Real contentment has nothing to do with either prosperity or poverty. Contentment is an inside job, the result of knowing God and living life against the backdrop of eternity.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

holy guatemala

Antigua. Ah, bliss. What a glorious place to spend Thanksgiving. Somewhere between riding horses up active volcanoes, roasting marshmallows over lava, getting hair wraps and buying pounds of fresh fruit for 5 Quetzals/lb (roughly $.60) we could not stop marveling at the colorful architecture, smiling beautiful Guatemalan faces and the rich culture that engulfed the cobblestone streets.

So Kelly, Kelly and I got hair wraps like 7 year olds. Mine is brown, white and teal. It looks like an iguana tail and Zach thinks it looks like a salad finger. JAJAJAJA

The view of the mountains and volcanos that surround the city

Loads of fresh produce at the market, we couldn't get enough. Just so many raisins and pinas and dates and goodness.

Volcano jumping, view from the roof of the hostel and epic horseback riding shot - elevation: 7,000 ft.

I absolutely adored this woman. She gave us chocolate covered coffee beans and chocolate truffles and called us her "loves" and smiled like there would be no tomorrow and if I go back to Antigua, I will find her and take her home with me. The end.

Things I've learned lately:
1. Take every opportunity
2. Hitchhike ALL the time
3. If some random guy named Benecio invites you over to his house, just go.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

adventure to wherever we end up

12:13pm. Saturday November 6th. I receive a phone call.
John: Let's go to St. Helene's. We'll find a boat and a place to stay once we get there.
Me: Let me pack and I'll be there in 15.

The 4 x 4 square mile island lies at the very east end of Roatan where electricity only resides with those able to afford a generator. We taxied to Oak Ridge, met a man named Alex who boated us for about an hour and a half over to St. Helene's. We arrived to meet a man named Oddlon, a great friend of Alex's. He had long gray and white dreadlocks that flowed down his back and reminded me of a character out of a movie. Thanks to our pastor Jeremy, we had a connection with a missionary living there. His name is Larry Benson. I bought a homemade tortoise shell bracelet from Oddlon and then we headed up the only dirt "road" on the island to find shelter for the night. Larry and his crew of nurses and teachers warmly welcomed us in and then we were on the hunt for food. We waited for about an hour at the only food stand. It was WELL worth the wait. Fried plantains, fish, Caribbean island chicken, carrots, potatoes, and coconut beans and rice. It was the JAM.

Sunday we explored the island in it's entirety and met some wonderful natives along the way. The North and South sides of the island were filled with beautiful beaches, trees, and children. We got lost in the jungle, climbed coral mountains, met a 20 year old talking parrot, named our tour guide puppy Samson, played dominoes with the locals in a tree house and almost missed our ride back to Roatan.

In America, we value time. Time is money. Am I right? What I have learned about this culture is that the people value relationships more than just about anything else. I love it. Every opportunity that John and I were given this weekend was through some sort of friend connection. One of the natives, Kennedy, offered us a ride back to Roatan on Sunday. The cell phone tower ran out of gas so our signals were down and we were afraid he had already left us. We were wrong. He knew how to take care of us. We waited in the pitch black darkness on the end of a dock to be picked up by a small motor boat with no covering AND NO LIGHT. About 6 men were with us, all covered in trash bags. We picked up speed, the sky opened up and dumped her cold rain upon us as we jetted through the mangroves and into the night. We met a man named Stewart from Jamaica who offered us a ride home once we reached Oak Ridge AND a tour of his fishing plant in French Harbour. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.

First, love all people. Second, sleep on beautiful beaches. Third, say yes to all adventures. CHEQUE