Moving to Another Country
Over three weeks ago I moved to Antigua, a beautiful old colonial town in the heart of Guatemala (not to be confused with Antigua and Barbuda Islands). I’ve been dreaming of moving to Guatemala for quite some time now. My plan was, stay in an AirBnb until I found a house to rent, rent the house, and then live happily ever after! Well not really. I didn’t buy a one way ticket, I made sure I had a return ticket, just in case I got stopped at immigration. Besides, I am trying this move out for three months to decide if I want to make it more permanent, so the return ticket gives me a chance to go home and reflect.
I’ve visited Antigua several times. I love how beautiful it is. I love the culture, the volcanoes, the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s relatively inexpensive to live here and the people are wonderful. From the volcanoes surrounding the town, to the cobblestone streets, to the lovely mayan women in with their colorful dress, to the women who make fresh tortillas and the ladies who sell fresh mango on the street, Antigua really is a magical place.
Life in Antigua
If you don’t have a car, well and even if you do, you spend a lot of time walking. Parking just isn’t great in the city, and traffic is ridiculous. Unless you get a scooter, then parking isn’t so bad, but traffic is still ridiculous. So if you ever think of me, and what I am doing here, think of me walking, I do a lot of walking. I walk to the store, I walk to the coffee shop, I walk to the cell phone place, I walk back home to get my passport, then walk back to the cell phone place (also known as Tigo). Even though now I have a scooter…I still walk, a lot. I don’t think I need a gym, I get my exercise.
The rainy season is supposed to start in May, I guess since it’s the end of May then it won’t start till June. My tuk tuk driver today said not to be fooled, the rainy season will be surprising us any day now. I hope so, I love the rain. I am ready to sit out in my hammock every afternoon and listen to the rain, with a cup of tea, and some Jack Johnson.
Adjusting to Living in Another Country
As lovely as this all sounds let me be very clear, this is quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. It could have been easier, I could have made sure I got a house that was more bug proof than mine is, but I fell in love with the patio, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Lovely flowers bring hummingbirds, which I get to watch during the day. All the shrubs and greenery also bring a beautiful variety of spiders. All shapes and sizes. And those spiders come right into my house. Luckily now for two days I have had no spiders, but it also hasn’t rained. So I am not holding my breath.
The 2nd day on my scooter I hit a motorcycle, a parked motorcycle. Imagine if that motorcycle had been moving. I’ve seen other foreigners (aka tall blond Australian girls) whip in and out of parking places on their scooters. I on the other hand have to turn mine off before I am completely parked because I am afraid I’ll drive right over the curb and hit a pedestrian. The first day I drove so bad a Guatemalan man rolled down his window and in a thick accent yelled “Yu can DO it!” I thought I couldn’t have embarrassed myself more until I hit the motorcycle and brought out people from dining inside their restaurants.
So after three weeks, I can’t just turn around and go home can I? I’ve definitely thought about it. What I’ve concluded from week 3, is that life in another country is hard, at least compared to Texas. Living in Texas is easy, SO easy.
What I Miss About Home
In Texas there is air conditioning, clean water from the faucet, you don’t have to bleach your vegetables to eat them, and houses are built to keep spiders out. Cars are affordable and most every one has them. Couches, couches in Texas are wonderful. I miss my couch. Jobs pay you enough to live, I could earn more at a fast food restaurant than some teaching salaries in Guatemala. Also, as much as it shames me to admit it, I miss Starbucks.
But the people in Guatemala will touch your heart, which kind of defeats any comfort I could have at home. Also I love my garden and the hummingbirds and butterflies that visit every day. I feel like every day is an adventure. I brought my camera, so needless to say I am in photography heaven. So I think I will stay for awhile, and try to get comfortable. Maybe adjusting to the differences won’t be too bad, maybe I’ll end up falling in love with Guatemala.
Have you recently moved to another country? What was it like for you? Was it easy to adjust or more difficult than you thought? I would love to hear from you!
Talk to you soon,