Friday marked two weeks since we arrived in Panajachel. We’ve definitely been busier than we expected to be, but not in a bad way. Opportunities to get involved in our community have been abundant and we’d also forgotten how time intensive some relatively simple tasks (like basic shopping) can be here.
So, what have we been doing with our time?
Spanish school is our biggest priority right now — we go five days a week and little-by-little (poco a poco) are seeing small improvements.
Jason quickly got involved with Will at Dirty Feet Missions and is helping teach English twice a week in a small pueblo a few miles out of town. Luke goes as well and has a great time helping out.
Mabel and I got to spend a little time helping sort and organize donations at Porch de Salomon.
The kids and Jason quickly got involved in extra curriculars which has been great! Mabel does a dance and an art class weekly while Luke is in basketball twice a week. Jason has been playing basketball with some men from our Spanish-speaking church, plus soccer with an acquaintance from our last time here and running a couple days a week with a friend.
I don’t know yet where I will “fit” into our new town, but I’ve hosted friends in our home several times already so perhaps there will be something to that.
A prayer request for us is that we can be comfortable with shifting our purpose here as circumstances around us change and/or as God directs us. We want to be flexible with this beautiful opportunity that we have been given and ultimately, we want to be useful to God’s kingdom here on earth.
We were fortunate to live in Number 1 for our first week here and it really was WAY too noisy (we had to stop conversation when vehicles were going past, which was all the time). And, that outdoor bathroom! Just not a go for us with kids using it in the night, especially with us already needing to be very vigilant about safety.
Number 3 would have been awesome, but … without kids who already rise with the first hint of dawn’s light. Being in a loft space just wouldn’t work. Even though I really wanted it to.
Number 2 definitely makes us feel spoiled and a little embarrassed by just how nice the grounds are. There is even a full-time guardian who looks after the property. There are 5 other units on the property and we’ve already met several of our new neighbors who have been really friendly.
An added bonus is that we have hot water in ALL the taps!!
Many homes here come fitted with a “widow-maker” or electric shower head which heats the water just enough to make for a semi-bearable shower, but that’s about it.
Lastly, this was by far our easiest (and cheapest) move. Jason made three trips in a tuk-tuk with our luggage, paying less than $10 total, and we were in! The kids have been swimming twice already and are loving it! We are feeling so happy to be in a space that we should get to stay in for the next six months. Now … to try to make it feel homey.
We’ve been working to find long term housing for our six month stay here. We don’t think we are too picky, but it is not an easy task!
Our priorities are to find a: 2+ bedroom house or apartment for less than $500 a month, on a safe compound with an outdoor space for the kids (and us too!)
Here are our options at this point:
This first one is our current short term rental that the owner has offered to let us rent for our entire stay.
Option #4 — Some friends have offered their absolutely magnificent home for two months or so while they are away. It is such a tempting offer as the place is stunning! But, the thought of moving again in a couple months puts a damper on that idea, especially as we try to create some stability for our kids. I know it would be a hard transition for me to move from their lovely space to one that would likely be so much less lovely. It has been a wonderful kindness though to have a safety net as we look for long-term housing.
We started Spanish classes yesterday! We are attending Jabel Tinamet five days a week, for an hour each day. An hour doesn’t seem very long, but I was definitely tired out afterwards! The kids have their own teacher, and Jason and I have our own which seemed to work well. The school has lovely garden and terraza spaces where the classes are held and overall it feels very pleasant. Day two is today!
This summer was packed full of homecoming visits — we feel so blessed to have spent time in many of the places we’ve previously lived, and also in both our hometowns.
This week marked yet another homecoming. We arrived into Guatemala City, Guatemala on Thursday and after spending the night there, arrived back in Panajachel (Pana-ha-shell or Pana for short) on Friday. It was a beautiful day and packed full of sights, sounds, smells and people that we love.
This was the first time the kids had flown in over four years and they were thrilled by everything about flying which was a joy to experience with them. And a huge, huge praise that everything went just about as smoothly as it could for our travels. Now that we are on the ground here, it feels like pretty much everything is new for the kids and for us, it feels very new to have children in tow as we try to navigate the exciting and busy streets together on foot.
We are thrilled to be here and we feel so fortunate to get this opportunity to do this with our kids. It definitely feels surreal that we have finally arrived after so many months of preparing and and then being in transition.
We continue to ask for your prayers as we settle into our life here, that our eyes would be open to who or what God places in our path. We also do not yet have long-term housing and we especially pray for our kiddos as they transition to life here – we are all going to experience some big adjustments in the weeks ahead.