Blue Butterfly Bakery News

Most of my readers know that we run a small, mobile bakery at the moment, Blue Butterfly Bakery. Well, if you are in the Antigua area this week, you have a couple of opportunities to enjoy something special!

First, on Friday, May 8th, Blue Butterfly Bakery will be supporting WINGS in their Mother’s Day fundraising event for the first WINGS stationary clinic in Antigua. This is a big step for the family planning organization and we’re proud to be a part of it. You can read more on the event here and, if you attend, you can bid on a gift basket we’ve designed just for Mother’s Day! We will also be providing some goodies for the guests.

Second, you can always order for delivery from us, of course, but this week, we have something EXTRA special going on! A Mother’s Day special, that is.

Mother's day in Guatemala

Alternatively, if you want to order something for someone who lives here, I have a Paypal account and we can set up a special Mama’s Day delivery if you like. Just contact me here or on the Facebook page.

Repainting

Over the past week and a half, we’ve been painting the main room of the house. The walls haven’t been painted since we first built the space, so it was definitely time. Kids and furniture had rubbed the paint off in some places, darkened the walls in others.

When I say “we” I actually mean Irving and Melvin, since I had a lot of deadlines to work on. However, they were well supervised.

painting

The entire space took 3 days to paint in bits and pieces, shifting furniture around and painting two coats in each space. The older boys helped some days.

painting

You can see in this photo that the wall was pretty dirty! The wall to the left was already painted here. Which is another thing. I’d asked for golden yellow to match what we already had, since I like that color, but it ended up being a sort of butter yellow! I’m used to it now, but it was annoying at first.

Here Comes the Rain!

Well, my last post was about the heat, but literally the next day, it started to rain! We were pretty pleased about that. The boys watched the rain roll in from the hills.

rain

Not only did it start to rain, but the temperature dropped about 10º in few minutes and we ended up with HAIL! The boys were so excited about it. They couldn’t believe that ice could fall from the sky. This triggered a nice little science lesson on how hail is made.

hail in guatemala

The hail was gone in a few minutes and then it poured rain. All three boys ran around outside and got soaking wet. We do enjoy our rain . . . especially at the beginning of the season.

Unfortunately, our patio has a little dip in it that collects water, so Dante was out there sweeping the water into the drain. It’s not actually necessary, since it will drain off at a certain level, but he had a blast doing it.

rain

It poured all night long and was quite the storm, so we talked a lot about thunder and lightning, too. All in all, an educational night!

In the morning, we found this . . . too bad the bananas were still super immature and nowhere near edible.

fallen banana tree

Laundry Weather

We’re gearing up for the rainy season here, but before it starts, the dry season is really giving its all to make things dry. This means HOT sun all day long most every day. Great laundry weather!

Laundry weather in Guatemala

Unfortunately, while this much sun is nice for drying towels and jeans, it’s kinda melty human weather. Apparently it’s not even 30º, but let me tell you, with the tin roof, it’s nearly unbearable! Practically an oven in here.

That being said, I know that very soon, we’ll be getting torrential downpours all evening and night. That will be nice, though the damp brings its own problems like mold and leaks in the roof that never appear until it’s REALLY pouring. Each season has it’s pros and cons, so I’ll just try to enjoy them all.

Weird Things You Get Used to as an Expat

I was looking at a friend’s photos on Facebook the other day and admiring her bookshelves and it occurred to me that this is one of the things I’m now used to. It’s weird to see overstuffed bookcases around here (though I have a few myself, of course). Other things that you get used to as an expat around here:

Guatemalan guard

Image via xoque - Flickr CC

Guards with guns. The first time I rounded a corner in Antigua and ran into a guard carrying a shotgun, it scared me almost to death. Now? I don’t even notice them for the most part.

Eating with tortillas. I’ll be honest, when I first arrived in this country, I really didn’t like tortillas. Eventually, I got used to them. The funniest thing though, is learning to eat with a tortilla in place of utensils. One year, my sister came to visit and we ate with the in-laws.

“Everyone eats with their hands . . . I’m the only one using a fork!” Yup, welcome to Guatemala. Who needs to dirty forks and spoons when you can just scoop up your beans with a tortilla?

Bombas. Firecrackers are set off nearly every day here, particularly around holidays and birthdays. For some bizarre reason, birthday bombas are set off very early in the morning, like four am sometimes! Early on, these always woke me, but now I can sleep right through them.

