Category Archives: #Guatemala

How to get from Guatemala to Utah

We have one last weekend to spend in Guatemala, and then we’ll start making our way back home.  Before we know it, we’ll be back in our daily routine, hanging out with the friends we miss, eating foods that we are more accustomed to, walking our dogs down familiar streets, and sleeping in our own bed.  Of course, we have mixed feelings about returning.  One part of us wants to stay on vacation, while the other part longs for the familiar.

The hardest part for me is to return a changed man, and then to stay a changed man.  What good is it to be touched in the heart, and even to extend a hand to help, only to return to the familiar and be the same person I was when I left?

On one of our last mornings in Antigua, we took the chicken bus to Santa Maria de Jesús, a small farming community at the base of Volcán de Agua.  While sitting on a bench in parque central, an elderly woman “walked” toward us.  I put the word “walked” in quotes because the woman had a deformed foot and could barely walk.  To use her deformed foot she had to twist her leg up to plant her toes on the pavement, and then gingerly step forward to place her other bare foot on the pavement, and then back again she would contort her leg to plant the deformed foot.  She slowly, painfully slowly, approached us.  I have a strong hunch that she broke her foot or ankle one day, and since she is extremely poor, she could not afford to have the foot set properly for healing.  God knows how long it has been that way, and I expect it will be that way for the rest of her life.  In an instant my heart became heavy with sadness for her.  She stopped in front of us and said a few things in a language I did not recognize, undoubtedly her native indigenous language.  I reached in my front pocket and gave her the 3 quetzals I had stuffed in there, and then she smiled broadly even though her smile contained only one tooth. And then she continued on her way.  That type of experience should change me for life, but my fear is that I will return to Salt Lake City and after only a few weeks I will return to the man I was.

In contrast to my experience with the elderly crippled lady, that afternoon I went for a walk in an exclusive gated community being built not far from our homestay.  Though many homes are still under construction, several people are already living there.  A couple approached me walking on the sidewalk, and hearing them speak English, I introduced myself.  I learned that they live in Washington State, and also own a home in Antigua (and who knows where else).  I also learned that the prices for homes in this gated community in Antigua start at $500,000.  Now I hate to be judgmental, and I pray that I don’t talk bad about someone and be completely wrong, but the people I met on the sidewalk seemed shallow and plastic to me.  He was about 60 years old, and was fit and casually well-dressed.  She seemed to be about 50 years old, looked like a walking Barbie, and had a face full of make-up, a wooden smile, and what I expect were plastic boobs.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if they were dead or alive … the whole encounter seemed stiff and cold and lifeless to me.  Why is it that some people have so much, and others have so little?  And why do the filthy rich seem so fake and dead, whereas the filthy poor seem so real and alive?

So … spiritually speaking … I don’t yet know how I am going to get from Guatemala to Utah.  I don’t yet know how I can return a changed man, return a better man.  Perhaps there is something I can do now while I am still here to prepare myself for a successful transition, I just don’t know.  Maybe the first few days on American soil are the most critical, maybe during those first few days I need to sit myself down and beat into my head, “You are not the center of the universe!”  It could be that it will require daily effort for the rest of my life to be the type of person that gives more to others than I receive.  Or, it might just be that there is no great secret, and that I (and we) should simply embrace each day as it comes, and live in such a way as to please God and not to displease God.  There’s no mistaking the times that we displease God, and even if you are reading these words and are a devout atheist, there’s no mistaking the times that you screw up and hurt yourself or someone else.  Each of us knows right from wrong at the core of our being … and each of us feels better at the core of our being about doing what is right than doing what is wrong.  Moreover, LOVE is the universal principal that applies to all people, everywhere, all the time – LOVE is what we all want, and we all feel more alive when we are extending love.  So I still don’t know how I am going to get from Guatemala to Utah, but I do believe that there is a way to do it well.

