Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better late than Unthankful

So...how was everyones Thanksgiving?? I know I know it was like forever ago but hey...we're official on "Guatetime" now :) Us Brownios are VERY thankful to have had not only one amazing Thanksgiving but TWO! The first was with an awesome family here that we met through school and that have been so welcoming to us. They are missionaries that moved here from Virgina and have 'adopted' us into the fam. You can check out their blog and all the cool stuff they are doing in Guate. The second was with the American volunteers at Common Hope, a non-profit here that I will probably be working with in the very near future. (sorry no pics of that one...just imagine the same amount of food as the first but add an amazing pumpkin cheesecake to the mental picture)






You can also check out an awesome video made by Clay, one of the Ericksons. Gregg has a staring role, eating as usual :)
Currently we are in the process of moving into our new apartment! Whoo hoo!! Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts...as soon as we settle in more fully we will also post some pics. Ciao Ciao!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Foto de la Semana (mas o menos)

A few weeks ago we got to attend a local Antigua Football(Soccer) game. Now, Antigua is not exactly know as an all-star football team but that didn't dampen our spirits! The creepy avocado/aguacate mascot almost did however...especially for Mal Gal :)
(i know right. who has an avocado as a team mascot, muy extrano!)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HP7

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! 
Yesterday we took a little field trip to the city to see Harry Potter! We decided to live on the edge and take a public 'chicken bus'. It was quite the experience to say the least. Both trips we were sitting 3 people to a seat with at least one person in the aisle next to us. Every sharp corner I just knew we were going to tip over and go tumbling down the ravine...but Gracias a Dios we survived and got to see an awesome movie and eat POPCORN! Seriously I think I was more excited about the popcorn than the movie. I know thats sad but in my defense it was the first time we've had it since we moved here and its really the only food I have been craving like a pregnant woman. No I'm not pregnant...sorry mom and dad :)


The movie theater was in one of two malls they have in Guate. As soon as we walked in I felt like we were back home in the states. The whole place is completely decked out for la Navidad already since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, pobrecitos. After the movie it was even snowing in the lobby like it does at Pacific Place! Talk about making us homesick :( 

Having this 'glimpse' of home so close to Thanksgiving reminded us how much we have to be thankful for both here in Guate and in the States. The big things here in Antigua are that we have an American family to celebrate with tomorrow (hooray!) so we will be partaking in a proper Thanksgiving feast! We were even able to find a pumpkin pie which I thought was going to be impossible. The other big thing we have to be thankful for is our new apartment! We will be moving in next Saturday and are VERY excited to have our own space. Pictures of both to come! We are also very thankful for all our friends and family that we miss very dearly! We will be thinking about you all manana and hope everyone has a lovely Turkey day. Gobble Gobble

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reparando

Last week we had the privilege of seeing a new documentary called Reparando about the history of Guatemala and how the recent civil war has shaped the current generation living in Guatemala City. 
Film Synopsis:

On the morning of June 18. 1954, the US CIA dropped leaflets in Guatemala City demanding the resignation of the president. Guatemala was ravaged by Civil War for the next 36 years. But hope is rising. In the midst of incredible odds, victims have been transformed into champions who willfully embrace the pain of their past to help repair the next generation. This is their story. Shorty – a former gang member who is now a pastor, and Tita – a woman who started a school in Guatemala’s most notorious slum have joined forces to repair La Limonada.


The film is a beautiful, challenging story of how God is using ordinary people as part of His larger story. Living in Antigua, its easy to forget that we are in a third-world country. The reality however is that we are living in the 122nd country on the Human Development Index out of 182. Guatemala also has the third highest rate of chronic malnutrition (stunting) in the world with 54.5% of the population. The film talks about why there are such large public health problems in the country and unfortunately, the United States has played a large role in causing many of them. I won't go into the politics of it all but I do strongly encourage you to check out this awesome film if you get a chance. Currently they are only previewing it in select areas but it should be at a theatre near you soon! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salsa Anyone?

New Series on the Blog:  Picture of the week/Foto de la Semana! 
We're real excited to check out the teachers moves...hehe :)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS HERMANITO!





