Month: February 2004

  • Aaaaahhhhh, the delight of walking along these narrow cobblestones streets with the warm sunshine on our faces… This city of Antigua continues to charm us,  and we are discovering more new paradises each day. It is so much fun to walk along the streets and look in the doorway – from the street it looks like a normal, every-day, not-so-great doorway, but one look inside transports us to a paradise that we think must be like heaven!! There is one place, called la Santa Domingo, and oooooh my word, I have never seen anything soo beautiful in all my life!! There are massive, giganimous ruins of an ancient convent built in the 1600s, but it’s grown up with splendid vines and flowers, the work of an Italian architect still apparent in the acres of ruins. It’s now a fabulous hotel, actually, former president Bill Clinton even visited there. For the whatever it’s worth department.  Santa Domingo is absolutely gorgeous, and I think that’s one place where we were all very silent because we were speechless with the beauty. If any of you all come down here, we will take you there with pleasure, and plan to spend all day there with a book and our journals… I love that place – it gives my heart time to think and process…

    Spanish classes again this morning. Honestly, my tongue is actually SORE from trying to pronounce all these new words!!! My entire mouth aches after my class, and I take a break from studying for part of the afternoon so it has a chance to relax again.  This language is so beautiful though… We’re already meeting people in the parque that we recognize from being here a few days, and it’s so much fun to try to talk with them, even though our vocabulary is rather limited at this point. The funny thing about Spanish is that your tongue has to come out pretty far between your teeth – when speaking English people normally try to keep their tongue hidden, for the most part, when speaking. But to pronounce words, our tongues have to be out most of the time. Feels really wierd at first, but everyone around is has their tongue hanging out too, so….

    Tomorrow we finally get to move into our permanent room… Poor Kris has moved 3 times already since she’s here, and will have moved 4 times altogether in one week by the time we move in to our rooms. It’ll be good to get settled and not live out of suitcases as much…

    This cafe is fabulous down here… Not exactly a Starbucks taste, but it’s so delicious. Our school offers free coffee during lessons.


    clarita <><

  • Antigua… a city of romance. We think. At least it appears so from the couples that frequent the parque y las jardins…  Anywho, we are learning much espanol – our vocabulary increases by the day and it really is thrilling to finally ask for a ‘cafe con leche.’ K, that is a really big joke between the three chicas, that’s all that Hana can say so far, so we hear that phrase all the time.   Wait, she’s learning to say ‘un kilo de tomatos’ also…

    Today was our first official Spanish lesson – we studied for four horas this manaña, and that was much confucion, says Hana, plus sorrow. No really, we were all looking forward to starting lessons, and we sure got an earful for our first day! This really is an immersion experience; our teachers don’t even speak English to us at all, which results in a brain overload at the end of four hours. No sleep tonight because we must study Español para manaña. The last smiley shows what we’ve been doing for the past few hours as result of our brain overload. We’ve really been enjoying staying at the guesthouse – we’ve picked up so much Spanish just by listening to dialogue and questions in our dinner conversations…

    Our guesthouse manager, David, mentioned tonight that the word ‘Jesu Cristo’ en Espoñal is a verb, not a noun. He said that it’s demonstrated by a lifestyle, not by words. Hmmmm, that made me aware that people are watching to see our lives…

    We took Gina to the Casa Shalom yesterday morning…  All of us piled in a litte carro with Dad hunched in the trunk and chugged up the mountain a few miles to the orphanage. She will be in charge of five little babies, from what we understand, and they are the darlingest little hunchkins!!! She was falling in love with them already by the time we left, and the rest of us can’t wait to go see her, hopefully this weekend… Dad left early this morning, which was very sad as well. I feel rather vulerable without my dad’s protection, but I know it will be a time when I see God as my Guardian in a bigger way than I’ve known before…

    By the way, when we sign ‘por las chicas’ it is the way we are addressed down here!! Just por su informacion… It is a form of reference, or a title given to all females in the younger realm.

    Sooo, all that said,

    por las chicas

    clarita <><

  • well we finally got here too….gina and i that is.  our fligt down was rather uneventful as well.  the only problem was there was no one at the airport to pick us up….sigh.  we flagged down a taxi (with Ervin´s help) and headed for antigua from there.  gina was scared for our luggage that was stashed up top (with nothing holding it down)  and you know how the roads are down here and they wanted to put my violin up there!!!!!!  as you may have guessed i opted to hold it.   we finally got to our ´primative´ room around 12:30 and crashed. 

    today was spent touring the beautiful town of antigua.  it´s abslutely gorgeous!!!!  all the streets are cobblestone and it´s so exquisite.  lots of charming little coffee shops and cafes everywhere!  oh and the courtyards and gardens are so romantic   seriously every cafe library and school have gardens in the middle.  we all like filled up a whole roll of pictures with all the gardens we saw.

    central park was quite an experience.  the children are the cutest!  and they all have exactly what You need   it´s so hard to resist the big pleading brown eyes looking up at you.  we all broke down and bought bandanas, coin purses, hand bags, nuts.  and for breakfast we had 2 bananas (for 1 US dollar!   mucho dinero!!!)

    now we are enjoying the lovely spanish music from a fiesta next door. and it´s time to hit the sack soon!!

    las chicas

  • This internet cafe is rocking with the music of a salsa party next door. And uh, that would be the salsa dance, not the food. :) The  neon nights are flashing through the doors thus doing strange things to my eyes….