Constant shake-ups. Earthquakes happen a lot around here, which is apparently a good thing, since it means the pressure is relieved. Amazingly, it’s possible to get used to the windows rattling and the floor undulating beneath your feet!

stores in Guatemala

Image via Kate and Alonso - Flickr CC

 Shopping over the counter. While there are some shops that have shelves where you can go and pick things off the shelf, the vast majority of stationary stores, convenience stores, etc. keep everything behind the counter, often with metal bars for security separating you from the clerk.

This presents a problem for the non-Spanish speaking tourists. You not only have to know which store to go to in order to find what you need, you also have to know what it’s called in Spanish! Depending on the clerk, they may or may not be tolerant of your muddled vocabulary and hand gestures trying to describe what you need.

After all these years, I’m now accustomed to ordering what I need, but I do still miss the ability to scan the shelves of a craft shop and drool over products.

 Kissing cheeks. I’m a bit of an introvert, so hugs and kisses don’t come naturally to me, but here, cheek kissing is a very common greeting and farewell. I can’t say I’m 100% on it all the time, sometimes I’m not sure if I should kiss or shake hands, but it doesn’t really phase me anymore when someone leans in.

Lack of personal space. North Americans value their personal bubble and we tend to have respect for each other’s personal space. Latinos . . . don’t seem to have the same sense of space. In the first few years, I found it alarming to have people stand so close to me, or sit right next to me on a bench. I wondered what they wanted or if something was wrong. Now? While I still like my personal bubble, it’s not a big deal when someone moves into it . . . or several someones.

These are just a few of the things that I once found awkward or uncomfortable but now treat as normal. What have you gotten used to as an expat?

 

Learning to Cook Chapin

When Irving and I first started living together, we had some food issues. I made things like spaghetti and meatballs, carrots and peas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He was used to eating rice, beans and eggs, with the occasional piece of chicken or beef. He had a pretty strong aversion to most vegetables and NEVER wanted to try anything new.

That being said, he would eat anything I put in front of him, as long as he didn’t know what it was beforehand. I learned to start making dinner and not answering his “What is it?” questions. He would eat it and discovered that he liked a number of new foods.

As anyone who has lived in a foreign country can tell you, though, sometimes you just want food from home. So Irving would visit his mom to eat and this often meant he had a second lunch around 4 and our dinner was at 5. Needless to say, that annoyed me a lot back in the day. ;)

Over time, though, I learned to cook chapin (Guatemalan) food. It wasn’t always easy. It took me nearly 7 years to get the hang of rice, for example. But I have managed to nail a few things! Here’s the breakfast I made Irving yesterday:

chapin breakfast

Fried plantains, refried black beans and eggs with chirmol on top. There were sausages, too, but they didn’t make it into the breakfast. He was thrilled!

Over the years, we’ve learned to adapt, as all couples do. These day, my food is a mix of Guatemalan and Canadian, with a little Chinese thrown in sometimes. I can prepare the basics in Guatemalan cuisine . . . tamales, frijoles revueltos, picado de rabano, pepian and tortillas (though my slapping technique is still lacking), but Irving has also come to enjoy more Canadian foods, like oatmeal that isn’t gruel consistency and has fruit in it, stuffed potatoes, brown bread and even tuna fish salad. He still won’t touch egg salad sandwiches though!

Oh Look, More Oil Classes!

Are you tired of hearing about essential oils yet? Last post for a while, I promise.

I’ve got another 101 class starting tomorrow for those who want to learn more about essential oils and family health. If you missed the first one, you’ll want to get in on this one! Click the image to sign up.

Essential oils 101

Also, if you’re more interested in the business opportunity side of things, I’m offering a business class starting tomorrow, as well. NO obligation to join up, but you can learn a bit more about the doTERRA business and how to make money with the oils. Click the image to sign up.

doterra online class

Both classes begin tomorrow and run for 4 days. See you there!

35 is Halfway to 70

I turned 35 on the 12th. It was a quiet day. No sister here to bake a cake and all that this year, but the boys were up late making me gifts the night before. In the morning, they presented me with their creations. :) Dorian wrote me a comic book and Dante drew me several pictures. It was very sweet and they both made me laugh with their goofy humor. Dominic regaled me with kisses, since he’d been sent to bed on time the night before.

