Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in Guatemala

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

We really had a good day. We have so much the be thankful for! I won't bore you with the list, but I will say that I know that all we have comes from my Heavenly Father and that he blesses us daily. We see His hand in our lives and we are so grateful for His guidance. We are most grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ who suffered and died for our sins so we can return to live with him one day and gain eternal life. We are so glad to have His example to follow.

With that all said I would like to thank all of you for your support and love throughout the years. We have the best friends and family ever. We missed all of you this Thanksgiving. It was a great day but not near as great as years past. We missed Betty's cooking and the family football game and watching football and just being together with family. We had to create a family of our own here.

The first picture is a picture of Gabby and her tortilla's Sylvia helped her make. She is so cute making them. Xela makes them also and is getting pretty good at it.

Then I have a picture of Brigham and Gabby. They stay home with me on Mon, Wed, and friday and are getting to be the best of friends. They play so good together. Gabby is loving school. She's starting to learn her letters and sounds. It's so cute. I think Brigham is really enjoying it also. He asked me the other day to start teaching him piano again, which made me really happy because he has a lot of natural talent. It is so nice to spend quality time with the two little ones.

Victor told us he bought a wild turkey for Thanksgiving. He was going to bring it up to the restaurant live on Tuesday night. I was a little freaked out. I barely know what to do with a frozen butterball! Lucky Sylvia volunteered her sister to prepare it for me to cook. Victor took him to their house and she brought it to me Thursday morning all ready to cook. Head and all! Apparantly Victor wanted me to cook the head also. I don't like to see the face of what I'm about to eat. I would make a horrible farmer. He was sad when he got here and I hadn't cooked it. When I told him I didn't know how he said "You just wrap it in foil and pop it in the oven." Like it's a common everyday thing to cook and eat a turkey head. We love Victor! He is a real character.

Our problem was that the only oven we have is a pizza oven. We do not have a temperature dial on the oven. Just on and off. I knew it was way too hot to cook a turkey in and all the other things so it was kind of a crazy time of turning the oven on - letting it heat up and then turning it off and back on when it is cooling down. Yikes! Miraculously everything turned out perfect except one batch of rolls that burned on the bottom.

Thanks to Betty for rushing me last minute family recipes. I have never cooked a whole Thanksgiving Dinner before because we usually have a joint effort with Betty cooking most of the food. Luckily we did it at the restaurant and I had Sylvia here to clean up after me! It is so nice to cook and have some one coming behind you washing and cleaning and putting everything away. She even did most of the dishes when we were done eating!

The guest list was all Victor's family but people that we have become close to on past visits and our during our time here. It included his son Carlos, Thelma (Who we stayed with when we visited with Andy last year. Letty, who is Victor's sister in law and our current land lord. She is in the picture with her daughter TT and Gabby. Her daughter is our dentist and hygenist. Then there is Gloria and Arturu who fed us fiambre this year and their son with his 3 daughters, and of course Sylvia, my right hand. Our other two employees Sandra (sells at the cart) and Mario (Sells out of a warmer bag in the market), also had Thanksgiving Dinner but on their breaks.

We were able to find all our ingredients except stuff to make pies. We couldn't even find frozen pies. Thank goodness we found a place that makes and sells them so I could have pumpkin pie!

Now it's time to focus on Christmas!!! I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season! Hope you had fun shopping in all the craziness today!

Oh and Tina, Thanks for the comment on the past post. It is kind of crazy living in the shadow of volcanoes. I have to really try not to think of the fact that it could potentially be a hazardous problem. Especially with 2012 approaching so fast. LoL! At least we are 4 hours away from Pacaya that has actual lava eruptions regularly. Meanwhile I just soak in the hot springs and sit in the volcanic steam saunas and try to focus on the pleasures of living close to a volcano.

I hope you all noticed the picture posted of me!!! I want no more comments on the subject!!! :)))) I really wanted to wait until I was back to newly wed weight and had a nice tan, but let's face it - that may never be.....


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Gallo tree lighting.

This morning Nathan and I were looking out our window and saw this cute little cloud sitting in front of our volcano. I think it is called Santa Maria. Our bedroom window frames it perfectly. Then the volcano behind it erupted and I couldn't help but take a picture. I hate the wires in the way but I guess electricity is more valuable than a perfect picture. Right?

