Why living in Panajachel is, for me, a lot like paradise. - Written by Tera
I love beauty!!! It makes my soul happy. Here in Panajachel, we are in a beautiful house, near a beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful volcanoes, where the weather is beautiful every day, surrounded by local people who are living a beautiful ethnic culture. Paradise!
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I love walking!!! It is a 5-minute walk to the local market. It is 15-minute walk to the church. It is a 30-minute walk to the lake to watch the sunset or to hop on a boat to visit another village. It is a very safe & friendly & walkable quaint city. The only safety concern is navigating on foot the narrow, bumpy, cobblestone, pothole-ridden roads crowded with walkers, cyclists, tuk tuks, venders, buses, cars, and bus lines. But I love it! It is so alive. It’s paradise!
I love feeding my family healthy meals from scratch! Since walking is much preferred to driving, market shopping is done every day to carry home very fresh and very inexpensive mangos, avocados, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, watermelon, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, guava, ginger, lettuce, corn, peppers, etc. Then there are venders with bins of oats, rice, spices, herbs, legumes, etc., next to the local butcher with sausage and chicken and beef and other various meats hanging by strings. The local dairy delivers fresh milk and cheese and butter and yogurt (NOT inexpensive). A bakery down the street that sells fresh bread each day. And if my load gets to be too much for me to carry, I can hop on one of the many friendly tuk-tuks passing by for about $.75 for a door-to-door ride. Plus, while I really enjoy creating healthy meals and snacks, I do not love dishes. Luckily, the house we have rented comes with a local Mayan part-time housekeeper that keeps our laundry going and helps out with the dishes each morning. Paradise? Yeah, I think so.
I love learning new things, especially about people! Here, everyone speaks Spanish - very few locals know any English. 3 hours of church every Sunday is completely in Spanish. The housemaid speaks the local language “Kaqchickel” and Spanish. So, my desire to work harder at learning Spanish is at full-speed. Plus, there is a fantastic Mayan culture that is everywhere here in Panajachel that I am excited to learn more about.
I love adventure! This first week has been about settling in to a groove and beginning to plan our adventurous road trip through the rest of Central America next month. However, we are happily finding plenty of adventure to be had right in Panajachel that we will happily incorporate into our month here: biking, lake swimming & jumping, volcano hiking, paragliding, boating, day trips to Antigua & market towns, and more.
I love being involved in meaningful service! We are making contacts and setting up days & weeks to serve with some fantastic organizations down here: Cultiva International, Days for Girls, Solomon's Porch, Mayan Families, etc.
I love my family! What tops off this “paradise living” for me is these 7 other people that I’m sharing this experience with. 10 years ago, when we moved to Brunei, my days of creating a semi-structured homeschool environment ended. I had loved being surrounded by my kids all day and guiding them in learning activities, or being awed by the things they learned through their own play or questions or explorations or readings. Now, a decade later, our homeschooling groove has returned, and I love it! But this version is sooooo much easier on me. Erik, now being home full-time, has taken the reins regarding creating structure to the homeschool day. Emily, our personal polyglot, has taken the reins regarding teaching Spanish. I put in the family learning activities I have missed so much over the last decade of private school's homework demands. The kids all put in their requests for things that they wanted to spend time learning during our month in Panajachel. Default entries of music & math & scripture study & meals & dishes were put in. And what came out is a fantastic homeschool schedule that everyone is excited about and, to my delight, looks forward to each day. And much of our “homeschooling” is done in hammocks we have set up around our property :-). Paradise!!!
Plan? What plan?
Our first Gap Year was a fabulous "2017-2018 School Year" of travel: from the Netherlands to Jordan to Texas to Hawaii to Mexico to Central America to London and back to the Netherlands. Our "2018 Summer Vacation" took us all around Western Europe, back to the USA on a transatlantic cruise, a road trip through New York and into Canada, and ending up in Utah. We have now kicked off the "2018-2019 School year" with a trip to Asia. Follow along with us on our visits to new places, as well as revisiting some of our favorite places from our time living there. It's going to be great!!