FINAL THOUGHTS – We arrived safely in Salt Lake City Tuesday night, and yesterday was something of a blur as we spent the day retrieving postal mail, starting up again the services we had suspended, loving on our dogs, and settling back into our daily routine.  As I write these words it is early Thursday morning, about 3:30 AM.  I woke up this morning with that “fire in my bones,” the feeling that I just need to start writing regardless of what time or day it is, regardless of how the rest of my day is impacted.  Thus, this is the last email update I will send to the family and friends on my distribution list regarding our trip to Guatemala.  However, if you are so inclined, you can continue to follow my blog at

So … how best can I conclude this series of updates?  What is a good way to sum it all up?  Today is a new day.  In reality, it is the only day I have because there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come.  My life is really starting to feel like a vapor, my life seems to be evaporating before my very eyes.  Everything has changed, and yet everything feels the same.  Out of gratitude to God for the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, should I rush out there today and try to make the world a better place all at once?  Should I focus on me, on my family, on my immediate circle, on taking care of the daily affairs of life?  Or maybe it would be better to approach today peacefully, reflectively, lovingly, trying not to control anything or anyone because I know that God is in total control.  I guess I still don’t know how to get from Guatemala to Utah, but that’s okay … One knows.

Lago Atitlán and Maximón

Some people think that Lago Atitlán is the most beautiful place on earth.  Newagers believe that the “vortex” there is stronger than anywhere else (although I don’t really know what that means).  After being there only a brief time, we had already met gringos that were so drawn to being there that they come back over and over again, or move there and never leave.  I agree that it is extraordinarily picturesque.

As I understand it, Lago Atitlán is actually a sunken volcano that filled with water over many centuries, thus forming a very large lake (“lago” in Spanish).  To give you an idea of the size of the lake, a boat ride from one side to the other at a fairly fast clip takes at least 30 minutes.  Mountains and at least 3 volcanoes form the perimeter of the lake, and there are about 12 villages at various junctures around the lake.  Each village has its own vibe, and some villages are very different than others.  For example, Santa Catarina Palopó is an odd mix of the poor indigenous people (who have lived there for several generations) alongside the ultra rich who have built expensive second homes there.  San Pedro La Laguna is a mix of the indigenous with hippies, college kids, and various other low budget bohemian types.  Some of the villages have trash-filled streets and aggressive street vendors, while other villages are tidy and permit you to stroll down the streets without stuffing merchandise in your face.

Maximón is also at Lago Atitlán (pronounced mah-shee-MON).  I try to keep an open mind about people, and I work very hard to find common spiritual ground with people who may be very different than I.  But I must admit that I find it extremely difficult to understand why people venerate Maximón, and even more puzzling are the methods they use to venerate it.  Maximón is basically a mannequin that has no arms or legs.  People think that the mannequin is a physical representation of a saint, albeit an ornery saint that likes to smoke cigars and drink run.  The people also think that if they bring gifts of money, cigars, and rum to Maximón that it will grant them the favors they are requesting … favors such as a job, or a husband, or even revenge against an enemy.  They say it is good to stay on Maximón’s good side.  As a result, people queue up to see Maximón, waiting patiently to approach the altar where there is a pagan priest who processes the requests.  The priest will accept whatever gifts a person has brought to Maximón, and then the priest will perform some sort of cleansing ritual using the presented gifts, such as patting the person’s head with special herbs, and then dousing Maximón with the presented rum.  It is bizarre to me.  But this is the reality, and it is something I have seen with my own eyes.  I went with my Spanish teacher to visit one of the Maximón shrines (there are about 3 primary sites in Guatemala), and we walked right into the shrine and stood near the altar to observe the rituals.

There are many theories about the origin of Maximón, some very different than others.  Most people agree that the Maximón cult (if I may use that harsh word “cult”) is a blend of Catholic Church ritual with indigenous pagan ritual.  When Spain colonized the country now known as Guatemala many centuries ago, the Catholic Church imposed it’s religion on the indigenous people who had been living there.  However, the indigenous people refused to completely surrender their customs and beliefs, and thus the Maximón phenomenon was born out of this mix of oil and water.  So, since it is nearly impossible to know for sure how Maximón came to be, I will just go ahead and posit a few of my own theories.  What can I lose?

First, it could be that some of the indigenous people wanted to hold on to their rum-swilling and cigar smoking ways, and thus created Maximón in order to cloak their vices under the rubric of religion.  That’s fairly plausible in light of the fact that people always seem to be able to justify malevolent behavior in the name of God.  For example, since the beginning of time people have waged war against their fellow human beings, not blinking while babies are killed, women are raped, elderly are maimed, all while believing that they are doing the will of God by waging war.

