the details

Sorry to leave you hanging there. I sort of dropped a bomb and then wandered off.

Things are moving along in fits and starts. Some days it feels like this trip is the most preposterous thing we have ever done and other days it feels perfectly rational. I expect I’ll continue to fluctuate between the two feelings for like, oh say, the next twelve months or so.

Most of the time, my head is spinning. Perhaps you’d like to see my brain’s transcript? Here, take a peek:


Good grief. What in the world are we thinking? We can’t even drive to town without the kids about killing each other. How in the world are we going to take a trip to another country? Clearly, we are insane.

Also, we are so, so happy.

Crazy happy, that’s us. Just go with it.

As things stand now, my husband and I are slated to be the Vocational Arts Facilitators at Bezaleel School, a boarding school for K’ekchi’ Indians. My husband will teach carpentry and do maintenance for the school. I will do things involving literacy, working with women, maybe cooking. We will have a house. The kids will participate in a lot of what we do and continue their homeschool studies. They’ll either learn Spanish … or K’ekchi’ (which would be really bad because then we wouldn’t be able to understand them).

The school is located five hours north of Guatemala city, in the highlands. It will be cold and rainy for the first part of the year, and there is no heat. The people are very tiny, reserved, and shy. We will not stand out at all, I am sure. Not at all.


Now, for the back story

Six weeks ago I was sitting in a sunny spot on the deck, chatting on the phone with my friend. We were discussing life and kids and Stuff In General and in passing she mentioned a job description she spotted on the MCC website. While we were still talking, I moved inside to look it up on the computer. And then I got so excited that I had to hang up the phone.

I called a friend and neighbor who just so happens to be an MCC Person Who Knows A Lot. “Is this crazy?” I asked. “They are asking for one person for this job. They wouldn’t take a family of six, would they?”

“Apply,” she said.

I started filling out the forms before I told my husband, and by bedtime that night, we had submitted our resumes and letters of inquiry. (For the record, we have a history of moving fast. Our engagement lasted all of seven and a half weeks, and we put an offer on our current house only a few hours after my husband had walked through it—I had never even seen it.)

“There is no way they’ll take us,” my husband kept muttering. “Six people? No way!”

I was inclined to agree with him. It seemed pretty farfetched.

A couple days later I cornered him in the back hall. “Suppose they say yes. Would you want to go?”

“Isn’t that a question you should’ve asked at the beginning?”

“Yeah, probably. And your answer would be…?”

“Yes, sure. But they’re not going to take us. It’s crazy.”

The “no” we expected to hear never came. Instead, our emails with MCC got longer and more involved. Friends who knew Stuff About This Sort Of Thing said that it was time for us to form a support team. We needed to quietly move ahead.

About a month into it (read, a month of tongue-biting, hand-wringing, nerve-wracking waiting, waiting, waiting), we got a call from headquarters. “Would it work to do a conference call this afternoon? Between you and us and the MCC reps in Guatemala?”

So that afternoon, instead of rest time, I set the kids up in the bedroom with a movie. My husband came home and we reviewed the list of questions I had written up. And then we sat at the kitchen table and waited. The appointed time came and went. When the phone rang, we both jumped, just like in the movies, and looked at each other, panicked. “Answer it!” my husband hissed.

The details are still not all worked out, and of course nothing is for certain until it happens, but things are now moving forward rapidly. The job description is being revamped. We met with potential renters last Sunday. Last week we applied for passports. Today we shared the news with the church.

There is so much more to this story, especially how we feel about it. There are Whys and What Fors and Hows that I have not even touched on. I imagine that as this becomes less News and more A Part of Our Lives, these bits and pieces will be incorporated into our story. The full picture will gradually be revealed—I expect it will be full of bright, splashy colors with some grays and dark shadows, too. Because no undertaking such as this is ever easy.

(And for those of you worried about whether or not I will continue to blog: I hear there is internet access where we will be, so yes, yes, yes!)

This same time, years previous: under the grape arbor, applesauce cake, garden inventory 2009, pizza with curried pumpkin sauce, sausage, and apples


  • Deb

    How very exciting! I visited that school on my EMU cross-cultural. I have very fond memories of Guatemala. I can't wait to follow along on your journey.

  • mavis

    If I fly to Guatemala {you know I would} can you pick me up at the airport? Can I stay with you guys for a few day? What a hoot that would be. I've never been to Guatemala. I want to go too!

  • Becky

    My daughter's bff's family just moved to Guatemala City, I suppose I should recall the name of the group her father works for but it escapes me right now. Going for a few months sounds far more manageable than a full-on move with 3 kids and 2 cats.
    Good luck and enjoy your adventure!

  • Jen J

    It's been my experience that when things are meant to be all the pieces fall into place quickly and easily. Enjoy your adventure, jump in with both feet and know that the rest of us admire your generous spirits! I can't wait to read your blog when you're there.

  • Mama Pea

    I can't imagine how you're coping with this whole process. My tummy was starting to feel more than a little exited and jittery and fluttery at the end of the post!

  • Christine Fairfield

    You're incredible. We get a lot of strange looks for dragging our 4 kids with us to Germany, BUT we get as many or more commendations for doing it and admiration for our bravery (and it definitely takes a fair bit of bravery!). All the pieces will come together–and for those that don't go quite as you'd expected or would like, have patience, there is always a solution. Can't wait to read your blog while you're there!

  • Laurie Longenecker

    I'm very interested to hear this news and read more details! So energizing and overwhelming all in one! It all sounds so familiar–talking to renters, quickly getting passports. Our MCC Bolivia process was fast too and I would say there are definitely both pros and cons to that kind of timing. And YES to that last paragraph about the Whys and What Fors and Hows…I'm still sorting through that. I look forward to following along on your blog.

  • the domestic fringe

    Wow! Such an adventure. Can't wait to go on the journey with you (through your blog of course, because I am sure they wouldn't want 7 people. ;-)).

Leave a Comment