Irving bought me some wine and smoked Gouda to enjoy while we watched Arrow that evening, so that was nice. Plus, a friend stopped by to wish me Happy Birthday in person.

Overall, it was a pretty good day. The downsides were grumpy kids and tantrums from Dominic, as one might expect as a mother! No breakfast in bed, but that Gouda was delicious!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 89

Overheard: “It’s a hug-apocalypse!”
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Me: “Thank you for not waking me up this morning.”
Dorian: “You’re welcome. It was easy since we were sleeping, too.”
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Dante: “I’m tired. I didn’t slept well last night.”
Me: “Sleep.”
Dante: “Oh man! When I say ‘sleep,’ you say ‘slept.’ When I say ‘slept,’ you say ‘sleep!’”
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Dominic: watching me make dinner “Mama, are you a chef?”
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The boys were singing Poker Face.
Dorian: “I told you this was Lady Gaga, Dante. She’s the one with the crazy hair.”
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Dominic: “Please take off my shoe. I have to freak out.”
Me: “You’re going to freak out if I take your shoe off?”
Dominic: “Take it off, please. I have to freak out about Paw Patrol.”
***********************************************************
Dominic got his first bee sting.
Dominic: in between screaming “That bee doesn’t LIKE me! That bee HURT me!”
************************************************************
Dante: “Mama, why do you look so awful this morning? Your eyes are weird.”
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Dante: “I know what I’m going to do for a job when I grow up. I’m going to be a doctor. And Dominic can work with me, because he wants to be a doctor, too.”
Me: “That sounds good.”
Dante: “Yeah, I was thinking about a policeman or a soldier, but I could get killed. But then I’d be a ghost, which would be cool . . . but I’ll stick with being a doctor. Actually, I’ll have two jobs, a doctor job and a band job.”
***********************************************************
Dominic: “Mama, I want cheese.”
Me: “That’s not really a proper breakfast.”
Dominic: “I want a cheese sandwich, please.”
Gave him the sandwich. He opened it up, picked the cheese out and left the bread.
************************************************************
Dorian was very pale one morning.
Me: “You look really pale today! We’ve got to get some iron into you, you look sick.”
Dorian: “Oh, I thought I was just turning into a white person.”
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And one that is from my big kid. ;)
Irving: “We should watch that movie with the raptor.”
Me: “The new Jurassic Park movie?”
Irving: “No, Left Behind.”
Me: laughing “Oh, you mean RAPTURE.”
Irving: “It looks like raptor. This is why I don’t speak English!”

Semana Santa is Here!

My least favorite time of year has arrived, Semana Santa. There’s a few reasons I don’t like this season, but the main one is that Irving is basically gone for an entire week. I’m not too keen on hauling three kids into Antigua on my own, so I had no plans to see anything remotely related to the processions.

However, my friend, Claudia, had other plans. :) She has two daughters of her own and invited me to come out with them on Thursday, one of the busiest times in Antigua. That’s when the best carpets are set up and the most amazing processions happen. I thought about it, let her know how nervous I am about it and she suggested that her girls could help keep track of wild boys. So it’s a date. I may regret this . . .

As happens every year, the rainy season made its debut last night. Irving was in a procession, so he got soaked! My basil and rosemary plants were sure happy though.

Normally, I prepare for Semana Santa, stocking up on little toys and activities to do throughout the week so we don’t get too stir-crazy, but for some reason this year, I forgot! Oops. So we’re making do with homemade sidewalk chalk, exploding vinegar bags and lots and lots of water in bins for scooping and splashing. Plus, Minecraft, of course.

Dorian was sick most of last week and it looks like he’s rather anemic now, so we are working on that, as well. His lips and gums are very pale and he’s been tired lately. While we will be taking him to the doctor again after this week is over, I’m giving him plenty of iron-rich foods for now. Think my picky eater will go for some liver? ;)

I’m thinking that next year, the boys will be older and it will be even easier to get out and about. We’ll see. Semana Santa may end up being more exciting in years to come, when we can walk the processions with Irving like I did until Dante was born!

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on all the jobs that I foolishly took on and trying to prep some exciting contests and classes for the essential oils. There’s no shortage of things to do!

Are you in Antigua for Semana Santa? What are your thoughts on it?