Sunday, May 29, 2011

A "Normal" Saturday in Guatemala...

I had someone tell me recently that the things which I now consider "normal" would probably be very interesting to people who do not live here in Guatemala. Today, as we were running errands in the city, I started looking at my day with that mind set.

Here is just a small snap shot of my day which was so close to my old normal and yet so far.....

Katey, Todd and I went into the city to run some errands. We decided that we could do one stop shopping if we went to Eskala Mall. It has a newly renamed store....Walmart.

I could not find the makeup I needed so I bought a different brand and hoped it would work. They also don't have bottled water by the case, so we grabbed an arm full of individual bottles and hoped to make it to the cart without dropping them.

I could not find a few of the items I needed, but I made a mental note of the items I saw that they had not carried before.

We spoke spanish in the checkout line, payed in quetzals and headed out of the store. The store opens up to the inside hallways of the mall, just like in the US, but we now had our Walmart cart. We left the mall and headed for our car, passing a security guard with a very large gun in his hands.

After loading up the car, we decided that we were hungry and it was well past lunch time, so we decided to grab a quick lunch at the mall Pizza Hut. This is not the food court Pizza Hut but the sit down kind and it was cleaner than any Pizza Hut I've been in.

The manager asked us in spanish (of course) if we wanted to be able to see the TV and we said yes. It seemed the whole restaurant was there to see the TV. Barcelona was playing Manchester United in soccer.

Now imagine the whole US being either a Redskin or Baltimore fan. No other teams even come close.... that is what it is like here. Just about everyone is either a Real Madrid or Barcelona fan and today only Barcelona was playing. Since leaving our house earlier in the day we lost count on how many Barcelona shirts we had seen. Every TV in Walmart , every radio that had a plug, was on the game.

As I headed to the Pizza Hut bathroom, Barcelona scored and the whole restaurant (including Todd) went nuts. Even the kitchen staff was out of the kitchen watching the TV (which made me wonder how long it would take to get our pizza, but it came quite quickly).

I ordered pepsi light (diet pepsi) and it almost always comes in a can. This time it was a fountain drink....I was so excited. Do you have free refills, I asked? No.

Since moving here I have found 1 resturant that had free refills. Todd and Katey ordered a bottle of water, which they call agua pura (like your going to order agua unpura..) which also does not come with refills, so the old trick of ordering water to cut down on your tab does not work here.

I have not had Pizza Hut since moving here, so we decided to splurge and get the stuffed crust. It was good, the crust was stuffed, but on the outside of the crust was cheddar cheese.

We enjoyed our meal, our non refillable drinks, and the game (Barcelona won in case you missed it) and we headed home.

Then, this evening, a mom and four of her 7 kids stopped by to say they did not have enough food to eat.

This is such a struggle for us. We know the concept behind the saying, "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day but if you teach him to fish he eats for a lifetime", but when they are standing on your door step at 6:30 pm in the dark and the rain with 4 of their kids, ranging from ages 12 to 3 months, there is not time to teach fishing. We invited them in, introduced the little ones to our cat, fed them popcorn, chatted in spanish, and then I packed up a lot of food (some that I had just bought at Walmart) and we hugged them and prayed with them and the mom cried and we gave them bus money and sent them on their way.
And as the evening was coming to an end, I thought, what a "normal" Saturday.

I am not always content with the new normal, but the Lord is working on me, which brings to mind the part of Philippians 4:12 that says, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation," ......That is my prayer.

Have you ever had to adjust to a new normal?

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