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30th October
written by Michelle

October is kind of like June in Guatemala. Not the weather or the temperature outside, but the feeling that comes when a another school year has ended, final grades and projects are turned in, graduations, more commonly know as claursuras, have just about finished and students begin the glorious 10 weeks that are known as vaccaciones. And teachers do the same.

My schedule and job have changed quite a bit since leaving Santa Barbara in 2010, but at the end of a school year the feeling is still the same. My body and mind want to slow down, soak up quiet mornings and settle in.

A few weeks ago when Gerber asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday I said, something relaxing. And it was just that. He invited a few friends to Earth Lodge, one of my favorite local get-a-ways, where lunch is eaten at picnic tables, and cornhole and Adirondack chairs line the grassy lawn and naps are taken in hammocks. It was splendid. After having spent the prior week camping and building water filters with 12 jr. highers this was just the kind of day I wanted.

We celebrated later, just the two of us at our favorite restaurant, Hector’s. Which is basically where we go for engagements (well, just one engagement), birthdays and whenever we have out of town guests visiting.  The atmosphere is intimate, with no more than 8 tables and you have to step through the kitchen to get to the single stall bathroom. But the food is superb. A limited menu ensures that you can’t go wrong. My favorites: The roasted tomatoes and Gouda cheese. Hands-down, best margarita in Antigua. Tender duck with roasted grapes and the orange chocolate fondant is pure delight. Seriously, if you’re ever in Antigua this is a must go to.

We talked about this next season and what we want to get done before we head to the states in December. We dreamed about our next possible travel destination and how to add a 2nd level to our house. (Yes, you read that correctly…In Guatemala, you just build up. So, we’re hoping to add a 2nd story to our 2 bedroom, 1 bath casita.) While we finished the last of our desserts, he asked me what I’m most looking forward to in my 30s?

My response was contentment. For the first time in a number of years, I breathe a little easier. My heart feels a little more settled. I am content with who I am, my body, where I live, and our life together. By no means does it mean I don’t get stressed or have horribly frustrating days, but somehow this birthday I celebrated something new. Maybe it’s something that comes from taking a risk, leaving everything, starting over and trusting that God has a better plan than I do. During my 20s I felt like I was working hard to be content, wrestling with myself and who I thought I should be and questioning God often. But maybe that’s the funny thing about contentment, you can’t work on it. It washes over you when you finally surrender and say here I am.

Here I am, and I am quite content with 30 thus far.



  1. Wendy Ashenbrenner

    Nice - I know what you mean. So glad you guys are so happy. Best wishes for the coming decade and beyond.

  2. 05/11/2012

    Hello, and Happy Birthday! The reason I stopped by is that you used to post on Budget Blond’s “Wherever Wednesday” sometimes. I asked her recently if I could start it up again on my blog, and she said yes. The first one will be this Wed., Nov 7th, and I’d love it if you could join up again. Love to hear about life in Guatamala, the states, or wherever!

  3. Michelle

    Great, sounds like a good plan! Thanks Gale.

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