Posts Tagged ‘change’

31st March
written by Michelle


It’s been a loooonnnggg week over here. I feel like with two working parents and a schedule that changes week by week we have finally figured out a good routine, or maybe rhythm is a better word, for us as a family…but then someone gets sick and everything tips out of balance.

I really have nothing to complain about. Elena has only had one other cold in the history of her 9 months of life. I’ve never even taken the girl’s temperature cause she’s just always been pretty healthy. But last week she started getting the sniffles and the dripping mocos and then the horrible congestion. She is as happy as can be during the day, but poor girl just can’t breathe very well at night. So she wakes up every 2 hours, then ever 45 minutes and then finally I just end up holding her. I’m sure all of the mothers of the world have sat up at night holding a sick, stuffy baby. In between praying “please go to sleep” prayers and patting her sweaty head I started wondering, Why can’t babies blow their nose? I mean wouldn’t have that been a great evolutionary advance for humans? I’m gonna have to take that one up with God. That and why cockroaches exist. That’s another topic. But I am convinced they are from the devil.

So, we’ve been doing steam showers, essentials oils and of course lots of sucking with this thing. She hates it. So I usually hold her arms down, and Gerber sucks. We’re a good team like that. And you know how sleep has been a challenge for her already… so now it feels like were back at ground zero. Baby sleep kinda feels like two steps forward, one step back, right? Maybe that’s what motherhood in general feels like.

Speaking of motherhood, earlier this week someone we work with asked Gerber, “IF I WAS PREGNANT?” what the….?!? Apparently they had seen me and noticed my panzita and so they asked him. (Sweet man, told me cause he knows I would always rather hear it from him instead of someone else) Now, I can take it with a grain of salt. In Guatemala, most women have panzitas (tummy) and commenting on a woman’s body is more common, not so offensive here. But still, I’m not Guatemalan so I was slightly offended. So naturally, I turned to google. And started researching 9 months post-partum tummy and basically diagnosed myself with diastasis recti. Maybe just to make myself feel better I emailed a picture of my tummy to a good friend. And she said all the encouraging, true and beautiful things that good friends say. Usually, I am pretty comfortable with my body and quite thankful for how it grew a tiny human, but some days the crazy voices and google can take over.

Part of my journey in becoming a mom has been accepting that I cannot measure my success during a week by how much I get done. I just can’t. Productivity and motherhood don’t belong in the same sentence. I really want to enjoy Elena, this stage, and all her baby-ness. (well, except the sleeplessness. I don’t enjoy that) And I realize by choosing to enjoy the now it means other things have to give. It means I often have piles and unfinished projects. It means I sometimes compose blog posts in my head that never make it to the screen and I save lists of books that I want to read, but I know their pages may never be opened. I know I am a better mom and wife when I exercise and have my nails painted and get to connect with friends, but lots of other things just have to wait.

Maybe one of the surprising challenges of becoming parents for us is how much work it takes to keep a healthy marriage. I think Gerber and I both are really good at loving our daughter. But it’s been harder for us to figure out how to keep loving each other well. Having a baby changes things, in a wonderful, wouldn’t-go-back- kinda way. But it involves some adjusting and re-learning. And we’re still figuring that out. Day by day, booger-sucking-night, by booger-sucking-night.

So, after a long week and a stuffy baby, this morning our sitter called in sick. She probably got Elena’s cold, poor thing. Because I stumble and stress over what to do when plans change, I am so thankful I married a man who shines in the moment. Last minute, spontaneous planing is his favorite. So after one frantic text message, we rearranged our schedules. I took Elena for the morning and he stayed with her for the afternoon. Because we usually don’t have a free Monday morning together I threw the diaper bag and stroller in the car and drove to Antigua. We walked around the park. Looked for birds and watched the fountain. I did some emails, she ate an apple.

Before leaving town we walked into Cafe Barista. And I snapped this photo. Isn’t she precious?!


I really love being her mom, even if she can’t blow her nose yet.

30th June
written by Michelle


When you grow up in the states and go from being a student right back to being a teacher June begins to hold a special meaning. For 25 years of my life June signified the end of another school year, and the start of summer. There was a natural rhythm to one thing ending and another beginning.

