written by Michelle


Hi! I am Michelle, a born and raised California girl, who now calls Guatemala home. I am a wife, mama and teacher at heart. My days are spent navigating life as an expat, in a cross-cultural marriage, committed to raising our daughter bilingually and biculturally. Truthfully, it always feels a bit complicated.

In 2010, I moved to Guatemala. I packed up my classroom and my house, labeled everything and stuffed it in a storage unit. Because you know, I was coming back in a year. That was my plan at least.

Saying good-bye to Santa Barbara was, and still is, one of the hardest things I ever did. But I believe in trusting the still small voice inside, even when it doesn’t always make sense.

As you may have guessed, I didn’t go back.

I married a man who is different, and better, than I ever expected. We actually met in 2008 on a previous trip to Guatemala. He says it was love at first sight, but I just didn’t know it. We share a love for Jesus, social justice and traveling, but we usually do not share dessert. We speak in English, text in Spanish and the majority of conversations come out something like this “Mi amor, can you bring me the little toalla from the mueble.” Our sweet little girl, will probably speak fluent Spanglish.

Gerber, actually pronounced “Hair-bear”, and I got married in 2011. (I know you’ve all been reading it as Gerber, like Gerber Baby Food for years:) We are continually learning how to work and serve and parent together. We work for a non-profit organization doing Christian Community development work in rural communities in Guatemala. That’s a mouthful. Basically, he builds water filters and fuel-efficient stoves and I coordinate the logistics and details of hosting short-term servant teams. We work with the poor, but live among the rich. How’s that for a daily tension and struggle.

I believe God cares deeply about people, all people. Period. Sometimes in our humanness and fear we impose hierarchies and labels and declare who is in and who is out and who is better, who is worse. Can we just all agree to get rid of those? I love thinking about culture, faith and history and how those three intersect and overlap. One cannot be understood without the other.

I grew up as the daughter of a pastor in a church where I thought being a Christian was about having all the right answers, thirty years later I am more convinced that choosing to follow Jesus involves living with more questions. And I am ok with that.

I have a horrible habit of starting books and not finishing them. I could sit at my computer for hours with 17 tabs usually opened at once. I love smoothies, yoga and sunshine. Thankfully, three things Guatemala has an abundance of. Coffee shops are my love language and good conversations give me energy for days. I am a lover of words; spoken, written, even notes scribbled on post-it notes makes me swoon. Just ask my husband.

I wish Target and Trader Joes and Amazon Prime would appear in Guatemala and that our little girl would learn to sleep through night. Other than that I’m pretty content here. Well, minus wishing that my family & closest friends could be within a 5-minute drive. Let’s be honest, saying good-bye is still hard and defining home feels complicated.

I like my coffee iced, my chocolate dark and if I could, I would eat all of my meals outside.

If you’ve made it this far, I am impressed. :)

If you’re new here, thanks for stopping by! Stay awhile, comment if you wish or send me an email. I love hearing from readers and do my best to get back to people.

You can read the most popular post from Simply Complicated here and see some of my published work from around the web here.

And if you ever happen to be in Guatemala let me know. Would love to grab a cup of coffee and tell you about this counry that I love. I enjoy meeting new people and, you know because of my love of coffee shops and good conversations, it makes it a win, win.

Thanks for reading my words and letting me think through, this wonderfully, beautiful, simply complicated life.

With a Grateful Heart,