November 29, 2011

Do they eat turkey in Guatemala?

No. Not usually.

But leave it to the PTA of our school to go above and beyond and provide the teachers from the United States with a complete Thanksgiving dinner. So yes, we were able to enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving, amongst other a trip to the warm beaches of El Salvador. Take a look...

These are the tents, tables, and chairs set up on Wednesday afternoon for our Thanksgiving feast. The feast included turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, and apple pie.
 This picture is of Collin with a few of our friends from school. All we needed was to find somebody from Asia to make this picture quadra-cultural. Next time.
 After Thanksgiving dinner, we hopped on a bus and made the 4 hour trip to Guatemala City (en-route for El Salvador.) At the hostel in Guatemala City on Wednesday, we found this sign hanging on the wall for us. It will be a pleasure to serve. I think they appreciated the fact that our group had booked every room they have in their hostel.
 At the crack of dawn Thursday morning, we hopped on another bus to go to El Salvador, which was another 5 hour ride. Once we reached the capital, we crammed 10 people into two different taxis, and took a 40 minute ride to a bed and breakfast on Playa San Blas.
 Here is the bed and breakfast we stayed at, called El Coral. It was rustic and secluded and wonderful. The bed and breakfast is also a restaurant, which was quite handy, considering we were a 10 minute bus ride from the nearest town.
The place we stayed at was complete with hammocks, a pool, and lots of hot sunshine.
 This is the group of ten teachers from our school that we were with. A lovely group indeed.
 During low tide, the water is about 100 yards away from the fence of the bed and breakfast. During high tide, the ocean water comes about 20 feet from the fence, and you cannot even see these rocks.
 We enjoyed many things on our trip, including a lot of reading on the beach and boogie-boarding in the ocean, with the water being at least 80 degrees...
Finding random creatures in the tide pools during low tide...such as squid and hermit crabs...
And sending endangered baby turtles who had just hatched back into the ocean...
We also enjoyed going into town to eat pupusas (thick tortillas filled with meat, cheese, and/or vegetables.) They are delicious, and cost an average of 40 cents per pupusa...
As well as learning how to eat seafood still inside the shells...complicated yet delicious.
And of course, we enjoyed many beautiful sunsets...leaving a glow on the water, sand, palm trees, and mountains...

We really enjoyed our long weekend in El Salvador with some great friends. And everything with traveling went smoothly...until the last leg of the trip. In our final taxi ride home, I left a bag inside of the taxi. The bag had many Christmas presents that we had bought for other people. It was quite depressing that our wonderful vacation ended this way. Collin ran around town trying to see if he could find the taxi again. (Husband of the year award.) He was not able to find it, and we figured the bag was lost, but we planned to go back to the bus station the next day to look for it anyways. What are the chances we would be able to find the exact same taxi in a big city? 

We both prayed about it, telling God that we realized that it was a somewhat silly thing to pray for, but we really would like to find that bag back. When we went back to the bus station the next day, we could not find the taxi, let alone remember what color it was. We were advised to look at the other bus station a few blocks down. The taxi was not there either. We decided to walk home and accept that the bag of gifts we had bought were lost forever. As we walked past the first bus station again, what to our wondering eyes did appear, but our taxi man from the night before!!! He pulled right up next to the bus station and parked! And even more amazing, is that our bag of gifts was still in his taxi!

We knew this was a silly thing to pray about, yet it was a great reminder to us about how miracles often happen in the daily matters of life. For us, it was God sending us our one-in-a-million taxi driver with our bag of gifts. Other times, it has been a conversation with someone at just the right moment in time to lift our spirits. And still other times, it has been Guatemalan families welcoming us and showing us generosity.

Miracles still happen. And El Salvador rocks.

Grace and Peace,