I love summer. Days get longer, nights warmer and kids and adults both seem to play more. There’s beach BBQs and slip-n-slides and the smell of sunscreen and watermelon. When we were growing up most summer days we lived in our swimsuits, running through sprinklers or in and out of our neighbor’s pool. We’d gather around our outdoor picnic table for dinner and ten minutes later,  jump down with bbq chicken staining our cheeks and half eaten corn on our plates.  Still wearing our swimsuits, we ran through the backyard sometimes until 9 at night, just as the California sun set behind the trees.


•    •    •

But now June signifies something different. School doesn’t end in Guatemala until October and the months of June through August are characterized by rain. Summer feels different now. And sometimes to be quite honest I get a little sad in June. I can’t quite describe it or pinpoint why. Maybe that’s what change brings. A little grieving and loss.

I was in the states last week for a visa renewal trip and realized it was two years ago this June that I moved down to Guatemala. If you’re new here or don’t know the whole story you can read what my plan was in 2010 here. It’s funny to me now that I wrote :

“I believe in taking risks, being bold and listening to that still, small voice inside that says “go” even when you don’t know where you’re going.”

Little did I know how true that would be.  I listened to that still, small voice and left Santa Barbara in 2010, not knowing that taking risks and being bold meant I wouldn’t be moving back.


•    •    •

And then last year in June, I wrote this in the middle of emptying out my storage unit and selling all of the things that had made Santa Barbara home for 9 years. I was still getting used to an engagement ring on my left hand and shopping for wedding dresses in fancy stores, while also coming to grips that I was leaving and letting go of Santa Barbara for good. I was excited for a future in Guatemala with the man I loved, but I knew the next time I came to Santa Barbara I would be a visitor. It would no longer be home.


•    •    •

And now June 2012, here I am, sitting inside on a rainy afternoon. (Quite prophetic as I write about missing summer, huh?) And I realize the moving to Guatemala may have been the single biggest change in my life, but also the most rewarding. Of course I still miss things from the U S of A- I always will. Things like carpet and chocolate covered soy nuts, free-Amazon shipping, Pandora and return policies. There is no Target here, nor Trader Joes, no runs by the beach and leaving your front door unlocked. And until someone invents a teleportation system I only get to see my closet friends and family a few weeks out of the year.


•    •    •

Those are the losses. And I’ve learned I have to give myself permission to acknowledge them. And feel them.

But there is so much more that I have gained. (Besides my incredible husband)


Living in Guatemala makes me grateful- consistently grateful. •  I have learned to live with less and be ok with it. •  I have learned that for me what is sometimes an inconvenience (a rainy afternoon), is necessary for someone else’s livelihood (a farmers’ corn harvest). • Guatemala does a great job of reminding me that I am not in fact in control. •  I cannot control the weather, the road closures and what food there will be in the market.  •  Living here as a visitor, or better yet a foreigner, has challenged all of my ideas about how we, in the U.S. treat our visitors and foreigners.  •  And living here as allowed me to learn a new language and culture, and see my own with a new perspective.  •  I have learned the joy of trying new things, making mistakes and having to ask for help. •  I am often reminded how big God is and how small I am. •  My credentials don’t matter here, but how you treat people does. And I love that.

Shauna Niequest, an author who I adore for her honesty and authenticity wrote this for a commencement speech recently:

“Pay attention to what moves you, what you love, what makes you angry, what makes you exhausted.  There are no right answers to those kinds of questions, but if you don’t pay attention, you may find yourself several years down the road, living a life that looks good on paper, but doesn’t ring true to the deepest parts of you. That’s a terrible place to be. Become a student of what you love, because what you love flows out of the way God made you.”

I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I look back and realize that I was living a life that looked good on paper, but didn’t ring true to the deepest parts of who I was.

It feels good this June to be in a place where I am a student of what I love.

I am a student of Spanish and of new cultures, of my husband and new family, of teaching and seeing God in new ways.


Are you a student of what you love?


26th January
written by Michelle


Three weeks ago I flew up to Seattle with my family to celebrate and honor my Grandma Emerson who passed away in October. The truth is those three weeks feel like 3 months ago. I wrote this after her service on the plane ride home, but I am just now getting around to posting it. I don’t think she would have minded that it’s a little late : )


{ her father, my great-grandfather, otto meyerhof }


My grandma Bettina Meyerhof Emerson was a strong woman- in every sense of the word. She was born in 1918 in Kiel, Germany, daughter of Otto and Hedwig Meyerhof. Her father had arranged for her to go nursing school in England, but she opted for medical school in the US. When your father is a Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine you think she might have respected his educational choices for her, but she didn’t. And I kinda like that. She was determined.

