Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh Guate...

So today we (my dad and I) went to get my DPI paperwork filled out and hopefully get the process started.  The DPI is Guatemala’s tax identification card (or something), and every resident is supposed to have one.  Since we have permanent residency, and I am now over 18 years old, I’m supposed to have one too, thus the reason we are starting the papers! 

We drove into Fraijanes and we were expecting a large-ish building that is marked, but, it’s Guatemala.  We drove around a little and called a friend.  Come to find out the Renap building is a tiny little place off some back street.  Oh Guate…  Well, we got there, went to the desk and were told that we need copies of certain papers (which was not surprising) and to pay a fee, and then we could come back and get the entire process started.  Of course, you can’t have a bank right next to the building, nor can you have a copier available, so we drove (only because it started pouring) to the “Muni”(Municipal) building, paid our fee, got the needed copies and drove back to Renap.  Then the fun began!

At the first desk, the lady checked over all my paperwork and made sure everything was there.  She gave her “approval” and sent me over to the next desk.  The next lady looked at my paperwork, began working and then stopped.  Apparently, trying to give an “extranjero” (outsiders) DPI to an American citizen born in Tanzania is really difficult.  She couldn’t figure out why, if I was born in Tanzania, I was an American citizen, shouldn’t I be Tanzanian??  Anyways, she tried filling out my paperwork one way and decided that it wouldn’t work like that.  She went over and talked to some others and came back and tried another way.  Eventually the “jefe” (boss) walked in and she asked him, he seemed to have no doubts that I could get a DPI as an American, so he told her how to go about doing the papers and we finished everything up!  As we were getting ready to leave, the lady who was helping me said that my DPI may take longer than others because I was born outside the US and am an American citizen, and I should probably check to make sure I don’t get a DPI as a Tanzanian.  Oh Guate…  So, I guess we’ll see what actually happens!!  You learn very quickly to just take life as it comes and blame a lot of things on "just being Guatemala"!!  

Oh, and to make things a little more interesting, when we were getting our residencies (2yrs ago) they actually had to add Tanzania into the database as a birth country.  I’m the first American citizen (the first person for that matter!) that was born in Tanzania to ever become a Guatemalan resident!!  Woohoo!!  I have always liked to make things confusing!  ; )

In other news, life is great!  This week I’ll be helping to translate for at physical therapy team that is here with our church, it’ll be fun!  Next week a team comes and we dive headfirst into the summer team season.  Also, we saw Shyanne today.  My dad and I were at the clinic (which is at the same home she is now living) and she came running over to say hi.  She pretty much said “hi”, answered a few questions (you being good?, etc.), and then ran off with her friend!  It’s kind of odd to see her anywhere other than our home, but I’m glad she’s adjusting and doing well.  On another note, I am officially graduated and the rainy season has begun, in case you’re wondering!   =)

And a few pictures, just because. 

How could you not love that face??


= )

My buddy Chino and I.


"Whachu lookin at?"  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Controlled Chaos (In a good way!)

Whoa… May is quickly coming to an end and life really seems to be flying by!  The past two weeks have been a little crazy, but with some “relaxed” craziness, if that makes any sense.  Allow me to explain.

Last week, our family went down to a hotel in the city, just to get away for a little bit.  While everything was going on with Shyanne, we kept saying that, after that was all over; we were getting away for a few days!  So, we finally did!  We pretty much just sat by the pool, swam, read, watched movies and ate, and it was SO nice!!!  We were only gone for two nights, but it was enough time to relax a little and refuel for the coming days and weeks!!

Evening activity...  GLEE!!!

Yeah, we got a little bored...


View from our room


We got back from our “vacation” on Thursday, then on Friday Abby, Risa and I went to a youth retreat with our church.  There were 20+ youth that came and we really had a great time interacting with everyone and making new friendships.  The time was split between active activities, free time and bible studies.  Saturday night our pastor came out and we had a worship/prayer/teaching service, which was really amazing!  It was quite evident that God was working and it was so awesome to watch and experience.  Afterwards we also had baptisms.  There were 10 of us that were baptized!!!  Sunday morning then we were woken up at 4:30 for a morning hike and bible study.  We all got back completely beat, but quite happy!!