We went Saturday after work to the Inauguration of the Gallo (The Mayor Cerveza)(The Better Beer) Tree. It is a huge fake tree with thousands of lights on it. We are starting to feel the holiday mood so we decided to go and see the lights and the fireworks. Sorry Papa no fotos of the Gallo Girls. They were actually dressed appropriately this time. Whew! We were told they wouldn't be there until later before the concert.

Anyway it was fun. We printed a bunch of fliers to hand out and put on cars and barely touched the people. There were thousands there. Nathan said maybe 20,000. It was great until we were trying to leave and the crowd all tried to funnel into one street. I was actually kind of scared for the kids. I've never experienced anything like that before. Nathan said I am just getting old. We did get to have some Pounche though! Yummmy! It's a hot cider drink with chunks of fruit in it. I love it but not as much as arroz con Leche. Which is a drink made with rice, milk, cinnamon and sugar. It is sooooo good. They weren't selling it though. Then Nathan took us to get chinese tacos (egg rolls). The chinese in Guatemala make the best egg rolls.

We met some new friends at church on Sunday and they were telling us that they were going to start their daughter in piano lessons for Q800 a month. This is $100 a month. It is for 2 lessons a week but is very very good money for here. It inspired me to get to work improving my Spanish and piano skills so I can maybe take two students when I am at home on Mondays and Wednesdays. We'll see if it works out. It won't happen for awhile though.

Nathan took the kids to another tree lighting on Sunday. Brigham, Gabby and I stayed home and watched the fireworks from the roof.

Not much else new.

Hope all are doing great!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pizza Gringo Loco!!!

Wow!! Finally I have a chance to do a blogpost. I am so sorry it has been so long! I just could not for the life of me remember to bring my camera to the restaurant. I forgot it today also, but made Nathan go home and get it. I just can't do a blogpost without photos. I just can't explain things the way pics do.

The first pics are of another visit to Xocomil and Xutulu. We went with Monkey's family when they came for Shazer's birthday. It was so fun and a perfect day. Sunny but not too hot. We even got Gabby to ride some rides.

I posted a few pics of the view from the house. (Excuse the laundry hanging!:)))
I didn't take any of the inside because it is just a temporary house and a lot of empty rooms with boxes. Nothing interesting. When we move to the new house - hopefully before Christmas - I will take tons of pics. I may take some of the current progress if we go out there on Sunday and if I remember the camera! :)

Thanksgiving is approaching and we are trying to get a plan together to close the restaurant and cook dinner for Victor, Carlos, Monkey's family and the missionaries. We'll of course play some football. I'll definately do a post about Thanksgiving in Guate. It won't be the same without our family and friends from VA but it will be fun. We will be thinking of all of you and how grateful we are for such amazing relationships. Thanks for all of your support throughout our adventure.

Christmas decorations are going up here since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Guate. I am so excited to light up the restaurant. I am going on a gold table cloth hunt. Maybe I'll take pics again after it's decorated. I would like to wait until we move to the new house to decorate home. We are really hoping for the first of December. Victor may extend his time here and spend Christmas with us.

We posted pics of the restaurant. There is some pictures of Sandra our full time employee who runs our stand. We are working on getting her a pizza warmer for the stand and eventually we will move her across the street to the bus stop. Our local is near the market so we have lots of foot traffic. It is great for our portion business. Xela was in charge of pics and took pics of the pizza. I will probably change it out eventually with a pic of a fresh complete pizza. Yikes. The slices aren't even straight on the pan! The other girl you see is her sister Sylvia who helps me at the house and comes up to the restaurant to wait on the customers when Nathan has to go run errands or make contacts. She has been a real blessing and a life saver for me. She washes and irons the clothes. Cooks and cleans breakfast and helps me clean the house when I stay home on Mondays and Wednesdays with Gabby and Brigham. I love this time with them so much. We come to the restaurant as a family on the other days which is nice. We have a tv and cable here and a table and chairs in the back for school or games or whatever.

We have cards similiar to subway cards that we give out wherever we go and to our clients. They are buy 10 get 1 free cards that we stamp and we offer 2 for 1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays to compete with Dominos. There is a Pizza Hut and Dominos here but they are quite a bit more expensive than us. There is also a couple of low quality chains that have horrible pizza with hardly any cheese or sauce. No wander the Guatemalans smother their pizza with Ketchup and mayo. They do it here also, but I try not to be too offended. It's just habit and culture. They put it all over their corn on the cob also. I guess it's kind of like steak sauce on steak for me. I put so much I can't even taste the steak sometimes.

We are missing all of you as the Holidays approach. We will definately be thinking of our friends and family these next few months.