This leads to my second theory on the origin of the Maximón phenomenon.  The indigenous people of Guatemala were so severely victimized for so many generations by people who claimed to be representing God that the indigenous people created a vice-laden idol to worship, one that could not possibly be worse than the God of the so-called Christians who came and took their land by force, while raping and killing them.  Thus, Maximón is an act of religious defiance, one that has lasted for generations despite how strange it might seem to the rest of us.

I’m not sure that I have a good segway from Maximón back to the topic of Lago Atitlán, but I would like to say a few more things about Lago Atitlán before I end for today.

We are now back in Antigua after our weekend spent at Lago Atitlán.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have scheduled more time to spend there.  It’s the kind of place I could spend a lifetime taking pictures, and never get bored.  Every day is different, and every moment in every day is different.  Thus the morning light on the lake is different than the afternoon light, and where there is wind one day there is no wind the next, and perhaps one day is overcast with a sliver of a moon while later in the month the moon is full and the skies are clear.  The setting at Lago Atitlán is so dramatic – a great big lake held in the palm of volcanoes all bathed in the light of the sun and moon and stars – that it seems that an amateur photographer with a decent camera could make a good living just wandering around taking pictures and posting them for sale.  But ultimately, and obviously, no photo will ever fully capture the beauty and essence of Lago Atitlán.  The only thing that you can do is stay in the moment and soak it in as much as possible, and always be grateful for the experience.  Just like life.


With regard to clothing, I doubt that there is any place more colorful in the world than Guatemala.

The indigenous dress (traje) of the Maya is brightly colored and includes every conceivable color of the rainbow – purple, green, orange, blue, magenta, yellow, sky blue, pink, maroon, forest green, lavender, red, burnt orange, light green, cherry red, violet, etc.  The clothing designs (particularly for the women) use a combination of colors, words, abstract shapes, as well as plant, animal, and human figures … all woven or stitched into the clothing by hand.  The art which is their clothing reveals their values and beliefs, and each design is unique to a particular area of the country.  There are a least 150 different traje designs, and the same basic design is passed on from mother to daughter when the latter is taught how to use the backstrap loom to make clothing.  And while there are basic design customs, each weaver is free to creatively customize their clothing to their liking … thus the range of different designs is endless.  All this clothing is made on a backstrap loom, and it is believed that the same type of loom has been used to make clothing and other products in Guatemala for over 4,000 years.

The backstrap loom fascinates me for a lot of different reasons.  First of all, it is so basic and yet is used to make extremely complex creations.  The loom is simply 2 blocks of wood with strings running from block to block.  The weaver attaches one end of the loom to a post, tree, or some other fixed object, and the other end is fastened around the back at the waist.  Then while sitting on the ground (usually on their legs), the weaver leans back to pull the strings taut.  At that point they simply weave the various colored strings in and through the strings that are pulled taut … and a month or 2 months or sometimes as much as 6 months later, they complete that one project (blouse, skirt, blanket, etc.).  This brings up another reason why the backstrap loom is so fascinating to me – it takes such incredible patience and hard work just to make one item.  A woman will spend months making the blouse (hupil) of their respective area, which is quite sturdy and can be worn virtually every day for months or even years.  But if you are one of the unfortunate Mayan women who cannot or will not weave, it will cost you a small fortune to buy a blouse made in the design and colors of  your community.  I heard of one person who spent 3,000 quetzales (nearly $400 U.S. dollars) to buy a blouse, which by my estimate could be as much as 4 months wage.  Finally, I am fascinated by the backstrap loom because it seems enormously difficult (or even impossible) for a non-Mayan to learn how to weave with the same skill as a Mayan woman.  And backstrap weaving IS something done by the women only, I reckon that any Mayan man who tried to learn to weave would be severely ostracized in the community due to the prevailing machismo and/or cultural expectations.  I almost feel challenged to learn how to weave, I could possibly be the first male in human history to learn how to backstrap weave … except that I do not have 30 years to spare in order to learn how.

Who knows … it could be that weaving was first done by men, and then later the women took over and perfected the art.  One of our close friends Warren is an extremely gifted knitter, he has been knitting for many years.  And it just so happens that recently there was a feature article on him and his knitting in the Salt Lake Tribune, and in that article he explained that long ago knitting was actually a man’s thing.  But ultimately women caught up and passed the men in knitting prowess, and pretty much left the men in the dust (except Warren, of course).

