So, I've been working on this house in Springfield, caulking, priming, painting, etc. The house address is actually 444, but http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GFRD&q=476+chenery+st+springfield+il&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title is a fun photo of it. Thanks google! Thanks to this work, which I've been doing for Mike's mom and stepdad, I've been able to visit my parents and sisters this Christmas, buy some nice, light-weight thermals, and get my teeth cleaned, which was highly needed after 15 years. Also, I should have a nice chunk left, enough to pay for at least one week of Spanish language classes with a homestay in a Mayan family's home, possibly two if I can find them a bit cheaper when we're there. In any case, the house is pretty cool, it has a hitching post out front from way back when it was built and horses were the transportation norm. It has pleasing trim, old-time pocket doors, a steam furnace with radiators in every room (I <3 radiators), and a very nice wooden staircase that goes up from the front room where you enter and joins the second story kind of loft-like into the first with a landing and window 3/4 of the way up. It even has a lion's head knocker on the front door. :)
We're heading off to Guatemala next Tuesday, the 13th, which is less than a week away, now. I don't think we'll really have that much to bring, either. I'm packing light on clothes, hoping to find them rather cheap once we're there, and there's not a lot else I really think I need. I went to Munich and Amsterdam about 5 years ago, and I couldn't figure out how backpackers did it- now I can't even remember what I brought that was so necessary that I needed a giant suitcase and a huge backpack. Well, it was a little colder there, especially in March... I learned today that Mike's mom went ahead and booked us and his brother, Nick, at this hostel called the Black Cat in Antigua for 3 days once we get there, which I suppose is a good thing. I believe it's one of the more touristy towns, but there's supposed to be really nice German architecture (a little odd, I admit), good markets, and something else I can't remember. After that I guess she's rented a 3 bedroom house in Panajachel, which is on the coast of Lake Atitlan, across from the volcanoes. It's nickname is Gringotenango, which is to say, place where white people flock. It will be beautiful, though, and I'm quite looking forward to low-cost visits to the acupuncturist and tasty vegetarian food on the cheap. Look: http://z.about.com/d/gocentralamerica/1/0/H/-/-/-/Maya.JPG
The place we're planning to volunteer with the second month, after the folks head back home, is called Maya Pedal, where they make bicimaquinas, or bike machines for indigenous agricultural use. and here you can see lots of what they make. They're situated in a town called San Andreas Itzapa, which also happens to be an area where local shamans can be found. or so I hear... I'll keep ya updated.
My tired bones need resting, now, and I'm pretty distracted filling up my new ipod, free from a friend, who got it free when his downstairs neighbor moved out and didn't take anything. !
Have you ever had 3100 songs to choose from? I am in joy-ing.
Send your blessings for our trip, my wonderful friends and family!
all my heart is filled with your names and faces (which I regularly go over in my head so I don't forget how much I have freely been given),