30 June 2011

paint the town.

30 june 2011

We had a great night at Cafe No Se & La Casbah. Whenever I’m dancing the night away, I can’t help but think, This is what life is all about – celebration. Even if all you’re celebrating is the weekend.

Sheryl took this shot of us with my host parents before we headed out for the night.

29 June 2011

el tanque.


As far as I know, this is the biggest pila in town. But even more famous than for washing clothes, El Tanque is known for the slews of high school aged kids making out with each other each afternoon. They line up along the side of the pila & just go at it. I know it’s simply a cultural difference, but I would be so embarrassed!

28 June 2011



Here is a memorial, in the lodge where we stayed, of the Rio Negro massacre. It basically talks in Achi’ about what happened at Rio Negro. In the middle, it lists all the names of the innocent Mayans who were murdered.

27 June 2011


This is the small trail our boat made in the river of trash that, in some parts, is Rio Negro. People in other towns down the river use the water as their personal dump and all the trash floats down to the stagnant water in front of the mountain where we stayed. Not only is the trash thick, but it is so deep that the boats often can't make it through. We had to pull together a team of about six or seven men to sweep the trash out of the way with long, thick branches used as oars. It was truly eye-opening to see what littering can do to a civilization like that of the Achi' at Rio Negro.

26 June 2011


After a three-hour hike up the mountain (no wonder they say mountains are breathtaking), we reached the spot where the actual Rio Negro massacre of 1982 occurred. This sign was erected in the place where it happened to remember the terrible act that the civil patrol and military brought upon the Achi' Maya. The story was narrated by our guide, whose mother was actually victimized during the massacre. He explained in vivid detail exactly how brutal the rapes and murders actually were.

25 June 2011

rio negro.

The view of the mountains, the river and the sunset was breathtaking. I couldn't believe the beautiful place I got to stay, on a peaceful mountaintop with Achi' Mayans. Sometimes the silence was hypnotizing, with the lack of car horns and computer keyboards and ringing cell phones. Rio Negro was so remote that there was no computer access or cell phone signal whatsoever. However, I thoroughly enjoyed getting away from civilization for a few days, even if it did mean no shower.

24 June 2011


I was so thrilled with the great turnout to celebrate my birthday (part II on Friday night). Here's a bunch of us at Sobremesa for cheesecake. Even more showed up at Cafe No Se. In all, 15 out of 18 of the CIRMA kids came out to help my ring in my 20th year of life.

23 June 2011

corpus christi.


Today, Antigua had a huge celebration of Corpus Christi. There was a major parade & lots of boys, like this one, setting off bombas, or fireworks, in the street. I especially liked this shot of him running from the explosion. Latin Americans really know how to do their holidays right.

22 June 2011



The beautiful view from my rooftop history classroom. I love this class! I am going to have no problem listening to my teacher for four hours. I learned a ton even on the first day.

21 June 2011


blog 21 june 2011

Aqui esta mi clase de antropologia, en “Casa Diez". Hay dos edificios de CIRMA. Casa Cinco es el edificio mayor pero Casa Diez tiene un lounge y cafe illimitado.

20 June 2011


The beautiful courtyard of my new school in Antigua. I feel so comfortable here; we´ve been told we can spend as much time as we want here to hang out or study. There is a lounge & there are lots of places to study. I can´t wait for classes to start tomorrow!

19 June 2011

mono loco y kinky afros.

Jasmine found this sign somewhat humorous & ironic. Last night, we went to Monoloco, a fun night spot, even if it does cater to tourists.

18 June 2011

our pet.

blog 18 june 2011

Most families have a dog or a cat. Our host family has a turtle. & not just any turtle: a bejeweled turtle named Luki. He has free reign of the house so beware of stepping on a turtle in the middle of the walkway!

17 June 2011

fondue: felton style.

blog 17 june 2011

For my last night in town, Mom prepared our own version of the Melting Pot. It was still tasty, but much more economical. Along with the typical cheese & chocolate fondues, we also had boiling oil in which to fry shrimp, chicken & beef. That was something I’d never tried in a fondue pot, & it was actually pretty good.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Guatemala. Here we go again. & the Houston airport better not slow me down this time.

16 June 2011

all in a day’s work.

blog 16 june 2011

Tanner & Thomas have been volunteering at a Christian soccer camp this week, putting forth about five hours a day. I don’t know if it was the soothing rain this afternoon or just being exhausted from working all morning, but Thomas fell right asleep on the wood floor by our front door.