In the 1930s when it was longer safe for Jews to live in Germany because of Hitler’s growing anti-semitism, she escaped through France and came to the United States. She started a new life on her own, in an entirely new culture and language at the age of 18. She embraced challenges.

In 1943, she graduated from John Hopkins Medical School as ONE of nine women in a class of seventy-five. She defied social norms and expectations.

Later, she got married and moved to Seattle, where she raised 5 daughters to value education, learning and being resourceful. She was apparently part-homemaker, part-handyman and part-doctor. My grandma would knead homemade bread for the girls and sew handmade clothes for their dolls. When the washing machine or the fridge failed to function as needed, she would take it apart and try to fix it. And apparently when you grow up and your mom is a pediatrician, there is no need to visit the doctor’s office, because the doctor’s office (and all the medicine and injections you could need) come right home to the kitchen table. She was a woman of many talents.

As a Grandmother she paid attention to each of us six grand-kids. She diligently sent handwritten birthday cards to each of us. It didn’t matter what state or country we lived in, she sent them. And if you were lucky, sometimes Grandma would also send cutout newspaper articles that reminded her of a place you had traveled to or some interesting new development in your field of study. She had had an amazing ability to remember details.

My grandma was incredibly wise, (some may say frugal) with her resources. Many of the handwritten cards and letters I just mentioned above would sometimes arrive on previously used envelopes, with a label covering the former address. I remember the first time I stayed with my grandma for a weekend by myself and I opened up her kitchen cupboard to help make lunch. Inside were plastic take-out containers that most people would have thrown away, but not Grandma. She had washed, saved –and labeled them! The first thought that crossed my mind- so, this is where I get it from. She saved and re-used what she could and gave away what was very important.

She gave me the opportunity to go to college. She financed an education that my family or I would not have been able to afford. It’s another story that involves war reparations from Germany, stolen property from the Nazis, IBM, and a lawyer. But the point is that instead of choosing to live a lavish and fancy life with the large sum of money, she gave it to us grand-kids. She understood what it meant to be generous in ways I can only hope to replicate.

Later in her life, my Grandma reconnected with her Jewish roots and started attending a local synagogue in Seattle. At the age of 77 she started studying Hebrew and the Talmud. (I think to start learning anything at 77 years of age is just plain impressive.)

 {some of her treasures that I got to bring home }

Now, I don’t claim to know a lot about Judaism, but I have come to respect many of the aspects of the Jewish faith- especially the tradition for mourning. In our fast-paced, quick-fix kind of society we often value efficiency over process and don’t know how to make space and time for the seasons of grief. But the Jewish faith challenges those ways of being. In the Jewish faith, mourning and bereavement are a discipline and practice done in the company of others.


At the end of my Grandma’s service we prayed the Kaddish- a Jewish prayer in Aramaic- led by the rabbi. I find it interesting that Kaddish is one of the Jewish prayers that must be said in a community of believers. You are not allowed to say it alone.  In Lauren Winner’s book “Mudhouse Sabath” she explains:

“Tradition says that for a year after the loss of a parent, the mourner is to say this prayer twice a day. With other people. This was not a solitary act, it was a communal event.”

And I think its one of the reasons why choosing to gather for a memorial service is so important. As a community of friends and family we choose to gather, to honor and remember a loved one. We could individually remember my grandma, and mourn separately, but we choose to gather together. And I think this is significant.

On Sunday morning January 8th we said Kaddish for my Grandma.

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18th May
written by Michelle

The thing is I have them. Lots of them and sometimes I find they bring more  disappointment and discouragement than I care to admit. If you’ve followed my blog you probably know that I’ve written about expectations before. For better or worse, it’s kind of been this recurring theme during this season of my life.

So, my friend and author, Paul let me guest post again on his blog All Groan Up. You can check it out here.

