Friday, August 30, 2013

Feeling self-conscious

I went jogging here for the first time yesterday.  I'd been waiting to find out whether it was culturally appropriate and more importantly if it was safe before I ventured out.  Turns out it's okay and there's a specific road that most men & women run on ... so, that meant it was time for me to get out there.

When living in countries where the poverty level is high I always feel really awkward exercising in public.  Mostly because it seems like an advertisement of my excessive lifestyle -- I have so much food to eat that I need to do additional activity to burn it off and I don't work in a labor intensive job from dawn until dusk so I have both time and energy to exercise.  It just feels wrong, like I am rubbing in the abundance that I have.

I think I am feeling it even moreso in this place because I am also staying at home to take care of Luke which  in my mind is yet another sign of our wealth ... the women here do not appear to be stay at home moms and you rarely see them playing with their babies.  Mostly, I see women working in handicraft stalls, selling vegetables at the fresh food market, working in bakeries and small shops -- all with their babies slung onto their backs.  Add to that the fact that it seems many of the homes here are 1/3 (or less) the size of our "small" one bedroom apartment.

We are living on what is an incredibly small salary by US standards (I have friends back home who make more in one day than what Jason will in one month) and yet it is easy to see how wealthy we still are.  These are things that I think I eventually stop seeing because as I live somewhere my sensitivity to my new surroundings changes ... but for today I am glad that I can see it and be aware of the overwhelming wealth I have.

The full house tour - Apartamentos Sulita

Here are a few more photos of our casita/apartment - we were fortunate that Jason's employer was able to line this up for us before we arrived so we had a "home" to move into. We've only committed for a month at this point while we look to see if we can find something that is under our budget.  It's only a 5 minute walk from Jason's school which is awesome!

The property we're on has five rentals -- this building has two of the units.

I love the porch area!!  Luke really likes being outside, so we spend a lot of time here and out in the garden.

Kitchen with stove top & mini-fridge.  It's an open concept ;-) as this is also the living area.

This space between the kitchen & bedroom we've been using at Luke's nook -- thank goodness there is a space for all his stuff!  We gather that the double doors open into the apartment next door.  

Bedroom with two twin beds pushed together - it works :)

And, one very blue bathroom off of the bedroom.  Love the hot water & especially an indoor flush toilet!

Luke seems to think it is a-okay!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dinner for two for under $1

That's right!  We're on a pretty tight budget here and living frugally is being taken to a whole new level!  Luckily, good food is inexpensive to make.  This was our dinner for our first week here ...

Black bean tacos --
8 fresh tortillas = $0.27
bag of dried black beans which lasts 6 days is $1.30 = $0.22
fresh tomato, onion, pepper & lime wedge = $0.43
salsa verde picante sauce = maybe a penny

Total is just over 90 cents!  And, they truly taste delicious!

Monday, August 26, 2013

California Dreamin'

Before I get going on everything that IS our new home here in Guatemala, I figured I should at least do a wrap-up of our time in California.  We have only been gone a week, but already it seems like a lifetime ago...

We camped at Pismo Beach for 5 days - my younger sister, Jeannie & her son, Talon joined us for a few days and so did my brother, Mark and sis-in-law, Ashley.  It wasn't the warmest of beach camping, but fun in any event!

We saw lots of friends!!!

With Pam & Marti - two lovely ladies that I house sat for regularly when I lived in LA

Claudia, who I am so glad to have met
through working at Unum over 12 years ago!
With Claudia's boys!

This pict was taken by Andy -- Julie & I met at summer camp in high school, I first visited Guatemala with her 7 years
 ago when she returned for a visit after living here for three years.

Mrs. Penny, my kindergarten teacher

The Botts family - fun friends who do a lot of adventuring too

"Grandma" & "grandpa" Layton -
not real grandparents, but a very
sweet couple who have been close to
our family since I was a kid.

Luke went to In-N-Out for the first time!  With Jason even wearing his In-N-Out his shirt!

My birthday (wow, I'm 37 now!) -- had to get some vaccinations first thing (oops, we forgot that typhoid expires!), then got to go for a hike up Bishop's Peak in San Luis Obispo, then Thai food at Noi's with my parents and an AWESOME sunset in Morro Bay -- couldn't ask for a better gift!

Luke got to go to Hot August Nights road show in Atascadero, then to the car show the next day.  He was the first baby to ride in my Dad's restored '57 Chevy Nomad -- he already has an appreciation for American muscle :)

While we were home, we were fortunate to have several people take photos of us (i.e. Luke) on their cameras ...

My friend Gail:

My Aunt Lori:

Andy Silk:

And lastly, my brother Mark on the morning of our departure:

My friend Christy served us our last meal in the States, then helped us get to the airport and get checked-in. What a life saver!!!