The group!

Activities...  our team won this one!!

Free time!!  Felt these the next day!!

Hmmm...  anchovies, baby food, capers, little sausages, ketchup, mustard, fruit loops, hot sauce, and tomato juice, YUM!

On Sunday our next team of the season arrived.  This team was from Canada and it had a whole lot of awesome people!!  There were two dental hygienists and a dentist on this team, so my job was to translate for the one hygienist.  We figured that, all together, we saw around 120 patients, which is awesome!!  The clinic was at the orphanage that everyone was working at, so we were very close to all the others and, during breaks, we could take some time and be with the kids.  Part of the team continued working on the wall, others worked in the kitchen, there were some with kids and even others were in the clinic with us!  It really felt like a successful week, but fun at the same time!!!  Yesterday (Saturday) we went to an orphanage and did activities with the kids and just enjoyed hanging out a little.  And then, of course, there were the goodbyes, but we won’t talk about those…  ;)

The team!!

Little bit of snuggle time.

Working on the wall!

I had to get a little baby time in!  =)

Teeth cleaning room

Face painting!!

"Work" room, lots of fillings!

Oh yes, and Kahleah came!!! 

Beads with the girls on Saturday

= )

They had puppies at the orphanage! 

Intentional fire that became unintentionally large, Mike to the rescue!!

Ok, a little more baby time...

Risa's painting skills

I would take her in a heartbeat!!

Saturday lunch, Chicken BBQ

These three are siblings...

We now have two weeks of no teams and a little bit of time to recuperate before really diving into the team season.  We don’t really have much planned for this down time, but I’m sure we’ll find plenty to do!  We are continuing to adjust to being a family of five, but overall things have gone very well and it is beginning to feel “normal”, which is a good thing!  I guess the next step is decisions about the future, but we’ll continue to trust that all of that is in God’s hands and He’ll guide us where He wants us!! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Well, I think the reality of life is starting to sink in a little bit… it’s a little overwhelming actually!!

First there’s this whole thing with Shyanne.  Overall the adjustments for us are going well, we knew this was coming so I think we were all kind of preparing for her leaving.  But, after two years of her constant chatter, it does feel quite quiet in our house right now!  Supper times especially are quiet; she was always giving us a complete recap of her day and her “dream world”.  At the same time, it kind of feels like a relief to have this situation at least closer to closure than it has ever been.  We know she is in a home where she will receive excellent care, even though she is not with a family.  She will be nurtured and challenged and she will have the security that we were not able to give to her.  We did receive an update and she was adjusting well, which is really a huge relief!!

Also, it’s starting to hit me that I am done with high school.  FOREVER!  We are sending my portfolio back with this team so that we can get my diploma and I can be an official high school graduate.  I’ve always had the cushion of “well, college is still a few years away”, but I really don’t have that anymore!  I am planning to (and have been planning to) take a year off between high school and college, so I guess I still have a little bit of time before jumping into the real world, but it’s still a bit of a scary thought!!  I guess I’ll just take it one step at a time roll with the punches!

So, now that school is done and Shyanne is gone, what are we doing to fill our time?  Well, this past week have had a team, working on the wall again.  I was out with them every day; pick-axing, clearing brush with machetes, playing with kids, etc.  This coming week we are going to go away as a family for a few days.  While we were in limbo and all with Shyanne’s situation, we were constantly saying that, once this is all over, we’re getting away!  This is our chance so we’re going to go for it!  Also, this weekend Abby, Risa and I are going on a youth retreat with our church, and then we start right back into a team!  I guess we’ll find enough to keep us busy… =)

Oh yes, and happy Mother’s day to any and all mothers, grandmothers, aunts, babysitters, mentors, and any other women that interact with kids!!!!  =)