Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pacaya- Oh My-ah!

As Linds mentioned in our last post, we recently trekked up to an active volcano named Pacaya to, well, play with the lava. We had no idea just how much playing with the lava we would actually attempt. I hope the following "pictograph" tells our story well.

After a one-and-a-half hour drive and a 45-minute hike we reached the edge of Pacaya's lava field. She's a real monster, as you can see from the photo.
Aaron, Elliott, Lindsay, Kent, Michelle and John about to contend with fuming Pacaya...

Once down on the lava field Momma Michelle decided she would feel more confident traversing the glass-like lava and steaming vents with the expert assistance of our Guatemalan guide, Erwin. Hand in hand, they carefully led our whole group across the treacherous terrain.
Erwin y Momma

Upon reaching our first flowing lava stream, I decided to incinerate the end of my walking stick. In this highly courageous move I singed my leg hairs and burned my right eye. It felt swollen 'til later that day. Aaron had a more favorable outcome with the same river, successfully lighting a cigarette in the molten lava.

After surveying some active vents, Erwin led our group to an erupting vent that gave us all an extraordinary thrill. A huge mass of molten lava began bubbling up right in front of us and soon covered an area about 100 feet wide. Erwin told us that we had "muy buena suerte" (very good luck) to see such an event. The photos speak for themselves...

John seems quite glad to be so close to orange, liquid rock.

Feeling celebratory on the morn of his 23rd birthday, and confident after his successful exploitation of the small lava stream, Aaron decided to get closer to this relatively huge eruption. It was really hot.
¡Feliz cumpleaños hermano loco!

As the lava crept closer I heard, "Señor Drake! Get up here. You’re going to be the father of my grandchildren!" It was a good point, so we retreated from the orange madness. Linds, Momma & Pops were very happy to have there three young men back up on the higher rocks safe and sound. After taking one last, respectful glimpse toward her crater, we started climbing our way out of Pacaya's crystalline landscape.

You do NOT want to fall on this stuff.

Mission Accomplished! It was AWESOME!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We Have Visitors!

On Saturday my parents and John arrived in Antigua. Then on Tuesday, Elliott's brother Aaron came to visit too! Elliott and I decided having them in town was a good enough excuse to take a week off from school. We have had a great week of exploring and learning. I don't have much time to write because we are about to go to dinner to celebrate Aaron's 23rd birthday, but I thought I would at least share some pictures from the week....

Dinner in an old convent

Enjoying the beautiful views of Volcan Agua

Visiting a coffee farm...Elliott is hard at work turning the drying beans

A hike up to the top of the city, Cerro de la Cruz

Playing soccer with the Breul boys

Today we hiked an active Volcano...what an experience...we will post pics and stories soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

10 razones para mudarnos

Well, we´re moving across town. We arrived in Antigua with the intention of living the whole time with a Guatemalan family to maximize our immersion experience. We have really enjoyed our time with Familia Roma in the northeast corner of Antigua, however for the reasons listed below we have decided to move on... Apartamento 2 de Callejon del Espiritu Santo here we come!

Razon 1:
I can handle two twin beds smushed together for a week or so, but after that my feet miss Lindsay´s feet too much. It´s time for a cama para dos (bed for two).

Razon 2:
We expected to be part of our Guatemalan host family, but they see our presence in their guest room more like a source of income than an opportunity to welcome us into the family. We totally understand their position considering they have three new random guests about every three weeks. They´ve been hosting students for twelve years, so inevitably they have had to establish some healthy boundaries. They prepare separate meals for us and either the husband or wife joins us to chat, however they don´t eat with us. It´s a little awkward and we´ve decided we would actually talk a lot more spanish at meal time if we were alone.

Razon 3:
You may recall that we met an awesome family when we were in training in Colorado who are studying spanish at the same time, in the same school as us. You may also recall that they too will be serving in the DR beginning this summer. Over the past two weeks we have grown even closer to John, Sally, Jake, Riley and Lucas Bruel. Last week an apartment opened up right next to their´s so as of next Tuesday we will be their new neighbors! We are so excited to continue building our friendship, practicing our spanish and having tons of fun with them. We feel incredibly blessed to be given this opportunity.

Razon 4:
The apartment has an extra room with two twin beds (don´t worry, our´s has a queeen), an ideal location for family to stay when they come visit! In fact, over the next month Lindsay´s parents and brother, and my parents and brother will all be visiting us in Antigua! The beds will be put to great use! We can´t wait to see them all!!!

Razon 5:
Our new living situation will provide Linds with much more control over her diet, which is very important to controlling her hypoglycemia.

Razon 6:
Señora Roma is an excellent cook, but Linds is waaaay better. Time to put back on some pounds that I´ve lost. Estoy muy flaco.

Razon 7:
We eagerly await the opportunity to establish a home and "nest". While this desire won´t be fully fulfilled until we arrive in the DR, our new apartment will provide a much better interim nest than our little room in a strange house.

Razon 8:
Washer & Dryer

Razon 9:
Did I mention the queen bed?

Razon 10:
Jacuzzi (just kidding)

We´ll post photos soon!