My wife Sheri is also an accomplished knitter, and I probably should be embarrassed to admit that I have often wondered, “How can anyone find enjoyment in knitting?”  Sheri rarely makes mistakes anymore, but I have seen her knit complete sections, only to pull it all out again because it was not just right – that would drive me crazy!  But there she goes, happily knitting away … together with all her knitting friends, happily knitting away and chatting in circle.

Back to the backstrap loom.  A few days ago Sheri went with a Spanish translator to the home of a Mayan woman who has been weaving for over 35 years.  Sheri spent the morning learning how to weave … and she loved it!  As a result, she went back two days later for another 6 hours of weaving, and the Mayan woman watched over her shoulder the entire time ready to help and advise as needed.  This is an art that has a steep learning curve.  Mayans start weaving when they are very young, and it takes years under the tutelage of older women in the community before one becomes an accomplished weaver.  To give you an idea of how painstaking the process is, at least at first … in 6-7 hours of weaving, Sheri was able to complete a section that was about 12 inches wide and 6 inches long.  But to the Mayan community, weaving is not a burden – on the contrary, they experience hope and joy and community in their weaving.  It is said that Mayan women believe that they are carrying on the work of God through weaving, and that their weavings are emblematic of the rich tapestry of God’s creation.

Antigua, Guatemala

The city of Antigua is unlike any other place in Guatemala – there is a fair amount of money here.  The vast majority of the 13 million people who live in Guatemala are poor, but being in this small town of about 60,000 people is like being in an entirely different world.  Let me paint a broader picture of the people of Guatemala.

Guatemaltecos can be classified into 3 primary groups:  (1) indigenous people, which is by no means a homogenous group, for there are dozens of different indigenous groups here, each with their one language and customs, (2) direct descendents of the Spanish Europeans who colonized this country starting 500 years ago, and (3) “mestizo” people who are a mixture of the first two groups.

There is a wide gap between the rich and the poor in Guatemala.  It is estimated that about 25 families of European heritage control more than 80% of the fertile land here.  Another stat indicates that 10% of the people receive more than 50% of all income in this country.  The super-rich are a tiny minority that not only have most of the money, but they also hold most of the power because they control the political and governmental systems.  Antigua, which is known world-wide for its Spanish language schools, is also one of the playgrounds of rich Guatemaltecos who come here on the weekends to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital Guatemala City (which is only 40 minutes down the road).

There is also a small percentage of middle-class families here, it includes those who have been fortunate enough to get through school and find professional employment, and those who through sheer tenacity have worked themselves out of poverty.  The families who host Spanish language students are an example of the middle-class, and this income is vital to their livelihood.  By the way, no language school would prosper here without having middle-class accommodations for language students, anything less would simply not be tolerable for many of the North Americans and Europeans who come here to study Spanish.  But having said that, there is even a significant gap between the middle-class here in Antigua and the middle-class in Xela (4 hours west of here) where I spent the month of October.  Here in Antigua the accommodations are very close to what I am used to in the United States, but the accommodations in Xela were somewhat spartan by comparison.

Most of the rest of the people who live in Guatemala are poor.  At least 80% of the population live in poverty, and about one-third of those are considered to be living in “pobreza extrema” or extreme poverty.  A person who is extremely impoverished likely has no job, has no education, might be in poor health, and is fortunate to eat one time a day.  Thus, if I have my stats correct, well over 3 million Guatemaltecos are living in extreme poverty.  But I don’t need stats to prove to me the level of poverty here, for I have seen it with my own eyes.  I have been to Guatemala City and also spent a month in the Xela area, and it is painfully obvious to me that there ain’t no place in the United States – including Appalachia – that is anywhere close to as poor as the majority of Guatemala.

Education can be a ticket to a better life, but the school system here suffers from lack of funding and enforcement, and is also viewed with suspicion by much of the population.  The largest percentage of the population is the indigenous poor, and many of them think that the school system is designed to erode their indigenous culture.  Moreover, they need their children to work in the fields, and thus even the children who are enrolled in school often miss classes and/or stop school altogether after completing only a few grades.  It is estimated that the literacy rate among indigenous women is around 30%.  Another problem is that a good education is supposed to provide graduates with more opportunities and better jobs, however even when kids advance through the school system very often they cannot find work afterward … thus, people in the community see these poor results and think, “Why should I even send my kids to school?”

