was so tickled to see all the datsun, nissan and toyota vehicles from the eighties - some of them in amazing shape!