21st March
written by Michelle

Let’s be honest, words like resign, retire, or change have a much better connotation, than the word Q.U.I.T. “Quit sounds like a 4-letter word you mutter under your breath when you’re fed up with something. However, about a month ago I officially quit my job in Santa Barbara.


quit (kwt) - To give up; relinquish


It’s hard to quit or “give up” things that are good. I loved teaching high school English in Santa Barbara. I loved the students who I worked with and their challenging, yet creative ways of expressing themselves. I loved learning the best way to connect with families and patiently listen to parents’ concerns and frustrations. I loved working with a diverse and spirited group of teachers. But I also think sometimes it’s easy let the good and the comfortable, prohibit us from embracing change or exploring something new.


Not Sure What’s Next


For most of life I have lived with a pretty clear picture of “what’s next.” I have had goals, expectations, and plans since I was probably about the age of 10 and quitting anything was not part of those plans. For as long as I can remember I have known more or less what to expect every year: school starts in August, ends in June, two months of summer, and then, repeat. I went from Kindergarten to high school, then college and grad school in the same fashion. Then, I started teaching within the same system.

Part of my journey this past year has been letting go of my plans and my expectations. It’s been a process of listening, waiting and embracing the unknown. It’s almost like God has been asking me, “Do you trust me even when you don’t know what’s next?” And to be honest, this has been a hard process. How do we live with goals and dreams, but also the faith to admit we have no idea what’s next?

Room for Something New


When I “planned out” my life I never imagined leaving Santa Barbara to come to Guatemala for a year. And I never imagined that I would want to stay longer. I didn’t plan on leaving my job. And I certainly didn’t plan on falling in love with a country, a man and a life with more unknowns, than knowns right now.

But I’m learning that quitting something, leaves room to start something new. My dad used to always tell me when we say no to one thing, we say yes to something else.

What is something that you quit or let go of in your life?

14th December
written by Michelle

I have a theory that there are two types of people in our world: people who thrive on change, and people who well, don’t. I am the latter. Change creates stress for me. Even seemingly good or exciting changes still creates this inner need to obsessively label boxes, organize and re-arrange cupboards and write seemingly unimportant things on post-its. This is how I cope with change. Or sometimes I just cry.

I think some people’s tears are hardwired to their anger or their empathy. However, mine are hardwired to change. Dear friends (and complete strangers) take note: I cry when there is change. And this past week there have been more than a few tears shed. I have been packing up my current apartment, so I can move into my new place in January. {insert: change} I’ve been trying to finish up work proposals and lessons here, before the new school year starts. {insert: more change} And at the same time I’m preparing to come home to visit. Two words that still feel like they don’t belong in the same sentence “home” and “visit.” {insert: Big change}


In·be·tween·ness: \in- bi-ˈtwēn\ n. is defined as the feeling or state of being pulled between two often-contrary things. (definition courteous of me) In the past 6 months I’ve had a lot of in-betweenness in my life. Sometimes I feel like I am swinging back and forth between two worlds. Two cultures. Two languages. Two different currencies. Two different ways of being. My cell phone language changes daily between English and Spanish, depending on who I am texting. My mind constantly converts dollars to quetzals and quetzals to dollars, depending on what I am purchasing. And sometimes my heart feels this pull between the here and there. Especially now as I head back to California, I feel the in-betweenness.

Here I am

I’m still figuring out this whole cross-cultural living thing. I am often reminded that I am not from here (Guatemala that is.) I will always be a little taller, a little whiter and little bit different. There are jokes I don’t get, and traditions and customs that I still don’t understand. But at the same time this is where I live right now and I am grateful and content. This feels like home, but now I am heading back to my other home. Back to California, where my family and sweet friends await me. Where I can smell the ocean and lie on the Mission lawn and consume all the wonderful conveniences that Trader Joe’s has to offer.

So I continue to swing. Back and forth, back and forth. In-between Guatemala and California. In between Spanish and English. In between where I am from and where I am going. Estoy aqui. So, I am here, somewhere in-between.

8th November
written by Michelle

Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way

Many of you know that this past year has been one filled with a lot of change. And for someone who tries to shy away from change at all cost, it has certainly been an ongoing process of learning how to accept and even embrace it. I am firm believer that we cannot qualify and quantify change. Change is change in whatever form it takes. Moving to a new city. Losing a job or starting another. Having a child or going back to school. Getting married. Ending a relationship or starting to date.  For some what may feel invigorating and exciting for others feels overwhelming and downright frightening. It doesn’t help to compare and size up whose change is bigger or harder. I have learned sometimes it’s just better to acknowledge it for what it is: Change.