People wonder why my wife and I would want to come to Guatemala for vacation.  Let me just say that we could have gone to Hawaii or Europe or Australia or many other places in the world for vacation, thanks be to God we are very fortunate and can afford to splurge occasionally.  (Admittedly, a trip to some of those other places would have had to been considerably shorter to be affordable for us).  But we came to Guatemala in part for the quality of the Spanish instruction, but also to invest our tourism dollars in a country that could really use the tourism income.  Actually, the hardest part about coming here has been ensuring that as much money as possible gets to the people who need it the most.  I don’t want to pay some tour company raking in tourist dollars to take me on a tour to show me where the poor people live, I would much rather hop on a chicken bus and go there myself.  If you come here and feel like helping the less fortunate, you could take the money that you plan on spending on a tour, change it into a bunch of one quetzal coins, and walk down the dirt streets handing a quetzal to everyone you see.  Occasionally we see someone sitting on the sidewalk here in Antigua with their hand out seeking a little help, and when you give them a one quetzal coin they are delighted and very appreciative … they might even be able to eat for a day on one quetzal.  Yet one quetzal is worth only about one U.S. dime – how the hell hard is it to walk around giving out dimes?

People also wonder about how safe it is here in Guatemala … they rely too much on exaggerated news coverage, and imagine that there are gangs of thugs wandering all over this country ready to pillage.  Granted, it is somewhat safer to be in the United States than it is to be this country, and granted one must take precautions, but in reality there is a very small difference in the degree of relative safety between the two countries.  Many times while in Xela I walked home alone at night down poorly lit streets past many people I did not know, yet I did not once feel fear or have any problems.  The people I passed at nights in the streets of Xela were people just like you and me … a woman walking home alone after her shift at Dominoes Pizza … vendors from the market walking to their trucks … kids walking home after school activities … a man walking into town to have a few beers at the sports bar … couples returning home from dinner at their favorite Chinese restaurant … teenagers going to the soccer match (“fútbol” here and in most of the world) … some lady walking to the beauty shop to get her hair done … a family on their way to Wednesday night Bible study … an elderly woman carrying on her head a basket of fruit that she was not able to sell on the street corner … and some gringo Spanish student heading back to his host family’s home after spending a few hours at the internet café.

Serendipity and Loss

Sheri left Salt Lake City late Tuesday night on a flight to Los Angeles, and after a two hour layover she took a redeye flight that arrived in Guatemala City at 4:30 AM Wednesday. I was at the airport waiting for her with the taxi cab driver who had picked me up in Antigua at 3:50 AM. Sheri was a bit travel weary, but also very happy to be on vacation with me. And of course I was very happy to be with my Sweetie again after being apart for a month, by far the longest stretch we have been apart since we first met nearly 13 years ago.

We quickly settled into our home stay with a Spanish speaking family. Ruth lives in the home with her son who just finished high school, but two older daughters frequently stop by for a meal and to speak Spanish with the Spanish language students staying here. This is a beautiful and very large home with an interior courtyard (characteristic of the homes in Central and South America), where the family lives on the first level and the Spanish language students live on the second level. Ruth has had as many as 15 guests staying here at one time, however 5-10 is the norm. Ruth has been hosting students for nearly 20 years, and she is very good at what she does – this is her primary source of income. To begin with, Ruth is warm and gracious and funny. Secondly, she is an excellent cook who prepares for us 3 delicious and healthy meals every day (except Sundays when we are on our own). Another bonus is that Ruth is an excellent Spanish teacher, who not only requires that we speak Spanish in the house, but patiently corrects our mistakes while helping us to speak Spanish better. Finally, Ruth is a dog lover, and we have enjoyed getting to know her two boxers Rocky and Ruffy. Sheri and have our own room with a private bathroom here at Casa González, and we feel very fortunate to be staying here. Latinos often welcome family, friends, and guests into their home by saying, “Nuestro casa es su casa” (Our house is your house), and that is certainly the spirit in this place because Sheri and I feel very much at home here.

