Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Missionary Kid: How I Learned to Say Goodbye

Monday, January 29th, 2018

missionary-kid-book

I have to admit that John Haines’ book about being a missionary kid is better than mine, so if you’re only going to buy one, buy his. Many of you have read mine, which was written from the point of view of a child. His point of view is of an adult looking back with nostalgia and wistfulness at what once was. I like the processing that he went through in a humorous, stream-of-consciousness style. If I ever re-write my own book, I will stop and philosophize from time to time like he did. The memoir of his life made me laugh and cry as I relived my own experiences.

I hadn’t even finished the prologue when I got a lump in my throat and wanted to cry.  It seems that we MK’s have explosively deep emotions that are buried out of sight like land mines. In the book, his land mine was set off by seeing a Moroccan woman who looked so much like his maid/nanny when he was young. It was like he imprinted on her like a mother figure, and then when he moved away from Morocco and hadn’t seen her for decades, he went back as an adult, and the familiar face triggered all the childhood memories. This set off an overwhelming sensation, almost as if he was re-united with his mother for the first time in years.

So I knew by page 4 that I was going to enjoy doing this review, which I agreed to do for compensation. It was the most emotionally satisfying review I’ve done. I wrote notes all over the margins as I pondered why I felt a certain way about what the author was saying (whether grief, laughter, empathy, or whatever emotion was evoked).

The personality (or voice) behind the writing had a detached bluntness and humor combined with the friendliness of a tour guide telling someone the way things are for missionary kids. This is not a religious book, and it is written to believers, unbelievers, and what he calls “innocent ones.” Each category is sometimes addressed separately. The “innocent ones” are not Christians, but they are not against Christians either, so they are taking in the story as impartial recipients.

The author is blunt about everything he experienced as a missionary kid, so I believe that MK’s especially will love the book because he says things with shocking honesty that we would never dare say at the time we were on the mission field.

There was so much MK humor in the book. For example, he mentions “lists of three being a feature of the sermons I grew up on,” and “What better home for an uprooted missionary kid than a boarding school full of missionary kids?” That second quote is from the chapter describing his interesting boarding school experiences.

Many pearls of MK wisdom were tossed out at us throughout the book. Here’s one: “Wandering like the Children of Israel in a land that was not ours, we never got to stop and savor one of life’s most priceless commodities: friends.” As you can see, he uses the language of someone who grew up with what I call church language, and he says things that are profound in a boy-next-door kind of way. The topic itself has poignancy because we constantly had to say good-bye to our friends. Hence the title: Missionary Kid: How I Learned to Say Goodbye.

The book ended in a satisfying way as he returned to the lands of his childhood. I believe that every missionary kid should go back to their motherland at some point in their adult lives to be able to come full circle and heal from all the unresolved grief of having to say good-bye so much in our lives. Last year I did just that, and I felt a sense of completion. I too felt that I had finally come home.

To grab a copy of the book, click here.

Tour of Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, August 28th, 2017

tour-of-panajachel-guatemala

Another highlight of our trip was our tour of Panajachel, Guatemala. Growing up as a missionary kid, my family used to go to Panajachel once or twice a year to rest. The mission had a property that could be used for missionaries and other Christian workers. I loved this time we had as a family–without television and phones–to connect through conversation and card games.

Tour of Panajachel, Guatemala (video)

We ended up going on another boat ride to Santiago, which is right across the lake. This was the only lake town I ever visited as a child, so it was fun to go on the longer boat ride a few days before with my friend Christie’s family. Each town is unique and beautiful in its own way.

Guatemala is famous for its volcanoes, and Lake Atitlán is surrounded by them! Here is a picture of my family in front of a volcano:

family-panajachel

The lake reflects the blue of the sky, and it is tranquil until the late afternoon winds. As a child, I would sit on an inner tube, waiting for a boat to come by and make some waves.

lake-atitlan-guatemala

Through the clear water on the shore you can see pebbles and rocks, which is why we wore flip-flops when entering the water. When I was a kid, I would collect different-colored rocks and seashells along the shore.

rocks-at-panajachel

We walked through Panajachel and realized that the town has grown in size and become more commercial, especially along the lake shore. It used to be that there were no shops on the shore of the lake. Now there are several rows of shops and restaurants crammed along the entire length of the shore, sometimes on stilts.

market-panajachel

Each of the places we stopped had many booths filled with typical Guatemalan cloth and souvenirs. Shopping at Guatemalan markets is fun because you are able to bargain with them about the price. If you have white skin, people think you are rich, so they start the price higher than what they are expecting you to pay. If you think the price is too much, you can offer a more reasonable price.

panajachel-panorama

When leaving Panajachel, you must stop along the mountain and take pictures because the natural beauty of the area is breathtaking! This was a wonderful conclusion to our Guatemala Adventure!