I recently finished Shauna Niequist’s new book Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way. With an honesty and vulnerability that is rare to find, she shares how struggle, pain and dark places can lead to something beautiful. Shauna doesn’t give cliche answers or simplistic solutions. Instead she writes about stories and people and the process that we must go through to begin to see how “loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”

The Gift

When I was in college (at the same place where Shauna studied) one of my favorite English professors always asked us at the start of class, “Ok, what’s the gift from this text?” The gift of Bittersweet is that Shauna names what for many of us is so hard to name. She gives faces and stories to describe the feelings, the situations, and the things that seem hardest to admit.

This is one of my favorite passages as she reflects honestly on her longing to become pregnant and the process of waiting:

“I know that most of us are longing for something…I know people who are longing to marry, who are longing to be healed from disease, longing for their children to come home, longing for the financial pressure to release. I get that longing is part of how we live….
“That’s why its hard, I think, to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I love that line from the Bible, but it’s so incredibly difficult sometimes, because when you’ve got reason to rejoice, you forget what it’s like to mourn, even if you swear you never will….[so] I’ll celebrate with my friends. I’ll hold their babies, buy baby gifts, ask them what’s it’s like for them and really listen to the answer. I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because I can’t ask them to mourn with me unless I’m willing to celebrate with them, as deeply painful as it is on some days. And my friends have done it for me, certainly; they stood in my wedding when they wanted to be brides, brought shower gifts when they wanted to be mothers. No one is exempt from the longing, and now, it seems, it’s my turn.”

Throughout Bittersweet Shauna creatively weaves in spices and flavors and colors that season every essay and remind us that life is meant to be tasted and savored, even when it is hard. She does not promise us some sugar coated recipe for life, but rather a beautiful description how we need both: the sweet and the bitter in order to grow.

FREE copy of Bittersweet

I consider finding free things to be one of my hobbies. And now you get to benefit because  you have the chance to get a FREE copy of Bittersweet. Here’s how it works:

1) Leave a comment on this post about a change in your life that was either bitter or sweet, or maybe both.

2) Then I will chose one winner and email you to get your mailing address.

3) Shauna’s publisher will send you a FREE signed copy of the book. Not a bad deal, huh? : ) You have until midnight on Wednesday, November 10th.

(you can find out more about this wonderful author and her upcoming events at her blog:
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19th September
written by Michelle

Every so often on my morning commute, sitting squished in between two adults, on school bus seats not made for three sets of rear-ends, I realize how much my life has changed in the past few months: where I work, where I live and where I buy my groceries. I operate in a Spanish speaking world, with my mind sometimes swimming in between English and Spanglish. The people I see on the streets are new. I don’t ever see the beach. I go to post office, the bank and the local market, but it’s different. I now have “skype dates” with friends not “coffee dates.” My cell phone number, my address and my current form of dinero have changed. Sometimes I have baby freak out moments because let’s be honest, I don’t always do well with change.


Some things never change.

I still eat avocado tomato toast at least twice a week, moan in the mornings, and eat my breakfast on the go. I still walk fast and regularly pass Guatemalans on the sidewalk. I still only wash my hair once a week, use Fabreeze more than I do laundry, and I love finding a free meal or really, anything free. I still use post-it notes. Still set my watch a little ahead so I’m not late in the mornings. Still save my coffee cups to reuse ’em.  Still think a daily does of dark chocolate does the heart good. And I still believe duct tape can fix almost anything. Still have piles of half-read books by my bed. I still confuse my right and left sometimes, still avoid doing the dishes, and I still love Saturday mornings.

Some things never change.

Photo: guess what I am eating for dinner?

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8th August
written by Michelle

Lately, I have been very grateful for skype and text messages and other handy forms of electronic communication. People back home often ask me, How are you doing? How’s life down there? Do you like it?

I sometimes find myself fumbling over my words in a half-ass attempt to explain what my life is like here. Or even worse I give a cliche answer like “yeah, everything is going great.” But I think that is because sometimes I honestly don’t know how to describe the changes that have taken place. Not big drastic changes, but small, still significant shifts in my heart and soul.

