Yesterday's session of the LDS General Conference really caused me to reflect on what matters most, so I'm contemplating how to make the best of the year (and three weeks) I have left in Guatemala and what I want to do with the rest of my life. There are so many options for me and I'm truly humbled as I ponder my life to this point. I was poking around on my Facebook page, looking at a few of the choice excursions we have taken with Holiday Vacations-totally unique trips we have had to some of the most interesting and beautiful places on earth. I was also humbled to hear at Conference yesterday that an LDS temple will be built in Arequipa, Peru. Mike and I both agreed that we want to go to Peru for the temple open house and enjoy that magnificent city again after having such an amazing experience there with a Children's Surgery medical team. Put Machu Picchu on your bucket list, as it is justifiably one of the world's wonders.
I would like to master the Spanish language, but find that it is far more difficult than I anticipated coming here. I hope to start lessons again soon, but unsure as to the best way to go about it. Maybe I'll sign up for a BYU online course, or hire someone local to work with me. As I consider my life to this point I'm most grateful that I belong to a church that thinks I have so much potential at my age. When Mike retired I was wondering how adventurous I would want to be, given the physical limitations of my age. That is no longer on my radar.
Mike and I were talking last night at dinner about all the hurdles we faced when we came to Quetzaltenango: We couldn't communicate AT ALL, we were psychologically in disarray not knowing how to check out at stores, navigate the pedestrian unfriendly streets, where or what on earth we could safely eat. This culture has become my new normal. I rarely go anywhere in this second largest city in Guatemala that I don't see native people who are now my friends. I just expect that.
Of all the things we're eager to do, spending time with family is at the top of the list. Mike has been an amazing cook here, with limited ingredients, making everything from semi-authentic Greek food (his own pita bread, no less!) to making the world's best meat loaf. We have made copycat Chipotle burritos that I like better than the real thing. So, we are eager to come home and cook for the family, including getting back to Mike and Steve's home-smoked ribs. They made their own smoker before we left and the ribs are probably what Mike misses most.
We're contemplating whether to keep our house or move into one with less upkeep, so we can travel to visit family at the drop of a hat. Mike's 93 year-old mom is on the very top of the list of people we want to spend time visiting. Road trips, including Diners, Drive-ins and Dives are definitely on the list.
We had to cancel our trip to Panajachel (Lake Atitlan) this weekend due to strikes in the cities we would have driven through, much gunfire and lives unfortunately lost. We'll go another day when conditions are safer.
As Lord Byron said, "I am not now that which I have been." And, from Tennyson's Ulysses...."I am part of all that I have met."