Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 01/22/2011

Mi nueva vivienda!! Pasteles y invitados!

22 enero 2011- sabado

Argh! Internet problems have been dogging me…first, my modem not working and now apparently our muni office doesn’t have funding to pay for internet service, so we are without for how long…who knows? Thankfully I found this wonderful internet cafe in Xela with fast WiFi…such a treat!

Mi casita amarilla

Last night was a pleasure to spend in my new vivienda (housing)…although I will definitely have to adapt to the sound of the bus rumbling by at all hours…so I am feeling a bit sleepy this afternoon. With little notice, my adopted host mom, Dona Fina, jumped at my request to transport my belongings to my new home…Within half an hour she showed up in her pickup with husband and daughter. One trip by truck for the short distance of 2 blocks saved at least 10 trips on foot….amazing how much I’ve gained in 5 mos! So glad to have wonderful Guatemalan friends and fellow volunteers!

My new landlady, Dona Rosa, and I chatted for awhile last night before I moved in…clearly it was important for her to share about her family so I would know who I was renting from. That personal interest is rare in the U.S. It was such a treat to hear my landlords voice their desire that I be comfortable and happy…yes!

Vista to the mountains

So my new home is a 2-bedroom house on the main road leading out of town (thus, the buses). My landlords are keeping the smaller bedroom for themselves for their occasional visits, but the large bedroom will be like a studio space, very adequate and I just need to come up with creative ways to divide up the space. I will pay 500 quetzales/month or approx $75 plus monthly electricity costs, which will be about $8. I truly will have sticker shock at prices in the U.S. after adapting to costs here.

The bathroom has an electric water heater at the shower head…a nice amenity,

Hot showers at last!

however, I will probably still head to the los banos 1-2x/wk for my warm thermal soak and socialization. The outdoor patio (sheltered) is where I will put my gas oven and stove….and perhaps will be the site of my future baking classes. There is a lovely view out to the mountains from the patio, so I can view many of the towns I will eventually be visiting….more in next post about finally getting out to one of the towns last Thursday.

I promised follow-up to my questions…at least one brave soul ventured some guesses, and did get at least 50% correct. Here are the answers:

At each meal, what food is served that can also double as a utensil or napkin? tortillas
What is the Guatemalan name for a bus? camioneta
What has been the maximum #people on a bus bench with me? 7
What is the 2nd largest city in Guatemala (and site of my favorite dancing)? Xela
What technology do most Guatemalans use? cell phones
What are the names for the west and east part of the country? occidente, oriente
In which region live most Mayans? occidente
When are fireworks likely to be popping off?Anytime, day and night
What is the most important holiday in Guatemala? La semana santa (Easter)
What is the Spanish name for the insect that relentlessly keeps pursuing me? pulgas (fleas)
What is a musical instrument typical of Guatemala? marimba
What do Guatemalans say to others at the beginning or end of meals? buen provecho




  1. Janet,

    Gotta love the price of housing! In contrast, I was at a modest little house on Alki yesterday which was for sale for 650.000 dollars. Ridiculous, I say!

    Cool dancing tonight at Sonny’s, jazz and swing standards.



  2. Glad you got your housing situation all figured out! Nikki has been enjoying your blog and says to say hi.

  3. Another post in one day…but just wanted to say you are living in the house that I walked by for two years and loved. I wanted to live there! Congratulations….

  4. Hola Elena,
    I do indeed love StBart…and I really enjoy my neighbor of Dona Paula…a very spry 80+ yr old. Tomorrow I will have lunch at Dona Fina’s, so I will tell her hello for you!!

    Glad you are enjoying my blog posts. Right now us 3 volunteers here are thinking up some ideas for March 8th, International Day of Women.

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