Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life in Guatemala A to Z: House and Home

I felt immediately at home in Guatemala when I woke up the first morning to a rooster call. Our first month we were in a studio apartment, housesitting for an American expat who went to the States for doctor appointments. By the time he returned, we had a house.
We were able to get settled so quickly thanks to our son in law who speaks fluent Spanish and has lived for years off and on in the area. He knew a guy who knew a guy and the next thing we knew we were happily moved into a 2 bedroom furnished home with a fireplace, a garden, a fully equipped kitchen in a quiet area of Panajachel. And the cost of living is dramatically lower than in the States, an added bonus.

Fortunately I know how to cook carrots. No such thing as "baby carrots" here
Keeping house is quite different from in the States. There's learning to cook from what's available locally. Learning to clean with unfamiliar products with Spanish directions.

Learning to wash clothes in a pila outdoors and hang them on a clothesline-- no washer and/or drier. There aren't Laundromats, but local women will do laundry, meaning washing your clothes in a pila and hanging them on a clothesline, most likely on a roof like this one.
 
We are getting adjusted day by day. Despite the challenges, we thoroughly enjoy the interest and adventure of settling into the routine of house and home in Panajachel.

25 comments:

  1. What great vegetables and lucky that your son-in-law speaks Spanish so well.

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  2. With the cost of living, being what it is there, you'll live well. Congrats on the move and here's to many years of comfort.

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  3. What a fantastic adventure! And, man, that is a huge carrot.

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  4. I've moved all my life and while it's stunning to be able to appreciate different cultures and languages and cuisines, I'm looking forward to never having to move again! Making new friends every 3 years is such a pain :P
    http://effervescencia.blogspot.in/2014/04/h-is-for-humour.html

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  5. It does look lovely there, and I bet it's interesting learning all of their customs.

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  6. I wouldn't like the washing outside thing but all those fresh foods sound wonderful.

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    1. Susan, I'm happy to let my housekeeper have that duty, although I did a couple times and quite enjoyed it.

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  7. Oh my gosh! I had no idea you were doing this! How fun and what an adventure! I served a mission in Venezuela and the picture you have here looks so familiar! So, what are you doing down there?

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    1. Hi Melissa, We are currently living as expats, not sure how long we'll be here but no plans to return yet as we barely just got started!

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  8. I always found these expat challenges most invigorating. Nothing was every routine; I had to think about how to do things that at home I'd do mindlessly. I do believe living in another country is good for the brain.

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  9. Beyond the A-Z challenge, I hope there's a novel about this move in the future.

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  10. Wow - what an adventure! Good luck with making your house a home - we are only in France (originally from the UK), but it can be hard adapting and dealing with homesickness. But the beautiful sunsets and peace are making it easier. Happy a to z too http://detoutcoeurlimousin.blogspot.fr/

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  11. Everything sounds great until you got to the part about 'no washer, no drier, no laundromat'. However, you sound like you are adjusting and the scenery is to die for.

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  12. Where is Panajachel? I spent time in Antigua and at an American owned hotel overlooking Lake Atitlan. Absolutely loved it. It was some time ago, but there is something about that country that resonated with me. Maybe it was the people, who were so kind and relaxed.

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    1. Elizabeth, Panajachel is one of the towns on Lake Atitlan. There's something about this area which resonates with me as well. My husband and I feel very at home here, despite not being fluent in Spanish. It's a lovely place.

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  13. Now that's a big carrot.
    Something rather quaint about that lifestyle. Glad you picked this topic for the Challenge.

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  14. I'm learning from these posts, and enjoying them!

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  15. I'm not sure I could live without a washer!!

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  16. What a fabulous adventure, I visited GUATEMALA a few years ago and fell in love with Antigua. Wow you really wash your clothes in a Pila? Total immersion ! We stayed at a place called Villas Del Pacifico it was an adventure, enjoy your amazing journey through this life . Stopping by #a2zchallenge . I am at http://www.4covert2overt.com

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  17. It's interesting the things we take for granted in the day-to-day - such as having our favorite cleaners and know which to use for each situation. I'm glad to hear your transition has gone so well. Thanks again for sharing!

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  18. I have very fond memories of travel in Guatamala in the 70's. the spouse and I were Peace Corp volunteers in Nicaragua for two years. We talk now about wintering in Central America next winter, but haven't started investigating the possibilities. I admire your sense of adventure.

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  19. What a wonderful adventure! Even washing the clothes by hand wouldn't dissuade me!

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  22. It takes a lot of hutzpa (the good kind) to pull up roots and move to a place that is totally different from what you are used to. I admire you for that. You've started a great adventure. Are you picking up some Spanish yet?

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