We Are Family!

Uh HI, you said this was the picture page, what's with all the chit-chat? Pics please!

We were so excited that Kerri, Owen, Josh and Abby got to come visit during the holidays!  Spending time with family during Christmas was just what we needed.  They showed up on the 26th to spend a couple of days with our host family in Cantel before heading out to see some of the hot spots in Guatemala.  They even brought goodies from the U.S., including a gift from Keiko which she knitted to keep me from "freezing".

Our stay in Cantel was cramped, but we loved every minute of it.  Graciela cooked for EVERYONE (including ALL of the young adult volunteers who came to visit), and we all got the chance to ride a neighbors horse.  Now, I have to interject here and say, who gets on a chicken bus and rides for five hours just to meet your family?  Our awesome YAV friends, that's who!  We all camped out at Martin and Graciela's for two days straight, eating, chatting, riding horses, visiting the pueblo of Cantel for church, accompanying the family to vote in the run-off elections and to see the shop of Graciela's sister-in-law... it was a really wonderful and special time for us.

The clash of cultures was fun to experience.  Though the kids couldn't speak each other's languages, they got along like best buddies.  Josh kept running over to ask, "how do you say... in Spanish?"  When I asked him what his favorite thing at Martin's house, he described the patio and playing with the boys.  And, Abby said she missed Marlon and Eduardo once our trip took us away from Cantel.  She loved riding the horse, even after she got a quick little kick (no harm done).

We enjoyed our stay in Panajachel (Lake Atitlan), took chicken buses, haggled for goodies, ate tons of food, the Brands had a chuj (a Mayan sauna for bathing), walked to the lake to skip rocks, learned a new card game (canasta) and enjoyed the New Year in Antigua, one of the more charming spots in Guatemala.  We were sad to see them leave and of course, couldn't get out of the airport without some tears, but we were thrilled we spent the holidays with them.

We miss you, family! 

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