15 June 2011

booties & new equipment.

blog 15 june 2011

With my time back in the states, I took the opportunity to experiment with my dad’s external flash, & now I know that’s top priority for the next camera equipment I buy. I wanted to try the flash out on a colorful subject in the somewhat harsh lighting of my parents’ kitchen. I can see a visible difference in the look of this picture & how it would look if I had just used the internal flash on my Canon. The lighting looks really natural, as if it had actually been light outside.

As a side note, what you’re looking at is the rather large collection of booties that my dogs wear so they won’t scratch up my parents’ floor. With each new pair of booties, the shoes eventually get lost & finally turn up after new ones have already been bought. This corner of our kitchen is where the rejects always end up.

14 June 2011

i tied the knot.

blog 14 june 2011

I never really saw the point in tying knots in cherry stems with my tongue. What does it accomplish, really? But I guess even I can get to the point where I’m bored enough that it seems worth my time. & isn’t that talent supposed to say something about me? I can’t remember what it is – help me out here.

13 June 2011

summertime in lawrence.

blog 13 june 2011

Today was the perfect summer day in Lawrence, which I didn’t really get to enjoy as a townie during the school year, when there were always assignments & deadlines. Early this morning, Lauren gave me the grand tour of Lawrence Free State High School (above, she’s showing me the cafeteria), where so many of my friends spent three years of life. I even saw Mr. Strecker’s room.

Then, after a leisurely breakfast back at the Crandon domain, we did a little shopping, had lunch at Aladdin Cafe & spent quite a while at the library. Like I said, the perfect Lawrence day with the life partner.

12 June 2011


blog 12 june 2011

Last night, Lauren & I visited the newly married couple, Bri & Dave, in their new apartment at Stouffer Place. It was great to see them, especially since I missed the wedding, & having all four of us back together again felt like old times. Here you can see Bri playing the role of the traditional housewife, & she definitely fits the bill, with her cute apron & ever-present energy.

11 June 2011

car shows & camera phones.

Out of laziness, I neglected to bring either of my cameras out to dinner with the family. So of course, it seems like fate that there was an awesome car show going on in the parking lot. This is the best I could do with a camera phone, & I hope I will learn my lesson from now on: NEVER go without a camera. I should know by now that the best photo moments always come when you don’t expect them.

10 June 2011

riddle me this.

I've got a riddle for you: is the container falling or balancing?

09 June 2011


Mom & I went to the old Rio theatre in Overland Park to see Jane Eyre. An enjoyable outing.

08 June 2011

chef mg.

Lazy summer days like today always inspire my culinary endeavors.

07 June 2011


I got the grand tour of Gardner & Edgerton today. First, I see Gardner in a new light; I now much more approve of the town as a whole. It is beautiful at sunset. Secondly, Adam informed me that this car is the most famous landmark in all of Edgerton. I believe it somehow speaks for itself as to the town's reputation.

06 June 2011

una sorpresa.

Yes, I'm just as surprised as the next person to be going back to the states. But alas, Guatemala, I'll return to you in two short weeks!

05 June 2011


I found my school! See you in two weeks, CIRMA!

04 June 2011

bagel barn.

I usually don't patronize the tourist places in other countries, but after getting pretty sick after last night's dinner, I decided something so popular with all the tourists might be nicer to my stomach. Bagel Barn came highly recommended to me & didn't disappoint me. The Americano was the best coffee I've had in two weeks (but then, I have been drinking instant coffee everyday). The bagel was also delicious; the strawberries were really fresh and not covered in that sugary syrup lots of places use to preserve their fruit. For a meal this size, expect to pay about as much as you would at Einstein Bros. in the states. 4/5 stars.

03 June 2011


Today, the last day of Kab'lajuj Ey, we had the opportunity to teach our wonderful teachers English. Making the overly animated faces as we said, "Watch closely & listen carefully," was so fun. Then we received certificates & presented our Kaqchikel "thank you" speeches to the teachers, featured above. It was definitely an unforgettable two weeks.

02 June 2011

iximche' ruinas.

No Central American trip would be complete without seeing the local ruins. Kab'lajuj Ey went to Iximche' on Waqxaqi' Ey, a day that boded well for good luck. We also participated in a Mayan ceremony to give thanks to ri Ajaw (God). The ceremony was probably the most special part of this trip for me.

Also, I thought the fact that the fire blew ash on me during the entire two & a half hour ceremony, rendering me the appearance of a chimney sweep, was surely an ominous sign. Emily told me that, in fact, it's exceptionally good luck, because the fire (& God) paid attention to me!

01 June 2011


Here is Ixkamey demonstrating her mastery of weaving. Later on, the students were able to jump in & accrue some experience. Meghan & I were old pros, having learned how to weave last week.