Thursday, November 11


Several months ago, someone gave us very good advice. "Don't bash the country you are living in," they told us. "Especially in front of your children."
Now, this might not sound like a big deal, or might not seem that it would be difficult advice to follow. It is.
No matter where we live, we are still very American. We are American in our thinking, our way of getting things done, in our expectations, and that can cause quite a bit of stress in our daily interactions.

We expect to order something and have it arrive on time, from little things like food to big things like construction materials for team projects.

We expect to be able to go to an ATM and get out cash.

We expect to pay the same price for vegetables that the person next to us is paying.

We expect to have the customer service we'd find at say, a Target store.....things like employees offering to help find something, or opening another register instead of requiring people to wait in line for 45 minutes, or not stocking shelves in the busiest part of the day in a 3 foot wide aisle.

Difficult? You bet. There are times that we complain and whine about how things are messed up. And yet, when we stop, take a breath and remind ourselves that people are mainly trying to survive, to get through the day, it changes our perspective and gives us a bit more patience.

Now, we're not perfect at this. Far from it. I still haven't gotten used to riding the chicken bus and having my foot stepped on 14 times or being shoved out of the way in the market, but at least I don't take it personally anymore. Well, mostly.

My wish is that, one day, when we move from Guatemala, whether it's to the States or to another place, we will be able to hold onto the lessons we're learning here, that we'll never adopt a sense of entitlement or superiority, and that we'll remember to look behind the differences and see the similarities....that people are people, with the same hurts and desires and hopes, no matter where they live, that we will consciously choose to look for the good in people.

Another good friend gave us more valuable advice. She told us to remind ourselves that, "It's not wrong, it's just different." So, on those really crazy days when we are tempted to see everything in a negative light, we repeat that phrase.
 A lot.
And sometimes even out loud in the middle of that so-very-unlike-Target store. Until we can say it and mean it.