Happy 25th Birthday Kris!!! Thanks for being the best brother and friend! Miss you :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kite Runner, Guatemalan style

Dia de los Muertos in Guatemala is quite a bit different than the Mexican version we usually hear about in the states. 

 Here the main aspect of the celebration happens in an actual graveyard (which I suppose is more appropriate considering its called the Day of the Dead). Though it might sound morbid, the festival is actually a colorful and very entertaining celebration in which locals build extravagant kites (barriletes) and fly them in their local cemetery. The kites usually have messages or picutres on them to serve as a symbolic link between the living and the dead. There are kites of all shapes and sizes ranging from the normal kids ones you see in the states to 50ft monsters that are propped up on huge bamboo poles. The most popular however are about 12 ft and usually have multiple flags from around the world on them to symbolize relatives who moved away and died in another country. Needless to say it was impressive. Except when one of the 12 footers lost its air and dived bombed to the ground a little to close for comfort!

And what would a celebration be without food? Fiambre, the traditional dish of the festival, is made only once a year. And trust me, once in a lifetime is about all you can handle! Fiambre is somewhat like antipasto but with a mix of cheese, meat of all kinds, and vegetables cured in vinegar. We were lucky(?) enough that our house mom made some and we had a HUGE bowl of it for lunch. Ours contained beets, hearts of palm, carrots, turkey, ham, bologny, hot dogs, 3-4 different kids of sausage, black chorizo and much much more. It was a gut buster! 

Check out our Picasa web album for more Dia de los muertos photos...Hasta la vista

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kelley – Represent


Hello everyone, it's Gregg again writing to give you a little update on things down in Guatemala. Most of this post pertains to my esposa muy bonita (te amo J), hence the title…
First the bad news, Kelley had a nasty infection (a little too prolonged, but is finally ending) that took quite a toll on her, but she didn't let it keep her down long. Secondly, not too long after my exam, Kelley passed her Grade C exam 2 weeks ago (she's still 2 grades ahead of me – so smart). Congratulations! We celebrated by indulging in a delicious blackberry and chocolate crepe w/ vanilla ice cream at the French-owned creperie in town. And lastly, the primary subject of this edition of Blogamos!
FELIZ CUMPLEANOS KELLEY!



October 30 was Kelley's 27th birthday, to celebrate we took a trip to the beautiful Pacific Coast of Guatemala, a small coastal town named Monterrico, home of "Guatemala's best beach", volcanic black sand, Sea Turtles, thatched-roof houses, a beautiful mangrove, good sea-food, hand-made Italian gelato (what!? seriously, see below), and now Kelley's 27th B-day.
We met some really interesting people on our trip, our tour van was full to the brim with folks from all around Europe and Canada. I counted 6 languages spoken (English, Spanish, French, Swiss-German, Flemish Dutch, Dutch). Check out the videos below where our new friends sing to Kelley in their native languages! (first is a mix of a bunch of different languages and the second, sideways video –sorry- is in Dutch).


video


video


Also, if you have a chance, check out the web album we created for you to enjoy some of the pictures we took. Below are a couple of the highlights from the trip


Our Hotel (Café Del Sol - $35/night, say what?)

Us at the mangroves (tour started at 5:30am!)

DASU the Delicious Italian Gelateria (I admittedly look terrible, but to a certain extent that's unavoidable)


A little later on we'll fill you in some more of the specifics about Monterrico itself as we are planning to do for all our trips (i.e. food/hotel review, budget, etc).


Side notes: My non-sick streak ended at almost 4 years on 11/4/10 when I had to leave school early with a fever (thank God it was only one day, I'm not a good sick person/husband J), Kelley applied for an internship with a group called Common Hope located just outside Antigua Kelley's really excited about their public health programs , I gave myself a really bad haircut, and there's a robot missing - please let us know if you find it (see picture below for more details – picture found at one our local coffee shops) …



Coming Next: Festival of Kites (50 foot kites), An interesting Guatemalan traditional food "Fiambre", and find out if Gregg will kick the house dog before he gets a toe bitten off. Stayed tuned… God Bless