T minus 24 hours

We are twenty four hours away from our adventure to Guatemala. This blog will be focused on sharing our entire experience, the good the bad and perhaps even the ugly, though I hope there isn’t much of that to blog about.

Over the past eight weeks we have moved from our home (we leased it more quickly than expected), stowed, stored, stashed, trashed or donated everything we own and taken up residence on our 1969 43 foot Nautiline house boat. That has been an experience in and of itself. We’ve been comfortable, but the space is small, so organization is a must, at least for me. This arrangement worked well through the fall, but when December brought arctic air into Oklahoma, and the wind gusts turned the wind chill below zero a time or two, it was just plain miserable at times. We slept with a heating pad, so we were toasty under the covers, but it was cold above even with two heaters.  Some dear friends came to our rescue and invited us to stay with them.

This is one thing that the Guatemala Project has taught me already, how to receive the generosity of others gracefully. Since I made the decision to live and work in Guatemala, I have been in the constant grace of others. As I let more and more of my egoic pride go, more and more humility has flowed into me. As I write, I feel so humbled by the complete generosity of all my family and friends. We could have never made it through the last eight weeks without them. This includes those who are here in Oklahoma and my friends in Guatemala.

We board our flight to Guatemala City  at 6:00am, Saturday, December 27, 2008 and we view it as an enormous opportunity in every way, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally. The baseline qualifications I have for any decision I need to make is, “will this bring me more peace, more joy, more freedom and more love?” If the answer is yes, I move forward full throttle.  The Guatemala Project meets this criteria and more. I have absolutely no idea what the coming months will bring, but that would be true regardless of where I live and work.

My husband and I have rented a modest but comfortable two bedroom apartment in Guatemala City. It is in a safe zone and has a great view of the volcanoes. There is a little balcony that I plan to frequent in the morning with coffe and the evening with a glass of wine perhaps. I expect I’ll be doing a lot of my blogging from that space.

I am going to Guatemala to work as a corporate life coach, working with the individuals who make up executive management teams and I will do this with my Guatemalan associate. She and I met in coaches training nearly three years ago and she is a person of vision. When we figured out that it would be possible to work together, I was on the bus right away.

In September, ’08, I took a two week trip to Guatemala City and stayed with my friend and associate. We hosted a cocktail reception and presentation of our services to a respectable audience of Guatemalan business owners and our concept and programs for corporate coaching were well recieved. It was decided then that I would be returning for a long stay at the first of the year.

That seemed to be a reasonable amount of time for me to get all my affairs in order, but three months have gone by so quickly. We’ve done everything that we can to prepare both to be gone from home and arrive in Guatemala City for an extended stay. We don’t know how long we will be there, but we have leased out our home and the apartment for one year. We’ll be back in April for the college graduation ceremonies of one of my daughters.

Many people ask me if it is safe to live in Guatemala City and I’m not totally sure of the answer. I think that if we are cautious and practice awareness, we will be safe. From the research I have done, there are gangs and banditos in certain areas and that is much like any U.S. city. What is different is the level of security and crimes that are prosecuted. I read that about only 3% of criminal activity, including homocide, is ever investigated. It is an emerging economy and a country that is war torn after 36 years of civil war so that is to be expected. But I believe that the country is headed in the right direction and I pray for the emergence of justice, peace, safety and prosperity.

The country itself is very beautiful as are its people. I deeply enjoyed my two week stay back in September. It was the rainy season and the plant life was lush and green. The highlands are spectacular as are the active volcanoes. Volcan de Fuego simmers and spits actively. There are 33 volcanoes in Guatemala as a matter of fact, plus the old city of Antigua and the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum. There are high mountain lakes and the jungle where the guacamayo (macaw) fly freely.

I’m looking forward to sharing my journey. Keep reading!

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