Posts Tagged ‘Travel to Antigua Guatemala’

Our front door 2016

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Every year when Olivia and I return to Antigua and visit the house where we lived together in 2003, we take a photo of us standing by the front door. Last summer, we forgot to take the picture, or so I thought. I found this on Tim’s phone, from 2016.

Kids hurtle through changes at this age! Here’s Olivia in 2011 and 2013..

And 2003.

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A visit with friends in Guatemala

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

When Olivia was a toddler, I moved to Antigua and rented a small house where we lived together while her adoption paperwork was being finalized. I studied Spanish a few afternoons a week, leaving Olivia in the loving and capable hands of nanny (and friend) Yoli Rodríguez. Yoli had children of her own, including her then-young son, known as Junior, who was a good “big brother” to Olivia, as well as to Maya, the daughter of another adoptive mom, Kallie K.

This summer in Guatemala, Yoli invited us to lunch at her home near Antigua, where we discovered photos of Olivia and me, and Kallie and Maya, displayed on Yoli’s living room wall, among Yoli’s other family pictures. Seeing the photos reminded me that our children remain in the hearts of their early caregivers, as their caregivers remain in ours.

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Canillas de Leche

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

For his 5th-grade cultural project, Mateo chose the food of the Ancient Maya. Mostly this involved discussing the history of chocolate and tracking down roasted cacoa beans like the ones Mateo learned about this summer at Antigua’s Choco Museo. Because Mateo loves to cook, he also decided to make the very sweet Guatemalan milk candy known as canillas de leche. The candy is sold everywhere in Guatemala, and especially in the shop Maria Gordillo, located on Antigua’s Fourth Calle, up a block from the textile paradise, Colibri, and across from Hotel Aurora.

I don’t recommend making this particular version of canillas de leche. Recipes abound on the internet, and there’s one in the cookbook, False Tongues and Sunday Bread. Mateo and I used a “quick” version we found in the comments section of a blog I can no longer locate, which called for sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated and confectioner’s sugar instead of regular. We also bypassed the hours of stirring and cooking required while waiting for various “soft ball” stages. Although our process was quicker, our finished product in no way resembled the sublime sweet smoothness of Maria Gordillo’s.

According to Mateo, though, none of his classmates complained. ~

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Semana Santa 2013. Our trip so far.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 

This week in Antigua for Olivia and me: visits to Guatemala’s Children’s Museum and the National Zoo (both fabulous), marimba players and traditional dancers at the Don Rodrigo in Antigua (impressive!), a tour of the coffee Finca Filadelfia (fascinating to ponder that process), a lesson in chocolate-making as practiced by the ancient Maya at the Choco Museo (enough said), a stop by the kid-friendly Ninos con Bendicion (always fun), and multiple viewings of Antigua’s spectacular alfombras and Semana Santa processions (gorgeous. gorgeous!). All shared with other adoptive parents visiting Guatemala with their kids. How I treasure our community!

Image credit: Anne Z.

 

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Guatemala, Guatemala. February 2013

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Last Saturday, Mateo, my sister Patrice, and I arrived in my favorite place on earth, Antigua, Guatemala. It’s insane how much I love Antigua—the colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, the ring of volcanoes, the churches, the Square. We’ve been visiting Antigua since I fostered Olivia there in 2003, and every trip we discover something different. This time, we climbed Volcano Pacaya, an extraordinary adventure that deserves its own post, and will get one soon. We also spent two days at Lake Atitlan, my other favorite destination. Olivia’s Girl Scout troop collected some 75 pairs of gently used kids’ sneakers, soccer cleats, and shoes, which Mateo, Patrice, and I lugged down on the airplane, and hand-delivered to Mayan Families, an organization we support that serves indigenous families in the region. Pictures on that adventure to come, too.

This trip, we connected with three other adoptive families visiting Antigua, two with eight-year-old boys, and one with a younger girl. The girl’s family I had met virtually, through our mutual membership on an adoption listserve; I know the boys’ families through our local adoption group. I mention this as another benefit of forming adoption networks—when you visit Guatemala, you can meet up with friends. Mateo loved sharing meals and fun with all three kids. And let me tell you, for an active, eight-year-old boy, scaling Pacaya with two other active, eight-year-old boys qualifies as downright awesome.

The fabulous Nancy Hoffman, who has lived in Guatemala for more than a decade and is known to most of you reading this as the founder of guatemalareservations.com, helped us with arrangements. If you’re planning to visit, contact her at Nancy@GuatemalaReservations.com and she’ll set you up.

The Saturday before we left, we visited friends who live in one of the small villages surrounding Antigua. After a lovely afternoon, on the way back to town, we passed local residents creating alfombras (carpets made of sawdust and various materials) outside their homes and businesses for the village’s Lenten procession later that night. The artists kindly indulged us by letting me take pictures while Mateo inspected their handiwork, delighted to take part in the local tradition.

Our trip consisted of dozens of such small, unexpected moments, which already have entered the realm of treasured memories. To me, those treasured memories are what give life meaning. I feel lucky to share them with my son Mateo, in his beautiful birth country of Guatemala.

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Happy MLK, Jr. Day; travel to Antigua; and the Mamalita book tour goes East.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

This morning Mateo said that if he lived “in the olden days,” he would have to go to a “little school with no playground.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because my skin is dark,” Mateo said.

My son then wished me a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I hugged him and wished him the same. Thank heavens for people like Dr. King and Rosa Parks, and the hundreds of heroes in our country’s history–known and unknown–who have stood up for what is right.

On an unrelated note, I found this article, “Top 10 Things to Do in Antigua, Guatemala” by Nancy Schretter – a list of “greatest hits” known to all who have visited there. But for anyone who hasn’t, the article presents a good overview of what to do in that beautifully restored colonial town, naming activities such as “See the Volcanoes,” “Explore the History,” “Drink the Coffee,” and “Shop for Handicrafts.” The article is geared toward cruise ship passengers disembarking in Guatemala, but presents info helpful to any first-time tourist. Read the article here.

We spent much of this past weekend in our garden, thatching the raspberry bushes and cleaning out the the tomato and strawberry beds. Getting muddy in the garden is one of my favorite activities–the kids run around while Tim and I work, and everyone is tired enough at the end of the day to eat a good dinner and sleep well.

Tomorrow, I leave for the East coast for three Mamalita readings. One in Durham, North Carolina; one at a friend’s home, with her book club; and finally, at the Borders Bookstore in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I’ll miss my family here, of course, but am looking forward to visiting with old friends and making new ones, all while discussing my favorite subject, adoption. On Sunday, I’ll be back in California to read with other contributors to the West Marin Review, at the Red Barn in Point Reyes National Park.

Here are the dates and times:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7 p.m.
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705
319-337-2681

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Borders Books-Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Rosemont Shopping Center
1149 Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
610-527-1500

Sunday, January 23, 2011; 1:00-4:00 pm
West Marin Review Book Release Party
Red Barn, Point Reyes National Seashore
I will be reading an excerpt from Mamalita with other contributors to Volume III of the West Marin Review. (The Red Barn is at the entrance to the Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters on Bear Valley Road. Look for the sign to parking for the Red Barn Classroom.)

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