    My dad, Kris, and Gina arrived last nite around 11pm,  and we were sooo thrilled to see them! We all had a long day of traveling, so we crashed almost right away….

    Today was absolutely wonderfully amazing… The five of us were together and explored and walked for miles together… This town is winning our hearts so quickly, we were out in the sunshine and walking the cobblestone streets most of the afternoon, peeping in the courtyard cafes, trying to bargain at the market and also remember that we don’t have to buy everything in one day. The people here are sooo beautiful, and the children are so precious and darling. Their big brown eyes could melt the hardest heart as quick as a wink! It was sooo cool today too – we saw two weddings while we were walking around town!! The beautiful Spanish brides with their grooms outside of massive cathedrals is an incredible sight! Aaaaaawwwwwww…

    It is soo much fun to explore this town… It is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life – my knowledge of the English language frustrates me because I feel like I can`t even begin to decribe this amazingly beautiful town! It is so quaint, every street is made of cobblestone, and none of the buildings are over two stories because the colonial look is supposed to be preserved. The city of Antigua was designed by an Italian architect so it has a lot of ancient European themes to it… And the mountains surrounding Antigua – oh, they’re soo gorgeous! They completely surround it, and very closely too – makes it feel very protected, except that one of them is a smoking volcano.  It hasn’t erupted lately, just smokes a lot.

    We’re staying at a guesthouse, which is home to about 6 othe people as well… They are from all over the world – a bloke from Australia, a woman from Germany, someone from Canada, several from NC, Boston, and of course there are the Antiguan Amish.  It’s been amazing to see the mix of cultures that are here – please pray that God would shine through us and that His name would be honored through us…

    I had a date with dad this afternoon over a fruit shake… Awwwww, he’s such a great dad!!! I’m so glad he came down for the weekend… We had a good juicy talk.

    por las chicas, clarita

  • Wow oh wow oh wow!!!! I can’t believe that I’m actually in Antigua, Guatemala!! I keep thinking that I’m having a dream and will suddenly be back home waking up in bed!! Seems so strange… The flights down were great… except for Jana who was writhingly ill on one of them. By the time we landed in Guatemala she was feeling much better, we were so thankful for that. The ride to Antigua from GUA City… oh my, bless our poor driver’s heart! He did his best to try to converse with us, but Jan and I learned rapidly how rusty we actually are on our Spanish. Most of our sentences so far begin and end with, ‘Huh? Uuuuuummm, no comprendo.’ :) We have already begun work on that department and we’ve spoken a few complete sentences with the help of a phrase book. A few.

    The sites and smells of a new country are always fascinating… Burger King advertising, ‘El Gato in the Hat’, Dunkin’ Donuts tries to blink out a welcome… And hey, I even saw a bus that was named after me! Okay, so maybe not quite, but the trans busses down here are all named after women - the more common names are Maria and Anna, but there painted in bold lettering on the back of one of the first busses we saw was one nicknamed ‘Clarita’. Awwwww, way to warm my heart fast!  And oh, the coffee down here is amazing!! This is one of the largest coffee farm places in the entire world, sooooo you can only imagine what kind of coffee they serve down here. :)

    Seriously though, we DO need your prayers… I never realized how lost I could feel in a culture, and I do feel very vulnerable and needy right now. I’m so excited about this opportunity, yet there are soooo many things about it too that scare the daylights out of me… Right now the biggest prayer request is that we would be ready adjusters to the culture and that we would humble ourselves and be students not only of the language, but also of the people… It IS very humbling to be here and not know a thing about anything, plus be in a place so far from home that doesn’t feel like home. It’s already winning our hearts though, and I think it will become a dear part of our hearts by the time we leave to go home…

    This is a beautiful part of GUA… Antigua is nestled in the base of giganimous volcanic mountains, surrounded by lush beauty and it is completely Guatemalan culture… This is a big tourist town, which will take a little something to get used to, but the flavor and culture is distinctly Guatemalan. Jan and I got a fruit smoothie this afternoon while we were walking around that Marylou decribed to me earlier as ‘big enough to take a bath in.’

    Dad, Kris, and Gina fly in later tonight and I am soo excited about seeing them!!!! I can’t wait to explore Antigua with them and also see some other people that we know!!

    clarita <><

  • Wow, this is the strangest feeling… I’m starting to wonder what we’re actually getting ourselves into!! What in the world are we doing leaving for two months!?! In a country where no one speaks English?? Now the whole idea sounds really wild and I’m getting a little scared.

    But really, it’s amazing to remember how this all worked out, and this whole trip is a gift from God. Right now though it’s a rush to try to cross everything (okay, not quite everything) off our 3-mile long lists… What gets done gets done, and what doesn’t – well, we’re not going to stress over it. We’re having a lot of fun getting out short-sleeved clothes and comfy summer clothes… Gotta love it! Even the thought of warm weather is comforting after this Pennsylvanian winter!!

    The four of us fly out on Friday,  the 20th, on 2 different flights, and my dad is coming down from Friday to Tuesday also to help get us settled in our new “home”, as La Union school welcomed us in an email. I can’t wait to just get a mental image of the city… Everyone tells me that I’m going to fall in love with it – that it’s every romantic’s dream. We’ll see!

    I am so excited about this two-month long “date” with God… I want my highest priority while I’m in the sunny south to be the SON. I thrilled about spending two months with God!! I feel like I really need something like this, an oasis, in my life right now… I know God has big dreams for this trip, and I just love holding His hand through it all!

    for the gals,

    clarita <><