If I had to describe it in a word: Contentment.

For maybe the first time in years, I can honestly say I feel this peace and contentment with who I am and where I am. I’ve realized that I often spend a fair amount of mental energy comparing myself to those around me. It’s almost a subconscious thing.

I compare my myself to my friends who are newly wed or newly dating. I compare houses or apartments and think about whose place is better decorated. I compare jobs, and cars and who is a better cook or faster runner. I compare myself to girlfriends who have the precious baby bump and wonder if I’ll ever have children. Probably only my female readers will understand this, but sometimes I even compare myself to other women for the infamous who-has-a-small-size-jeans check. Yes, I realize this sounds superficial and pathetic (it is), but gentleman I know for a fact that other women do this too!

I think these kinds of comparisons can happen anywhere, but for those of you who have lived in Santa Barbara you know that SB has an odd standard for what’s “normal.” These past 2 months have given me a much needed break and a perspective change. My standard of what is “normal” or necessary has changed.

I’ve begun to realize how often comparison leads to envy, which leads to worry and then a general lack of faith. Basically, an equation for a disaster. This is not how I want to live.

I believe there is something beautiful about learning to be thankful and let go of the expectations that my life is supposed to look a certain way. When we stop comparing ourselves to others we leave room for God to say, Look, this is what I have for you. A life of peace and contentment. A life that is open to surprises and something new.

There is a verse in the book of Colossians that I have been re-reading this past month. It says that God “is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This is a new mentality for me, a new reminder that He holds all things together, so I don’t have to. A new perspective that allows me to trust He has gone before me. I know this does not equate to instant happiness and tangible rewards, but it does allow me to live with this new found contentment.

I think the challenge will be figuring out how to integrate this new mentality and way of living back in the states. But, we’ll deal with that when it comes. For now, I could not be more content to be here.

photo: reflection of el arc, a new perspective

27th June
written by Michelle

There have been times in the past few days that I feel Guatemalan, that is until I went to the grocery store.

I have been to Antigua four times previously and I know my way around more or less. I have a favorite coffee shop and favorite bakery. I know where to get free internet  and where to find the best smoothies. However, I was not  prepared for my trip the local grocery store: The Bodegona

For one, I do not understand Guatemala’s standard of organization or lack there of. Bananas, avocados and basil are grouped together and sold in large containers next to the bread, yogurt and baby diapers. Hmm? I wandered through the aisles looking for those staples you buy when you move into a new place: toilet paper, napkins, a broom, some spices, olive oil, vinegar, etc. And I figured while I was there I might as well buy some groceries.

First discovery: Milk sold in a bag. No joke. I opted for the milk in a carton. Can’t handle too much change in a week now can we.

Next: I wanted some wine and because I am usually a two-buck-chuck kinda wine girl I naturally looked for the cheapest wine they had. Only to find it was wine in a box! Yep. Vino en Caja as they say. Who knew? Milk in a Bag and Wine in a Box.

Final realization: After I checked out, bagged my own groceries, forked over too many quetzales for my first grocery run, I stood there holding juggling my three bags and realized I had to walk home!

Somehow in the chaos that is the grocery store I forgot that I don’t have a trunk to throw my groceries in or even a car for that matter. So, I started walking the half-mile home, fumbling with my bags trying to keep two on my shoulder, one in my hand and balance my purse in the other. I must have looked pathetic because about 1 block into my trek a tuk-tuk (see picture) pulled up alongside the curb. My hero. For a small fee, I eagerly hopped in and got a ride home.

In case you weren’t sure I am not Guatemalan. I am an American. And I shop like an American. Americans tend to buy big and buy more. We have Costco and SUVs and are used to buying bags of chips the size of small children and enough toilet paper to last 6 months. Well, I am quickly learning that is not going to work here.  I am going to have to learn to live a little more Guatemalan.

I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot about living on less. What does it look like to only buy what I need for a week? Not for an entire month? What does it mean to simplify? And to maybe buy just enough so I can walk home from the grocery store?

Michelle vs. Guatemalan Grocery Shopping  0-1

I lost. Rematch next week.

P.S. I found a great place to live. Pictures coming soon!