Take Time to Slow Down: Five Reflections from Guatemala

1. A hot shower is almost as good as fast wifi.

For 2 of the 5 months in Guatemala I had cold showers. My first “hot” shower was well worth the wait. Water pressure is another thing, however fast wifi is absolutely vital for me. Showers come and go, but good wifi is life!

2. I’m an honorary Guatemalan.

I blend in so well here, the only thing that gives me away is my accent. In ropa tipica I am a local, which is special. Here, woman wear a traditional hand-sewn huipil, or tops and with traditional-patterns on their skirts, cortes. The woman also are known for their beautifully weaved fajas, belts. Fajas by the lake are usually about 6 inches in width and include Mayan patterns and various colors. I even made one myself, which took about two weeks to complete (More on that another day). However the width of the la faja varies and I’ve been told you can tell where a Mayan woman is from just by looking at her belt. in an area north of Lake Atitlan, called Xela, their belts are nearly 9-10 inches in width.

The men wear a white knee-length cropped pants, fastened usually by a sash and a traditional shirt.

3. Technology will always need balance.

I’m a Pokemaster …circa the 90s. Being in Guatemala means I missed out on the Pokemon craze. The grade-schooler in me is excited for those that get to indulge, however it’s take over is a bit alarming. Technology, Pokemon, and other device-power entertainment really do need to be kept in check. I could go a day – a week – keeping busy on my computer, however that is no life and I enjoy taking a day, every few days, to be completely off the grid for at least six hours.

4. Sometimes I look flawless, other days I look liked I did a Tough Mudder.

Most days are tough mudder days, my legs were always banged up from running and falling up and down the volcano. At one point in my journey, I banged up my middle finger, probably during one of my numerous volcano tumbles. My finger was beet-purple and puffy shape. Fortunately it made a full recovery. (I’m sparing you a picture of it).

5. The cow does not go “moo” here because there are no cows.

That means I don’t have my all-time favourite drink, leche fresca. Also cheese existed only in my memory. Sure, they sell something that could probably pass for feta for most people but after having been to Italy, cheese (and wine!) will never be the same.

Because there are no cows here, this also means there’s no ground beef. I’ve found a few stores that sell packaged beef but I don’t trust the dates.I also know that a good-juicy airport burger awaits eventually. Sure, the market sells meat and chicken daily, but meat is sold for five hours or more without refrigeration and I rather not risk my health.

Safety first!


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