Monday, August 9, 2010

Back in the USA!

We arrived safely back to Dulles last night at 11pm. Kayla, Tam, and Megan picked us up. We have great friends! It was fun telling them our stories and catching up on their lives.
I have been looking forward to being home with friends, family, and familiar things, but I do have mixed feelings. I already miss our family in Guatemala, and I know I will miss some of the food and craziness of the city. Hearing English everywhere is weird. And doing laundry this morning in the machine was so boring compared to the pila on the roof! And driving in my quiet car (Well, Kayla's actually. Mine is in Ohio.), compared to the Guatemalan buses?! The water pressure in the shower? Good grief. Although, that is actually really nice, AND it didn't turn cold in the middle. Anyway, it will take a little while to get used to the things that used to be "normal".

Now it's time to get busy looking for apartments, applying to jobs, and driving back to Kansas (via Ohio and Minneapolis) this week. I'm planning on moving to Minneapolis the first of September. I'm looking at a couple houses with roommates when I'm there this week, so I'm praying that things will fall into place.

Thanks for reading the blog:) Hope you enjoyed hearing about our adventures in Guatemala. I plan to keep it going after I move to Minneapolis, so feel free to check back later.
Have a good week!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Different Priorities

Our 1st day in Nigeria last summer, I remember Danny McCain saying, ¨Their priorities are different than yours. Clean houses... clean bathrooms, clean kitchens are not a priority. Relationships are the priority.¨ Danny and his family are from Louisiana but have lived in Nigeria for 22 years.
I have thought of those words several times during this trip. It´s okay not to have a clean or nice house. It´s okay to not have matching dinnerware, or running water all the time. It´s okay to use plastic chairs instead of pews in church. And it´s ok to be a few minutes late because you were talking with a friend in the street. Shouldn´t relationships always be the priority? These material things are not necessary for a Christian lifestyle, which really is the priority, or should be. Just because these things seem important to me, coming from our culture, doesn´t mean that they actually are important in the scheme of things. And just because some people don´t have nice things doesn´t mean they even want them. It´s all what we´re used to.
When Steph and I were at Lake Atitlan, with all the indiginous people, we were talking about what it would be like if they would come to the US. Why would they want to give up living on this beautiful lake, with a community of people they know, and relatively simple lifestyles, to live in the US? And actually, most of them probably wouldn´t want that. I think I tend to feel like most people would like to live in the US if they had the opportunity, when it really isn´t the case. They wouldn´t have their family, couldn´t speak the language, and, according to that website Ann showed us in Community Health class, their health would start deteriorating basically from the minute they entered.
But for me, growing up in the US and now being immersed in this lifestyle for 2 months, it will be a challenge to take what I´ve learned and incorporate it into my life at home. I do enjoy fashion, decorating, and making things look nice. I know they are not that important in the big picture, but I don´t think it´s ¨bad¨ to care about those things. I just need to make sure they are not the priority. I should give my time and money willingly (when I get a job!) to the church or charities, and see what is left for the extra things, rather than the other way around.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things..

Trying new things :) This coconut cost about 50 cents. We actually didn´t like it at all, it´s just warm coconut milk, but it was fun and made for some good pictures. This was at Tikal, so we ended up giving to our bus driver.

Tostadas. There´s a market close to our house, so sometimes we just get off the bus a few stops early to get them before going home. The vendors also sell papusas and arroz con leche (rice with milk.. a hot drink that is really good actually.)

CafĂ© con leche. Or, coffee with milk. I get it somewhere almost every day, and it´s usually less than a dollar.

Our walk along the University of San Carlos every day, between buses. There are usually dozens of college students along this sidewalk. I heard that 90,000 students go to the University, but I really don´t know if that´s true. It is a public university, so it is much bigger, and cheaper, than the private universities.

Chocobananas. Why don´t we have these in the US? You can buy them pretty much anywhere for like a quarter. We´ve even made them in class a couple times :)

Doing laundry, a mano, en la pila (by hand, in this sink on the roof). Who wouldn´t want to do laundry with this view?

Dancing. I don´t know if I´ll miss dancing myself, but it´s fun as a part of the culture. This is one of our sisters, Diana, and her friend, Julio. Steph and I have gotten a couple salsa lessons from their friends also, which have been pretty unsuccessful.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

This week in pictures...

We went to the zoo for class on Tuesday :) This is our teacher, Veronica.

The view of the City from the roof of Tikal Futura (a 5 star hotel\mall). I have no idea who actually stays in the hotel, but there were a lot of people in the mall and food court area.

The Nacional Palacio, in Zone 1. I don´t really know what happens in there. The regular CASAS students had to take classes about Guatemalan history and the government, but I don´t know much about it. I wish I did. I do know that there was a terrible civil war, which ended in 1996, but there is still a lot of corruption in the government. They are getting ready for elections now, but the 2 candidates are the current president´s wife and one of the main guys in their army, so it doesn´t look like there is much hope for change.

The national cathedral. We went downtown with Joseph on Thursday afternoon.

Mary teaching Steph a song on the guitar.

Chinita, Steph, and I at a cousin´s 16th birthday party Saturday night.

A Big View of God

Traveling to a different country with a different culture, different language, and different people, but finding the same God is amazing. Sometimes it takes a while to feel God- there are a lot of adjustments and the people may worship differently- but he is still there. Even though I still don´t really understand the sermons, it is awesome to realize that we are worshipping the same God. They don´t have hymns or the words to the songs projected, but today they sang ¨How Great Thou Art¨, which was cool to hear in Spanish. In the city, we ride buses that are decorated with Christian symbols and the words ¨Jesuchristo¨. It is awesome for me to think about how big God really it, but yet see the things that he does in each of our lives.