If you are from the East Coast of America more than likely harsh wind is not something you really think about. Sure there have been moments of windstorms from residual hurricane effects or other changing weather patterns, but it is typically a day or two. I never thought much about wind until now.
And I hate it.
I miss the tranquility. The silence of the night and morning hours is gone, and I can’t handle the constant clanking and rustling of our thatched roof. The dogs are up in arms, the fires are glowing bright and spreading, and power keeps going out. What I think is most frustrating is the consistency. There is literally never a moment without and it impairs our ability to go swimming, hiking, sit outside to eat, have a fire, etc. Rain is so sweet and soft, even when it is pouring there is something very therapeutic about it. Wind is harsh and angry!
When we moved here the Gringo’s told us there would be 6-months of rain and 6-months of perfect weather. We got here at the start of the rainy season, so by November 1st we were ready for sun. We had a pretty good month of November, December and now January has been unbearable. From our employees mouths who are local, we should be expecting this same weather behavior until end of February. Then in March and April it lightly rains regularly. So essentially there is one calm month of the year: May. Or maybe there is something else surprising that will happen.
I have touched on this before, but we struggle to make big decisions due to the endless options we create for ourselves. We have dabbled in visions of living in Shanghai, Dubai and London. Mustered a desire for India and the country-side of Southeast Asia. Entertained the prospects of living in northern Canada, or New Zealand (who wouldn’t want to be called a “Kiwi?”). Thought about picking tea leaves in Africa and even considered running off to Brazil to join the technology boom. It is a world of options, which is in someways the very definition of overwhelming.
But now we have decided on a 3-5 year plan in Guatemala / NYC and have suddenly gotten overwhelmed with the next level of choice. We have 3 possible options for housing in Atitlan and another 2 options in NYC, 3 longterm vacation plans and potentially even a full-time Stateside change (because we freaked out about the shipping costs); all very different experiences.
ATITLAN 1 year rental with 3 months sublet; 9 months here, 3 months in NYC (1 month in the fall, 2 weeks traveling, 6 weeks in the Spring)
ATITLAN 1 year+ here, no traveling
ATITLAN Flexible rental here due to previously scheduled rentals in a house, traveling in-between
NYC Move to NYC fulltime
NYC Rent an apartment full-time in NYC and sublet as needed to make up the difference in rent
WORK VACATION India and Thailand
VACATION Western China
WORK VACATION Sri Lanka
STATESIDE Move to Miami area (still incredible art scene) and get a 1+ year rental
Again with our sea of choices, which do we choose? Which will help us to flourish in our careers and life strategies? Which would be the best place for Iza to grow?
We have had trouble with renting a house, mentioned in our “Problems in Paradise? Nope, it’s just us” article, and trouble with securing a house once we found it, all due to lack of ability to finalize a plan. We simply are lost in our indecisiveness and it is taking a toll on us emotionally. In someways it is just easier to stop, back off and let the world fall into place in front of us, don’t you think?
Saturday is family day, always. Today we decided to jump in the launcha and head to our favorite town – Santa Cruz and take a hike. We figured we would do this and then head to Cafe Sabor for lunch and then walk home via Jabalito. We started at the town dock and took a leisurely walk to a little place called Paxnax (pash nash). Here is home to the fanciest hotel on the lake called Laguna Lodge. We heard there was a nature preserve owned by the hotel, with incredible vistas, and wanted to give it a whirl.
We started at the hotel and had a little tea. Iza was sleeping so this gave us an extra minute to relax before we started our climb up. It was so much fun! We had a chance to just relax together – it has been forever – and have a check in on life and all the new challenges we have be going through with moving here.
The first vista that we found yielded this amazing photo. Such a sight, and using an iPhone nonetheless.
From marker “12” there is this view. Kurt stood at the end of the row and took the below photo. Pretty impressive, eh?
While beautiful, this eco lodge is seems really just crazy, outlandishly expensive… but after our hike, we can see why. It sits at the base of a private nature preserve. It is still hard to believe that in Guatemala there is a hotel for $450 a night… when that could get you an employee for 2-months at that rate! Worth it? Not sure, but really a wonderful day and experience.
Hello idyllic on all levels – name a cliche and this is it.
The sun is streaming into the windows to Casita Blanca as if I have never experienced sun streaming before. The birds are chirping and the waterfall next to our house is gushing. The lake off in the distance is glistening and we are alone in the jungle, deep in the mayan mountains 15 minutes to the nearest building or house on foot. We have a small yard, maybe an acre all around, and it is very well tended. The walkway to the house is serious hiking with no other access route and when you open the gate to the garden it is like paradise unfolding. The lack of access means our little house is a gem, and just as we wanted, very remote. You can’t hear cars, trains, buses or boats. In fact, you wouldn’t know anyone else existed on the planet unless you stood on top of the roof and looked out at the world below.
Iza is playing just inside the door while I sit on the veranda writing. She is so happy… toddling around and playing with new things in the cracks, little leaves which have blown onto the porch, a piece of grass and tugging at my pant leg. She is finally able to spread out and be in 1 place. We are so happy to know that we can give this to her for a little while.
We forgot to bring food with us yesterday when we got to our new home, so we had to venture out to the hotel at the end of our trail to Isle Verde Eco Hotel. “Isle” I have found out is pronounced like Isla Fisher, not “Aisle” as I had learned in French. The restaurant at Isle Verde is wonderful, and very accommodating. This space is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The grounds are astonishing and again well cared for. We knew the woman who owns Casita Blanca also owned the hotel and her vision was richly positioned in the planet. It appears she wanted to give the earth back to her guests in a well-designed and comfortable fashion. She accomplished it and then some.
From the new owner of the Hotel Raleigh (who has the name of one of our friends son and who is actually from Pensacola, FL which is where we have our mail house – in all our travels we have collectively only ever met 1 other person who is from there) we find out that in the last 4 years he has been on the lake the water has risen 20’. In the last 2 weeks during the rainy season it has grown 5’. This has taken out his beach and now is heading up and into his main reception area and kitchen. It is terrifying to hear, but interesting to understand from Raleigh that the lake works in an 80 year cycle in which the water grows and then it will fall (we didn’t ask where we were in the cycle). The Mayan calendar is very calculated and in some ways historically accurate. He mentioned that he thought he would have another year before he would have to build a retaining wall, but it looks like he will have to do it now.
There is seldom strong internet in any of the towns around the lake, but the ones that do have it use a satellite ping. There are no hard lines. When the clouds are in the way, the internet goes out. Great. Not really ideal for me, and especially now knowing that we are in a true eco house with only solar panels to power it and being here in the rainy season, we have pretty low expectations for a successful working opportunity. But rest assured – there is this incredible water taxi transportation system and I can go about 45 minutes on a direct boat or 1 hour on the slow boat to San Pedro (the cool hippy town with tons of great cafes and hard wired internet) or to Panajachel which is only 30 minutes away. I have begun looking for an office which is looking like we will rent a whole other house for around $500 a month. Kind of nutty, but worth it to know we can work.
More to come, but this is the start of our very great new life in Santa Cruz de Laguna, Lago de Atitlan.
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