Guatemala awaits

Tomorrow I fly to Guatemala. I am excited to imagine all the people and experiences that await me. In the picture, I see the vibrant colors, the shadow of a living tree, the reflected blue sky on the roof, and the door that bids me welcome. I cannot help but walk towards that door and open it.

A house in Antigua GuatemalaPhoto: Denzil Watson/Bugbog.com http://www.bugbog.com/gallery/guatemala_pictures/guatemala_pictures_door.html/`

September 4, 2009 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

They flew the coop

Gold Bird CageMy friend Jennifer picked up the birds today. After Oliver’s death Monday and being separated from the other two today, I feel sad. I know Earl Grey and Velvet will be just fine in their temporary home, but my home is too empty, lonely, and quiet.

I didn’t expect to miss the birds as much as I do. I know I’ll be okay, but for now the transition is difficult. I don’t have a lot of time to mourn; I need to move forward. I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. As I busy myself, before I know it, I’ll be back from Guatemala and will be making arrangements for their return. I look forward to that time.

September 4, 2009 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

The birds

Earl Grey Velvet and OliverOh my gosh! I called Jennifer (my bird friend) last week and left a voicemail for her. It just occurred to me (in the wee hours of the morning) that I’m leaving for Guatemala in two days, I’ve not heard from her, and we haven’t finalized plans for getting the birds over to her place. This is yet one more of those pesky details which must be taken care of. Why do these details bug me so much? They are things that don’t just depend on me, but on someone else as well. I want everything to come together like clockwork, but people aren’t clocks, and sometimes they don’t work the way we expect.

Photo: From the top—Earl Grey, Velvet, and Oliver. Oliver just died three nights ago. I miss him. 😦

This is very good preparation for going to Guatemala. While I’m there, things will work differently—and on a very different schedule than I am used to. I won’t be able to put everything on my BlackBerry calendar and know it’s gonna happen on time—or at all. It will be an exercise in patience. Am I ready? We’ll see…

UPDATE: 9/3/09 @ 9:00 am—I called Jennifer early this morning, and we’ll transport the birds at in about an hour. (Now why did I worry…again?)

September 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Oh, those little details!

Passport? Check. Alarm clock? Check. Flashlight? Check. Prescriptions? Ack!
Woman with giant pill bottle

Today is August 28th. Twenty-two days ago I ordered three prescriptions from a Canadian pharmacy—two of which were one-third the U.S. price because I was buying from our cousin to the north. I received one prescription within a reasonable period of time. The other two, however, have taken a LONG time. The problem? They’re being shipped from Great Britain! If I had suspected a Canadian pharmacy would have to order from Great Britain, I would have gone elsewhere.

Image: http://idothings.info/i-take-drugs-so-you-dont-have-to/

I’ve called the pharmacy several times, and am on a first name basis with one of the customer service reps. I have prayed, cried, and jumped through so many hoops. I was most concerned about a med they told me wouldn’t arrive until possibly September 7th—two days after my departure! I didn’t want to reschedule my trip.

Guess what! Just as I was writing this post, the much needed med arrived. I’m so thankful. My stress is greatly lifted. I’m expecting another med, but I believe I can safely travel without it if need be.

I had been praying that the most necessary med would arrive before I left. If not, I would’ve traveled without it. Wisdom, however, seemed much more cautious. I’m not sure what I would have actually done. I’m just so thankful that the Lord worked things out. (A great big thanks also to Ana Maria and Pati of Don Pedro de Alvarado Spanish School. They were instrumental in finding out if I could obtain my meds there.)

UPDATE: 8/31/09—I received the last med today.

August 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Justice, kindness, humility

Yesterday when I was at church we sang a song which really struck me as something I should keep in mind as I go to Guatemala. The song is taken from Mikah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God.

Fountain at Cafe Condesa

La Antigua is a tourist destination. There I will meet not only Guatemalans, but people from around the globe. How can I be a “sweet aroma” to those around me? Justice. Kindness. Humility. When I meet people with such qualities, I can’t help but want to be around them. They are people rich in the things that matter.

I want to be that sweet aroma to the people I come in contact with. I want to be just, kind, and humble. They have much to teach me. It’s true that my main purpose for going to Guatemala is to work on my Spanish, but there are many other things I can learn if only I have an open heart and mind.

August 24, 2009 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

Rainy days and Mondays

Well, I made a mistake. As I recalled from previous research, September is the best time to visit Guatemala. Oops—that was Mexico!

First Official Rain of 2009Photo: Rudy Girón/AntiguaDailyPhoto.com http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2009/04/24/first-official-rain-of-2009/

I’ve been keeping tabs on the weather in Guatemala, and it seems they’ve been plagued by thunderstorms most of last week and that they expect them this week too. Yes, it’s the rainy season in Guatemala. I was hoping to avoid hot weather and rain, but it looks like rain may become my best friend. Nine weeks…not an eternity. It’ll make me more thankful for the sunny days there. So it’s time to adjust my expectations and look for what’ll be great about rain. Surely I’m that creative.

One thing to be thankful for about La Antigua is that although it’s in Central America, its high altitude causes it to have temperate weather. Apparently it gets hotter and colder here in the San Francisco Bay Area. In La Antigua, it should be somewhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ll be just fine.

UPDATE: 8/25/09—I called the school on and learned that there have not been thunderstorms recently, although they do expect rain in September. I wish I could find a weather report for La Antigua, Guatemala. If any of you can find one, please let me know. Thanks!

UPDATE: 8/29/09—I found a La Antigua weather report. See the link to the right.

August 23, 2009 at 11:21 pm 3 comments

La Antigua, here I come!

Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Diana and I’m on my way to La Antigua, Guatemala to attend language school. My goal is to improve my very rusty Spanish so that I can effectively communicate with Spanish-speaking friends and clients when I return home to the San Francisco Bay Area. Without a doubt, 180 hours of private lessons, living with a Guatemalan family, and attending a Guatemalan church should bring me up to speed in no time.

Arch of Santa CatalinaPhoto: http://guatelindaglobal.info/Photos%201.htm

La Antigua at one time was the capitol of Spanish colonial Central America (which some sources say included parts of North America). In the 1700s, an earthquake hit that scarred the city to the extent that—by law—the capitol was moved to a less earthquake-prone area.

The city is rich in Spanish architecture. The Spanish influence is seen in its many churches, fountains, and cobblestone streets. Three volcanoes surround the city, adding to its charm.

I depart for La Antigua on September 5, 2009, and am having a hard time waiting to get there, meet my host family, attend Iglesia del Camino (Church of the Way), get to know the city, and meet other students from around the globe. Onward and away!

August 22, 2009 at 12:14 am 3 comments

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