Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving and the Chicken Bus

Thanksgiving in Antigua...first Central American Thanksgiving as well as first married one! Chris came here to celebrate with friends and friends of friends. It was a huge gathering and combo of various countries. Though we did not lack in American food--from stuffing to turkey and ham to loads of sweet or mashed potatoes. We had our fill of pie and delicious homemade ice cream and more! The feast was never-ending. They even capped off the full day with s'mores by the fire. We returned home tired and full. Always a good combo! Not to mention, we were able to call family from the house so it was great to hear familiar voices. We miss you all!

The rest of the weekend was amazing. We went to Hector's where I had a delicious fish prepared with lemongrass, ginger, butter, mushrooms and tomatoes. Mmmmm! Chris had a yummy beef stew. You can't go wrong at Hector's. After dinner, we strolled over to Ron's place, that he opened a year ago. I was amused to walk into a restaurant of 3 cigar-smoking men. But they made me feel welcome at the cozy cafe.

Then yesterday, Chris surprised me with a trip to Guatemala City. Delicious sushi and tempura ice cream and a good night's rest. What more could you ask for? I'm just glad my husband is persistent when others say "I'm sorry, sir, you need to book two weeks in advance."

Chris rose EARLY this AM to catch his flight back home and I checked out later in the morning and asked about shuttles back in to town. "No hay. Solo taxis por $80." Ok, what about the bus? "No, no le recomiendo. Es peligroso." But nevertheless, I opted for a taxi to the bus and a bus into town. And the bus only cost me $1. :)

So for the next hour and a half, I sat on the bus of Spanish rap music, halting stops every five minutes, 3 people to a school bus seat with others standing, and a guy yelling "Antigua! Antigua! Antigua!" at every stop. I have to say I have a lot of respect for those working here and having the confidence to step onto every bus and sell candy at every stop.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's the little things

So just completed Week ONE of my intensive language learning: 7 hours/5 days and 5 hours/Saturdays! The good news I don't have a headache and I can visibly see my Spanish improve as I move around the city--shopping, eating out, talking with vendors, getting directions, translating, finding a church, etc. It's all quite an adventure!

It's been an eventful weekend from attending a belated wedding reception and finding a church in town. I'm amazed the wonderful people I've met thus far, even just during the weekend.

Today's reprieve from the full week of lessons was discovering a spectacular find in the midst of the city. It is a quaint little restaurant/cafe with a garden. The best part is the organic grocery store with fun surprises like organic veggies and new teas like "White Cucumber" or Heath ice cream or Trader Joe's goodies and exotic cheese and chocolate options.

Yes, I have found a good Sunday routine. Not to mention, it's a great stroll through the Sunday market on the way home!

Friday, November 12, 2010

And the town was silent...

Wednesday night this week, I was cleaning up the kitchen and preparing for dinner. It was 7:20 and I heard the usual sounds..chatty neighbors (the house is so close I can hear their microwave beep), dogs barking, construction on the house next door, etc. But all of a sudden I heard a booming crash, followed by the sound of rolling boulders. Amazingly, everything stopped. No dogs barked. Conversations ceased. Construction halted. It was as if we all froze in wonder.

I asked around and some say it was military testing. Others say it was pipes exploding. Others say it was at the airport. Interesting...hard to get the facts here.

TO DO list

This Tuesday, I tackled the odds and ends of every day tasks.
Feed and bathe Sam and Sophie...check.
Run to the grocery...check.
Look both ways while at stopped at an intersection...check.
Clip a motorcycle that comes out of nowhere...WHAT?!?

Yep. Seriously, I heard a "eerr" and right and front of me is a motorcycle that was nowhere to be seen seconds before as I pulled out from my stop sign. This is the joy of driving where no one cares about any road rules. He slowed down and pulled around to talk to me. Fortunately, he didn't yell. After apologizing and explaining that I truly did not see him, he just said, "Be more careful next time." Sure enough. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no damage was done.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our latest addition

Moth in Space

Crazy it's been so long since the last two months have been busier than ever. Let's see...just last month, I returned from the States and then traveled to Guatemala. It's hard to believe in just over nine months, I've been to four countries--here, Nicaragua, Guatemala and South Africa.

Even now as I write this, I'm packing up to move for a month to do intense language school. The fun part is that the adventure never ends!

But even in the midst of travel, I have learned to take note of the little things. This week, I went to the vet with our two dogs and saw this in the gutter. Pretty amazing what you find in the depths, if you take the time to look. Beautiful things can be find in the hard times and in the unexpected.