We’ve enjoyed several serendipitous moments since being here, and those moments always make me feel like I am just where I need to be. However, being where I need to be does not necessarily mean that everything is going my way, as I will explain a little later in this blog. Here are some of the fun chance encounters, coincidences, and moments of serendipity that have come our way: First, I kept running into the same fellow student from Xela during my first few days here, I bumped into Stella 4 times over 2 days and each time in a different part of the city. And the other day Sheri and I were wandering through the grocery store looking for granola when we bumped into another fellow student from Xela. Second, I went to a concert here before Sheri arrived and sat next to a couple who just happened to be studying Spanish at the same school where I had planned to start the next day (and there are dozens of Spanish schools in this city). But what’s more, Elena and Mark live in Canada not far from my home town of Toledo … and Elena’s birthday is in November (as is Sheri’s) and Mark’s birthday is in December (as is mine). Speaking of birthdays, a Third coincidence is that I share a birthday (December 20th) with the cleaning lady at our home Casa Gonzalez. (Oh, and Oscar my Spanish teacher in Xela was born the same day that Sheri and I were married, January 8th). Fourth, and back to the subject of my home town Toledo, the name Toledo has been popping up around here regularly … there is a meat distributor here in Antigua named Toledo … one day we met a man from Michigan with his young son, and we learned that the Toledo Zoo is one of their most favorite places to visit in the whole world. Fifth, a few seconds after saying goodbye to the man and boy from Michigan, we looked across the street and saw a residence named Casa Toledo … residences are often given a name here, and often the name is painted on a large square piece of tile that is affixed to the outside wall. Sixth, speaking of tile work, my first day at school I was explaining to my teacher that I dropped my given middle name Anthony when I got married, and that the name Anthony came both from my Grandfather and from the Catholic Saint Anthony of Padua … well, no sooner had I said the name Anthony of Padua when I looked up and saw a multiple-tile piece of artwork on the wall of the ancient convent that is now a Spanish school, the artwork was a painting of – you guessed it – Saint Anthony of Padua. Booga booga. These are all of the coincidences, chance encounters, and serendipitous moments that I can remember right now, but it seems that we have been saying, “Oh my gosh!” and “Can you believe it?” ever since we arrived here.

But sometimes I think that God has to bring us back to earth so that we don’t get too full of ourselves. We get to experience the excitement of serendipity and the feeling that everything is going our way … but we also get to slog along on occasion, to feel that we are swimming upstream, and to think that nothing seems to be going our way. The reality is that all of life is blessed, and we would all do well to accept whatever comes our way knowing that nothing in this world happens that God does not either cause or allow. Even so, we don’t have to wallow in pity feeling that the world is against us and that there is nothing that we can do to change our circumstances … rather, it is far better to do whatever we can to redeem the tough circumstances, to turn lemons into lemonade, to make the most of every circumstance we encounter. So I said all that to say this: Just when it looked like everything was going our way on this trip, that everything would go our way for the entire month we are here, that we had found the eternal spring … we had a tough day yesterday. It actually started out pretty well, we went on a fabulous tour of the city, the tour guide was knowledgeable and funny, and the tour was well worth the money we spent to participate. But then we went to the local sports bar to root for our beloved Utah Utes in their big game against TCU, a game that had national title implications. We got a prime seat right in front of a big screen TV, and proceeded to watch the Utes get slaughtered at home by TCU 47-7. What a bummer. But worse than that, one time when I could not bear to watch the game any longer and was looking for things to do, I went to the bathroom … and promptly dropped our digital camera in the toilet. Big time bummer. The camera is dead, and it does not appear to be coming back to life again. Not a huge loss, I purchased it used for only $80 specifically for this trip, we left our better camera in Salt Lake City. Nonetheless, I had big plans for the camera we brought with us, such as high resolution pictures of the nearby volcanoes (one volcano is active), pictures of this historic city, pictures of the people and markets bustling with activity, pictures of my lovely wife and I having big fun here, pictures posted to the web and shared with family and friends all over the world, etc., etc., etc. But now that there will be no more digital pictures of our trip here, you’ll just have to believe everything we tell you about this place and about what we are doing here. And true to my philosophy on life, I believe that dropping that camera in the toilet is the best thing that could have happened to me at that moment.

One last thing for this week … today we celebrated my lovely wife’s 50th birthday. We’ve had lots of fun today, we started the day at a fabulous breakfast buffet, went to church, had a nice lunch at a local restaurant, and after I finish blogging we are on a way to a have thali at an Indian restaurant, and afterward we are going to play Spanish bingo. So if you get this message, be sure to wish my Sweetie a happy birthday!