Did you miss our previous Guatemala Adventure posts?

  1. Our Guatemala Adventure
  2. Río Dulce Boat Ride
  3. Tour of San Felipe Castle, Guatemala
  4. Tour of Tikal, Guatemala
  5. Tour of Flores, Guatemala
  6. Tour of Cobán, Guatemala
  7. Coffee Plantation Zipline Tour
  8. Meeting Our Compassion Child in Guatemala
  9. SETECA Seminary, Guatemala
  10. Tour of Antigua, Guatemala
  11. Lake Atitlán Boat Ride

To follow my MK posts and musings, like my Missionary Kid page. And if you love to read about missionary kids, buy the book!

Lake Atitlán Boat Ride

Monday, August 21st, 2017

lake-atitlan-boat-ride

While staying at Panajachel, we went on a Lake Atitlán boat ride, which was beautiful! As we buzzed around the lake looking at the majestic volcanoes, we stopped at various villages along the shores of Lake Atitlán.

boat-ride-on-lake-atitlan

Video Tour: Boat Ride on Lake Atitlán

Take a look at the boat ride and the places where we visited along the shores of the lake:

When we arrived at our fist destination of Santa Catalina, we saw a baptism taking place! The people were singing a Christian song at the service they were having down by the water. Our boat man waited for us as we got out of the boat and spent about half an hour at this location.

baptism-atitlan-lake

We watched women weaving cloth right in front of our eyes. The women have been weaving this cloth generation after generation, and each tribe has unique colors to wear. The wall hangings are beautiful and often have “Guatemala” woven into them.

weaving-santa-catarina

I love seeing all the bright colors of the merchandise:

typical-guatemalan-cloth

We stopped and watched women making corn tortillas from scratch, frying them on a large flat skillet the size of a table. People would come here to buy their tortillas.

tortillas-guatemala

Each town that we visited had at least one church. San Antonio had two churches side-by-side in the whitewashed Spanish style of architecture. Most of the beautiful churches are Catholic, as the Evangelical churches tend to be simpler buildings.

cross-santa-catarina

As you can see in the video, at San Antonio we climbed up a hill and down a narrow alleyway where roosters crowed. You can see the destitute poverty of the area as houses are crowded up against each other.

At the third stop, the rain fell heavily (since it was rainy season), and we ended up eating lunch. A couple of hours later when the lightning and thunder stopped, the boatman was allowed to take us back to Panajachel.

Stay tuned for out next installment of our Guatemala Adventure series, and like our MK page to not miss any posts!

Tour of Antigua, Guatemala

Monday, August 14th, 2017

tour-of-antigua-guatemala

On our way from Guatemala City to Panajachel, we stopped for an hour to go on a walking tour of Antigua, Guatemala. I have always loved this city because of its antique architecture and ruins. When I was a little girl, I used to go on camping trips with Pioneer Girls here. I’ve been to leather factories, candle-making shops, and many other tours when I was a kid. It was fun to take my husband and kids on a quick tour, walking around this majestic city.

Video Tour of Antigua, Guatemala

Here are some of the highlights of our walking tour of Antigua:

Each of the antique buildings has a Spanish style, with lots of ornate carvings on the sides of the buildings. Most of the buildings are white, but there is at least one that is a stunning yellow color, which I included at the top of this post. The buildings always have multiple levels with arched windows.

antigua-building

Horses and carriages still clop down the cobbled streets, which are filled with colorful dust in different patterns on Easter every year. Parades go down these streets whenever the people are holding a festival.

antigua-guatemala-building

The center square has trimmed trees, grass, and park benches, and the ambiance of the city is laid back and relaxed (although not so much as Panajachel, where we are visiting next).

antigua-horse-and-carriage

It was so nostalgic to see this city, after not having seen it for over 20 years.

I looked at the black bars on each arched window. Security dictates that windows will be broken if there are not iron bars over them. This is true throughout Guatemala.

antigua-people

I loved looking down each street. Surprises meet the eye with old lanterns lining a street, or a ruin around a corner. The gates, doors, and entryways are unique, too, and anyone who enjoys architecture would love Antigua, Guatemala!

guatemala-antigua

Did you miss our previous Guatemala Adventure posts?

  1. Our Guatemala Adventure
  2. Río Dulce Boat Ride
  3. Tour of San Felipe Castle, Guatemala
  4. Tour of Tikal, Guatemala
  5. Tour of Flores, Guatemala
  6. Tour of Cobán, Guatemala
  7. Coffee Plantation Zipline Tour
  8. Meeting Our Compassion Child in Guatemala
  9. SETECA Seminary, Guatemala

If you don’t want to miss any posts in my Guatemala Adventure series, follow my Missionary Kid page. And if you love to read about missionary kids, buy the book!

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